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Apr 252016
 

This weekend, I attended the beautiful wedding of my friends Jess and Erick at Shadow Creek in Purceville, Virginia. It was so much fun, and I wish we could do it all over again!

Thursday

Yep – this weekend recap is starting off on a Thursday, when my friend Catrina flew in from San Diego. We met up with Catrina and my friends Megan and JR at Cantina Marina for dinner on Thursday evening, and it was so much fun! The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed sitting out on the water, sipping margaritas, and ordering a gigantic plate of nachos to share.

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What a fun night!

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Friday

On Friday morning, Catrina and Megan joined me for a class at Urban Athletic Club! Megan and Catrina are both into fitness, and I’ve been dying to bring them to a class with me. They did great and seemed to really enjoy the class! Yay!

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After class I said goodbye to Catrina and Megan and headed off to work. It was really hard saying goodbye – especially since they both had the day off from work and were planning to do fun things like get their nails done – but I knew I would see them later!

After a work day that dragged on and on, I finally headed home, packed, and then Fabio and I scooped up my (other) friend Megan from Union Station and my friend Britt from Regan airport. The timing worked out perfectly, and before we knew it we were all reunited at Megan’s apartment for snacks and wine!

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We spent the evening catching up and eating some delicious grilled wings while the boys smoked cigars outside. Toward the end of the evening we played a bunch of games of charades, which was absolutely hilarious.

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In this one, Megan is a palm tree! Haha!

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Such a fun night with my favorite gurlays. 🙂

Saturday

Saturday was wedding day! Upon waking, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast of blueberry pancakes and bacon, courtesy of Megan’s husband JR.

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Plus mimosas and fruit! Yum!

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We spent the rest of the morning getting ready for the wedding and then made the drive down to Leesburg, Virginia where our hotel was. After dropping off our bags and quickly changing, it was time to head over to the wedding! Jess and Erick had arranged for buses to take everyone to the venue, so no one needed to worry about driving. Yay!

When we arrived at Shadow Creek, I couldn’t believe how beautiful everything was! The weather was perfect for showcasing the beautiful rolling hills of this amazing property.

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So pretty!

I got to sit next to this handsome guy for the ceremony. 😉

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Jess and Erick had a lot of cute printouts and decorations at their wedding, many of which Jess made herself! I’m definitely going to need some tips from her when it comes time to plan my own wedding next year.

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Soon enough, it was wedding time! A couple of our good friends were bridesmaids, and they all looked so beautiful. Hi, Vic!

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Here comes the bride and her parents!

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I really loved Jess’ dress and thought she looked so elegant.

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The ceremony was officiated by Jess and Erick’s friends Nick and Jake, and they did such a good job making it personal. Jess and Erick also wrote their own vows, which were incredibly heart-felt and beautiful. Then their friend Janie read a Beyonce poem about love (Jess LOVES Beyonce), and I think it’s safe to say the entire audience had a lot of laughs and a lot of tears during the ceremony. Phew – what an emotional roller coaster!

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Then before we knew it, Jess and Erick were married! Yayy!! What a beautiful bride and groom. 🙂

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After that, it was time for cocktail hour!

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Naturally our group took advantage of the beautiful weather and scenery to get some pictures!

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<3

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Cheers!

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Love this guy. Can’t wait for our own wedding next June!

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Sloppytown! (Minus a few…)

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Jess and Erick had the most adorable guest book, which was a map with a heart linking Maryland (where they’re both from) to Amsterdam (where they live now). What a cute idea!

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While we enjoyed the cocktails and signed the guest map, Jess and Erick were off being adorable. Here’s a sneak peak at their pictures! (Borrowed from Facebook…)

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Aren’t they just the best looking couple?

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Then it was time for the reception! Shadow Creek is a really beautiful venue, and I loved all the exposed beams inside. It was perfectly rustic but had all the modern accompaniments you’d want in a venue like clean bathrooms and a beautiful bridal suite.

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The flowers and decor were beautiful too!

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When the bridal party made their entrance, they encouraged everyone to circle the dance floor to welcome them in. Loved this idea!

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First dance!

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After the first dance and before dinner was served, we took advantage of the remaining daylight and got a few more group pictures.

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Plus one with the bride!

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Then we enjoyed a delicious meal and hit the dance floor!

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So fun!

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After the wedding, the buses took us to a local bar for the after party!

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We continued having an amazing night with amazing people.

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So fun!

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Oh, and the bride enjoyed some chicken fingers. Necessary. 🙂

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Once we got back to the hotel, I stayed up until nearly 3:00 am catching up with some of my best friends. I wouldn’t have wanted to end the night any other way!

Sunday

On Sunday morning we enjoyed a group breakfast at the hotel and then lounged around for a while before eventually we all headed back home.

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Overall it was such an amazing wedding weekend, and I have to thank Jess and Erick so much for inviting us to take part in their special day. Congratulations you two!! <3

Question of the day: What is your favorite part of a wedding?

I obviously love the dancing, but I also love the beginning right before the ceremony starts because you still have the whole event ahead of you!

 Posted by on April 25, 2016
Sep 092015
 

Hey friends! I’m popping in today with the first recap of my recent European vacation. Today we’re talking about the first leg of our trip: a long weekend in Amsterdam! This post is pretty lengthy so settle in and prepare to scroll. 🙂

Thursday

On Thursday evening, Fabio and I headed over to BWI for our flight to Amsterdam. Clearly, we were excited.

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We wound up flying through WOW airlines, which is a fairly new airline that goes through Iceland. We decided to fly through WOW because the airline was really, really cheap, but it wound up being a bit of a hassle because you have to pay a lot for your bags and you have to pay for any food or drinks. What airline doesn’t serve free drinks on a 5+ hour flight?

The layover in Iceland wasn’t too bad (we were only there for about 5 minutes due to our first flight being a little delayed) but obviously a direct flight would have been better. On the positive side, on the way to Iceland our pilot turned down the lights in the cabin because apparently we flew through a display of northern lights! Sadly it was on the left side of the plane and we were seated on the right so we couldn’t see anything, but I still think that was pretty darn cool.

Friday

Our plane landed in Amsterdam around noon on Friday, and Fabio and I wasted no time in exploring! After dropping off our bags at our friends Jess and Erick’s apartment, we headed over to Dam square for a free walking tour through the company New Europe.

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This company hosts free walking tours all over Europe as a way to provide tourists with an affordable way to see cities and learn a bit about their history. At the end of the tour, you can tip your tour guide based on how much you think the tour was worth. Tips can range from 20 euros, 10 euros, 5 euros, to just a handshake and a “thank you.” Cool idea, right?

Our tour guide’s name was Julian and he took us all around the city and told us everything we needed to know about the history of Amsterdam. In addition to taking in the beautiful canals and architecture, I loved hearing about all the history of the city from the medieval days to WWII.

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It was so cool hearing about how some of the buildings along the canal are crooked because they are built on old pilings on top of the water, and hearing stories about how trading used to be done in the “new market” square in the 1600s. We also heard about some gruesome public tortures that used to take place on the square. Yikes.

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We also of course walked through the red light district and learned about its origin. Apparently when sailors would return from long, dangerous  journeys around the world selling spices and other goods, they needed a little distraction and relief when they got back. Hence, the red light district’s creation. Fun fact: there was also a huge old church built right in the red light district, which the sailors used to go to after a long night of partying  to pray for forgiveness. 😉

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Overall I would give the tour two huge thumbs up and we made sure to give Julian a nice tip for spending two hours of his day walking us through town.

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When the tour was over we noticed that the line for the Anne Frank house was incredibly short (usually there is a huge line to get in) so even though we were pretty tired and jet lagged at this point we decided to knock this stop out of the way. This attraction is definitely a must-see – it was really amazing to see where Anne’s whole family hid from the Nazi’s.

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After that, Fabio and I hung out by the canal for a few minutes while we waited for Jess and Erick to join us after work. It was a beautiful afternoon, and after a busy day, it was nice to rest for a minute in the sunshine.

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Soon enough Jess and Erick joined us. YAY! It was so nice to see them! 🙂

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Of course we paused for a necessary canal photo op. 😉

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After having a quick happy hour beer at an outdoor cafe, we walked over to the neighborhood where we planned to have dinner. Fabio decided to test out one of the street urinals they have throughout the city. How weird are these??

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Strange.

After a short walk, we had arrived at Hoppy Days, a cute little Italian restaurant.

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Our dinner was delicious and along with more beer, I enjoyed a tasty risotto in a Parmesan shell with arugula on the side. Yum.

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After dinner, we met up with a bunch of Jess and Erick’s expat friends (they all work for Erick’s company and also are from the U.S.) for more beers! It was so fun getting to know more of Jess and Erick’s friends and I loved seeing how they spend a typical Friday night in Amsterdam.

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Saturday

On Saturday, Fabio and I headed over to the Van Gogh museum as soon as it opened. I have to say this was my favorite museum that we went to during our whole trip! We bought an audio guide for 5 euros, and although we bought audio guides at all the museums we visited on the trip, this one was by far the best. Fabio and I had so much fun walking around the museum and learning about Van Gogh’s life, seeing pictures of the Dutch countryside, and appreciating the beautiful paintings (especially the famous sunflowers!). If you’re ever in Amsterdam, absolutely check out this museum!

After the museum, Jess and Erick took us to one of their favorite brunch spots. We sat at a cute table outside and I enjoyed the most epic avocado toast with chicken sausage, crispy pancetta, truffle mayo, and Parmesan cheese shavings. Holy yum!

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After brunch we walked off our food with a trip through the market!

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The market in Amsterdam was so cute and I loved seeing all the fresh produce, flowers, snacks, clothes, and trinkets for sale.

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The flowers were so cheap in Amsterdam! I wish we could get flowers at that price back home.

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Jess made us stop for her favorite treat: small pancakes called poffertjes served with butter and powdered sugar.

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We watched the guy make them right in front of us, so we knew they were super fresh.

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Yummmm!! This may have been the best thing I ate during the whole trip! (I wonder how many times I’ll say that…)

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We got an order to share between the four of us and each bite was heavenly. Delicious!!

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After the market, the four of us headed to a brewery to meet up with Jess and Erick’s friends.

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Please excuse my awkward arm. Selfie sticks take practice. 😉

The brewery was really cute, and we had a wonderful afternoon sitting below a giant windmill and drinking the cheap and delicious Amsterdam beers. 🙂

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After all the beer we weren’t too hungry for dinner, so we headed back to Jess and Erick’s apartment for a little picnic on their balcony. We enjoyed our first taste of Dutch fries – which are delicious and served with mayonnaise – and just enjoyed the evening!

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Such a fun day!

Sunday

Sunday morning began with a group run to Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s version of Central Park!

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The boys were less than enthusiastic at first, but at the end of our 4 mile run everyone agreed they felt great.

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The route of our run was absolutely gorgeous and I loved running past the stately buildings and seeing the sights in the peaceful park.

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So fun! Thanks for taking us out there, Jess!

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After showering up and eating some quick scrambled eggs made by Erick, we headed off to our next adventure: a road trip into the Dutch countryside!

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We hopped on a bus from Amsterdam’s main train station, Centraal, (we bought an all day bus pass for about 7 euros) and after just five minutes of driving we were greeted with picturesque views of the Dutch countryside.

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These views made me appreciate our trip to the Van Gogh museum even more, because we could see what inspired some of his paintings.

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Beautiful!

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After about 30 minutes, we arrived in our first stop: Volendam!

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This adorable little Dutch town is located on the East coast of the Netherlands right along the Markermeer bay. It was beautiful!

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After walking around a bit, we found a table at a cute little cafe along the water and enjoyed some delicious food. I forgot to take any pictures, but Jess and I split a goat cheese panini with pine nuts and honey and some fish and chips. The food was fantastic, and you can’t beat the view.

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After lunch we walked around some more and decided some ice cream was necessary. I forget what flavor I got, but I remember it was delicious!

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Haha!

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We enjoyed our cones by the little beach, which was absolutely perfect.

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After ice cream we continued walking around, and found our way into a cheese shop!

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At the shop we learned how Dutch cheese was made and got to sample a few tasty cheeses. My favorite was the truffle cheese. I may or may not have sneaked more than my share of free samples of that one. 😉

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Then our little group walked around the town some more and explored lots of cute canals and old church before deciding to move on to our second stop of the day. We hopped back on our bus and this time got off at Monnikendam, a cute town a little closer to Amsterdam.

We were greeted with another picturesque town on the water. How cute!

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We quickly found our way to a bar that had some live music playing outside and lots of people dancing. We were pleasantly surprised to hear American rock and roll and even some Johnny Cash!

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We sat down for a few more beers and had a nice and relaxing afternoon.

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Eventually we headed back to Amsterdam and called it an early night since Jess and Erick had work the next morning.

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On Monday morning, we packed up our stuff and headed off to Belgium! Details to come!

Of course I have to thank our hosts Jess and Erick for such a fantastic time. We had so, so much fun in Amsterdam, and couldn’t have asked for anything more!

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We love you guys!

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Question of the day: Have you ever been to Amsterdam? If so, what was your favorite thing that you saw? If not, what would you most want to see?

 Posted by on September 9, 2015
Aug 282015
 

Hi friends! Today is the first day of my European vacation, and by the time you read this I will already be in Amsterdam. Woohoo! Since we are there visiting our friends Jess and Erick, I thought it was only appropriate to include a guest post from them (well, it’s from Jess, but there are pictures of Erick too)! This post lists some of the things she was surprised about when moving to the Netherlands, and I found it to be super interesting and also helpful for my trip. Enjoy!

Hey friends of CET! Some of you long time readers may remember me as Chelsea’s friend and fellow member of Sloppytown who moved over to Amsterdam! Well, low and behold, it’s been just over a year since me and my hubs E decided to pick up our lives and move across the pond to the land of bikes, cheese, and brutal honesty.

EJ Engagement PicOne of our engagement pictures we took over here in AMS. Photo credit to Lizet Sleutelberg Photography 🙂

 When we decided to move abroad, we knew we’d be entering a completely new culture with a different language, new foods, and a different value system in general. What we didn’t know, however, was how many little day to day things would be different! We LOVE our adopted country, and can’t imagine a place we would rather live, but there are some funny little things we still aren’t used to. So, as Chelsea is frolicking and biking around Amsterdam with me, I thought I’d share 5 of the things that have most surprised me about the Netherlands since we became expats!

1. Fire Hazards: Not a thing here. Or, at least, no one seems particularly concerned about them. Every restaurant or bar you walk in to will have candles EVERYWHERE just a-burnin’ away, as if they couldn’t tip over and send the whole building up in flames. My 4th story (and by that, I mean 5th story in American terms, since here ground floor = floor 0) apartment? No fire escape. On the upside, there is a fire department not even half a mile from my apartment, but the fact that a bar full of people deep in to their (high alcohol content) beers would be chock full of burning torches doesn’t seem to concern anybody but us (axiety-ridden) Americans.

Fire HazardHuge burning-candle chandelier in a bar? NO WORRIES!

2. Bathrooms: Oh man. This is a fun one. Anyone who has done a bit of traveling will know that bathrooms are different all over the world. E’s family is from Brazil, and the plumbing system down there is completely different than in the states (cough, toilet paper goes in a trash can not the toilet, cough). HOWEVER, nothing in my travels prepared me for the toilets over here in the Netherlands. They have, shall we say, a quite unique design. Just google Dutch Toilet and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I’ll try to keep this a classy as possible, but essentially, there is an “inspecting tray” in the toilet bowl, so when you go it just sits under you, not in any water, smellin’ and steamin’ away. I’m told by my Dutch friends that this is a holdover from times when doctors were less common, and inspecting your own stool was a way of monitoring your health. Regardless, this results in a lot of skid marks (sorry, I had to) and significantly reduced time spent on potty breaks during the work day.

That said, bathroom stalls over here are actually made for ADULTS, unlike the child-like ones we have in the states, where there is a 2 in’ gap between the stall door and the lock and you can see who is in which stall by their shoes (and pants!) that you can see under the door. Here, the stalls are proper rooms with 4 walls and a proper door that closes all the way to gives you some privacy. Make sure you lock the door, though, because since you can’t peep up the door to see if it’s occupied, people just go straight for the handle when they want to open it. This resulted in a cleaning man opening the door while I was checking my Facebook in the bathroom at work one day
that was awkward


Bathroom StallThe stall in my office at work. Privacy is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

3. Lunches: After almost 9 months of searching, this spring I found a job and started working with a huge international company with an office here in Amsterdam. While there are a ton of expats in the building, there are only 5 or so Americans in the 500+ person office, and the great majority of employees are Dutch. As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time studying what the Dutch eat for lunch, and let me tell you: it’s a treat.

HerringFish Fridays in the office can only mean one thing: raw pickled herring fish!

First off, typical Dutch cuisine reminds me a lot of what we Americans feed out toddlers. They like things very bland, never spicy AT ALL, preferably steamed until you don’t need teeth to eat it. They also have a lot of interesting opinions about food, such as you should only eat one hot meal a day. And don’t even THINK that eating salad for a meal is a thing here (or any where in Europe, for that matter). Sorry Chels, they haven’t learned to love their salads yet. (Lol – this is why I love Jess!) I once got told by one of my Dutch coworkers that I ate too much spinach and that it wasn’t healthy for me. The Dutch are VERY direct and don’t believe in holding back their opinions, but that’s a discussion for another day


ANYWAY, all of this results in very interesting eating habits. The typical Dutch employee’s lunch, for example, will be 4-5 pieces of bread, 2 slices of deli meat, 2 slices of cheese, a glass of milk (often butter milk), a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice (most every cafeteria has a machine because they love it so much), and sprinkles. Yes, sprinkles. Now, to us Americans, this whole spread is bizarre, but I would like to spend some time focusing on the sprinkles, or hagelslaag, as they are called here. They are neither a) for ice cream nor b) for children. It is perfectly acceptable for a grown adult to have sprinkles on bread for their lunch. In fact, in our cafeteria, we have two huge containers full; one is a fruity flavor, and one is chocolate flavor. While I haven’t yet tried it, I must say, it does look like it would be tasty enough, but something about sprinkles just makes me want it with ice cream, not bread and butter.

HagelslaagSprinkles! Not just for kids and not just for dessert!

4. Polaroids: These are a thing again. Super chic. Everybody loves Polaroids. This is most apparent when you go out to an area that has loads of cute bars and restaurants. Back home in DC, guys used to come up to you to try to sell you flowers, or light up things, or whatever. Here, there is a never-ending stream of guys coming in to the bars and restaurants, wanting to take your picture and sell you the Polaroid for 5 EUR. Now I know you’re saying “5 EUR for one silly Polaroid!!?? That’s ridiculous!” And it is! It totally is. But at 2 am when you’re out with your besties and you’ve had a couple beers, it seems ridiculous NOT to get a Polaroid! And *pro-tip* – you can usually negotiate them down to 3 EUR per picture. Don’t say I never did anything for ya 😉

PolaroidsThis was on a Tuesday
think whatever you want, these pics are gems.

5. Stairs: Or as I like to call them, ladders. Seriously. Stairs here are SO STEEP. Back when Amsterdam was being built up, the home owners were taxed based on how wide the façade of their house was. As a result, they built tall, skinny, and narrow houses, so that they could still have big enough places without having to pay as high of a tax. The thing about this was, with such narrow houses, they had to make the stairs super steep and narrow so that they wouldn’t take up too much space. And the thing about THAT was it made it super hard to move anything in through the stairs, so Amsterdam-ers move everything in through the window.

MoversThe movers bringing our stuff in through the window when we moved in to our current place.

Anywhere you go the Amsterdam, you’re likely to run in to these steep stairs. Similarly to not giving a you-know-what about fire hazards, there is also no concern about having the bathroom be down or up one of these ludicrously steep staircases in, for example, a bar. I will say, though, after a year of climbing 20+ sets of stairs per day, you get super used to it, and I find the staircases back in the states to be extremely inefficient now. And it’s a great butt workout. 😉

StairsMy mom, submitting to the stairs to get to the restaurant we were eating in.

So that’s what I got! Feel free to pop on over to my Instagram @byjeteast if you want to see some more pictures of our crazy expat life! And, if you do it this week, you’ll probably even see some of everyone’s favorite fitness and healthy living blogger 😉 Being an expat is a phenomenal experience I would recommend it to ANYONE interested in living in another country and learning a new lifestyle. While I like to poke fun at the little things that are different over here, Amsterdam truly is our home, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

EJ TulipsMe and E in the famous Dutch tulip fields!

Thanks, Jess! Awesome post. Now I’m excited to get over there and see it all. 🙂

I’ll have some stuff for you guys to read next week, but I won’t be posting any real updates until after my trip. Talk to you guys later!

Question of the day: What on this list surprised you the most?

I think the toilets sound super weird, and chocolate sprinkles on bread?? What?!

 Posted by on August 28, 2015
Dec 302015
 

Each December, I like to take some time to reflect back on the highlights from the year (here are my highlights from 2013 and 2014, which are fun to look back at!).

This year was another amazing one for me, and I had so much fun putting together this post of my top 15 memories from the year. I had a lot of pretty big milestones this year, which I made sure to include in my list. Without further ado, here’s a countdown of my top 15 moments of 2015!

15. Having a membership with ClassPass. Although I dabbled with ClassPass late last year, I really got into it more this spring and definitely took full advantage of it. For most of the year, I worked my way from studio to studio and took a ton of different fitness classes. I discovered a lot about myself through this process, and got a lot more comfortable trying new workouts on my own. I also fell head-over-heels in love with spinning, which I never would have expected! I didn’t wind up running much this year (no races at all!) but that was ok since I was getting fit in a new way (also recovering from foot surgery, which I’ll talk more about below). I’m hoping to run more races in 2016, but I’m also not going to be upset if I don’t. I’m just doing what makes me happy right now!

14. Taking care of my health in important ways. This year I did two big things to take care of my health, and not in the usual eating well/exercising ways. First, in January, I had surgery on my foot to correct a painful bunion I was born with. I always knew I would need the surgery someday, and I’m glad I got it out of the way this year so my foot won’t hurt me again.

Of course the surgery itself was definitely not a highlight of the year, but having a fully functioning foot that allows me to live my life pain-free is.

Plus I got to look like a pirate on a peg-leg for a month or two, so that was cool. 😉

Then in July, I got Invisalign to straighten out my smile. I had relatively straight teeth before, but I wasn’t really happy with how my teeth were moving around and I felt like the few crooked ones were getting more and more noticeable. I decided to bite the bullet and pay for the treatment, and by the end of November I was smiling with straight teeth!

Yay!

13. Spending a fun weekend with friends in the Poconos. This was just one of those weekends that I look back on and can’t help but smile. I remember finally being out of my boot post-surgery, and just being so happy to spend so much time with good friends.

I’m going to be seeing a lot of these faces again for New Years, and I’m so excited!

12. Traveling to Colombus, Ohio, for Eric and Lyndsay’s wedding. This wedding felt like a mini-vacation, and Fabio and I had a great time exploring the new-to-us city and hanging out with friends we don’t see very often. The wedding guests included some of our best friends from college (mostly from Fabio’s fraternity), and it was so much fun reuniting with them.

11. Moving to DC. Of course this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning our move from Arlington into DC! Fabio and I lived in our Arlington apartment for 3.5 years, so this was a big switch for us! We love our new apartment a lot, even though of course there are things about Arlington that we miss.

Our kitchen right after we moved in!

Our bookshelves right after we moved in!

Things look a little different now than they did in these pictures, but it’s fun to see how it looked right when we moved in!

Of course, having our friends Megan and JR over to help us empty out our liquor cabinet before moving was definitely a highlight too. 🙂

This of course brings me to…

10. Our housewarming party! Having so many of our best friends come over to help us celebrate our new apartment was such a blast!

This was definitely one of my happiest days of the year. 🙂

9. Spending a holiday weekend in NYC. Spending a weekend in early December with some of my best friends was such a blast! From walking around Central Park to grabbing a beer at Rolf’s to taking pictures with the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, we had such a nice weekend together.

8. Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s wedding in Otis, Mass. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then you already know how much Fabio and I love going up to my Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s lake house in the Berkshire mountains, and this summer we got to go up to celebrate their wedding!

The wedding itself was so sweet, and I loved having so much of my family in one place to celebrate this important milestone for CC and Steve. Like usual, we kept the party going late into the night and we all had such a blast! I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful family. 🙂

7. Visiting Catrina in San Diego. Another highlight from the year has got to be visiting Catrina in San Diego! (You can read part 1 of my adventures here, and part 2 here.) From visiting the zoo to day-drinking to taco Tuesday to CrossFit to runs on the beach to watching Food Network marathons on the couch, my time with Catrina in San Diego was an absolute blast!

6. Megan’s surprise bridal BBQ and bachelorette weekend. Ah, of course I couldn’t leave these out! The events leading up to Megan’s wedding were so much fun, and I felt so incredibly fortunate to see all of my best friends from college so many times this year. These pictures bring the biggest smile to my face!

Surprise!

I <3 these ladies.

5. Going to Jamaica for Alex and Diane’s wedding. Not only did Alex and Diane have an amazingly beautiful wedding in Jamaica, but getting to spend so many days in the sunshine with their family and friends was such a blast. Before this, I never really understood why people had destination weddings – personally I wouldn’t want to have a wedding somewhere too far away for some guests to come – but after going to their wedding I totally get it. We got to spend five days getting to know Alex’s family and Diane and Alex’s friends, so by the time the wedding rolled around I felt like we were one big happy family. I had so much fun, and am still so thankful to Diane for inviting me to stand by her side on her special day.

4.  To continue on the wedding theme, next we have Megan and JR’s wedding! Megan is the first of my very best friends to get married, and having so many of my favorite people all in one place had me smiling from ear to ear the whole day. Megan’s wedding was so much fun, and I remember feeling so sad when it was over. Once again, I have to thank the beautiful bride for allowing me to stand with her on her special day!

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3. Visiting friends in Amsterdam and Paris. I have to say our trip to Europe was probably the biggest highlight of my year. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have been able to travel to these amazing cities to visit our friends!

A big thank you to Jess, Erick, and Bryan for having us!

2. Exploring Belgium (Ghent, Brugge, & Brussels). While of course Fabio and I had fun checking out Amsterdam and Paris with friends who live there, we had a lot of fun exploring European cities on our own, too! Neither of us really had any expectations for Belgium, so we were floored when we realized how awesome it was. I’m pretty sure I ate a waffle every day we were there, and considering all the beer we drank in Belgium I’m surprised I didn’t come home 10 pounds heavier. We had such an amazing time in this country, and I would recommend it to anyone who’s planning a Eurotrip!

And the number one highlight goes to…

1. Drinking champagne in Reims! Fabio and I both agree that spending a day drinking champagne in Reims, the capital of the champagne region in France, was one of our favorite moments of the year. We just had such a nice day and wound up having the perfect amount of sweet bubbly, and then explored the town of Reims and its amazing cathedral afterword. It was just such an amazing day!

Alright, since you made it all the way down to the bottom of this post, how about just one more highlight from the year?

……

………..

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That’s right – on Christmas Day in front of our entire family, Fabio asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes!!

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I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with the person who makes me the happiest. Here’s to a fun 2016 with lots of wedding festivities to come!

Wow, what a year, huh?

Question of the day: Tell me your favorite memory from the year.

 Posted by on December 30, 2015
Jul 102015
 

Phew – we made it to Friday! I for one am so, so excited for the weekend. Why is that you ask? Oh, maybe because one of my best friends is GETTING MARRIED! I have been so excited for this weekend since last July when my friends Megan and JR got engaged, and I can’t believe it’s finally here. The festivities start tonight with the rehearsal dinner and then tomorrow is the big day. I can’t wait!

Before I get to any of that though I just have to make it through this day. Let’s hope it speeds by! To help things move right along, let’s take a look at some of the highlights from my week, shall we?

Favorite Fail

Remember last week when my friend Anne and I tried and failed to stand-up paddle-board (SUP)? Well, the same thing happened this week. We initially had plans to try SUP on Wednesday evening, however as soon as we saw that the forecast was calling for thunderstorms we decided to move our SUP date to Tuesday. Unfortunately Anne had a late evening client and I had to stop by my apartment to change out of my work clothes because of the last minute change in plans, so we didn’t wind up getting to Key Bridge Boathouse until about 7:05, and apparently they stop letting people take boats out after 7:00. Nooo! It was another huge fail.

Since we were already there we decided to take a stroll around the Georgetown waterfront, which was quite nice at sunset.

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Of course it was pretty hot and muggy, but we had a nice time walking around and catching up. Lately when we’ve seen each other we’ve had to catch up in between burpees, pushups, and other bootcamp-esque exercises, so it was really nice to have some time to just talk and walk.

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Although our initial plans failed miserably, we still had a fun evening!

Favorite Lunch

I am notorious for packing my lunch (as if you guys didn’t notice…) but one day this week my coworkers invited me out to eat and I decided to ditch the salad I had tucked away in the fridge and join them. We wound up going to Ghar-E-Kabob, and Indian restaurant with an all-you-can-eat buffet. The thought of Indian food in a buffet initially creeped me out a bit, but once we arrived I saw that it was a rather small buffet with lots of fresh food, so I felt better about it. In fact, everything we had was delicious!

I wound up trying a little bit of everything. Clockwise from the top: salad, fried cauliflower, cabbage and squash, spinach, chicken wing, butter chicken, and rice with curry.

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This meal was so good, and I wound up clearing my plate with no problem and going back for more butter chicken. I even mopped up the leftover sauce with some warm pita that our waiter brought over to our table. De-lish!

I also really liked that all the food was organic and local! A sign on our table let us know that all their produce comes from a farm in Maryland. I love any opportunity to eat local!

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This was definitely a great lunch, and I’m so thankful to my coworkers for dragging me out. 🙂

Favorite Sip

On Wednesday night, I came home from work and decided I needed a cocktail. Sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up after a hard day, you know? Luckily Fabio has turned into quite the bartender and he made us a pair of screwdrivers with a splash of cranberry. Served in my favorite mason jar glasses, with a straw of course. 😉

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Cheers to hump day!

Favorite Run

Truthfully, I haven’t been running much lately. Ever since I joined ClassPass (affiliate link!) I have been trying to get my money’s worth by attending class after class after class. I do miss running though, so one morning this week I laced up my sneakers, put on Jack’s leash, and hit the pavement.

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We wound up covering 3 miles at an easy pace (about 9:15). I was trying to take Jack over to the McMillian Reservoir by Howard University, but unfortunately I couldn’t figure out how to get past the fences to get close to it. I did a bit of research online after my run and it looks like maybe you can only get onto McMillan Drive from the north and west sides of the reservoir, and naturally I ran along the south and east side. Any locals have tips for me on that?

Even though we didn’t get to run around the reservoir, we had a nice time running through the adorable streets of Bloomingdale.

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I think these row homes are so cute, and I love seeing how each one’s paint colors and architecture are slightly different.

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I also ran past my friend Jojo’s apartment, but sadly I didn’t see her outside. Boo. Hi, Jojo!

Either way it was a nice run, and next time I’ll have to figure out how to get closer to the reservoir. Jack had a great time too, even though he was pretty pooped by the time we arrived back home. 😉 Look at that tongue!

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Favorite Sight

Speaking of Jack’s tongue…it’s just ridiculous.

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When he’s tired his tongue just doesn’t stay in his mouth. What a ham!

Favorite Storm

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this on the blog, but I was lucky enough to receive a really good education in Communication/PR at the University of Maryland, and was very involved in the program there. Every once in a while I get invited back to UMD to serve as a mentor to current students or help out with PR assignments, and this week I was invited to serve on a panel to judge final projects for one of the summer classes.

My good friend and former coworker Claire was also really active in UMD’s PR program (even though we didn’t know each other in college – she was a year behind me) so she joined me on this PR panel.

To thank us for joining the panel, my former professor (also Claire’s mom…life is weird) bought us each a University of Maryland umbrella! This was so fitting because the forecast was (once again) calling for storms, and she wanted to give us each a thank you gift that would also be useful. Well, this turned out to be more useful than any of us realized because as soon as we stepped outside we wound up needing our new Maryland umbrellas to protect us from a crazy storm.

Claire and I wound up standing in the rain for a little while as we waited for our ride back to the metro, and it was actually sort of fun standing with her under our new umbrellas.

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Sorry for cutting your face off here, Claire! Haha!

Fun fact: Claire recently started a new job in Silver Spring (the same city where I work), and now that I moved into DC I live just a couple of blocks from her. This means that we were able to commute from Silver Spring to College Park together, and then we commuted back home together too. I love that my office and home are so close to her so I get to see her a lot! 🙂

Favorite Excitement

MEGAN’S GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW! (Come on – you saw this coming, right?)
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I just want to reiterate once again how excited I am for Megan and JR’s wedding tomorrow. A bunch of my friends are flying/busing/training/driving into town for the event (including my friends Jess and Erick from Amsterdam!!), and I can’t wait to see them all!! AHH! Is it tonight yet??

Question of the day: Tell me what made you smile this week! Here are some ideas to get you started:

Favorite meal?
Favorite workout?
Favorite unexpected event?

 Posted by on July 10, 2015
Jun 252015
 

I have some pretty exciting news to share with you all today – Fabio and I are going to Europe later this Summer! While we’ve been to Italy three times now (read two of the recaps here!) and we briefly visited Paris right after college, there are still many areas of the continent we are dying to see.

If you couldn’t tell, Fabio and I love to travel. Last year after our trip to Bolivia we decided we wanted to do one big trip together every year (not counting family vacations, if at all possible) and so far we’ve been sticking to it. Over the last year we’ve had a few friends move to Europe, so we figured now would be the perfect time to go visit!

We will be traveling for 11 days around Labor Day weekend, and I am so excited! So, want to hear where are we going?

Amsterdam, Netherlands!

The first stop on our tour will be Amsterdam! You may remember that two of my good friends, Jess and Erick, moved to Amsterdam for Erick’s job last summer. They’ve been there for almost a year now, and are totally loving it. They have an extra bedroom, so you better believe we are going to take advantage of their hospitality and stay with them for a few days!

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I’ve never been to Amsterdam and don’t know too much about it, but luckily I will have two fantastic tour guides, so I’m not too worried.

Up next is…

Flanders, Belgium!

I have heard some fabulous things about Belgium, and since it’s so close to the Netherlands we had to add it to our little European tour. Right now we are planning to go to Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, and Brussels (in that order, we think).

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I have done a fair amount of research on these cities so I think I’m pretty well prepared for them, but we will be on our own for this leg of the trip so if anyone has any recommendations I would love to hear them!

Oh and don’t worry – I didn’t waste any time in researching traditional Beligum foods to try. 😉 Here are some recommendations I got from a friend that I’m excited for:

  • Stoverij — Think Beef Bourguignon, but replace the wine with beer. Delish.
  • Friets (aka fries)
  • Mussels in beer sauce with friets
  • Boulettes — Meat balls in tomato sauce usually served with friets.
  • Vol-Au-Vent — Creamy chicken and mushroom heaven served with a pastry shell that is basically to die for.
  • Mashed potatoes with white sausage
  • Waffels (obvi)
  • Mitraillette — A huge sandwich with meat and friets.
  • Chocolate—EAT AS MUCH CHOCOLATE AS POSSIBLE. ITS ALL DELISH!

Haha!

After Belgium we will be heading to…

Paris, France!

As I mentioned, Fabio and I visited Paris for two days when we first graduated college in 2011.

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We both loved the city, but we were only able to see the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame before we had to head home.

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Now we are lucky enough that one of our good friends, Bryan, is in culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris! By the time we get there he will be well into his schooling (he left for Paris around March) so you better believe we’re going to ask him to cook for us. Woohoo! Once again we will have a great tour guide for this portion of the trip, but I would love any recommendations regardless!

On a side note, while looking through old photos from our last trip to Paris I found this one of the “love lock” Fabio and I bought and attached to the Pont des Arts bridge.

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I always wanted to return to Paris one day to find our lock, but now that they are being taken down it doesn’t look like that will happen. So sad! 🙁

Anyway, I just wanted to share this exciting news with you guys and ask for any and all recommendations you may have! You guys always have the best ideas, so my ears (eyes?) are open!

Question of the day: Have you been to any of these places? If so, what do you recommend?

 Posted by on June 25, 2015
Apr 092015
 

Hi friends! I don’t really have anything new to share with you today, so instead I thought I would do a little blog survey! I always love reading these types of surveys, and when I saw this one floating around the blog world last fall, I bookmarked it for a rainy day. Well, it actually is rainy out today, so I figured it was the perfect opportunity. 😉

Here are some fun facts about me!

Four names people call me other than my real name:

  • Chels
  • Chel
  • Chels-a-roo (my dad calls me this)
  • Lamb (my mom call me this)

Love my fam!

Four jobs I’ve had:

  • Daycare teacher (this was the best!)
  • Secretary/assistant for my mom’s PR company
  • Fashion PR intern in NYC
  • PR Pro (at a big agency and now at a small nonprofit)

OLC

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  • Titanic
  • The Notebook
  • Day After Tomorrow
  • Along Came Polly

(I could go on and on with this one…I love watching movies more than once!)

My mom and me seeing Pompeii!

Four books I’d recommend:

  • Pillars of the Earth
  • Orphan Train
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Girl with a Pearl Earring

See more of my favorite books here!

Four places I have lived:

  • Damascus/Clarksburg, MD (where my parents live)
  • Germantown, MD (I lived here for a while as a kid)
  • College Park, MD (Go Terps!)
  • Arlington, VA

Four places I have been:

  • Salar de Uyni (Salt Flats), Bolivia
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Amalfi, Italy
  • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana

You can read more about my travel adventures here!

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  • At home, snuggling with Jack on the couch
  • In San Diego, with one of my best friends Catrina (her poolside/beach-side snap chats kill me)
  • In Amsterdam, with my friends Jess and Erick
  • In Florida, where my dad, stepmom and little sister are currently on vacation exploring Harry Potter world

Four things I don’t eat:

  • Olives (just not a fan)
  • Tripe (come on, that’s just gross)

I think that’s it. I really love food, and will try anything once! (Except I guess dogs, cats, or insects, but I think that’s pretty obvious!)

Four of my favorite foods:

  • Burgers
  • Sandwiches (all kinds!)
  • Brownies
  • Cookies

(Ha! The picture of health. I do really love a good salad, but I just can’t honestly say it’s a favorite!)

Four TV shows I watch:

  • Shameless
  • Game of Thrones
  • Orange is the New Black
  • John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:

  • Fabio’s sister’s wedding in Jamaica
  • Megan and JR’s wedding!
  • A vacation Fabio and I are planning for later this year, either to Colombia or to Amsterdam/France
  • Going up to Otis, Massachusetts in July

Four things I’m always saying:

  • I’m hungry. (Ha!)
  • Ok! or Sounds good!
  • Have a good day! (I say this to Jack and Fabio when I leave for work every morning, and I also say it to the various people I see on my walk to work everyday – the guy who is always picking up the trash in Courthouse, the lady who hands out the Express newspaper at the metro, and the concierge lady in my office building.)
  • I’m proud of you. (This one is kinda silly/lame, but I always like when people tell me they’re proud of me, so I try to say it to others as much as I can.)

And that’s it! Now it’s your turn…

Question of the day: Pick one of the above to answer!

 Posted by on April 9, 2015
Dec 222014
 

Well, once again I was treated to a totally amazing weekend. This one was filled with lots of love, laughs, and holiday cheer, plus a little fitness, which is exactly how I like it! Let’s take a look.

Friday

On Friday night, Fabio and I met up with a bunch of our friends for a delicious Mexican dinner at Uncle Julio’s. I swear, I feel like we go there once every week or two. It’s just so good!IMG_8422

Our dinner group included two of my best friends from home – Bianca and Sam – plus some of Bianca’s close friends who we have come to know and love over the years.

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Fabio and I ordered a large plate of beef fajitas to share, and we all sipped on Uncle Julio’s famous swirl drinks, which are made with frozen margarita and sangria. Yum!

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After dinner we headed back to Bianca’s apartment for a few more drinks, before eventually calling it a night and Ubering home. It was so much fun!

Saturday

On Saturday morning, our little pup had an appointment with the vet!

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We were there for his annual check up and vaccinations, which Fabio and I secretly think is a lot of fun. Jack is always really well-behaved at the vet and gets a ton of compliments, so we sorta feel like proud parents when we take him there, haha.

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After a couple of shots and a psychical exam we were told we have a healthy boy. Hooray!

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Fabio and I spent the rest of the day finishing up some Christmas shopping and gift wrapping, and before we knew it, it was time to drive over to our friend Jess’ house for her engagement party!

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As I mentioned last week, our friends Jess and Erick are a) recently engaged and b) home from Amsterdam for the holidays. Of course that means just one thing – celebrations are in order! On Saturday Jess’ parents hosted a really fun party with all of their friends and family. I was lucky that a lot of my best friends from New York came down for the occasion, and I was also pleasantly surprised to see a few other mutual friends I didn’t realize would be there.

Of course I had Fabio by my side as well, which makes any party better. 😉

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Overall it was such a fun, joyous night spent celebrating the upcoming union of our two very good friends. I know they will be very happy together, and I can’t wait for more wedding festivities to come!!

Sunday

Sunday morning began with a yoga class with Anne! Clearly she is much more talented at yoga than I am.

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We went back to Edge yoga, which I really enjoyed. This time we had Rebecca as our instructor, who was quirky, funny, and very easy-going. She encouraged us to get deep into our poses, but was also totally cool about letting us go at our own pace if something was uncomfortable or too advanced. I could also tell she was really talented, but in a very unassuming way. It was a great way to get my blood flowing!

After yoga, Anne and I grabbed a quick latte, and then we parted ways. Up next on my agenda was gingerbread house building with my best friends from home!

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Building gingerbread houses is a tradition we have kept going for many years (maybe nine or ten?!) and it’s always one of my favorite events of the holidays.

We met up at Hana’s house for the occasion, and I was happily surprised to see that Hana and her mom had put together a delicious lunch spread for us complete with pumpkin bread, chicken salad cucumber cups, peanut butter chocolate banana bites, hummus and veggies, and butternut squash soup.

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Everything was delicious, and it was so nice of them to put this together for us. Yum!!

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After munching on some snacks and pouring glasses of mimosas, it was time to get started!

Unfortunately Bianca and I waited until the last minute to buy our gingerbread house kits, and by the time we got to the store the shelves were completely picked over except for two Chanukah houses. There wasn’t much of a difference between the Chanukah kits and the regular ones, except that the Chanukah houses came with blue and yellow icing and a few menorahs. Oh yeah, and they cost more than twice as much as the regular houses, which I thought was totally unfair. Aren’t we all about equality these days?!

Anyway, we didn’t have much of an option so we decided to give them a shot.

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Well, as it turns out, they worked out just fine! Our friend Sam is actually half Jewish, so she made her house half Christmas (red and green) and half Chanukah (yellow and blue) using of the materials from our kits. It looked great! Hana made more of a gingerbread village, which came out really cute, and Bianca made a colorful house with a swimming pool (lol).

Mine was fairly traditional with white icing, icicles, and mostly red and green candy. Can you tell whose is whose?

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Now you can! Haha!

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Overall it was SUCH a fun day, and I love that we keep this tradition going. Can’t wait until next year!

The rest of my Sunday was spent cleaning up the apartment and getting ready for our trip to Jamaica later this week (EEK!!!). I also watched the season finale of Homeland (disappointing) and the first episode of Marco Polo on Netflix (great).

Question of the day: Do you have holiday traditions with your friends?

 Posted by on December 22, 2014
Jul 202014
 

Finally, a weekend this summer where we weren’t on the road traveling from place to place! While I do love traveling during the summer and appreciate a good road trip as much as the next girl, I feel like we have spent way too much time away from home lately, and it was really nice to have a relaxing(ish) weekend here in DC. Here’s a look at what I was up to…

Friday

On Friday night I met up with two of my favorite couples for another triple date! After work I headed over to Mexicali Blues to celebrate Megan and JR’s engagement and Jess and Erick’s upcoming move to Amsterdam(!!). I was so thankful to be able to celebrate these important milestones in my friends’ lives!

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We kicked off the evening with giant margaritas as big as our heads…

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Which was quickly followed by chips, queso, and fish tacos (for me).

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Yum. Mexicali Blues has some of my favorite fish tacos!

After dinner we walked over to the Clarendon metro station where we knew there were some public tables and chairs set up outside. The boys headed off to one table to smoke some celebratory cigars, and Megan, Jess, and I flipped through some wedding magazines at a table nearby. It was so fun!

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My friend Sam also happened to be in the area, so she stopped by to say hi for a minute. While she was there I asked her to snap a pic of the group. Thanks Sam!

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Overall it was a lovely evening with friends and I had such a fun time!

Saturday

On Saturday morning I was up early to do some baking (I made these, which I will get to in a minute) and then we headed off to my grandparents’ house to help them mount their new TV. While the men hung the TV, I played with my sister and the dogs in the yard. It wasn’t the nicest day (the whole weekend was pretty gray and overcast) but we still had fun frolicking outside.

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We didn’t hang around at my grandparents’ house for too long because we had dinner plans! At around 6:00 pm, my stepsister Maggie came over with her boyfriend Nick, and then we all popped into DC for a dinner party with Dan, one of our family friends.

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Dan made an amazing dinner for us which included salmon, corn salad, and a regular salad with almonds and dates. Everything was delicious (especially the salmon!), and I went back for seconds of both salads. Yum.

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After dinner we played Cards Against Humanity, which was hilarious. Obviously.

Then it was time for dessert, and I brought out my creation….

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Peanut butter s’mores bars! They came out great, and I think everyone really enjoyed them. (Here’s the recipe again, in case you’re too lazy to scroll up!)

Dan also made a tasty fruit salad, which was perfect for the summer evening.

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After wrapping up dessert we stopped by Cantina Marina for a drink and then we all headed home. It was such a fun evening! Thanks for having us, Dan!

Sunday

On Sunday morning I set out for a run with Jack.

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Since we’ve been on the road a lot lately I haven’t been doing much running on the weekends, and it felt great to hit the pavement.

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We wound up covering about 3.5 miles, which was just fine with me.

Other highlights of the day included a trip to the best store on earth (in Jack’s mind anyway)….

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And dinner with my other grandparents at The Pig, which included this awesome peach cake.

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The reason we met up with my grandparents is because my grandfather is having surgery at the Washington Hospital Center today, so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers!! Hopefully all will go well and I can visit him today and/or tomorrow after work. Stay strong, Grandpa!!

Question of the day: How often do you get to see your grandparents?

I feel extraordinarily lucky that I get to see mine as often as I do, especially this weekend when I got to see both sets!

 Posted by on July 20, 2014
Jun 162014
 

Hi friends! Happy Monday! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Mine was such a blast, but boy was I exhausted this morning. I even skipped my morning workout, which hasn’t happened in a few months. Today my body just needed to rest! Anyway, here’s a look at what I was up to. Warning: it’s long!

Thursday

I’m starting with Thursday night because that was technically the start of my weekend 😉 After work I went over to Jess & Erick’s apartment in Capitol Hill for a BBQ! When I arrived, Fabio was already there along with the other couple of the evening- Megan and JR!

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The six of us had SUCH a good time hanging out together, and I really hope we can squeeze in another triple date dinner before Jess and Erick move to Amsterdam at the beginning of August. Fingers crossed that our schedules will all match up again!

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Friday

Despite having off from work on Friday, I was up bright and early to get the day started. I began my day with my usual Friday morning workout, and then tackled some laundry and chores around the house. Before I knew it, it was noon and Fabio had come home! (He had taken a half day so we could get an early start on our long trip up to New York.)

Before we left, we picked up our friend Mark who also was headed up to New York for the weekend. For the first part of our journey the boys sat up front, and I sat in the back with this guy.

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At 3:00 we traded places so that the boys could watch the World Cup game on Mark’s iPad while I drove. The three of them (Fabio, Mark, and Jack) all sat in the back seat with the iPad, while I drove through torrential downpours by myself in the front. It wasn’t the best ride up to New York I’ve ever had, but considering it took us about 7 hours to get there with all that rain, having to drive for only two of them actually wasn’t too horrible. Plus the boys were really happy, and now Fabio owes me a favor of some sort, so it was worth it. 😉 I’m thinking a massage might be in order?

We finally, FINALLY arrived in New York around 8:30 pm, and after dropping Mark off at the Long Island Railroad we met up with Fabio’s dad for a Colombian dinner.

They sported their Colombia jerseys, naturally!

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We went to Las Margaritas and, as the name suggests, ordered some delicious margaritas!!

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I opted for a regular margarita but Fabio ordered passion fruit, which was extra tasty. Yum!

I didn’t snap any pictures of our food because a) the lighting was terrible and b) I was STARVING, but we ordered a ton of traditional Colombian dishes like steak, rice & beans, plantains, etc. Everything was delicious!!

After dinner we went back to Fabio’s dad’s house where I immediately went up to bed. Fabio and his dad stayed up for a while chatting, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open!

Saturday

On Saturday morning Fabio and I slept in a little bit (which means like 8:30am haha) and then took Jack to the dog park!

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The park near Fabio’s dad’s house is called Little Bay Dog Run, and it’s located right by the Throgs Neck Bridge. It was right by the water and very pretty! Plus the rain had cleared up and we were left with beautiful weather for the rest of the weekend.

While we were at the park, we met a giant dog named Otim who liked to drink from the water fountain. Everyone took turns holding the button for him, haha! I thought it was too funny.

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After the dog park we picked up some bagels (OMG New York bagels…) and took them to another park with picnic benches where we could enjoy our breakfast. After eating we walked around the pond, where we saw a ton of turtles!

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Jack was very curious to see what they were all about.

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They weren’t afraid of him at all, which either means they are very brave or very stupid. Maybe both?

Hey Mr. Turtle!

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After the park we dropped Jack off at the house, cleaned ourselves up, and then headed to a bar in Astoria to watch the Colombia soccer game. The bar was called Basurero (the garbage can!) and we couldn’t believe how many people were there to watch the game.

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It was crazy!

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We also saw the talking dog Triumph, who apparently is pretty popular on TV (I don’t think I’ve ever seen him myself, but other people recognized him). They were interviewing some people standing next to us for the show, and were actually quite rude! I guess that’s why he’s known as Triumph, “the insult dog”?

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Anyway, being at Basurero was a really cool experience and I’m so glad we were able to watch the game with such a fun crowd!

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Here’s the crowd after Colombia won!

Phew! It was crazy.

After the game, we drove out to Long Island for my friend Kristen’s graduation/birthday party, which was really the whole reason we were in New York for the weekend!

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Kristen just graduated with her masters in dance therapy (so cool!) and had her 25th birthday, so it was an important occasion!

A ton of my best girlfriends were there and it was so much fun to see them all!

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Sloppytown!

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There were some fun activities like KanJam,

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and of course karaoke.

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It was such a fun party and I had an absolute blast with all my friends.IMG_3390

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Mark and Fabio!SAM_1890

Me and Catrina!

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Perfect day.

Sunday

On Sunday morning we said goodbye to Kristen, her family, and my friends, and made the 20ish minute drive to Fabio’s aunt’s and uncle’s house in Stoneybrook, NY. There we celebrated Father’s Day with all the dads and had fun playing with Fabio’s niece and cousin’s daughter (second cousin?)

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These two are so cute, my goodness.

We also celebrated Fabio’s sister’s birthday, which is later this week. Happy birthday, Karen!

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We finally headed home at around 4:30 pm, and made the long trip back to Arlington. It only took us about 5 hours to get back, which was much better than the 7 hours it took to get there. Unfortunately we missed the Game of Thrones season finale (wahh!) and will have to watch it tonight On Demand instead. Now I’m just hoping I don’t accidentally read any spoilers today!! Ah!

I hope all the dads out there had a very special Father’s Day!

Question of the day: How did you watch the World Cup this weekend?

 Posted by on June 16, 2014