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Jan 172017
 

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

Here’s my recap!

Friday

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

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

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

Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before long it was time for dinner!

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

Time to eat!

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

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

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

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

Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once we got home, it was lights out.

Monday

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

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

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

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

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

 Posted by on January 17, 2017
Nov 232015
 

Hey friends! Did everyone have a good weekend? I spent mine up in Otis – a town in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts – at my aunt CC and uncle Steve’s mountain house. It’s so beautiful there, and we always have so much fun when we go.

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It’s actually Sunday night as I type this up, and after spending most of the day in the car driving home I’m feeling pretty exhausted. I’m going to keep this recap fairly short and let the pictures do most of the talking. Here are some scenes from my weekend!

In the mornings, my mom, stepdad, uncle David, Steve, CC, Fabio, and I would all sit around this table drinking coffee and catching up. CC also made a fantastic pound cake and pumpkin muffins for us to snack on.

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Then my uncle David and stepdad would cook (a second) breakfast for the group. They are some seriously awesome chefs. Look at these perfectly poached eggs!

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On Saturday morning, I headed out for a hike with CC and my mom.

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It was a beautiful day, and we were all happy to get moving.

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Although my mom loves being outside, she’s not exactly what you’d call outdoorsy. She wears dresses and heels every day, and her idea of a hiking outfit included a blazer, dress pants, and open-toe wedges. Plus her fancy red coat with mink trim. Yes, seriously. I can’t even explain to you how ridiculous it was to see her hiking in wedges. She did it though, and didn’t complain a bit! What a trooper.

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Our hike was about three miles and took us up to the beautiful Upper Spectacle pond.

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CC said this area was absolutely gorgeous a few weeks ago when the leaves were changing colors. I can only imagine.

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The best part of our hike was definitely the girl talk. The three of us don’t get to see each other as often as we would like, and I know we all cherished this time together.

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When we got back to the house, we sat around the table for a while chatting, snacking, and just being together as a family.

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CC put up her Christmas decorations early this year so we’d get to enjoy them during our stay. How beautiful is her tree?

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The rest of the house is also super cozy, especially the giant leather couch with the knitted throws. That couch is so dangerous – I can never sit on it or I won’t get back up!

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As for snacks, we had homemade pumpkin hummus, veggies, and CC’s horseradish cranberry sauce, which was absolutely amazing. I definitely ate way too much of this.

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There was also a fizzy cider drink made with ginger beer, which I loved.

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We also played with the cats, Addison and Clarence. Hi, Addy!

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Later in the evening, we all got ready for dinner. CC made butternut squash lasagna with homemade lasagna noodles. It tasted as good as it sounds. Actually, better.

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While she cooked, I munched on plenty of cheese. I <3 cheese.

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Soon enough it was time to eat! Look how beautiful the table was.

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Instead of napkin holders, each of our plates was decorated with a special ornament that CC picked out for us. My ornament was in the shape of a camera (which was perfect since I played around with my camera a bit this weekend) and Fabio got an ornament shaped like golf clubs. Typical. (He and Steve played golf while we were hiking.)

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CC also got us an ornament in the shape of Jack, which was so thoughtful. 🙂

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I was too busy laughing, talking and eating during dinner to take pictures of my food, but I had a perfectly cooked steak, butternut squash lasagna, and a salad. Plus wine. 🙂

After dinner we all sat around drinking and being silly.

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Mom or Ygritte?

Later in the night we pulled out Cards Against Humanity, which caused my mom to blush a lot and made me Google a couple of new-to-me words. There was a LOT of laughing during the game, and it was such a fun night with my family.

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Sadly on Sunday morning we had to head home, but overall it was such a great weekend with my family, and I’m so thankful I got to spend this time with them. Thanks for having us, CC and Steve!

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Question of the day: What does your family do when you get together?

Cards Against Humanity was a first for us, and it was so fun!

Pssst – planning for Thanksgiving later this week? Check out this site for TONS of delicious stuffing recipes, and watch this video showing that using blue plates and displaying food buffet-style can save lots of calories. 

 Posted by on November 23, 2015
Jul 062015
 

Fabio, Jack, and I spent our extended fourth of July weekend at my aunt CC and uncle Steve’s lake house in Otis, Massachusetts!

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Their home is absolutely beautiful, and we all had such an amazing time.

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Here’s my recap! Buckle up…it’s a long one!

Wednesday

Fabio and I decided to make the 6 hour drive to Otis after work on Wednesday since I had both Thursday and Friday off from work. Fabio prefers driving late at night when there’s no traffic, and I was on board with the plan since driving at night meant we’d have a lot more time at the lake house. During the drive we chatted, listened to podcasts, explored some new music, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

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We stopped at a Starbucks in New York around midnight, which was quite weird. Who drinks coffee at midnight?

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We arrived at CC and Steve’s house at around 1:45 am, which honestly wasn’t too bad. After saying a sleepy hello, it was time for bed!

Thursday

Our Otis vacation kicked off with a delicious breakfast on the back deck. CC cooked up a tasty scramble made with eggs, chicken sausage, spinach, onions (I think) and avocado. On the side we had toasted English muffins with farm-fresh jam. Yum! This Thursday morning was already starting off way better than my typical Thursday. 😉

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After breakfast CC and I hit the lake! It was a little cloudy out but still a beautiful day. We had fun catching some rays and chatting for a while, before we eventually headed back to the house.

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After the lake we showered up and ventured out to the grocery store so we could pick up some supplies for dinner. We also added some delicious goat cheese and brie to our shopping cart, because cheese makes everything better.

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While we munched on cheese and sipped wine, the boys played a few games of horseshoes. Fabio and Steve are super competitive, so they had fun playing every game imaginable during our stay (and I believe Steve won them all 😉 haha).

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Meanwhile, I hung out on the deck with CC and helped get dinner ready.

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On the menu: grilled salmon, chicken sausage, broccoli, and corn. Yum!

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Steve’s mom was visiting on Thursday as well, and we had a fun time getting to know her during her stay.

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Dinner was delicious, and I loved that we got to enjoy it out on the back deck. The weather in Otis gets a little chilly at night (it’s in the Berkshire mountains) so I felt incredibly cozy sitting outside in a sweatshirt and shorts with all the tiki lights and candles.

After dinner we set up the fire pit and made s’mores! Nothing says summer like a fire-toasted marshmallow. 🙂

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We all wound up going to bed around 11:00 which was so nice. I was actually really excited to go to sleep!

Friday

On Friday morning, Steve and CC took us into Lenox, Massachusetts for breakfast. Lenox is such a cute town (it was established in 1750) and I’m so glad we were able to see it. We wound up going to Spoon, an adorable cafe right on the main street. We started off sharing one of their fresh blueberry muffins, which they cut in half and toasted for us. From now on I’m going to eat every muffin like this – it was incredible.

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For my entree I got the corned beef hash with poached eggs. It was phenomenal, and I liked that they snuck some carrots into the hash. Hey, every veggie counts!

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We also got an order of pancakes for the table, which were really delicious. All around excellent breakfast!

After we ate, the boys headed off to play golf while CC and I made our way back to the lake.

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It was a perfect lake day with not a cloud in the sky! (Psst – legs or hot dogs?)

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CC and I enjoyed floating around the lake on two awesome lounge-chair floaties she bought recently. It was so relaxing, and we had a great time soaking up the sun!

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Later in the afternoon we headed back to the house, showered up, and played some badminton with the boys. I’m pretty terrible at this game, but it was fun anyway.

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Then it was cocktail time (Steve made us delicious aperol fizzes all weekend) and time to get dinner started.

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On Thursday night we had BBQ chicken, zucchini boats, corn, and side salads. I helped make the the zucchini boats. 😀

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It was another fantastic meal!

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After dinner we all indulged in a few more drinks, and had a fun night dancing around and playing lots of games. I think this picture of the two shot glasses and the empty fireball container explains the evening pretty well. 😉

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Saturday

The 4th of July was actually kind of rainy in Otis, which we didn’t mind too much since it had been so nice the day before. We wound up heading over to Farmington River Diner for breakfast, a cute diner right up the street. We had to wait a few minutes for a table, so we munched on more toasted muffins while we waited (are toasted muffins a thing in Massachusetts?). The muffins were delicious, and I loved that we got to enjoy them on rocking chairs on the porch outside while reading the local Otis newspaper.

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Soon enough we were seated, and I enjoyed an omelet with home fries and toast. It hit the spot!

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Then since it was cloudy out, CC and I hit up the farmer’s market for a bit. CC said it was much more crowded than usual, probably because of all the renters up for the holiday.

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Then after driving around and exploring Otis a bit more, we came back home to relax on the couch (they have the world’s comfiest couch!). It wound up pouring rain for most of the afternoon, so we all cuddled up inside and watched the movie Interstellar. Steve made me a bloody mary to sip on during the movie and I was a happy camper.

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The movie was pretty good, but required so much thinking! I’m actually still a little confused by it. :-/

Luckily it cleared up later in the afternoon so we were able to go on a hike! We took Jack with us, of course.

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We wound up hiking to the Spectacle Pond, which was about 1.6 miles each way.

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It was a beautiful walk, and it felt so good to get moving after being cooped up inside for most of the day.

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I tried to get a picture of us hiking, but CC decided to hide from the camera. Ha!

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Once we arrived at the “pond” (it seems more like a lake to me) I was blown away by how pretty it was. It was even more beautiful than I remembered.

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Jack instantly jumped in the water, and he had a blast playing fetch with a giant stick.

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Now that is one happy pup.

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Later that evening we ordered Italian take out, and relaxed on the couch watching another movie (we watched the Imitation Game). Relaxing evenings like this are pretty rare for us, so this was such a nice treat!

Sunday

Sadly we had to drive home on Sunday and we didn’t get back until 6:00 pm (thank you, July 4 weekend traffic). As soon as we arrived we got a lot done like meal planning, making the grocery list, unpacking, writing this post, etc. while watching the USA women’s soccer game. Yay, USA!

It was such a fun weekend, and I’m already looking forward to our next visit to Otis at the end of the month. Thanks again for having us, Steve and CC!

Question of the day: What is your favorite thing about summer?

 Posted by on July 6, 2015
Jul 022015
 

By the time you read this, Fabio, Jack, and I will be on our way to my Aunt CC’s and Uncle Steve’s lake/mountain house in Otis, Massachusetts.

We will be up there for the long holiday weekend, and you better believe I’m looking forward to the sunshine, lake swims, hikes, BBQ, s’mores,cocktails, games, and family time.

Bring on the fun!

I hope all my USA readers have a wonderful fourth of July weekend, and to all my international friends, well, happy Thursday! 🙂

Question of the day: How will you celebrate July 4?

 Posted by on July 2, 2015
Dec 022014
 

Hi folks! Today I’m back with another recap of my fun Thanksgiving weekend!

After watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person and then enjoying a tasty Thanksgiving meal with Fabio and his dad, Fabio, Jack and I hopped in the car first thing on Friday morning to make the trip up to my aunt CC’s new house in the Otis, Massachusetts, which is located in the Berkshire Mountains.

Remember when we went there over the summer and sat in the sun by the lake? Well, it looked a little different this time around.

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Yep – they got about a foot of snow on Wednesday, which had melted just enough on Friday to make driving up safe (thank goodness) but it still left everything looking like a winter wonderland.

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It took us about 2.5 hours to drive up from Fabio’s dad’s house in Queens, and when we arrived Jack took full advantage of all the snow.

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He immediately found the-biggest-stick-ever and proceeded to hop around in the snow with it in his mouth, looking more like a bunny than a dog.

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He loved that thing.

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After watching Jack play for a while, we headed inside to warm up. My aunt’s house was so picturesque and cozy – I just loved seeing all the snow outside and being nice and warm inside.

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We then spent the afternoon snacking on delicious appetizers, and sipping on warm apple cider spiked with rum. Yummy!!

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These prosciutto-wrapped dates stuffed with cheese were a favorite of mine.

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Then we played a few games, including darts. I would like to point out that I am absolutely horrible at darts, and didn’t score a single point during our game, but I did hit the green part around the bull’s eye on my practice round. At least I know I can do it!

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Meanwhile, my aunt CC was busy preparing our Thanksgiving feast! She and my uncle Steve wound up deep frying the turkey, which came out so delicious!

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So good!

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Then it was time to eat!
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My plate had a little bit of everything: stuffing, creamed kale, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and turkey. Everything tasted great!

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For dessert we had my turkey cupcakes, which looked better than they tasted. I think using a healthier recipe and baking them so many days in advance (I made them last Sunday) probably took a toll on them. Oh well, at least they looked cute.

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We spent the rest of the evening playing Cards Against Humanity and Clue, and once CC and I accidentally fell asleep on the world’s comfiest couch at about midnight, Fabio and Steve continued with games of ping pong and pool. Such a fun day!

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Saturday

Saturday morning was nice and relaxing, and upon waking up, I moved upstairs to the comfy couch where I was greeted with this view.

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Isn’t that just the coziest thing?

Saturday was pretty similar to Friday and involved lots of snow time for Jack…

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more games…

IMG_7874…and lots of yummy food!

CC made homemade butternut squash lasagna with homemade lasagna noodles!

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There definitely was no shortage of good food this weekend, that’s for sure. On Saturday evening CC and Steve had a couple friends over, and it was really nice meeting them!

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For dessert on Saturday we had this salted caramel apple pie, which I had baked in advance (though I decided to forgo the lattice top since that seemed like way too much work).

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The result: it was SOOOO good! I will definitely be making this pie again. That salted caramel sauce is ridiculous! I give this pie two thumbs up!

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We wound up driving home from Massachusetts on Saturday night to avoid the crazy Sunday post-Thanksgiving traffic, and although we didn’t get home until 6:00 am (UGH!!) it was worth it to have a quick trip and a full Sunday at home.

Sunday

Since we got home so late (early?) Fabio and I both slept until almost noon on Sunday. As soon as I finally woke up, I laced up my sneakers and took Jack on a super speedy three mile run. Check out those splits!

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The 7:56 mile was actually on the huge hill that always slows me down, so I was really psyched. I would have gone even faster on the second mile, but we were running through downtown Georgetown which was pretty packed at that time of the day, and it was pretty difficult to navigate with Jack through all the people. Still, I was so happy with my pace!!

The rest of the day was spent unpacking/recovering from the weekend, and getting some Christmas decorations up.

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Of course, I should have been meal planning and doing laundry, but – hey – it’s all about priorities over here.

Question of the day: Have you decorated for Christmas yet? Has it snowed where you are yet?

 Posted by on December 2, 2014
Jul 282014
 

One of the highlights from my weekend in the Berkshires was a hike through the beautiful Otis State Forest.

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On Saturday morning, Fabio, Steve, Jack, and I headed to the trails right behind Steve & CC’s new house for a hike. The park is literally in their back yard, which is so convenient. It’s so nice to be able to walk out the back door, and immediately be in the state park!

We kept Jack off the leash for the majority of the hike since there weren’t too many other people around. What a luxury! I wish we could do this more where we live, but sadly the parks near us are usually pretty crowded and strict on the leash laws. Jack did a great job of staying with us  ahead of us and listening when we told him to come. 😀

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Eventually we got to the reservoir where we were able to take in the beautiful sights while Jack went for a swim 🙂

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Obviously Jack had a blast playing in the water, and he wound up playing with a giant 7-foot stick that weighed about 15 pounds. We tried tossing smaller sticks in the water for him, but he wasn’t having it. Only the biggest sticks will suffice for this dog.

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We let Jack swim around for quite a while before eventually calling him back to shore. He had a blast!

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After that we made our way back up the trail to CC’s house.

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We wound up covering about 3 miles overall, which was just perfect! (I think any longer and the mosquitoes would have eaten us alive, not that they didn’t try.)

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One kind of crappy thing did happen because of this hike though; on Sunday morning we noticed Jack wasn’t being his normal self and his tail was hardly wagging at all. In fact, it was sort of laying limp between his legs which was really weird. There was a thunderstorm going on at the time so I thought maybe he was just scared, but his limp tail persisted throughout the morning.

By early afternoon I was really worried and started looking around online, where I read this article about limber tail syndrome. Basically it’s a tail injury that happens to many dogs – but especially Labradors – after overexertion from activities like “over-long off-leash hikes or a swim in cold water.” Yes, the article literally said that. At least after reading this I knew what was bothering him, but it still made me really sad to see my usually super-happy pup unable to wag his tail. Poor little guy!!

Luckily the injury only lasts a couple of days, and already today he is almost back to normal. I guess in the future when he wants to keep swimming with really heavy sticks we will have to pull him away sooner. Clearly he had a little too much fun!

Question of the day: Has your pet (or child) ever suffered from an injury that had you worried like a crazy person?

I was literally driving Fabio up a wall on our entire 7-hour car ride home while I thought of all the things that could be wrong with him. Thank goodness it was nothing more serious!

 

 Posted by on July 28, 2014
Mar 202017
 

Hi friends! How was your weekend? Fabio left for a work trip early Sunday morning, but we made the best of our Friday and Saturday together! Here’s a recap.

Friday

On Friday night, we had a family birthday dinner! My stepdad Fritz, stepsister Maggie, and her boyfriend Nick all have winter(ish) birthdays, so we usually get together around this time of year to celebrate. (Fabio, my mom, and I all have fall birthdays, so it works out well!)

For dinner, we went to a new-to-me restaurant in Monrovia, MD, (about 10 minutes from my mom’s house) called Wilcom’s Inn. I had passed this place a ton of times before, but for whatever reason it never really caught my attention. My mom said it used to be a bar for horse-betting, but it has new ownership now and she raved about the steaks.

When we pulled up, we were surprised to find the place packed! It’s sort of in the middle of nowhere, so I wasn’t expecting such a big crowd. The owner introduced himself to us as soon as we arrived, and everyone was so hospitable! We all got steaks, and even though our expectations were high from my mom’s rave reviews, we were impressed. Everything was delicious!

We will definitely be back to Wilcom’s Inn!

After dinner, we went back to my mom’s house and enjoyed some more wine by the fireplace. We wound up all chatting about our childhood and other random things, and there was a lot of laughing going on. It was a really fun night!

At around 11:00, Maggie and Nick headed back to their apartment and the rest of us headed up to bed.

Saturday

On Saturday morning, we woke up to mimosas made with fresh orange juice!

My mom’s friends Lee and Dan came over for brunch, and Fritz made us a delicious breakfast of whole wheat pancakes with strawberry preserves, scrambled eggs, and sausage. Dan also made this delicious baked brie wrapped in crescents. Yum!

After breakfast, Fabio and I sat down with Lee, who is also our wedding officiant, for our premarital counseling. I wasn’t sure what to expect from premarital counseling, but it actually wound up being very helpful! Lee did a great job at talking to both of us about our relationship and some things we can do to make it stronger.

After the counseling was over, we hit the road and ran a bunch of wedding-related errands. We are still trying to finalize the suits for the groomsmen, but after driving around to a bunch of places I think we finally arrived at a solution. Phew!

Taking some advice from Lee, Fabio and I decided we should go on a date once all our errands were over. We’d been wanting to check out Ambar in Clarendon for a while, so we figured Saturday was the perfect time. Ambar is a Balkan tapas restaurant, and it’s always crowded whenever we drive by.

I started off with a Belgrade mule, which was delicious!

Fabio got a beer, and although I don’t know what kind he got, I can attest that it was delicious. Also, this is the face he makes when I say “Let me take a picture of you for the blog!” Haha!

We got a bunch of tapas to share including the balkan salad…

…the balkan kabab…

…the stuffed sour cabbage with pork…

…and the lamb rotisserie.

Everything was delicious and we had such a fun time just chatting with each other. We need date nights more often!

On the way home, we stopped to pick up Ben & Jerry’s (we got “The Tonight Dough”) and then we watched Moonlight. It was a perfect evening!

Sunday

Fabio left for a work trip at 5:00 a.m. on Sunday, so Jack and I were left to our own devices.

After sleeping in a bit, I spent the rest of the day meal planning, doing a million loads of laundry, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and meal prepping. Jack kept me company the whole time.

He’s such a good companion, especially when Fabio is away! He always gets really snuggly when it’s just the two of us and will bark if he hears any random (or scary) noises. AND he kills bugs for me, which is just about the best thing ever.

In the early evening I did some work on our wedding invitations (cross-checking that I had everyone’s names correctly on the envelopes and in the online RSVP system), and then I started working on this post!

All in all I’d say it was a great weekend!

Question of the day: For those with significant others, how often do you go on dates?

Fabio and I definitely don’t do this often enough, but that’s because we usually have a lot of other fun stuff going on!

 Posted by on March 20, 2017
Jan 242017
 

Hello there! How’s your week going so far? I took a little hiatus from the blog yesterday because I wasn’t feeling quite like myself – I’ve been really exhausted lately! I figured catching up on some sleep on Sunday evening instead of blogging would do me some good, and now I’m feeling much more rested and am back with a recap of my weekend!

Friday

On Friday evening, Fabio, Jack, and I hopped in the car and drove up to New York for Fabio’s 10-year high school reunion which was on Saturday. Yep, another weekend, another road trip. On our way, we stopped by Taylor Gourmet for dinner and I got the archer salad with kale, garlic farro, chicken, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and oranges. It was SO delicious and I wound up eating the whole thing. Yum!

We made really good time and arrived at Fabio’s dad’s house in Queens by 10:30 pm! I think that’s a new record for us. We stayed up talking to Fabio’s dad for a little bit and then it was time to hit the hay!

Saturday

Saturday morning began with a long walk for Jack around Fabio’s dad’s neighborhood! I think Queens is so interesting – every block looks completely different!

It was a really nice, sunny day on Saturday – if a little windy.

Later in the morning, we met up with Fabio’s sister Karen and her daughter/Fabio’s niece, Sofia for lunch! We went to a Colombian restaurant per Fabio’s request. 🙂

We started off our meal with some salad…

…and then we all ordered the traditional Colombian platter of steak, rice and beans, an egg, chicharonnes, half a plantain, a small arepa, and a slice of avocado. I can never get over how much food this is! I only ate half and then took the rest home for Fabio’s dad (who sadly had to work on Saturday).

After lunch, we decided to take advantage of the sunshine at the park! Sofia and I had fun with Snapchat in the back seat. 🙂

Haha!

Before long, we had arrived at the park! (We stopped to pick up Jack along the way.) We had a really nice afternoon walking around and enjoying the sunshine.

Then we took Sofia to a huge playground where spent some time climbing and running around with the other kids.

After Sofia had enough of the playground, we headed out for some fro-yo! We went to Red Mango and I enjoyed a small cup of the original flavor with strawberries, pineapple, chocolate chips, and Oreos. Yum!

Yay for ice cream!

Fabio’s dad wrapped up his work around this time, so when we were done with our fro-yo we headed back to his house where we watched Zootopia. I may have fallen asleep for a few minutes during the movie. 😉

When the movie was over we said goodbye to Karen and Sofia and got ready for Fabio’s 10-year high school reunion! My mom asked me to take a picture of what I wound up wearing, so I snapped this awkward selfie and sent it to her. I figured you guys might want to see too!

The reunion was held in the cafeteria of Fabio’s high school which, if you ask me, was a little strange. We had a fun time though and I enjoyed meeting some new people and seeing some of Fabio’s friends who we hadn’t seen in a while.

After the party we all headed to a bar in Bayside, New York (near his school) and had a great rest of the evening.

Sunday

As soon as we woke up on Sunday it was time to hit the road! We got home at around 3:00 p.m. (while listening to the Hamilton soundtrack in the car – my new favorite road trip tradition!) and immediately started meal planning, grocery shopping, and prepping.

I was absolutely pooped after that, which explains why I took the mini blog break and postponed this post until today.

And now we’re all caught up!

Question of the day: What do you like to do during road trips to pass the time?

 Posted by on January 24, 2017
Jan 202017
 

It’s Thursday night as I write this, and everyone is buzzing about inauguration tomorrow. I had the chance to take a spin by the White House after my workout this morning, and I couldn’t get over the fact that in just a few hours Donald Trump will be residing there (or, more likely, keeping his stuff there while he stays in his tower).

It sure will be sad to see the Obamas go. I can’t help but wonder how all of this is going to affect the city that I love so much (as well as the rest of the world…).

In addition the blockades around what seems like the entire city and millions of police everywhere, the inauguration hullabaloo seriously affected my commute home this evening. What’s usually a 15-minute drive for me took me over an hour. UGH. I guess everyone just wanted to get into (or out of) the city.

It’s an interesting time around here for sure!

Anyway, enough about inauguration – let’s get back to your regularly scheduled blog post with my Favorite Things Friday! Here are some of the things that made me smile this week. Let me know what you were loving this week in the comments below!

Favorite Workouts

As I mentioned last week, I’m going to start recapping my weekly workouts on Fridays to help keep myself accountable. Here’s what this week looked like.

  • Saturday, Jan. 14: Skiing in Otis!
  • Sunday, Jan. 15: Four-mile hike in Otis
  • Monday, Jan. 16: Rest day! My knees have been bothering me lately – I think it’s tendinitis – so I spent a lot of time on Monday icing and elevating them. They’re feeling a lot better now!
  • Tuesday, Jan. 17: Bootcamp at MADabolic in Arlington with Anne and Fabio!

Fabio took advantage of some New Year’s discounts and signed up for ClassPass (<–affiliate link for $30 off!) for the next few months. He’ll mostly be working out on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I’m so excited to have him with me for classes! I think our upcoming bachelor/bachelorette parties may have had something to do with his new interest in fitness. 😉

Anyway, Tuesday’s class was a good one and I pushed myself hard with the weights I used. We did a series of kettlebell deadlifts that had my upper back and shoulders SO sore the next day. It was a great class!

  • Wednesday, Jan. 18: Bootcamp with Anne and Kathleen at Urban Athletic Club! It was another really good workout taught by our favorite instructor, Romain, and we did everything from burpees to jump rope to thrusters to bicep curls to suicides to wall balls. Plus a million other things.
  • Thursday, Jan. 19: Flywheel class with Fabio! He’s been to this class before but used a different email address this time, so as soon as we walked in we saw a nice welcome note for him. 🙂

Flywheel is without a doubt one of my favorite classes on ClassPass, and I was really happy to have Fabio there with me. It made everything more fun! My total power at the end of class was 259, which is significantly higher than my last two appearances at FlyWheel. I think maybe having Fabio next to me pushed me harder? Woohoo!

  • Friday, Jan. 20: Rest day!

Favorite Meal Plan

I’m still going strong with the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse! The recipes are all so tasty and if you don’t mind cooking, it’s a great way to jump-start a more nutritious diet. Personally, cooking de-stresses me at the end of the day, so it’s been a great fit. My two-week plan is over tomorrow (wah!) but I have something else in mind for after that. You know I’ll keep you posted! The good thing about this cookbook

The good thing about this cookbook is that I can repeat the recipes as many times as I want, and there is another two-week plan for Spring that I’m looking forward to.

Here are some of the best things I ate on the plan this week.

Unsweetened oatmeal + coconut milk + shredded, toasted coconut + one slivered date + cocoa powder (YUM!!)

Salads with leftovers from dinner.

These might look kind of boring, but I promise they aren’t at all. Clearly.

Rye crackers with avocado crema (leftover from dinner from the night before – see below). Plus some Emergen-C on the side because literally everyone is sick right now and I am trying to stay healthy!

Tacos with avocado crema, roasted red peppers, sauteed kale and onions, and quick pickled onions (these are so great!). Plus spicy black beans on the side. Yum!! This was a terrific meatless meal that even the skeptical Fabio enjoyed.

And I’ve still been enjoying mangoes twice a week for dessert! 🙂

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed this meal plan and recommend it to anyone who’s looking to eat a little healthier while still enjoying bold, delicious flavors.

Favorite Listen

My friends – who we call “gurlays” – started a collaborative playlist on Spotify last week and it is AMAZING! I love listening to the playlist and guessing which one of my friends added the song.

It makes me feel like I’m with them!

Also related to this, my friends and I recently made a group on Snapchat, and it’s been really fun to send snaps to each other all day in the group. 🙂 Sigh. I miss them!

Favorite Binge

This week, Fabio and I started watching The Last Kingdom on Netflix, and it is SO good!

[Source]

We are totally hooked and like it better than any show we’ve binge-watched in a while. It reminds me a lot of Game of Thrones, and I’m going to be so bummed when it’s over.

Other shows we’ve binged on recently that I enjoyed include The Crown and The OA. Both of those are great too!

Favorite Fresh

Last week we were on the phone with Fabio’s dad and he called us out on our lack of juicing lately. Bustedddd.

After that, Fabio and I decided to get back in the habit of making a big batch of fresh juice over the weekend and enjoying a small glass every morning. It’s been really nice, and hopefully is helping to keep us healthy during cold and flu season (knocking on wood…).

This week’s batch included kale, carrots, cucumber, apples, and an orange. Look at all that pulp!

We need to stock up on ginger, celery, and lemons which I also enjoy in this mix. Next week!

Favorite Delivery

My amazing friend Jess who lives across the pond in the Netherlands sent me the sweetest engagement present delivery this week: a sun hat with my new initials monogrammed on the brim!

I think it’s so adorable and can’t wait to wear it during upcoming wedding festivities and the honeymoon (and everything else after that, of course). Thank you, Jess!! I LOVE it!!

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

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

 Posted by on January 20, 2017
Jan 132017
 

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

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

Plus their house is always so cozy in the winter!

Eek! I can’t wait!

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

Favorite Workouts

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

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

Photo from Anne!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture from Anne!

  • Friday, Jan. 13: Rest day!

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

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

Favorite Splurge

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

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

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

Favorite Weather

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

Amazing!

Favorite Surprise

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

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

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

Favorite New Tradition

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

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

 

Favorite Late Christmas Gift

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

Favorite Snuggle Buddy

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

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

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

 Posted by on January 13, 2017