Search Results : otis

Aug 142017

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

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

We hit the road on Thursday evening after work!

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

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


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

My plate:

Then it was time for some fun!

Water activities are the best. 🙂

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

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

But the rest of us had fun!

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

Jack wanted to join us in playing bocce. 🙂

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

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

Once Britt arrived, it was dinner time!

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


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

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

Which of course, meant more swimming for Jack.

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

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

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

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


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

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

The end.

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

 Posted by on August 14, 2017
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!


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!


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 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.


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.


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.


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!


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


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


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.


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



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


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.



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


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



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!


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.


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


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


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.


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


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


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.)


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


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.




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.


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!


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!


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





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


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.


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


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!


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. 😉


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.


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.


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).


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


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


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


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. 🙂


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


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.


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!


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.


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



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!



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.


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


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


It was another fantastic meal!


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. 😉



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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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.


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






Now that is one happy pup.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


He loved that thing.


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.


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


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


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!


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!


So good!


Then it was time to eat!


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


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.


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!



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


Isn’t that just the coziest thing?

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



more games…

IMG_7874…and lots of yummy food!

CC made homemade butternut squash lasagna with homemade lasagna noodles!


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!




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).


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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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. 😀


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


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.





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


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


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.)


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
Oct 312017

Hi there, and happy Halloween! How was your weekend? Mine had nothing to do with the holiday or costumes, and instead was filled with a quick trip to Philadelphia to spend time with my newly engaged friends, Kristen and Mark!

On Friday afternoon, Fabio and I dropped Jack off at my mom’s house and then made the drive up to Philly. It’s a lot closer than our normal road trips to NYC or Otis, so we arrived pretty quickly! Then again, we didn’t leave home until around 6:15 so it was still pretty late when we got there, so after saying hi to Kristen and Mark (whose house we stayed at) and Megan and JR (who had arrived from Baltimore earlier in the evening) we immediately dug into some pizza and wine. We were starving! We wound up staying up until around 1 a.m. catching up, which was so much fun!


We all slept in until 10 on Saturday, which was so, so nice. Once we were all up and moving, we got working on breakfast: Fabio made eggs for everyone, I put some bacon in the oven, and Kristen toasted up some English muffins, so it was a nice group effort!

Saturday was the most beautiful fall day weather-wise, sunny and low 70s, so we made sure to spend a lot of time outside!

Our first stop of the day was Yards Brewing Company, a cute brewery right down the street from Kristen and Mark’s house.

Upon arriving, we each got a beer (I got the IPA) and then took a seat outside in the sunshine. Yay!! My happy place!!

The brewing company offers free tours every half hour – and they give you free beer during the tour – so naturally we signed ourselves up for one! Then at 1:30 p.m., we met up with our tour guide for the day, who acted more like a stand-up comedian than a brewery tour guide. He was cracking jokes every minute, which made our tour so much more fun!

I highly recommend the tour if you’re ever at Yards!

After our tour wrapped up, we grabbed some lunch from a food truck that was parked outside, and then retreated back to our table in sun.

Sitting around drinking beers with some of my favorite girlfriends – and their significant others! – was so, so nice and just felt good for the soul. I <3 them.

A little later in the afternoon, we got a text from some of our college guy friends that they were hanging out at Independence Beer Garden, which was located right across from the Liberty Bell. It was another cool spot and had a really unique layout in that it was just a beer garden that wrapped around an office building.

Seeing our guy friends was nice, but eventually we had to get back to the house to get cleaned up for dinner at Bocconcini!

Kristen had heard about Bocconcini from one of our guy friends, and it turned out to be the cutest Italian place with delicious food. It was also BYO, as many places in Philly are, so we were able to save money by bringing our own wine instead of paying for it there.

Of course one of the first things we did was cheers to Kristen and Mark on their recent engagement! I can’t wait for September 2018 when we’ll get to celebrate!

Love these ladies. 🙂

Then it was time to eat! We all shared some appetizers (meatballs and arancini balls) and then Kristen and I went “halfsies” on our entrees, which were entirely too big for us to finish. Leftovers for the win!

After dinner we went over to meet up with our college guy friends again – it was so nice seeing them! – and then we headed out for a fun night of dancing. (Thank you to Fabio for always taking photos of us. 🙂 Ha!)

Overall it was such a perfect day, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.


Sadly we had to head home on Sunday, and it was pouring rain which meant tough driving conditions for Fabio. We also stopped by my mom’s house on the way to scoop up Jack, and once we finally arrived home we didn’t move much from the couch. 🙂

Jack was pooped from being at my mom’s house too, and he snuggled up with us on the couch all evening. Oh, and there was some Taco Bell action too for dinner – I guess that’s what drinking all day the day before will do to you. 😉

The end.

Question of the day: What’s your go-to hangover food?


 Posted by on October 31, 2017
Sep 262017

Fabio and I got home from New York at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, meaning there wasn’t much time for me to sit at the computer and get a blog post together. That was ok though because we had one of the most memorable weekends in a long time!

A while back, I planned a weekend trip with my high school besties–Bianca, Hana, and Sam–to see Bianca’s new(ish) apartment in New Jersey. Bianca got an apartment with her boyfriend Pasqualle (aka, Sqalls!) a while back, and she was looking forward to having us come up for a visit.

She had told us she had a great view of the city, and she wasn’t kidding! This was the view we saw when we woke up in their apartment on Saturday morning (after having driven up after work on Friday):

So amazing, right?

When we woke up, Bianca immediately got to work making us scrambled eggs, bacon, turkey sausage, and toasted English muffins. What a great hostess! Meanwhile, I sipped hot coffee with pumpkin spice creamer and took in the views. The city is so pretty!

At around this point, Fabio and I realized we were looking right across at the Upper West Side, which is where Aunt CC and Uncle Steve live. We were pretty sure they were in Otis for the weekend since they spent most of their weekends up there, but we sent them a quick text letting them know we were waving across the river toward their apartment.

Imagine our surprise when we got a text back from them saying they were in the city waving back! (CC sent me this picture, which made me LOL.)

When we got these texts we were right in the middle of figuring out our plans for the day, and we thought we’d head to downtown NYC to a newish area called Seaport for their Oktoberfest celebration. We asked CC and Steve if they wanted to join us, and they said yes!! Woohoo!!

As soon as breakfast was over, we got ourselves cleaned up and headed out for a fun day! Here I am with my hubby right outside of Bianca and Squalls’ apartment. Do you think they get tired of this view?

To get into the city, we took the ferry across which was perfect since it was such a nice day.

From there we hopped on the subway, and we met up with Hana as soon as we got off. High school besties reunited!

The Seaport area was really cute with lots of fun-looking restaurants and bars lining a cobblestone street. Apparently this is a relatively new area in the city and was all redone recently. It was adorable!

After walking around for a little while, we arrived at Pier 15 for Oktoberfest! It was pretty crowded, but since we had gotten there relatively early we were able to snag an area right by the water. It was a gorgeous day to be on the water!

And after we were there for about 15 minutes, CC and Steve got there!! Woohoo!! I have the best aunt and uncle. 🙂

We then proceeded to spend the next couple hours chatting, drinking beer, eating pretzels, and enjoying the sunshine and beautiful scenery. It was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time – so many of my favorite people were in one place!

Me & Bianca! Ha!!

The boys <3

And our whole group!

Overall we just had such a fun time, and I was especially grateful that CC and Steve came to hang out with us. 🙂

We decided to forgo the whole ferry –> subway situation on the way home in favor of a $75 uber. Hey, it was worth it when split between 5 people!!

When we arrived back at Bianca and Squalls’ place, we got ready for a fun evening! This weekend also served as a housewarming of sorts for Bianca and Squalls, and we got to meet a bunch of their friends!

Sam and I were beer pong partners, and I’m happy to report we won every game all night! Wooo! Power team!

We even beat Fabio and his best friend Hayden who came in from the city with Hana. They are famously good at beer pong, so it was pretty satisfying to beat them. Twice. 🙂

After that, we headed out to the bars in Jersey City and Hoboken for a little!

It was just SUCH a fun day with so many people I love. That day will definitely be one I remember and look back on for years to come!

Sadly Fabio and I had to leave on Sunday morning, but before we drove back home we got to see a lot of his family at his cousin’s baby shower in Long Island. We hadn’t seen most of them since the wedding, so it was a lot of fun catching up with everyone. And of course, I loved seeing my niece Sofia! 🙂

We got stuck in #allthetraffic on the way back home and didn’t make it back until pretty late, but, as I said, it was SO worth it! 🙂

Question of the day: What do you like to eat on road trips?

Fabio and I got Chick-Fil-A on our way up to New York, and it was SO good!

 Posted by on September 26, 2017
Sep 202017

One of my favorite parts about having a blog is getting to relive some of my most favorite memories, and our rehearsal dinner was one of them. It just such a wonderful, happy day!

As I mentioned in my last recap, we had our photographer take some photos of us during the rehearsal dinner instead of having an engagemet shoot. I love this behind-the-scenes shot that my friend Hana took of us getting photographed!

While we were outside smiling in front of the camera, our guests began gathering in the River House, one of the beautiful locations on the Wye River Conference Center property. This is also where many of our guests stayed for the duration of the weekend!

The house had a beautiful brick patio overlooking the river that was perfect for the rehearsal dinner, and the staff there did such a fantastic job setting everything up for us. It was basically like another wedding!

Here are those centerpieces my mom put together. Didn’t they come out great?

I also love this ring shot that our photographer captured. It doesn’t even look real!

The rehearsal dinner was set up buffet style, and we had lots of tasty options to choose from for our meal.

Plus dessert!

We had decided to open up the rehearsal dinner to anyone who was staying in the hotel and wanted to join us, so we wound up having about 80 people there. It was quite the group, and made the event so much fun!

We spent the majority of the dinner walking around and greeting our guests, which was nice because it meant we had less chatting to do during the actual wedding reception. We also got to enjoy time with our friends!

It seemed like everyone had a great time! I love this picture of my mom – even though she will probably kill me for posting it. Sorry, mom!

We also had another snapchat filter for the night!

So fun!

We made sure to take advantage of our photographer so we could have a bunch of nice pictures to remember this fun night. Here we are with the 2017 Otis ski crew!

And all of my best college and high school girl friends! I love this group so much.

High school besties!

My adorable grandparents!

And my grandparents mingling with the Colombians!

Here I am with my mom, Aunt CC, and my grandma. If you look closely, you can see the river off in the background!

Here’s one with my mom and stepdad, who did so much to help us with this wedding. Thank you both so much!

And one with my dad, stepmom, and sister! <3

After we were done eating and taking photos, it was time to give out presents! I gave my bridesmaids these matching pajama sets with matching robes for the moms/my grandma, and they seemed to be a big hit! I even got a small set for the flower girl. So cute!

Fabio’s dad got a heart-shaped patch to pin under his tie, and a mug saying “I $urvived my $on’s wedding.” Haha!

For my mom, I bought a pretty Kate Spade bracelet and an embroidered handkerchief with a heartfelt note on it.

I think it’s safe to say she loved it. Here’s another behind the scenes photo from Hana!

For my dad, I bought these socks that said “Special Socks for a Special Walk” and the same kind of tie patch I got for Fabio’s dad (but with a different note, obviously).

Other gift highlights included two more Kate Spade bracelets – one for Fabio’s mom and one for my stepmom – and a Kate Spade necklace for my sister. I also got these cufflinks for my stepdad, which were a big hit as well.

Giving these gifts was honestly one of my favorite parts of the night, and I loved seeing how much our family seemed to enjoy them.

After we were done with gifts, we continued eating, drinking, and just having a great time!

Before we headed inside, I walked down to the water with Aunt CC, Uncle Steve, and my high school best friends to check out the moon. It was a beautiful way to end a beautiful rehearsal dinner!

That wasn’t all though – little did I know my bridesmaids had set up quite the surprise for us back inside the house! Details to come in part two of my recap!

Questions of the day: Do you like giving presents or receiving them more? It’s funny how it changes as you get older! What gift have you been most excited to give?

**Most of these photos are courtesy of the talented Lauren Nievod! If you’re looking for a wedding photographer in the DC/MD area, I can’t recommend her enough!**

 Posted by on September 20, 2017