Chelsea

Nov 212017
 

Hey there! I’m back today with another recap of our wedding, which took place on June 10 this year. When we last left off, I had just finished getting ready and was walking down to meet Fabio for our first look. If you missed any of my past recaps, you can find those here.

Also a couple of quick vendor notes again:

  • Photography: Lauren Nievod (I’ve already raved about her a ton of times – 100% recommend)
  • Venue: Wye River Conference Center (amazing Eastern Shore/riverfront hotel with beautiful grounds. Can only be booked by groups, meaning our guests took up the whole thing)

And with that, let’s get back to the recap!

Growing up, I never thought I’d do a first look with my future husband. I always dreamed that the first moment he saw me in my white gown would be when I was walking down the aisle, but once I got older and we started going to a bunch of weddings – some with first looks and some without – I decided doing a first look was something I did want to do since it would mean our guests wouldn’t have to wait around too long in between the ceremony and the reception while we took pictures. It’s a personal decision, but Fabio and I were happy with doing a first look! It was still a special time spent with just the two of us (and our amazing photographers) so it was still a nice moment for us to reconnect before everything got started.

Our venue had so many beautiful locations on its grounds, and our photographer found the perfect little garden for our first look to take place.

I remember wanting to just run up to Fabio – I had a long way to walk and I was too excited/anxious/nervous to go slowly!

Almost there!

I tapped him on the shoulder…

And then he turned around! My hubby-to-be!!

Funnily enough, after we finished hugging I realized he had a huge bug on his head – it was some type of mosquito and it wound up biting him right in the middle of his forehead! Fabio is semi-allergic to bug bites, and the bite wound up swelling and getting pretty red during these pictures. At one point, he had to leave to go put some makeup on it! Ha! By the time of the ceremony, you couldn’t see it at all. Makeup is a magical thing. 😉

Here I am brushing away the bug. Eek!

That’s better.

Fabio seemed to really like my dress – when he first saw it, he said he was surprised because he thought it was going to be “that tablecloth material” (he meant lace). Ha! Good thing I didn’t pick a lace dress.

Then we walked around the grounds together and took some lovely portraits!

These next ones are some of my favorite photos from the whole day. And you can’t even tell there’s a bug bite on Fabio’s head! 😉

The photographer also got a little creative with my veil and took some cool pictures with it floating behind me.

So artsy!

When we were done with these shots, we brought in the most important part of our little trio: Jack!

He wasn’t too interested in posing for the camera, but we managed to get a few good family photos with him. 🙂

After this, we decided to bring Jack back to the groomsmen and put some makeup on Fabio’s bug bite. 🙂 Meanwhile, I got some solo pictures! I didn’t think I would like too many pictures of just me by myself, but I actually think these came out really pretty. (I think some of these are my mom’s favorites :).)

This one had the veil floating in front of the camera again. It’s cool how it turned out!

I was also obsessed with my bouquet, which came from Monteray Farms (we were so pleased with them!!) and had little succulents included in it for texture.

And finally, Fabio came back!

After this we walked around a bit more, taking advantage of all the beautiful photo opps our venue had to offer.

I love this next picture, and it’s actually the one we used for our thank you cards!

After we were done with bride and groom portraits, I did a mini first look with my dad and stepdad!

First up, my stepdad!

As soon as we hugged, he showed me that he was wearing the special cufflinks I bought for him. 🙂

And then I did a first look with my dad!

I have always been a daddy’s girl, so this moment was especially meaningful to me. My dad doesn’t show emotion often – he’s a big jokester – but when he turned around he instantly got teary eyed. I don’t think I’d ever seen him like that!

After that, we took a bunch of pictures with the bridal party, which I’ll get to in my next recap. 🙂

Question of the day: First look photo session or first look during the ceremony?

 Posted by on November 21, 2017
Nov 202017
 

Hi friends! How was your weekend? Ours was a perfect mix of fun, productive, and relaxing. And the best part is that we didn’t travel anywhere far, which is nice after what feels like lots of weekends of being away from home. Here’s my recap!

Friday

On Friday evening, Fabio took me to see The Book of Mormon at the Kennedy Center! He bought me tickets to the show for my birthday back in September, and I was so excited to finally get to go see the show. Fabio called me at 5:00 (when I was still at work) and told me I needed to come home immediately because he had just put a bottle of champagne in the fridge. Well ok then! 🙂

I packed up my stuff and arrived home just in time to help assemble an amazing cheese plate. Yum!

Instead of trying to squeeze in dinner before our 7:30 show, we decided instead to munch on prosciutto, salami, aged cheddar, dates, baguette, and the creamiest “cremux de bourgogne” cheese that we picked up from Wegman’s last week. I don’t know what kind of cheese it was, but it tasted like a mix of brie and cream cheese and was absolutely incredible. Yum! Plus plenty of champagne on the side.

Before long, it was time for us to hop in an uber over to the Kennedy Center! I’m always in awe of how pretty it is in there.

Check out the ceiling in the theater!

When we took our seats, I was thrilled to see they were pretty close to the front. Thanks to Fabio for snagging these for us!

My hubby!

As for the show itself, it was really good and really funny! It was written by the creators of South Park, which is a show Fabio and I both like, so I knew to expect lots of rather inappropriate (yet hilarious)  jokes. I can’t imagine what people must have thought if they didn’t know to expect this type of raunchy humor – yikes. But Fabio and I both enjoyed it, and were laughing pretty much the whole time!

When we stepped out to get a drink at intermission, we bumped into my friend Kathleen and her husband, Zack! It was really weird because I had just seen Kathleen at a workout the day before, and though we usually talk about our weekend plans, somehow neither one of us mentioned we were going to see Book of Mormon. We also were texting earlier that evening (when I was in the uber on the way to show) to coordinate our next workout date, and it didn’t come up then either! When I saw her and Zack standing by the bar, I couldn’t believe it!

We all chatted for a while and decided to meet up after the show for a drink. When the show ended, we headed to Georgetown Piano Bar and had a great time catching up over drinks. Fabio and Zack have met a few times before, but I feel like they’ve never really had a chance to talk one on one, and this was a great opportunity for that. Hooray for an impromptu double date!

We didn’t wind up getting home until midnight, which was rough since we had an early wake-up call!

Saturday

On Saturday morning, Fabio, Jack, and I all got ourselves ready for the VIDA Thrive 5K! We were treated to a beautiful sunrise on our drive over.

The race took place at East Potomac Park (aka Haines Point) and it was so beautiful being by the water.

We were so excited to have Jack run with us – his first official 5K! – especially since we heard there would be treats and prizes for the dogs. He was really good with all the people, and got lots of pets and love before the race began!

The pre-race atmosphere was a lot of fun too – there was a great DJ and some fun warm-up exercises.

Then at 8:00, we were off! The race course was an out-and-back along the tip of Haines Point, and although it was quite chilly, it was also pretty sunny which helped us feel comfortable.

Jack did a great job running with us – when we first started off he was SO excited and was pulling to run faster to catch up with the people in front of us. Eventually he slowed down to his normal pace/stopped pulling us, but he would still run ahead to try to catch up to people in front of us occasionally. 🙂 We stopped for one quick pee break, but otherwise he kept up a good pace with the rest of the runners.

We finished in 27 minutes and 9 seconds, which is definitely not my fastest 5K time, but considering we had Jack with us I think we did pretty well. When we crossed the finish line, we heard the announcer say “Here comes our first dog finisher” and everyone clapped/cheered for us. Woohoo!

Post-race selfie!

After taking advantage of the free bananas, water, and dog treats, it was time for awards! Sure enough, Jack was the first dog finisher (out of probably 6 or 7 dogs) and they brought him on stage to receive a medal! All the kids ran up to the stage to pet the winning dogs – haha!

I just love Jack’s face in that picture – he’s looking at Fabio like “please rescue me from this.” Ha!

Here’s a closer look at his medal – funny that it says “puppy division” even though Jack is 7 years old. (Saturday was actually his “birthday” – which is the anniversary of when we adopted him 6 years ago!)

Then we took some cute “family” pictures by the water before heading home.

What a fun race! I loved that it was for a good cause, and obviously that Jack was included.

After the race we showered and headed to Silver Diner for some breakfast, and then moved to the couch where we lit our first fire of the season in our fireplace, and watched our current favorite show, The Man in the High Castle (on Amazon Prime TV).

Later that day we went to Home Depot to pick up a new garbage disposal (blehhh – ours broke a little while ago) and check out appliances for our kitchen renovation that we plan to tackle early in 2018.

Later that night we debated going out to meet up with friends at the bar, but both of us were feeling tired so Fabio made us cocktails at home instead. 🙂

Sunday

Sunday was the most productive day ever, and I cleaned the whole house and did laundry while Fabio fixed the garbage disposal and hung some new vanity lights in our bathrooms. I also planned what I’m going to bring to Thanksgiving dinner, made a very organized shopping list, and then hit up the grocery store! It wasn’t the most fun Sunday ever, but it was very necessary.

And there you have it – a recap of our fun/relaxing/productive weekend!

Question of the day: What was the last show/musical you saw? Are you handy around the house?

I’m not handy at all, but luckily with the help of YouTube Fabio is learning a lot and can tackle most smallish fixes around the house. 🙂

 Posted by on November 20, 2017
Nov 162017
 

Hi friends! Happy “Friday Eve” to you! 🙂 I had some random fun things I wanted to share with you all today, so I thought I’d list them out here in a Favorite Things style. Feel free to leave a comment below with some of the things you’re loving lately!

Favorite Happy Hour

Last week, the kind folks from the new 13|U luxury apartment building in D.C. invited me to bring some friends along to their grand opening. They were hosting a rooftop cocktail reception in conjunction with The Smith, a delicious restaurant that will be opening in Spring 2018 on the first floor of the building. (I’ve actually been to The Smith in NYC, and it’s fantastic!) Also, how crazy is it that The Smith will be in the building?

After work, Fabio and I joined our friends Jason, Courtney, and Kevin for a somewhat drizzly happy hour on the roof of the building. Though the weather wasn’t great, the building had some amazingly strong heat lamps for us to stand next to. It was worth it for this view!

I enjoyed one of the signature drinks – a fun bourbon concoction – and ate all the passed hors d’ouvres. 🙂 Everything tasted fantastic!

I think Fabio ate at least 6 of those little mushroom tacos shown above. Ha!

As for the building itself, it was incredible! As soon as we walked in the door I realized why it was called a “luxury” apartment building. Wow.

Check out the bathroom stall on the rooftop. High ceilings, marble everywhere, you get the idea.

All in all it was a really fun night, and I have to thank The Smith and JBG Smith for hosting us!

Favorite Read

If any of you have checked out my Books Page (which, oops, definitely needs to be updated), then you may know that Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth and World Without End are two of my most favorite books EVER. When Anne mentioned to me that the latest book in this “series” (they’re not really a series, but take place in the same setting at different time periods), Column of Fire, was available, I immediately purchased a copy on Amazon. (Note: I almost always read from my Kindle, but I decided this one was worth buying.)

I just started the book on Sunday, and I’m already through a good chunk of it! It’s so good – I can’t put it down!

Favorite Browse

My mom, Aunt CC, and I all love cookbooks, and we are all especially fond of the Southern Living Christmas collection cookbooks. So imagine my surprise when I received a package in the mail earlier this week with the 2017 book!

It turns out Aunt CC had mailed a copy to both my mom and me, and I’m SO looking forward to going through it. I’m planning to curl up with it on Sunday and flag some recipes that I’ll want to make during the holidays, and I’m way too excited about it. Thanks, CC!!

Favorite Upcoming “Race”

On Saturday morning, Fabio, Jack, and I will all be running the third annual VIDA-Thrive 5K Run/Walk at East Potomac Park. VIDA is donating 100 percent of race proceeds to Thrive DC – a local non-profit organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the DC area. VIDA kindly invited me to attend (and gave both Fabio and me a free bib!), and I was thrilled to learn that there will be special heats and prizes for dogs, as well as treats and a doggie station. Yes! It’s been a long time since we’ve run a 5K (though not that long since Jack and I have run 3 miles), so we’ll see how we do! We definitely aren’t planning to race it – especially since Jack will be with us and I’m sure a few other pups will be there – but I’m really excited about it! Registration is available here. I hope to see some of you out there!

Favorite Mix-It-Up Workouts

You guys have probably noticed that I’m all about the bootcamps lately – with a few spin classes, runs, and yoga classes here and there – but this week I mixed it up with two different workouts!

First, my work was holding a free Zumba class at the Sport & Health gym in our building.

I’ve taken a Zumba class before but it’s been years, and it was really fun! I still don’t think it’s that great of a workout for me – I worked up a sweat but just barely – but it was a lot of fun. I do love to dance, so I’ll have to incorporate this more often!

This week I also took a pilates reformer class with my friend Kathleen at District Pilates! They invited us both in to try it out, which was super nice of them.

Again, I had taken a reformer class before but not in years, and I really liked it! I found it pretty difficult since it’s so different from the workouts I usually do and worked a totally different set of muscles, but I could definitely see it as being a good workout to throw in now an again. It’s always good to switch things up!

The class itself was really good too, and I liked the instructor a lot. I would definitely go back!

Favorite Recent Purchases

When we were in downtown Frederick this past weekend, I picked up a few cute items from Relish Decor. (Also, I was OBSESSED with everything in that entire store!! I want to go back around the holidays to pick up some gifts for people!)

First, I got this adorable spoon rest for the stove.

Isn’t that so cute?!

And I also picked up this adorable black lab mug, which I’m now keeping at work! It’s perfect! 🙂

And there you have it – a few items that have been making me smile lately!

I hope you have a great Thursday!

Question of the day: What’s one thing that made you smile this week?

 Posted by on November 16, 2017
Nov 142017
 

Hi friends! Did you have a good weekend? Ours was possibly one of my favorites from the whole year, thanks to spending lots of time with good friends. On Saturday, Fabio’s fraternity “little brother” Jon got married to another one our college friends, Liz, and it was such a beautiful and fun weekend with many of our friends. The wedding itself was also really traditional, and Liz looked like a Disney princess. It was like a fairytale!

Friday

Fabio had off from work on Friday due to Veteran’s Day, and I left work around 3 p.m. so we could make the drive up to Frederick, MD, where the wedding was. Frederick isn’t too far from my mom’s house, so we were able to drop off Jack on our way. Thanks, Mom!

Upon arriving in Frederick, Fabio joined the groomsmen for the ceremony rehearsal, and I joined the other significant others (or SOs as we dubbed ourselves) in an amazing townhouse Air BnB that we all rented for the weekend. The townhouse was right in the heart of historic Frederick and was walking distance to the restaurant where the rehearsal dinner was held, as well as the church where the wedding took place. It was close to lots of shops and bars too, which made it so fun!

Eventually it was time for us SOs to head over to dinner, which took place at Ayse Meze Lounge. We got there a bit early to help set everything up, and then the bridal party and other guests arrived. Look at these handsome groomsmen!

After chatting and mingling for a while, we all took our seats and I truthfully thought I had the best seat in the house: Fabio and I got to sit with the bride and groom and two of my best friends, Andy and Cullen, who were in town from Los Angeles (Andy and I have known each other since 6th grade, and I’ve gotten to know Andy’s husband, Cullen, pretty well over the last few years as well).

Before our food came out, a few members of the bridal party stood up to make toasts to the bride and groom! Fabio stood up to say something, and I thought his words to the couple were really sweet.

The bride and groom!

Then it was time to eat! We enjoyed tons and tons of tapas-style dishes, including lots of delicious lamb (my favorite). Yum!

We even had some flaming, melted cheese!

So fun!

The dinner was a blast, and I felt so lucky that I got to sit with such good friends.

After dinner, we stopped by the townhouse quickly to drop off all the food leftovers, and then we headed out to one of the local bars!

The groomsmen are featured in the picture above, and below are the SOs! I loved bonding with them throughout the weekend.

Since Frederick isn’t too far from where Andy and I grew up, we decided to call our friend Jamie who still lives in the area to see if she was able to meet us out. We were thrilled when she was in town and available to come! What a fun, unexpected surprise!

Love her!

Jamie is also really good friends with Andy and Cullen, so having her at the bar worked out perfectly. Yay!!

We wound up staying out way too late, but had so much fun!

Saturday

Saturday was wedding day! Jon and Liz had a ton of food brought to the townhouse for us for breakfast, including pancakes, bacon, eggs, and sausage. Wow! The boys had to be ready for pictures by 11, so we SOs hung around for a while taking our time getting ready and sipping mimosas until it was time to walk over to the church for the 2 p.m. ceremony.

It was a beautiful Catholic church, and I thought Liz looked just like a Disney princess!

Even though our own wedding wasn’t necessarily traditional (we got married by our good family friends, who are two gay priests), it was nice seeing what a wedding with all the traditions could look like. It felt very elegant without being stuffy. Beautiful!

Congratulations, Jon and Liz!

Once the ceremony was over, the bridal party hopped on a trolley that took them to the reception for photos.

Meanwhile, we SOs had some time to kill, so we went back to the townhouse and spent a couple of hours chatting, eating sandwiches, and sipping on more mimosas. We invited a couple of the other Sigma Nu couples to come back to the house with us, and it wound up being really fun!

Before long, it was time for us to order a few ubers to head to the reception, which took place at the Catoctin Hall of Musket Ridge Golf Club. Apparently the grounds were really beautiful, but unfortunately it was dark out by the time we arrived. I can’t wait to see how the photos turn out!

After being reunited with Fabio and the rest of the bridal party at the reception, we proceeded through all the regular wedding activities, including a few beautiful dances (Liz and her dad danced to Beauty and the Beast and we all LOST IT) and some emotional and funny speeches.

Halfway through dinner, Fabio and I realized it was our nine-year dating anniversary. Cheers to my forever wedding date!

The rest of the night was spent on the dancefloor with our friends!

The night didn’t end when the reception did – afterwards we all went back to the townhouse to change, and then headed to a bar for the after party. The party then continued back at the townhouse when the bars closed, and I think we finally went to bed at 4:30 a.m. Oof!!

Sunday

Sunday morning began with bagels at the house, and then we all spent some time cleaning everything up and packing up our stuff. Eventually we said goodbye to our friends, which was really sad! We had such a fun weekend together, and I wasn’t ready for it to end.

After leaving the house, Fabio and I popped into some of the cute shops in Frederick where I bought a couple of souvenirs. 🙂 Then we did some grocery shopping and stopped by my mom’s house for a belated joint birthday lunch (Fabio, my mom, and I all have fall birthdays).

The dining room was set up so beautifully, and the food was delicious. I especially loved my mom’s chocolate marshmallow pie. Yumm!

After that we hit the road, and finally arrived home around 7 p.m., exhausted but happy. 🙂

The end!

Question of the day: Are you more into traditions or doing your own thing?

 Posted by on November 14, 2017
Nov 102017
 

Hi friends! I’m back today with another wedding recap – this time with some photos of our morning getting ready! If you missed any of my past wedding weekend recaps, you can find them all here. When we last left off, I had just had a fun morning doing yoga, going on a boat ride, and enjoying breakfast with our guests. After that, it was time to get ready for the big day!

Before we get started with today’s post, I want to share some notes about the vendors we used who helped make this special day possible, and whose work you’ll see in the photos below:

  • Makeup: Kristen Sepulveda (Kristen is a family friend, and she did a fabulous job!)
  • Hair: Up Dos for I Dos (Very professional and I loved the work they did! Some of the best up-dos I’ve ever seen!)
  • Photography: Lauren Nievod (I’ve already raved about her a ton of times – 100% recommend)
  • Venue: Wye River Conference Center (amazing Eastern Shore/riverfront hotel with beautiful grounds. Can only be booked by groups, meaning our guests took up the whole thing)

And now, let’s jump right in!

The venue where we got married has two main houses: the River House, which is where the rehearsal dinner and yoga/breakfast took place, and the Houghton House, which is where the ceremony and reception took place. Houghton House is also where the beautiful bridal suite was located!

On the morning of my wedding, all 10 of my bridesmaids – plus my sister, niece, my mom, Fabio’s mom, Aunt CC, and my Grandma – joined us in the bridal suite to start getting ready at 10 a.m.

My bridesmaids did a great job of setting up the room with cute decorations, mimosas, and a killer playlist. That’s what bridesmaids are for, right?!

We had a pretty detailed schedule for makeup since some people wanted airbrush/lashes and some didn’t, and after about half an hour of me constantly checking the schedule, my bridesmaids took it from me and said they’d take care of making sure everyone was in the right order. They’re the best, and allowed me to relax and enjoy this special moment!

P.S. I love how my hair turned out – you can see the back of it in this photo below!

My makeup turned out great too – all thanks to our talented makeup artist, Kristen!

Spending these hours with my closest girlfriends and family members was so much fun – it was a great way to think about the day ahead and just enjoy this time. Plus, how cute does everyone look in these matching PJ sets I got them? (The moms/my aunt/my grandma got robe versions, and I even got kid-sized versions for my flower girl and the junior bridesmaid!)

My Maid of Honor Bianca was never far from my side, and she made sure to hydrate me with Pedialyte to make sure I was feeling my best. After enjoying some late-night drinks the night before, I definitely appreciated this! 😉

It was really fun having my family in the room too – my mom, Aunt CC, and my grandma all got to enjoy this time together, which I thought was really special.

Our little fam! (Also, can you tell which of these pics are iPhone pics versus the professional ones? Ha!)

My sister – who was a very important junior bridesmaid 🙂 – was also never far from my side while we were getting ready. I think the wedding wound up being a bigger deal for us than either of us expected, and I was so touched by how close she stayed to me throughout the whole weekend. Even though we are so far apart in age and didn’t spend much time growing up together in the same house, she’s still my sister and so special to me!

Jack was with us in the bridal suite too – at least until one of the groomsmen came up to take him down to the room where the boys were getting ready. 🙂

While I finished getting my hair and makeup done, our photographer took some detailed shots with our invitations, save the dates, and jewelry. They came out so pretty!

This ring was my “something borrowed” and “something blue” – it’s the ring my dad gave my mom on the day I was born. I thought it added a nice sentimental touch!

Once I was done getting ready, all of us ladies got together for some group pictures!

We even stepped outside onto the balcony – but only once the photographer confirmed none of the boys were around to see us. 🙂

 

Then it was time for me to open up the gift that Fabio had given me and read his card. It’s so funny because as I was reading his card, I realized we wrote almost the exact same thing to each other. I guess that’s how you know it’s meant to be!

The gift itself was a pair of the most beautiful diamond stud earrings, which I’ve worn almost every day since the wedding. They’re gorgeous!

All the ladies gathered around to check them out. 🙂

Meanwhile, Fabio and the groomsmen were down in the library room getting ready themselves! Fabio helped Jack put on his cute tie. (Jack was the ring-bearer!)

This picture – LOL!!

Then Fabio opened up his card and gift from me, with Jack’s help (obviously).

I wound up getting him a refurbished Rolex watch, with a note reminding him not to be late! 🙂

He was a huge fan of the watch, and proudly shows it off to anyone who will look at it. 🙂

Then he spent some time getting ready with his groomsmen and drinking a nice bottle of whiskey he bought for them!

While all of that was happening downstairs, I slipped into my dress and had my mom and Aunt CC help me with all the buttons on the back.

It took a bit of time with all those buttons, but they got the job done. What would I do without them?!

Then I took a couple of pictures with my friends, and put my veil on.

My grandma helped arrange it perfectly over my shoulders for some pictures.

Then I grabbed my bouquet, and before I knew it was time to head downstairs to meet up with Fabio for the first look!

It was at this moment that I first started to feel emotional – I felt all the love and support of my friends and my family upstairs, and I felt like I was leaving that little caccoon to start a new journey. I know that when my dad walked me down the aisle and “gave me away” that was really the moment I should have felt like I was being given away, but saying goodbye to my mom as she stayed upstairs and I walked on by myself to Fabio felt like a pretty big moment too. I was ready for this – of course – but it did leave me feeling pretty emotional.

And for the rest, you’ll have to wait for my next recap! 🙂

Question of the day: How emotional do you get at weddings?

 Posted by on November 10, 2017
Nov 072017
 

Hi friends! How was your weekend? We were originally planning to head up to NYC this weekend but changed our minds – we’ve been doing a ton of traveling on the weekends lately and have more in store for the rest of November and early December, so we decided to spend the weekend at home instead. It was a great decision in my mind! Here’s a look at what we were up to.

Friday

I don’t usually include workout recaps in these posts, but Anne and I got this adorable picture with Flex, the resident dog at Bodymass Gym, after our class on Friday morning, and I couldn’t resist sharing.

Isn’t he the cutest? I actually just bought a workout tank from Bodymass that says “I came for the gym and stayed for the dog.” It’s so cute, and I can’t wait to wear it next time I drop in! This was Anne’s last visit to Bodymass before the baby comes (she’s due on Thanksgiving!) so I’m glad we were able to snag this cute pic to remember our last hoorah!

On Friday evening, Fabio and I drove over to our friends’ Shriya and Abhi’s place to celebrate Shriya’s 30th birthday! Shriya and I used to work together years ago, and I’m so happy we still see each other regularly. This was a nice opportunity for us to meet Shriya and Abhi’s family too, many of whom we’d heard about over the years!

And there was cake, which is always the best part of birthday celebrations. 🙂 Mmmm, cake.

Before the cake, there was some unpictured vegetarian Mexican food, which was spicy but delicious.

Happy birthday, Shriya!

Saturday

Fabio headed out golfing with a friend on Saturday morning, so I stayed behind and wrote some thank you notes from the wedding. Yes the wedding was in June and it’s now November, but don’t I technically have a year to get them out?

We also decided to include printed photos of each guest (when we had photos of them, that is) inside the cards, so it took me a while to sort through all the photos we had printed and arrange them based on the recipients. I had been putting it off for a while, so it felt really good to make a dent in the project!

I also love how our cards turned out – we got these from Minted.

Eventually Fabio returned home (right as I used the last stamp we had, so it was a good stopping point anyway) and we headed out to run some errands. Before hitting any stores, we stopped into Bonchon, a new-to-me Korean BBQ spot that Fabio had been to before with coworkers. We decided to share an order of the pork buns and soy garlic wings, and everything was so delicious. Yum! I can definitely see us returning here.

After that, we made our way over to Home Goods to do some shopping! We’re in the market for a few things for the house, namely some new bedside tables, lamps, a headboard, a duvet cover, and everyday plates. We found some great everyday plates and a couple other odds and ends that we needed, but we still have a lot of items on the list.

After spending a ton of time at Home Goods, we had to head home pretty quickly to attend our friends Jojo and Jadd’s housewarming/engagement party! Jojo and Jadd invited us to their housewarming party ages ago, and then on Friday night, Jadd proposed to Jojo, turning their housewarming party into a surprise engagement party. When she texted me this picture I had a hard time containing my excitement!

We could not be happier for them and were so surprised by the turn in events! I actually really liked how Jadd planned all of this in advance – it felt like a fun surprise for all the guests, too. 🙂

I also giggled at this sign in their bathroom during the party – LOL!

We stayed out pretty late on Saturday night and had a great time at the party!

Sunday

Sunday was a pretty low-key day; it was rainy and dreary out so we spent a lot of time inside watching football from the couch. We did do some chores (laundry folding, meal prepping, etc.) and even made it to Target to look for some of the house items we didn’t pick up the day before (I got a new duvet cover, and, more importantly, got to check out the new Hearth & Hand line from Chip and Joanna!!).

It was a nice, quiet day, and we watched a few episodes of Stranger Things before calling it a night relatively early. Jack was sleepy too – I think the weather made us all move a little slower.

This weekend Fabio and I also decided to start planning our next big international trip (we try to take a big vacation every year) and are thinking that in 2018 we want to go to Spain and Portugal. Since our timing is so flexible, we were originally thinking we wanted to go over July 4 so we could watch the running of the bulls, but after looking into it it seems pretty inhumane, and I’m not sure it’s something we want to support. Instead we were thinking of going for Memorial Day when the weather is supposed to be nice/flowers will be in bloom, but we are still really up in the air about timing.

I obviously need to start doing more research (this is the only thing I’ve read so far) but would also love to get some initial recommendations for you all. We know we want to go for about two weeks, and would be open to traveling around to a few different places near Spain and Portugal (I’ve heard the ferry to Morocco is cool). We’ve never been to either country and are lucky enough that Fabio speaks fluent Spanish. We’d probably go just the two of us, but are toying with the idea of inviting family to join us. Please leave any recommendations in the comments below!

Question of the day: Have you ever been to Spain or Portugal? Do you have any suggestions?

 Posted by on November 7, 2017
Nov 032017
 

Hi friends! How’s everyone doing today? It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted a recap from our wedding (which was all the way back in June – oops, where did the time go?) so I thought I’d round back with another one today. If you’ve missed any of my recaps so far, you can find them all here!

When we last left off, I had just finished celebrating a beautiful rehearsal dinner, complete with lots of drinking and dancing with friends late into the night. Luckily I drank lots of water before bed, because we had an early wake-up call for yoga!

Because fitness is such an important part of my life and is something that really helps me feel grounded, I knew I wanted to incorporate some sort of physical activity into my wedding day. I thought about going for a run, but then I thought an outdoor yoga class along the water might be more peaceful and help me get in the right mindset for the big day.

I did some research on local yoga studios on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and wound up booking a class with Phyllis from Every Body Yoga. Having her come to the hotel property for a one-hour class cost $150 (plus tip) and she even brought some yoga mats with her for people to use. Phyllis was great to work with for this, and before the big day she asked me how long of a class I wanted and if I wanted it to be more of a workout or something a bit more calming. I chose a one-hour class that was more on the calming side, and it wound up being one of the highlights of my day! (Though looking back, there were so many highlights. Ha!)

The class started at 7 a.m. on the River House lawn of the hotel, and when I got out of bed and stepped outside I saw that we had a beautiful day on our hands. 🙂 Thank goodness!!

My dad was up early too and took all these beautiful photos for us! I love seeing the venue before all the fun ensued.

While we didn’t have a huge turnout of guests for the yoga class, we had a nice little group!

In addition to Fabio and me, we had my maid of honor/stepsister Maggie, her boyfriend Nick, one of my best friends/bridesmaids Hana, and two of Fabio’s friends, Jason (also a groomsman) and Dan.

Phyllis set us up in a nice spot overlooking the river, and then we went through a very slow and calming yoga practice that was good for all levels. (My dad walked over at this point and grabbed these photos for us!)

One of the best things about Phyllis’ class is that she really encouraged us to be present in the moment. At one point we were all lying on our backs on our mats in the dewy grass and she told us to just be still and listen. Listen to our breath, listen to the birds chirping, and listen to the river flowing nearby. She encouraged us to clear our minds in preparation for the day ahead so we could really be present and remember every moment of the day. It was exactly what I needed with a million “to-dos” running through my head, and I felt so happy that we chose to have Phyllis come teach this class for us.

At the end of class (after svasana), she did something really special for us: She had Fabio and me hold hands, and told everyone to form a tight circle around us. She then told everyone to vigorously rub their hands together until they started to get warm. Once they were generating heat, she told everyone to separate their hands a few inches so they could feel the warmth they had made. Then she told everyone to rub their hands together again, and then face their palms toward Fabio and me in the center of the circle so that we’d feel all their warmth. She said a couple of words to us about how everyone standing around us was wishing the best for our us, both for the big day ahead and for our marriage, and that they were sending us their postive energy through the heat in their hands. I honestly got a little emotional at this point and thought I might cry – it as just such a wonderful and thoughtful way to start off such a big day.

After that, we said goodbye to Phyllis (seriously, she was worth every penny!!) and then since we had a few minutes before we needed to head into breakfast, we all walked down to the dock so my dad could take us on a boat ride! My mom happened to be down by the dock at this point too, so she joined us. 🙂 So many of my favorite people!

Being on the calm water so early in the morning on such an important day felt so great. I was surrounded by so many people I love and just felt so incredibly happy and at peace. (Also super excited for the day ahead!)

After a quick ride around the Wye River and Chesapeake Bay, we were back at the dock. While we were waiting to get off, my MoH/stepsister Maggie helped keep me from falling into the water. That’s what Maids of Honors are for! 🙂

And then we were back on dry land!

From our boat ride we headed into the River House dining area where we met up with the rest of our crew for breakfast. Yay! I’m sure it was probably taboo to see so many of our wedding guests on the morning of the wedding – not to mention seeing Fabio, lol – but clearly I didn’t take any that too seriously.

I had a fun morning saying hello to everyone and grabbing some breakfast before it was time to head to the bridal suite to get ready. Eek!

Question of the day: What do you think about those old bridal traditions like not seeing the groom beforehand?

 Posted by on November 3, 2017
Nov 012017
 

Hi friends! Happy November 1st!

As you probably know by now, I’ve been crazy at work over the last few months getting ready for today, which is the start of American Diabetes Month.

Diabetes is a huge problem, with 1 in 11 Americans having the disease and 1 in 3 being at risk for type 2. It’s something that’s important to me at a personal level, which I’ll explain more in a minute.

This year for our campaign, we’re celebrating all the heroes who live with diabetes and all of the loved ones out there who are also affected by it. Here are some of the ads we came up with this year for the campaign – I think they turned out pretty cute!

As far as our call to action for the campaign, we have a few (you can find all of them here!), but the one I think is the most meaningful/important to me personally is to write a letter to “Diabetes,” and share it on social media using #DearDiabetes.

This campaign will primarily take place on social media, so we’re asking people to consider what they would say in a message to Diabetes and then share it. We’re hoping to get a bunch of different responses–whether they’re empowering, angry, sad, or something different altogether. Of course I can’t ask people to do this without doing one myself, so here’s my letter to Diabetes!

Dear Diabetes,

I’m not sure when I started thinking about you so much—it was probably sometime after college when I finally started to learn more about healthy eating and exercise, and I learned that by following healthy habits I’d probably be able to keep you away. In 2013 or so I started working for a nonprofit called The Obesity Society, and I learned so much more about you—namely that people who have obesity are at great risk of meeting you.

That, of course, made me think about my family. Do you want to know why I started getting so interested in health in the first place? Sure, a big part of it was because I needed to learn how to balance a day job, a sweet tooth, happy hours, and post-college life without gaining a bunch of weight. But an even bigger part was because I was worried about my dad’s health.

My dad doesn’t know much about nutrition, and he won’t go near a vegetable. He consumes so many calories without even realizing it, and he doesn’t seem to care. He won’t exercise because his knees are bad, but I know now how small a part exercise plays when it comes to weight. The more I started to learn about you, Diabetes, the more I started to wonder when you’d come visit my dad. I felt like it would be soon, and I wanted to do what I could to stop you.

So then I landed a new job at the American Diabetes Association. While working there, I got to plan fun activities like “Get Fit Don’t Sit Day” and “National Healthy Lunch Day.” I got to look at recipes and use a treadmill desk and take free fitness classes in the middle of my workday. While these are all the perks I expected from my job, there are so many more that I didn’t anticipate.

I got to meet people like Mary, whose whole family has been affected by you. She held her mom’s hand as she took her last breath, dying from complications you brought. I got to sit next to (and make great friends with) Dani, who bravely jokes about how it’s hard for her to take her insulin shot when she wears a dress or romper. She pricks her finger all the time, though now she’s also getting used to wearing a new CGM, and she doesn’t ever complain. I meet these people and I talk to them and I hear how you affect them every day.

Since working for the ADA, I’ve also learned that you might never come visit my dad. I’ve learned that you come based on what people’s genetic makeup looks like—some people can be super unhealthy and overweight and never meet you. So there’s a chance my dad is in the clear. But there’s also a chance he’s not (risk increases with age), and there are millions of other Americans who definitely aren’t safe from you. 84 million American adults—1 in 3—is at risk of meeting you. 30 million Americans already have. 7 million have you, but aren’t diagnosed.

With numbers like that, I know that I’m where I’m supposed to be—spending my day working hard on marketing and communication campaigns, using my megaphone to tell more people about you. To tell them you’re a big problem, but there’s an easy way to learn if you’re at risk and then take action to prevent it.

So be on your guard, Diabetes. This is how I choose to spend my life: Doing everything I can to stop you.

Sincerely,

Chelsea

Question of the day: What would you say to Diabetes? Share on social media using #DearDiabetes! 🙂

 Posted by on November 1, 2017
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!

Saturday

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.

Sunday

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
Oct 272017
 

Hi friends! How was your week?

Mine was pretty crazy once again, but hopefully the end is in sight. I’m tired of leaving the office at 7 or 8 p.m. only to pull out my laptop and do more work after getting home. It’s fun and rewarding work (thank goodness!) but this schedule is exhausting!

Luckily I was able to step away for a little while this week to get more of a “regular” blog post written for you guys, which is a summary of some of my food and fitness updates from the last few weeks. I think I mentioned this a little while back, but when I’m stressed, I crave all the comfort foods. Of course life is all about balance, but I’ve definitely been doing my fair share of stress eating lately and I know I need to reign it in. Here’s a peek at how I’ve been trying to balance everything.

Fitness

Despite my busy schedule, I’m still prioritizing getting in a workout as much as I can during the week. That’s one of the benefits to being a morning workout person – no matter how late in the evenings I have to work, I’m still able to get a workout in since I get it over with as soon as I wake up!

ClassPass is still going strong (<–referral link for $40 off!) and I’m taking between two and three classes a week through there, usually with my buddies Anne and Kathleen. In the last few weeks, we’ve been making regular visits to Definitions, Urban Athletic Club (though we’re not a fan of this new format they’re trying out), Next Phase Studio, and BodyMass Gym.

While I like all of these classes a lot, BodyMass is probably my favorite now. We especially like the instructor Virginia, who’s super energetic and encouraging. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a cute pup named Flex that we get to play with when class is over. Love that place!

Anne is super pregnant right now, but trucking along like a champ! I’m sure going to miss her when she’s out after the baby is born. 🙁

Aside from my classes with the girls, I’m taking a lot of Orange Theory Fitness classes with my college friend Courtney who recently moved back to Arlington. I bought a pack of 14 classes a while back, and I’m going about once a week right now. The classes are challenging but fun, and I always feel like I got a really great workout afterwords. I’ve been going to the Clarendon location even though Ballston is in walking distance because a) it’s closer for Courtney and b) I really like the instructors, especially Alex who invited me to OTF in the first place back in February. She’s great!

Question for any of you OTF regulars: Do you try to get your heart rate in a pyramid, with most of your time spent in green, then orange, then red? One of the instructors told us about this goal recently, but Courtney and I couldn’t quite figure out why you’d want to spend most of your time in the green zone vs. really pushing yourself during the workout. We’re told it’s so you can burn fat longer, but I’d love to hear your guys’ thoughts!

Lastly, I’ve been dropping into the occasional spin class and yoga class and still running a bit with Jack, but bootcamp dates with friends are definitely taking up most of my workout schedule right now. 🙂

Food

Since I’ve been staying at work so late, I’ve been trying to cook big meals over the weekend that can last as leftovers throughout the week. As I mentioned, we had meatloaf on Sunday (it came out great!) and then I repurposed it for a few different meals throughout the week.

So for example, on Sunday we had it with mashed potatoes and broccoli (I told you, I want all the comfort foods right now!), and then on Tuesday we had it in a chopped salad with roasted acorn squash and spiced nuts. It was really good both ways! (And a little healthier on Tuesday, obviously).

The roasted acorn squash and spiced nuts were leftovers from another dish I made late last week: quinoa-and-kale-stuffed acorn squash with pecans that I found in the latest issue of Giant’s magazine, Savory. This was another really tasty meal!

As you can see, I’m definitely craving all the comfort foods, but I’m still not eating too unhealthfully, and I’m still having my standard breakfasts of cottage cheese+fresh berries and salads with either hard-boiled eggs or chicken for lunch, plus yogurts for an afternoon snack.

There was one night last week where I caved and got Jimmy Johns for dinner – including one of their giant cookies – and there have been some work treats like cookies and donuts floating around the office that made their way into my belly. But those days are to be expected, and that’s what all the planning is for the rest of the time, right? 😉

Questions of the day: What do you make for dinner when you know you won’t have time to cook? OTF peeps, what do you think of this pyramid goal thing?

 Posted by on October 27, 2017