Chelsea

Dec 142017
 

It’s beginning to look feel a lot like Christmas…

Phew! It’s finally getting cold around these parts! Brrrr! I kind of like it though – it makes me feel more festive and ready for the holidays!

How are you guys doing today? It’s been forever since I wrote more than two words about food and fitness, so I’m planning to share an update on that with you today.

But first, did I ever show you our tree this year? Fabio and I picked it up from Home Depot after work last Monday. We’ve learned that all the tree places near us are totally swamped on weekends in December and sell out of most of their trees, so last year we bought our tree on a weeknight and had much better luck. We tried the same thing this year, and practically had the place to ourselves! I think we have a new tradition on our hands, at least for now.

When we set up it up and started decorating, I was thrilled to see that Elf was playing on Freeform (anyone else still think of it as ABC Family?).

Woohoo–my favorite Christmas movie! (Home Alone is my second fav, followed by the original cartoon version of The Grinch).

While I put the lights and the ribbon on, Fabio headed outside to do our outdoor decorations. We keep things pretty simple outside – just some candles and wreaths in the windows, and white lights outlining the door with a white star on top. (The light-up star and lights were given to us by my grandparents  last year – hooray for free decorations!)

When Fabio came back inside, we finished decorating the tree together. I always wait for him to do the ornaments since we always buy an ornament when we travel, and each Christmas we have a blast looking back at old ones and reminiscing about past trips. We had a new one for Thailand this year, plus a few “just married” ones!

I think our other decorations look pretty cute too – we have a fun, red sequin “Holly Jolly” pillow, and our little bar area is decked out in “snow” and nutcrackers.

There’s also a string of battery-operated thin white lights hung across this area, which unfortunately you can’t see here. They’re super cute though!

Ok so, now that I’ve blabbered on about the holidays, let’s talk food and fitness!

As far as workouts go, I’ve still been chugging along with ClassPass, though I’ve been thinking a bit about switching up my plan. I’ve really been loving Orange Theory lately, and I’ve found that for the last two months I haven’t been used up all my CP classes. Plus CP is beta testing a new “credits” format, which I’m still trying to figure out if I like. Anyone else on the new credits plan?

For now though, I’m still putting CP to good use with classes at Urban Athletic Club, BodyMass Gym, Definitions, and Biker Barre. Speaking of Urban Athletic Club, the Georgetown location is closing this weekend! We’ve been going there for years, and it’s hard to believe we won’t be going back there anymore. I’m sure we’ll still visit the Glover Park and Shaw locations though, which we’ve been going to a bit more lately.

Now that Anne has had her baby, Kathleen and I are going to classes just the two of us. We miss Anne and can’t wait to have her back, but I’m so lucky that I still have a solid workout buddy!

I’m currently averaging around 3 classes per week with a couple of runs with Jack thrown in between, and I’m feeling like that’s a decent enough amount for right now.

As far as food goes…well, I could be doing better. I feel like I always gain weight around this time of year – it starts with my birthday in late September, then I eat candy around Halloween, then it’s Thanksgiving, and then the treats really come around during the holidays. My work environment is the worst for trying to make good food choices too – every day there are new treats to enjoy.

In theory, I should pick and choose what to splurge on and only enjoy the items that I decide are worth it. But something about sitting at my desk (feeling bored, most likely) and knowing there are delicious brownies, cookies, bagels, and pie available for at any point really tests my willpower. I know it’s not a huge deal if I eat treats here and there, but every day for the whole month of December is a problem (for me).

But it is what it is, and if I eat too much I just try to do better the next day.

Alright – that’s all I have for you guys today! Have a wonderful Thursday!

Question of the day: How do you handle treats around the holidays?

 Posted by on December 14, 2017
Dec 122017
 

Hey there! Did you have a nice weekend? Ours was really great – and it included the first snow of the season! Here’s a peek at what we were up to.

Friday

After work on Friday, Fabio and I joined our friends Jon and Liz for drinks and dinner at Little Serow! For those who haven’t heard of Little Serow, it’s a popular Thai restaurant in D.C. that usually requires standing in line for a few hours to nab a table. Jon and Liz are going to Thailand for their honeymoon next week, so we thought going to Little Serow to share Thailand tips would be the perfect send-off for them! Jon got in line at around 6 p.m. on Friday, and he was able to get our name down for a 9 p.m. seating.

While we waited for our table, we headed to a nearby Peruvian bar, Nazca Mochica for cocktails. The bar had a nice, quiet atmosphere and incredible drinks. I started off with a rosemary and beet concoction (!!) and then got a spicy cucumber drink. Yummmm.

Before long, our table was ready!

You don’t order anything off the menu at Little Serow – they just bring a bunch of stuff to your table and tell you what everything is. At first I was confused by this basket of (beautifully cut) raw veggies, but once I tasted how spicy some of the other dishes were I understood their purpose. 😉

I do enjoy spicy food so the heat wasn’t too big of a deal, and the waiter did a good job at alerting us to the dishes that were more on the spicy side. One of the spiciest (but tastiest) dishes we had was this amazing ground duck course, and my other favorites were probably the sticky rice “tater tots” and the tom kha soup. Yum! These buttery mushroom topped with a runny fried egg were also quite delicious.

And Fabio and I were excited to see our favorite Thai beer, Singha on the menu!

It was such a great night out, and I left feeling so thankful for these great friends. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear how their trip goes!

Saturday

On Saturday morning, we woke up to snow! Fabio and I suited up and took Jack to the park, and it was quite fun being out with all the snowflakes blowing around. (This picture was taken when the snow had just started, and though nothing stuck to the roads or sidewalks, we wound up getting a decent amount on the grass by the end of the day.)

We let Jack off his leash to run around a bit in the field, and two other dogs showed up to run with him! Before we knew it, we had an impromptu doggy play date! 🙂

Once we returned home, Fabio and I headed out for a late breakfast/early lunch at our favorite local cafe, Northside Social. Two large lattes, please! 🙂

For my breakfast, I got the smoked salmon breakfast sandwich with a perfectly poached egg on top. Yum!

After that, Fabio and I headed home to snuggle on the couch and watch TV by the fire. It was so cozy with the snow falling!

Later in the afternoon, Fabio headed out to meet up with his friends for a Christmas party in Baltimore (he spent the night there) and I got all of our Christmas shopping done and even got some gifts wrapped. Phew! It was a productive afternoon.

In the evening I had some leftovers for dinner and then wound up switching between reading Bon Appetit magazine (I recently subscribed since I love their podcast so much) and watching The Santa Clause on Freeform. I love that movie! (And all the holiday Freeform movies.)

I was in bed nice and early with my book (I’m currently reading Ken Follet’s A Column of Fire and it is SO good!), so basically, I had the perfect Saturday night. (Except I missed my hubby, of course!)

Sunday

Fabio arrived back at home by 9 a.m., and then we were off to my dad’s house! As you guys know, my little sister (technically my half-sister) is 12 years old now, and for Christmas this year she asked for stuff to redo her bedroom and bathroom. I can totally remember being that age where you are tired of your “kid” stuff, so for her Christmas gift we decided to outfit her with a bunch of new stuff for her bedroom and bathroom including a new headboard and shower curtain, and then spend some time over at their house helping her update everything.

Once we arrived, we spent our whole day emptying out cabinets, cleaning drawers, scrubbing the tub, making piles for donations and trash, and just basically fixing everything up in the bathroom. It wound up taking the whole day, but it looked like a brand new bathroom by the time we were done! My sister seemed super excited when we left (apparently she went upstairs to try out the shower immediately), even though we didn’t get much done in her bedroom and will have to go back another day for that.

We did get the Christmas tree decorated at my dad’s house before we headed back home, so I would definitely call it another productive day!

Fabio and I arrived back at home at around 8:30, which was just enough time for me to prep a bit for the week ahead and read approximately 4.5 pages of my book before my eyes got heavy and I went to sleep.

And there you have it – our productive and fun snowy weekend!

Question of the day: How spicy do you like your food?

 Posted by on December 12, 2017
Dec 082017
 

Hello there! As I mentioned last week, I’m trying to get all my wedding recap posts up before the end of the year, which means I need to keep chugging along! If you missed any of my last recaps, you can find them here.

And, as usual, here are my vendor notes:

  • Florist: Monteray Farms (Amy Wilkins was truly amazing to work with – wait until you see what she did for our dessert table and escort cards! If you have an Eastern Shore wedding, I would totally recommend her!)
  • 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, it’s time for the ceremony!

When I saw the ceremony space decorated for the first time, I think my jaw dropped. It was everything I had envisioned and more.

We chose to get married in the Cherry Grove of the Wye River Conference Center, which is a beautiful garden area with two big cherry trees (they looked almost like weeping willows) on both sides. This was perfect because it provided shade for our guests on an early summer day.

Amy Wilkins from Monteray Farms totally knocked it out of the park when it came to our flowers – I’m not much of a flower person so I didn’t know the names of the flowers I wanted, but she took my inspiration pictures from Pinterest and ran with it. In the end, I was so, so pleased with how everything came out.

I borrowed the white shepherds’ hooks from my friend Megan, and to save money, the mason jars used in the ceremony were repurposed as part of the centerpieces in the reception as well. My amazing stepdad built the awesome arch (trellis? what is this called?) that you see below, and now it’s residing at my mom’s house when you enter their garden!

The flowers surrounding the arch are probably my favorite part of the whole thing. How beautiful are these?!

Here’s a close-up of the mason jar flowers, as well as a peek at our program! (FYI – I bought my program fan design – as well as the table numbers and escort cards – from this Etsy store and had everything printed at Kinkos. My amazing family helped assemble the fans with popsicle sticks the weekend before the wedding.)

Originally we were planning to have our DJ take care of the music for the ceremony, but as a wedding gift, my stepsister Maggie sprung for a violinist. YES! This was something I didn’t budget for initially but decided I really wanted once it got closer to the big day. She is so sweet for doing this!

Instead of having her play traditional classic wedding music, we wanted to go a little more modern. Here are the songs we I chose, which I thought came out perfectly.

  • Prelude music (general classical)
  • Mothers/Grandmothers: Meditation from Thais
  • Bridesmaids/Bridal Party (including Junior bridesmaid and flower girl): I’m Yours
  • Bride: Can’t Help Falling in Love
  • Recessional: Marry You

While all these photos were being taken, the bridal party was gathered in the library room of the house, and I think we were all feeling pretty jittery and nervous. Specifically, I was thinking about the long walk through the grass and hoping I wouldn’t trip. I was wearing sandals under my dress so I wasn’t worried about tripping in heels, but all the same it was a long way to walk with lots of eyeballs on me. I was happy that my dad would be there so I could hold his arm just in case. 🙂

Eventually it was time to line up and start walking down the aisle. My grandparents and the moms went first (escorted by some of Fabio’s cousins and close family friends).

I love this one of my mom and stepdad. 🙂

My Grandma and Fabio’s cousin, Fabio Andres. (My Grandma thought it was crazy that with Fabio’s dad, we had three Fabios at the wedding!)

And then the boys made their way down!

Our two close family friends Lee and Dan are both priests, so they both officiated our wedding. It was so nice to have people close to us helping us tie the knot!

Then it was time for the ladies! I know I said it in my last recap, but I just love how their dresses turned out. They look like princesses!

At the end of the line were my maids of honor, junior bridesmaid (with Jack!) and flower girl.

Jack totally stole the show, and we could hear everyone laughing as my sister walked him down the aisle.

I also have to say how beautiful/adorable my sister looked this day. She’s growing up so fast! <3

P.S. – I heard that our photographer got on the ground to take this shot. She’s the best!

And here’s the flower girl! 🙂

I think she was mesmerized by Jack walking in front of her. 🙂

During all of this, my dad and I were waiting in the smaller garden up by the library. It was surreal watching everyone I loved so much walk down in front of me, and eventually only my dad and I were left.

I remember feeling worried about not knowing when it would be our turn to walk down the aisle – our cue was supposed to be when the violinist switched songs, but it was a bit hard to hear her from so far away. There were also a bunch of cows mooing near where we were, which made us laugh and broke up the nerves a bit. Finally we heard the music change, and then it was our turn!

My whole life I have been SUCH a Daddy’s girl – probably because we spent a lot of time just the two of us when I was growing up. I was so happy to have him there by my side on this important day.

I’m glad the photographer remembered to get a picture of Fabio’s face as came down the aisle – I was busy smiling at our guests and totally forgot to look until I was almost all the way down!

At this point Sofia, our flower girl, realized she had forgotten to throw down her rose petals, so she did it really quickly before we got to the end of the aisle. It made everyone laugh!

Then it was time for my dad to give me away!

There was an awkward moment when Fabio and my dad weren’t sure if they were supposed to shake hands or what. Everyone laughed!

Then Sofia threw some more flower petals (lol) and then the ceremony began!

I love these photos that the photographer got – she really captured the beauty of everything. You can really see the blue and green dresses here!

And Jack!

Fabio and I both love personalized, unique ceremonies, so we did our best to add our own touch to everything. First, we had some special vows to honor our parents. This was important to me because I wanted to make sure my stepdad and stepmom felt included.

We also had Fabio’s aunt Clara read a poem (that she wrote!) in Spanish, and my Aunt CC also gave a reading.

Then our family friend/priest, Dan, gave the most beautiful and personal homily that included special anecdotes about our relationship. Since he knows us pretty well, he was able to speak to us as a couple on a personal level, which was so, so nice.

He also had a trick up his sleeve – he asked everyone to bow their heads and say a prayer, and then he asked the moms to read their prayers aloud. Little did I know they both had beautiful prayers written out for us!

Then he handed us the mike and told us to say what we had been praying – um, what? Truthfully, I had been thinking about how happy I was and how I liked that I could hear some cows mooing, and I thought about a few other “to-dos” I had to take care of once the ceremony was over. Not much real “praying.”

But Fabio and I both were able to pull together something meaningful to say, and I think we got out of this situation pretty well. In the end, I’m glad Dan included this little surprise for us. 🙂

He also kept tying everything back to baseball and “home plate” during his homily (since Fabio is such a huge baseball fan) and at the end, he pulled out this amazing home plate that he had made for us! So, so sweet!

After that, we exchanged rings, prayed, and then we were married!

You may kiss the bride!

And with that, we were married!

Clearly I was happy. 🙂

Then we all headed back up the aisle for cocktail hour.

And we started out our new life as Mr. & Mrs.!

Question of the day: Do you get emotional at weddings?

I usually do, but I didn’t get too emotional during ours. I was more emotional before the first look!

 Posted by on December 8, 2017
Dec 072017
 

Hey guys! How are you doing today?

I promised you guys a second post with a recap of the rest of my weekend in New York City, so that’s coming at you today!

Ok so when we last left off, I had just had dinner with my bestie, Bianca! Then on Saturday morning, Fabio and I got ready for the day and headed downtown to meet up with my college girlfriends for a fun gurlay day!

I know I’ve mentioned these girls on the blog a bunch of times before, but for anyone who needs a refresher, there was a group of 8 of us who lived together our senior year of college in a house that we dubbed “Sloppytown” due to our ability to have a really good time. 😉 Our group has now grown a bit to include more of our college girlfriends, and now we call ourselves gurlays! I can’t recall where that name came from, but it stuck!

When we first graduated from college, half of us lived in the DC area and half of us lived in New York, but now we’re pretty much spread out all around the country (and Jess even lives in the Netherlands!). In addition to seeing each other at weddings, we typically try to plan to big events twice a year: One beach weekend in Fire Island, Long Island, and one winter/holiday weekend in NYC.

This weekend was our NYC trip, and it was SO much fun! We started off with a brunch at “6G,” which is an apartment in the East Villiage where my friends Vic, Megan, and Layne have lived for quite some time now. My friend Kristen used to live there too before she moved to Philly! When we arrived, we saw a full bloody merry bar, two kinds of quiches, bagels, donut holes and a delicious French toast bake. I brought some of my favorite Levain cookies for us to share. 🙂 Yum!

We then proceeded to spend many hours hanging out and catching up with one another.

Coincidentally, Kristen and I were wearing matching outfits! 🙂

Ha!

My friend Catrina and her girlfriend Jaclyn were also there–they live in San Diego– and it felt even more special having them in town from so far away. There were also more “men” in attendance this year (in the college days Fabio was the only one!) and I thought it was so cute to see them all huddled in the kitchen chatting.

At one point in the early evening, we attempted to prop my phone up on top of the fridge and use the timer to get a group selfie. It sort of worked…

LOL!

I debated cropping these pictures but I actually decided seeing a see of heads is much funnier. 🙂

Ha!

After brunch, we all headed to the Comedy Cellar, a cool comedy club where sometimes you can see famous comedians perform. My handsome date!

The Comedy Cellar was really fun, and we all laughed a ton! I would definitely recommend this if you’re looking for fun things to do in New York, but you have to make reservations a couple of weeks in advance.

After the show, we enjoyed a late dinner at Peking Duck House. We had Chinese food served family-style, and I gobbled up a ton. Yumm.

Then we headed out to some bars for even more fun!

We even met up with our friend DiSanto at the end of the night!

So, so fun!! 🙂

Fabio and I took a noon train back to D.C. on Sunday (after stopping at Shake Shack…) and arrived home around 4 p.m. Then we proceeded to put together some new furniture we bought during Black Friday sales and got ready for the week ahead!

The end.

Question of the day: Do most of your best friends live in one place or are they spread out?

 Posted by on December 7, 2017
Dec 052017
 

Hello, hello! How is your week going so far? As I mentioned on Thursday, Fabio and I had a really, really fun weekend in New York City. Like, really fun. I have a lot to share with you guys, so I’m splitting my weekend recap into two posts! Here’s part one…

Thursday

On Thursday morning, I headed up to New York City via Amtrak, and once I arrived, I spent a few hours working remotely from Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s apartment on the Upper West Side. Fabio arrived around 4 p.m., and since he hadn’t eaten lunch he said he wanted to head out for a pizza “snack.” (One slice of NYC pizza is a snack to him, even though they are big slices!) I teased him because he had literally been in NYC for less than an hour and was already devouring pizza. Of course.

Then it was time to get ready for the Ad Council Awards Gala! For those who aren’t familiar with the Ad Council, it’s an organization that makes public service announcements (PSAs) for a variety of good causes. I’ve worked with them to make a type 2 diabetes prevention PSA, which is how I got invited to their annual awards dinner. It’s black tie and kind of a big deal – 1,500 people were there and there was even a Saturday Night Live skit about the dinner a few weeks ago.

I was lucky enough to have Fabio join me for the event, especially since tickets at the normal rate cost $3,000. Wow!

When we arrived, we spent the first hour or so at a cocktail hour hosted by Google!

I was excited to see our Type 2 Diabetes Prevention campaign on some signage throughout the room. 🙂

Very cool!

While we were getting drinks, we wound up meeting a woman from Twitter, who actually works with one of Fabio’s fraternity brothers! It was great meeting her and networking a bit, and funny how the world is so small and you run into people with shared connections everywhere.

Once we took our seats, I got to meet some of the people who I’ve worked with for the last year or so on our PSA. It was nice meeting them in person after so many email exchanges and conference calls!

Then the presentations began, and I have to admit I totally drank the Ad Council Koolaid. Ad Council’s slogan is “Together for Good” and they’re all about making a difference in the world. Through the presentations, they honored the CEO of Unilever – who apparently has done a lot of great work with corporate social responsibility and helping those in need – and then showcased a few of their PSA campaigns.

Here’s a sampling of the types of people we heard from: A woman who survived the Pulse nightclub shooting and talked about survivors’ guilt; a young woman who was in the foster care system until age 14 when she was finally adopted, who then started her own nonprofit to make welcome kits for newly adopted kids; and a woman who had trouble feeding her family, and when she got back on her feet she started volunteering at a food bank. That’s not even all of the presentations, but it gives you a sense of the kinds of stories we heard.

I was especially impressed with the CEO of Ad Council, Lisa Sherman, who talked about how we were all there to make a difference in the world and if we work together, we can create change. Yep – totally drank the Koolaid here.

After the dinner, it was time for the after-party, which was sponsored by Facebook! There was a really fun band with a trumpet player, and then a really fantastic DJ who played every song I would have requested to hear. Fabio and I made some friends on the dance floor, and I wound up dancing with a really flamboyant new friend. 😉 As one does.

At the end of the night, the DJ closed out the dance floor by playing All I Want for Christmas Is You, and for some reason, everyone stormed the stage and started singing into the (thankfully turned off) microphones. Somehow I wound up right next to the Ad Council CEO Lisa Sherman during this, and totally fan-girled out about being next to her.

Once the dancing was over, I saw her by the coat check and told her how inspired I was by her speech. I think we were both a bit tipsy – open bars will do that – but I thought we had a nice little conversation. What a fun night! 🙂

Friday

The next day, Fabio and I headed out for a fun NYC adventure! (With an itinerary suggested by Uncle Steve, of course.)

First up, we hopped on the subway and got out at Hudson Yards, a brand new station in Manhattan where they’re building a ton of new skyscrapers. The station was really beautiful and featured lots of awe-inspiring mosaics on the ceilings. I can’t even imagine how long it took someone to put all those little tiles up there.

Then we walked over to the Highline where we were able to get a great view of Hudson Yards. All of these buildings are built on top of where they store the subway trains, and each one had tons of people working on them. There were lots of cranes and little elevator things moving all around!

It will be so interesting to see what this area turns into once they’re done with the construction.

Then we continued walking along the Highline and took in the cool sites of the city. 🙂

It was a beautiful day for a walk, and we didn’t feel too chilly as long as we stayed in the sunshine.

Eventually Fabio’s best friend Hayden met up with us, and we wandered around Chelsea market.

We popped into a bunch of stores, including a pop-up Etsy store with a bunch of different vendors. I wound up buying myself a pair of really pretty earrings and could have easily left with a bunch of other gifts. Everything was so nice!

Eventually we got hungry for lunch and stopped for some delicious tacos.

Yummmm.

Plus some mini donuts to share for dessert!

After Chelsea Market, the three of us headed to The Standard beer garden for some mid-afternoon drinks and a few games of ping pong for the boys.

After sitting around and chatting for a while, the boys headed back to Hayden’s apartment and I met up with my best friend Bianca for a girls’ night out!

She came into the city from Port Authority, so we met up at the nearby Heartland Brewery for some beers and sandwiches.

After dinner, we walked around a bit until we found another cute bar (can’t remember the name!) and we spent a few more hours catching up. Having girl time with my best friend was so, so nice, and it made me wish we still lived close to each other.

I was back at Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s place by around 12:30 and instantly fell asleep. I was exhausted! Fabio came home quite a bit later (he and Hayden stayed out at the bars until 4 a.m….) and then we both were happy we were able to sleep in a bit on Saturday. 🙂

Part two coming later this week!

Questions of the day: How often do you get one-on-one time with your best friend? Have you heard of the Ad Council?

 Posted by on December 5, 2017
Nov 302017
 

**LOL – I first titled this post “Wednesday Musings” before realizing today is Thursday. Whoops!**

Greetings from the Amtrak train somewhere in Delaware!

I’m on my way up to New York City (Fabio is meeting me up there later today) for a super fun weekend — check out what’s on the agenda;

Tonight: A fancy black tie gala I got invited to through work. The cocktail hour is hosted by Facebook and the after party is hosted by Google (or maybe it’s the other way around – I forget!). Fabio is coming with me, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Tomorrow: Fabio and I both requested off from work, so we’ll be spending the day in the city! His best friend (also best man) Hayden has off from work too, so the three of us will be hanging out all day. I hope to see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree (since it got lit last night!) and maybe pop into a museum. Then in the evening, Fabio and Hayden are having a guys night, and my best friend (also maid of honor) Bianca and I will be having dinner just us ladies! I can’t wait!

Saturday: My friend Catrina and her girlfriend Jacquelyn are coming into town from San Diego, and we’ll be getting together with all of our other college friends! (These are the ones I’ve called sloppytown and/or gurlays in past blog posts.) We have a full agenda of fun stuff planned, and I’m really excited about it!! Woohoo!!

Then we come home on Sunday – via Amtrak again, which is better than the bus we usually take – and I’m sure I’ll be exhausted.

Anyway, I’m technically supposed to be working right now, but the WiFi on this train is moving at a glacier pace and I’m having trouble getting much of anything done. I don’t even know if this blog post will publish. Ha! But I thought I would try to check in with you guys to let you know what I’m up to, and to say that I should have a nice weekend recap for you next week.

Until then, have a great weekend!

XOXO

Question of the day: Have you ever been to a black tie event for work?

At first I was really struggling with what to wear – on the one hand, it’s black tie. But on the other hand, people I know through work (though none of my coworkers) will be there, so I was thinking I shouldn’t wear anything too revealing. I’m still not 100% sold on the outfit I settled on, but since it’s at 6 p.m. tonight there’s not much I can do about it now! *gulp*

 Posted by on November 30, 2017
Nov 292017
 

Hello there! Today it’s time for another recap of our wedding! My goal is to get all the recaps written by the end of the year, so I’m trying to crank through these last few posts as quickly as possible. Hope you guys aren’t tired of these yet!

When we last left off, I had just seen Fabio for our first look! You can find all my wedding recaps here.

Today I’m sharing photos of the bridal party, and before we get started I wanted to share the following vendor notes:

  • Bridesmaid Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids (I had the best experience shopping there – you can read my full review here. Specific dresses are from Jenny Yoo, Theia, and Amsale, and include a mix of floral, green, and blue dresses, some with straps and some without)
  • Groomsmen Suits: ASOS Wedding Suits (These came out great and were really affordable! I would definitely recommend ASOS over a rental company, and returns were easy too! The groomsmen’s ties and socks are from Tie Bar, which was also a great company with nice, affordable options.)
  • 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 dive in!

As soon as I was done doing a mini first look with my dad and stepdad, I saw the rest of the bridal party coming outside! The first ones I saw were my sister Nicole – who was a junior bridesmaid – walking Jack, our “ring-bearer.” Nicole was in charge of walking Jack down the aisle, so she wound up holding him a lot of the time. 🙂

Of course Jack is a dog and will do what dogs do…including poop. The photographer snapped this lovely picture of him. Ha!

At one point he also peed on the white tablecloth by the ceremony site where water and lemonade were being served. Don’t worry – the staff changed the tablecloth before everything got started. How classy. 😉

Then all the bridesmaids and groomsmen assembled for some group photos!

Fabio and I weren’t entirely sure how all the dresses and suits were going to look together, but we were so happy with how everything came out! My two maids of honor, the junior bridesmaid, and the flower girl were all wearing beautiful Jenny Yoo dresses in a light green and peach floral pattern. The rest of the bridesmaids were in green and blue dresses from Theia and Amsale (some with straps and some without) and my vision was to have everything look cohesive without being identical. The groomsmen’s suits all came from ASOS, which was nice because they didn’t cost too much and everyone got to keep them.

Up until that point we really hadn’t seen all the different colors and textures of everything together, and we couldn’t believe how well it came out! I was really happy with the result. 🙂

Plus we have some really good-looking friends and family, so that didn’t hurt the pictures either. 😉

Then the photographer asked us to kiss, and we got some of my favorite pictures of the day! (I think I say that in every post – haha – I guess I just have a lot of favorites!)

<3

Once we were done smooching, we took some photos of the groomsmen and bridesmaids!

Here are the guys, looking dapper in their suits. (They all wore jackets and ties, except for Fabio who also wore a vest to set himself apart a bit.)

And I love these ones that were taken on the other side of the lawn!

So pretty!

And of course we needed a picture with their matching socks. 😉

And then we got a bunch of shots of the ladies!

I just love how these came out – you can kind of tell that there are both green and blue dresses and some floral ones in the mix, but I think with all the greenery and the flowers it looks really natural and not too matchy-matchy. Plus everyone looks so beautiful and happy!

Love these!

Then I got some portraits with each of the bridesmaids – one smiling and one where we’re looking at each other. But don’t worry, I haven’t posted them all here. With 10 bridesmaids that would be a lot of photos! 🙂

But here are a few of my favorites – one with my two maids of honor…

One with all my family (new and old!)

A couple with my sister…

And of course my sister-in-law and baby (bump) Michael!!

Then I got a photo with my best friends from home, Bianca, Hana, and Sam…

And one with my college besties (aka gurlays/sloppytown) Megan, Catrina, Britt, and Kristen!

And after that, it was time to get ready for the ceremony! Eek!

Question of the day: How many bridesmaids would/did you have?

 Posted by on November 29, 2017
Nov 272017
 

Hi there! For my American friends, I hope you had a nice and relaxing Thanksgiving! Ours was one of the best yet, mostly because we got to spend so much time with family. I have a ton of pictures to share, so I’ll try to keep things short when it comes to my descriptions! Here we go…

Wednesday

I took the day off from work on Wednesday so I could get busy in the kitchen! Some of you may have seen from my Instagram stories, but I had a whole bunch of recipes I had to make on Wednesday. Fabio was working remotely, so we had a fun day at home together! I started cooking around 10 a.m., and didn’t finish until around 4. Phew!

First up, I made apple crisp from my favorite Cook’s Illustrated cookbook. Fabio’s sister Diane is trying to limit dairy consumption right now, so I used vegan butter in this recipe to make it dairy-free.

After lots of peeling and coring and apple-cooking, it was done!

Then I made Bon Appetit’s best macaroni and cheese after hearing about it on their Foodcast podcast.

It required lots and lots of cheese shredding. 🙂

Eventually it was done and was looking gooooood. I tasted some of the cheese sauce – it was totally a winner. Definitely make this one!

Then I made Tina’s tater tot breakfast casserole to enjoy while watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade (one of my favorite things to do on Thanksgiving!). I added some sausage to the recipe for a bit more protein.

Done!

After finishing each recipe, I would take a break to clean this dishes. This was a pain in the butt, but it kept our kitchen from turning into a big mess!

And last but not least, I made some roasted carrots with honey and herbs from my new Southern Living Christmas 2017 cookbook that Aunt CC got me.

I made a couple of tweaks to make sure this one was dairy-free for Diane too.

And with that, I was done. Phew!

After that I had a tiny bit of work to do, and then got myself ready to head out for the long weekend ahead. We packed up the car and drove over to my dad’s house, where we enjoyed a nice dinner with my dad and sister.

After dinner, Fabio and I met up with some of my high school friends at Butler’s Orchard, a farm that a couple friends of ours own.

Sadly our friend Ben who owns the farm was out of town on his honeymoon, but we got to know his brother and catch up with a bunch of my high school friends instead. One of my best friends, Hana, was also there, and it was so great catching up with her!

We even played a bunch of games of flip cup, and Fabio wound up winning it for our team in a one-on-one tie-breaker! Go Fabio!

We also enjoyed some apple cider donuts…

…which we toasted over the fire to warm up. 🙂 Who needs marshmallows?

Ha!

Thursday

We woke up at my dad’s house on Thanksgiving morning, and I immediately headed downstairs to watch the parade with my sister!

I don’t know if it’s just because it’s tradition or what, but I really enjoy watching the parade on Thanksgiving.

While we watched, we enjoyed coffee, mimosas, and the tater tot casserole I brought! It came out delicious – yumm.

Eventually it was time for us to head out since we would be eating our Thanksgiving meal at Fabio’s sister Diane’s house outside of Baltimore. When we arrived, we instantly became obsessed with this little turkey!

Our nephew Michael is three months old, and we could not get enough of him. He’s so smiley and happy with the sweetest disposition – we were obsessed.

At around 4:00, Alex’s (who is my brother-in-law/Diane’s husband) family arrived and it was time to eat!

Alex’s family is a lot of fun and so welcoming, and I wish we got to see them more than just on Thanksgiving! We went around the table saying what we were each thankful for, and pretty much everyone mentioned baby Michael. 🙂 It was such a special Thanksgiving!

Later that evening we played a few board games and continued playing with baby Michael.

We also kept the alcohol flowing which made all of us wake up with a headache, but it was worth it for such a fun night with family! 😉

Friday

On Friday, Fabio’s family joined us at my mom and stepdad’s house for another Thanksgiving feast! My mom and stepdad were enamored with Michael right from the beginning.

Don’t get any ideas mom – Fabio and I still have a few years of traveling in us before we’re ready for this stage. 😉

Either way, it was really fun to share Michael’s cuteness with my family as well.

Once we sat down to eat, we ate the best Thanksgiving meal yet. I ate a lot of good food this weekend, but nothing beats my mom’s cooking. Ahh it was so good! We also dug into this bottle of wine we got as a wedding present for our first Thanksgiving!

Saturday

On Saturday we headed over to my grandparents’ house!

It was a beautiful day with relatively warm temperatures. We tried to do Christmassy things, but it sure didn’t feel much like Christmas!

While my dad, grandpa, and Fabio went out to play golf, my sister, grandma, and I painted some Christmas ornaments and decorated wreaths.

It was a lot of fun, and I was so happy I got to spend some time with my grandparents over the long weekend. We stayed for dinner and then drove back home.

Sunday

Sunday was spent mostly relaxing – which now seems like it was very necessary after thinking back about all we did over the last few days – but in the afternoon we cleaned up the house and put away our fall decorations to make room for Christmas ones.

We still need to get our tree, which we’ll probably do next week.

So there you have it – a recap of our fun Thanksgiving holiday!

Question of the day: How far do you travel far for Thanksgiving?

 Posted by on November 27, 2017
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