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Oct 122016
 

Hey friends! How is your week going so far? Mine is excellent, and I am absolutely loving my new job! I thought I’d tell you a bit more about it by doing a day-in-the-life style recap of my first day (Monday). Here we go!

I started my day off with a challenging bootcamp workout at MADabolic via ClassPass (<– affiliate link for $30 off!). We went through a great circuit that included weighted walking lunges, D-ball slams, box step-ups, rowing, and kickboxing. It was a tough one, and I was a sweaty mess by the end. 🙂

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Side note: Whenever I have an important day ahead of me (i.e., a new job!!) I almost always make sure to get a morning workout in. It just sets me up to feel so much better for the rest of the day!

After my class, I came home, showered, and ate a bowl of Quaker Oatmeal Squares + skim milk (not the smartest breakfast choice since it was so low in protein, but sadly I didn’t take the time time to prep anything else over the weekend). Then it was time to get dressed for my first day!

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For my new gig, I’ll be driving to work instead of taking the metro, which is something totally new for me! I hardly ever drive (Fabio and I share a car) so it’s definitely going to take some getting used to. The good news is that my new commute is only 15 minutes, which is SO nice compared to my old commute of an hour. Woohoo!

When I arrived at my new job, I sat down with my manager, headed to a training, and then immediately got started on a bunch of projects! Later I went out to lunch with my new team (we went to Clyde’s where I ordered an unpictured curried chicken salad) and had a great time getting to know everyone. The Marketing/Communications team at my new office is pretty big, and most of the employees are similar to me in age, so I think I’m going to make a lot of new friends. 🙂 The rest of the day was spent heading to meetings and reading up on the projects I’ll be working on.

Overall, I was so incredibly excited by everything I found out I’ll be doing. I will be working on consumer-facing campaigns to educate the public about treating and preventing diabetes, including how to balance a healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet and exercise. So perfect!! Since the organization I’m now working for is so much bigger than where I was working before, they actually are capable of hosting really cool events (sometimes with celebrities) and can make real progress! I’m planning to talk to my new manager to see how much information I’m allowed to share on here (I want to make sure I’m not breaking any company policies or anything) and then I’ll elaborate on what I can.

The overall verdict was that I had an amazing first day, and am so excited about my new responsibilities.

At 5:00 I hopped in the car, and I was back home by 5:20. This new commute is SO great!

I spent the rest of the evening blabbering away to Fabio about everything that I learned and all that I’ll be working on, while cooking a Blue Apron meal of steamed pork buns and a kimchi style side of cabbage.

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It came together so well and Fabio and I both agreed that we loved this meal! We are going to see if we can find these kinds of buns in the grocery store. 🙂

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Yum!

After dinner we had some ice cream for dessert, and I don’t even remember if I watched anything on TV or just called it a night. I do remember feeling exhausted!

Question of the day: Do you have a ritual that you do before a big day?

 Posted by on October 12, 2016
Oct 062016
 

Hey guys! How’s your week going?

I have a pretty exciting life update to share with you guys today…I got a new job! Today is actually my last day at work, which means that things are super busy as I try to wrap everything up. I wanted to check in with you guys yesterday with a “day in life” type of post, and I was planning to get a Favorite Things Friday post up for you tomorrow, but with all the extra work as I try to wrap up projects plus multiple going away happy hours (my coworkers are the best) I haven’t had much time to sit down and blog. I hope you understand! Hopefully I’ll be back with more updates next week and can tell you how the new gig is working out.

So, why the change? Well, as some of you may know, I currently work for a small nonprofit organization dedicated to the treatment and prevention of obesity. I work in PR/Communications for this organization, and I truly, truly love what I do. What could be better than having a full-time job where I can communicate about health and wellness?

Unfortunately, this organization is just really small, and after 2.5 years of working with the group I feel like I’ve hit the ceiling. With a new house and a wedding to plan, I need to make sure that I’m continuing to grow professionally so I can pay my bills. #adulting

The new job is with a much larger nonprofit organization (with a huge communication/PR department!) that is dedicated to treating and preventing diabetes, so it’s still very health and wellness focused. It’s also a little more patient-centered (my current organization really works with doctors and researchers), so I think I’ll feel like I’m making a bigger impact and helping to improve people’s health on a more personal level. It’s also a huge step up for me (I’ll be an Associate Director and managing two people – yikes!) so it’s really good for my career (and paycheck! Woop woop!).

Anyway, I’m really excited about this new chapter, but of course it’s a bit sad to leave behind the amazing team I’ve been working with for the last couple of years. I’ve been so lucky to work with them!

I’ll try to pop in here with a post tomorrow but realistically I’m just not sure if I’ll have time to give you guys an update. If I don’t get around to it then I will check in with you on Monday, which is my first day at the new job! Eek!

Question of the day: How many jobs have you had in your career?

This will be my third!

 Posted by on October 6, 2016
Sep 282016
 

Hey there! Thanks so much for the birthday wishes! I had an awesome day yesterday, which I’m planning to tell you more about later this week. Today though, we’re not talking about birthdays. We are talking about the things that I’m learning you have to deal with when you’re a homeowner, which I guess also coincides with getting older.

On Monday night, the night before my birthday, I was treated to a nice welcome to adulthood. Hello, 27! Aren’t you fun. 😉

This story involves references to unwanted critters in our home, so if you are squeamish about pests then stop reading right here. Megan, I’m talking to you.

Ok, so. Where to begin.

You may remember that earlier this month Fabio and I were dealing with a spricket and mouse issue in the storage room under our stairs. As a refresher: sprickets – which look like a cross between a spider and a cricket and are actually called camel crickets – happen to be the favorite food of mice (or something like that). If you don’t get rid of your sprickets it could draw mice into your home, making it a lovely double whammy of a pest problem. We had been seeing a few sprickets here and there from the time we moved into our house, and then a couple of weeks ago we saw a mouse. Ugh.

At the time, we sent Jack and our friends’ dog Tully (who we were dog-sitting) into the storage room to chase off the mouse, and bought a bunch of traps from Home Depot. We didn’t see the mouse again after that, so I (naively) thought the dogs had scared it off and our mouse problems were over.


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At around that same time, our light bulb went out in the storage room, and while I was too skeeved out to spend much time in there, I still didn’t see any mice so I didn’t think much of it. Then a couple of days ago Fabio replaced the light bulb in there, and then shortly after that he noticed mouse droppings in the coat closet (which is nowhere near the storage room). Our friends were over at the time so he quietly vacuumed them up and didn’t say anything about it (!!), but then on Monday night he declared that we needed to go to Home Depot to “solve our mouse problem.” I, of course, had no idea that our mouse problem needed to be solved, so this was definitely a surprise to me.

Anyway, off to Home Depot we went, where we spent way too much money buying mouse traps. As soon as we got home, we sat down to eat dinner and all of a sudden Jack ran over to the coat closet and started sniffing loudly at the crack under the door. He also started wagging his tail and acting really odd, so Fabio abandoned his dinner and went over to the closet.

When he opened the door, Jack immediately lunged into the corner and started trying to get at something. Our vacuum cleaner was in the way, so Fabio ran and got a broom and then moved the vacuum. Once he did that, Jack really lunged into the corner, and then I saw a mouse scurry out of the closet and run around in a circle. Obviously I did what anyone would do in this scenario, which was scream at the top of my lungs and stand on top of the couch cushions so the mouse wouldn’t touch my feet.


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The mouse then went back into the closet (I guess because there was nowhere to hide) and Jack continued sniffing him out. Then the mouse ran out a second time, and this time he went right between Jack’s legs (Jack didn’t even see him, and kept sniffing in the closet).

Good job, Jack.


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Luckily Fabio did see the mouse, so he whacked him on the head with the broom (while yelling, of course). Unfortunately, he didn’t hit him hard enough because the little guy kept running and finally hid under the couch. Where I was standing.

At this point I was terrified: I couldn’t get off the couch because the mouse might touch my feet, but I desperately wanted to get off in case it decided to crawl up onto the couch. Basically I was standing on the cushions going like this:


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Literally.

Finally, Jack realized the mouse was no longer in the closet (seriously, it took him forever to figure this out) and he came around to sniff under the couch after Fabio and I both pointed him in the right direction. The mouse scurried out from under the couch and Fabio was able to hit him again with the broom. He hit him about 5 or 6 times (yelling each time – it was hysterical) and then even when the mouse was dead, he hit him a few more times (LOL).

When we were both sure the mouse was dead, Fabio used the dustpan to throw it in the trash while I cleaned mouse blood and brains off the carpet. This is when I realized that being 27 and having these adult responsibilities is maybe not all fun and games.

You better believe we set up all the traps before we went to bed.

Oh, and the next day? My birthday? I took the trash out (in the rain) and when I came back inside I was greeted to a gigantic spricket. Happy birthday to me!

Question of the day: Have any funny pest stories?

 Posted by on September 28, 2016
Sep 232016
 

Hey friends! Happy Friday! Life is good over here – two of my best friends are staying with us through the weekend (unfortunately due to sad circumstances). Britt drove down from Boston, and Catrina flew in from California. It sure has been fun having them here! Plus tomorrow we have plans to go bridesmaids dress shopping and then out to brunch with a huge group of our friends for my birthday (which is on Tuesday!), and originally I didn’t think they’d be able to make it since they live so far away. I’m so happy they are going to be able to come now! 🙂

Anyway, I’d rather spend time snuggling with them on the couch than sitting over here at the computer, so I’m going to keep things short today and just leave you with some snapshots of my evening with them. 😉

When I came home from work, I was greeted with fun music, a cocktail, and three of my favorite people on the planet (plus Jack).

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I saw that Catrina and Britt had written on our “I Love You Because” board. 🙂

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I had written “you protect me from the Demogorgon” after we finished watching Stranger Things, and they added “you let the gurlays move in” since they’ve been working remotely from our house while Fabio and I head into the office.

After our cocktails, we all took Jack on a walk to the park.

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<3

And then we hit up Whole Foods for some groceries for the weekend, as well as hodge-podge dinners from the hot bar/salad bar.

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Only the fanciest meals at casa Fabio and Chelsea. 😉 (Don’t worry, we are cooking a real meal tonight.)

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I layered the bottom of my box with spinach and mixed greens, and then tossed lots of other goodies on top. The mac and cheese was phenomenal. So cheesy! Plus I have leftovers for lunch today. Woohoo!

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Britt and I also got these coconut date rolls for dessert. They were very tasty, but reminded us a bit of snowy dog poop, haha! I had a hard time finishing mine after that comparison, but don’t worry, I still did. 😉

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Alright, I’m heading back to my gurlays on the couch to finish watching this game. Byeee!

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Question of the day: How often do you get to see your long-distance best friends?

Never often enough!!

 Posted by on September 23, 2016
Sep 162016
 

Local friends, what are you doing on Sunday, October 16, at 6:00 pm? Nothing? Good – then you are free to join me at the Whole Foods on P Street in Logan Circle for a dinner with Pacers Running!

At the dinner, I will be talking about all the usual stuff you see on CET: how to balance a healthy lifestyle through meal planning, fitness, and a ton of fun thrown into the mix. You’ll also enjoy a three-course meal with beer and wine (woohoo!) and you can meet other fitness fanatics in the area. This is a great way to network and connect with others like you (perhaps you’ll meet a new running buddy?), enjoy a relaxing Sunday dinner, and get some tips on how to realistically balance the craziness that life brings with a few healthy habits.

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Truthfully, I’m honored that Whole Foods and Pacers Running invited me to speak at this important event, but I’m also feeling a bit nervous about the whole thing! Public speaking is not something I have too much experience with, but I’m thinking that with a glass of wine in my hand I should do ok. 😉 One thing that would help me a lot is to see some of your friendly faces and know that you – my most faithful readers – are cheering me on from your seats! I’m also really looking forward to meeting you guys and talking to you during the event. 🙂

If you’re interested in coming, tickets are $65 and you can reserve your seat here.

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I hope to see you there on October 16!

Question of the day: If you were going to come to a dinner where I was speaking (please come if you can!) what you want to hear me talk about?

 Posted by on September 16, 2016
Sep 142016
 

Hi friends! I didn’t really have anything specific to chat with you about today, so I thought it would be a good time to post a fun blog survey. Feel free to play along in the comments below! 🙂

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate, 100%. (Except when it comes to ice cream, in which case I prefer vanilla with chocolate toppings.) I would say that if there’s one food I crave more than any other, it’s chocolate. After almost every meal I wind up wanting something chocolatey, and it’s taken me a lot of practice over the years to not give in to those cravings every time. I’m still not perfect, but I’ve learned to stop buying bags of chocolate chips from the store because I can now admit to myself that eating a whole bag without ever having baked with them is not ok. Semisweet chips are my nemesis!

Photo from my mini banana oatmeal chocolate chip muffins. Love those!

Innie or Outtie?

I have an in innie! Confession time: In high school when I was on cheerleading, I really wanted to get my belly button pierced. A few of my friends on the squad had theirs pierced, and I thought it was what all the “cool girls” were doing. Luckily for me (in hindsight) I was self-conscious of my weight at that time so I never did it. Thank goodness.

Oh hey, it’s Hana and Bianca!

I’m on the bottom there somewhere…

Hot, Hot Summer or Snowy Winter?

Hot summer! I loooove the summer and am one of those people who embraces the feeling of coming outside from an air conditioned building and feeling a wave of hot, humid air hit you in the face. I even kind of like getting into the car in the summer when it’s super hot. Something about the summer just makes me so happy, and lately I’ve been really trying to embrace my walks with Jack where I’m wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops because I know these days are numbered. I think February and March are the worst months ever, and I’d trade them for July and August any day.

Save or Spend?

Save. I am actually a really frugal (cheap?) person, and I hate to spend money when I don’t need to. I am not the sort of person who will shop at Bloomingdales or Nordstrom (even though I love them) because I know I can find better deals at TJ Maxx or Marshalls. I think I’ve gotten even more frugal since I started dating Fabio almost 8 years ago (!!) because he really is a budget master. This winds up being good for us though because it allows us to spend money on buying a town houseplanning a wedding, and traveling! I think saving really helps us to prioritize the things that we really want to spend money on. (Although I could use some new workout gear from Lululemon…)

Photo from our recent trip to Colombia!

Elliptical or Treadmill?

Meh – I’m not really a fan of either of these but I’ll say treadmill because it’s more versatile. Plus, you can always find a good treadmill workout to mix things up!

Banana or Apple?

I eat both of these almost every day, but I’ll have to go with bananas here. I can’t say I get too excited about an apple, but when I have a banana that’s perfectly ripe I actually get excited to eat it. Is that weird?

Morning or Night?

Morning! I am without a doubt a morning person, and I get so much energy from getting up and getting things done early in the day. Fabio is a night person and prefers to do all his productive activities right when I’m getting ready for bed, and it drives me nuts! By 10:45 pm, and I am already asleep. And, even though I hate when the alarm goes off at 5:00 am, I’d much rather get up and get stuff done at that time of day.

Love or Money?

Love. Does anyone ever choose money for this question?

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Photo from our engagement session in Jamaica!

Lip Balm or Lipstick?

Lipstick! While I will always carry a tube of Burt’s Bees Lip Balm in my purse, lately I’ve gotten really into lipstick and now have a bunch of fun colors in my purse as well! I think adding some lipstick to a normal ensemble can make things a little more fun, and I’m trying to make a conscious effort to wear it more often. 🙂

Pictured above: Urban Decay matte lipstick in the color Tilt

Alone or with others?

I have a lot of fun when I’m with others, but I like being alone too. Since I grew up as an only child (although I now have an 11-year-old half-sister and a step-sister close to my age) I am used to entertaining myself and am totally fine when left alone. That being said, I was also a daycare kid and would spend 12 full hours at daycare with other children growing up, so I’m also good at talking to just about anybody. While there is nothing better than a fun weekend surrounded by all of my best friends, I also enjoy a wine, sushi, and Netflix binge night on my own.

Coffee or Tea?

Yikes – this is a tough one. I used to be a tea person all the way, and while I still enjoy my mugs of green tea, lately I’ve been drinking a lot more coffee! Ah! What has the world come to?

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Straight or Curly?

My hair is naturally straight – like don’t-blow-dry-it-or-straighten-it-at-all straight – so I like wearing it curly as a change of pace.

Oh look, it’s Hana and Bianca again, almost 10 years after that first picture. 🙂

Three Squares or Graze All Day?

Three squares during the week, but on weekends sometimes it’s two squares or more grazing. Since we eat more indulgently on the weekends, I don’t always eat three meals. During the week though, I need that three meal routine!

Right-handed or left-handed?

Right!

Beach or Mountains?

Beach! Although Aunt CC’s and Uncle Steve’s house in the Berkshires is making me consider the mountains much more.

So sad I missed the annual girls trip to Fire Island this year!

Mac or PC?

Mac! I use an iMac at home and a Macbook Pro at work, and although there are definitely some things that PCs do better, I like how Macs hardly ever seem to freeze, get viruses, or break down for no reason. Knock on wood.

Shy or Outgoing?

Outgoing. I can talk to anyone!

Question of the day: Your turn!

Beach or mountains?

Chocolate or vanilla?

Three squares or graze all day?

 Posted by on September 14, 2016
Aug 312016
 

Hey there! I had fun recapping my Monday last week, so I thought I’d do the same thing today. I hope you guys enjoy another edition of Monday in Review!

I woke up at 6:05 on Monday morning and began my day with a sleepy walk around the neighborhood with Jack. I let him run around off-leash at the park while I listened to a Bon Appetit podcast, so it was a nice way to start the day.

At 6:40, my chariot (Anne!) arrived to pick me up. We drove into Georgetown with a beautiful sunrise, and before we knew it we were sweating to another great workout at Urban Athletic Club.

We had a fun class taught by Romain which included some jump roping.

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I’m never very good at jump roping, but it definitely is fun and it’s a great way to get your heart pumping!

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This was our first class without our friend Kathleen, who actually wound up having her baby yesterday. Woohoo! Kathleen was such a trooper and kept the workouts going up until a few weeks ago. Amazing! Congratulations, Kathleen – we will miss you while you’re out!

After class, I hopped in the shower at UAC and then took the bus over to the metro. I’m reading a really good book right now called Katherine, so I really enjoyed my hour on the metro to read it.

Before I knew it, I had arrived at work and it was time to dig into breakfast: plain Greek yogurt drizzled with a little honey, plus a banana and homemade peanut granola from my favorite Eating in the Middle cookbook.

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This granola is like crack, and I’ve even found myself reaching for handfuls after dinner when I’m craving something sweet. It’s delicious!

My yogurt bowl tupperware was a little too small once I added all my toppings, but I was too lazy to grab a bigger bowl out of the office kitchen. #keepingitreal

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After working all morning I took a break for lunch, which was a salad with couscous, chicken, feta cheese, carrots, Craisins, and avocado. Plus balsamic dressing. Yum! I picked up some pearl couscous during my last trip to the grocery store, and I’m liking these larger rice-like grains a lot!

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While I ate I read some blogs at my desk (ugh I know – I should have gone outside, but my email inbox kept pinging and it was hard to totally step away) and then it was back to work.

I took a break at around 3:30 (like usual) for a snack! On Monday I had a peach and a mug of raspberry green tea.

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Sadly my peach was a bit of a dud – it was sort of mealy/flavorless – so I wound up tossing it after a couple of bites. Boo.

After work, I walked over to 8407 Kitchen Bar to meet two of my old coworkers for dinner! (One of whom is my friend Claire, who you guys hear about often!)

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8407 Kitchen Bar is a fun little spot that’s sort of tucked away from the main drag of downtown Silver Spring, and they have great happy hour specials and delicious food. We wound up ordering spinach artichoke dip, calamari, and deviled eggs (all unpictured because I was having too much fun chatting) and then a while later we wound up ordering a second order of the deviled eggs because they were so yummy.

Having dinner with my old coworkers made me realize how much I miss working with them every day, but it also made me feel incredibly lucky that we still keep in touch as much as we do. It’s important to keep up those relationships!

Claire rode the metro home with me up until Noma (man, I miss being her neighbor!) and then I rode the rest of the way home by myself. I actually wound up getting caught up in reading and responding to emails once Claire got off the train, and I went two stops farther than I needed to on the metro! Oops – that never happens!

Luckily I realized my mistake and quickly got back on a train in the other direction, but then when I got to metro center to transfer trains I forgot I was on the opposite side of the platform as usual, and got on another train in the wrong direction! Ah!

At this point I started reading my kindle which sucked me in for a while, and eventually I looked up to see what stop we were at and I realized I had gone pretty far in the wrong direction – again. Of course when I got out to transfer there were no trains coming for a while, so I waited at the deserted L’enfant Plaza station for a while.

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Eventually a train came, but it was a blue line train which only goes as far as Rosslyn (I needed orange or silver). I quickly called Fabio and asked if he could pick me up from Rosslyn since the next orange or silver trains would be another 12 minutes. Luckily he agreed, and before long I was in Rosslyn waiting for my second chariot of the day.

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Ugh – what a nightmare. And I didn’t even have any wine at dinner! Sheesh! I wound up not getting home until almost 10:00, and by that time I was ready for bed.

The end!

Question of the day: When was the last time you made a stupid travel blunder?

 Posted by on August 31, 2016
Aug 242016
 

Hi friends! Those of you who are long-time CET readers know that reading is one of my favorite passions in life, and I plow through books like nobody’s business. In fact, I have a weirdly close relationship with my Kindle, and even though it cost me less than $130 it’s definitely one of my most prized possessions. Whether it’s getting lost in a book during my hour-long metro ride to work or reading a few pages in bed before falling asleep, nothing makes me happier than having a good book to read!

That said, I’ve read quite a few good books this summer (and unfortunately a couple of duds as well) so I thought I’d share a few of the highlights with you today. Maybe you’re hitting the beach one last time before summer ends or maybe you’re spending some time at the pool before it closes after Labor Day, but wherever your plans may take you, if you’re looking for book recommendations here are some of my recent favorites!

Love in the Time of Cholera

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Fabio’s sister Diane bought this book for me when we were in Cartagena since the Nobel Prize-winning author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is one of her favorite writers. I actually already had the book on my “want to read” list, so I was thrilled when she offered to get it for me as a souvenir. The book also takes place in Cartagena, which made it really fun to read once our trip was over.

Aside from all of that, I loved this book so much because of Marquez’s absolutely beautiful writing. While the plot is definitely interesting, the highlights of this book for me were the vivid descriptions of the setting and the interactions between the characters. Marquez uses the most mundane details that most writers would skip over to paint a realistic picture of what life is actually like for these characters. His writing is so complex and detailed that I actually had a hard time getting into this book for the first few pages, but once I got into it I had a hard time putting it down. When the book was over I felt like I had actually gotten smarter from reading it, and I felt like I probably would never read another book again that was written so beautifully. This one can be summed up in one word: wow.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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This is another book that had been on my reading list for ages, and when I decided to start reading it I honestly had no idea what to expect. This nonfiction book follows the journey of the author, Rebecca Skloot, as she uncovers the history behind Henrietta Lacks, a black woman living in 1950s Baltimore whose cells were taken from her unknowingly during a medical procedure, which wound up being a major contributor to medical science and helped find the cure to polio. Even today, most scientists have Henrietta’s cells in their labs, and they are still being used to find the cures to diseases like cancer and AIDS. The crazy part about this story is that even though Henrietta was a major contributor to modern day medical treatments, she was a poor black woman at the time (in fact her descendants are still poor today) and she had no clue her cells had even been taken from her by one of the only doctors who would treat black patients at the time.

This true story the author uncovers in her research is shocking, and it’s hard to imagine that just 60ish years ago, the U.S. was treating African Americans in this way. It was a really eye-opening book for me, and I felt like I was telling all my friends about this book as soon as I was done reading it.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

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This book! Ah! I really loved this one. Someone recommended this book to me a while back, and for the life of me I can’t remember who it was. If it was anyone reading, then thank you!! As you may know, historical fiction is my favorite genre, and this one took me right into rural 19th century China where young girls were being foot-bound. This is a historical phenomenon I honestly didn’t know anything about before, but I always sort of wondered about it (maybe everyone does?). This book explains the whole process in detail, and it’s really interesting to see how this practice shaped Chinese culture.

Aside from the historical context of this book, I also really connected with the characters and empathized with them during their journeys. Excellent read!

Rebecca

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This was another book that I had on my reading list that I didn’t know anything about before picking it up. The fictional story takes place in England in the 1930s, which was actually when the book was written. It follows the story of a young girl who starts off as a poor maid to a rich old lady, who falls in love with a handsome man almost twice her age, marries him, and then finds herself in charge of his beautiful and famous manner on the water. The main character – who is weirdly not named throughout the whole story – is haunted by her new husband’s late wife, who seems to be everything she’s not. Whereas the main character is young, inexperienced, awkward, from a poorer background, and introverted, her husband’s late wife was beautiful, brilliant, funny, outgoing, well-bred, and commanding.

Again while the story line was interesting, the writing here is really what stood out to me. The author does a great job of making you feel exactly what the main character is feeling, which sometimes is awkward and very introverted behavior (these parts made me cringe!). It was a beautiful story with a couple of twists, and I’m planning to go back and reread this one in a couple of months.

A Man Called Ove

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Ok, this was a book I wanted to love but I think I just didn’t get it. This book had tons of great ratings and I even got a couple of comments from you guys saying you loved it, but I think it just wasn’t for me. While I did enjoy the character development of the grumpy old man named Ove – and I especially liked finding out why he was so grumpy – I didn’t like it enough to feel really wowed by the book and I was honestly kind of happy when it was over so I could move on to something else. In fact, I almost didn’t even include this book on this list but I know a lot of other people really enjoyed it and it wasn’t that I hated it or anything, so I am still throwing it up here. If you read this book and loved it, please enlighten me!

Want to see even more books I like? Check out my book reviews page and follow me on Goodreads!

Question(s) of the day: Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

 Posted by on August 24, 2016
Aug 172016
 

Hello, and happy hump day! How’s your week going?

It’s been a while since I wrote a day-in-the-life type of post (usually I forget to take enough pictures!) but I wound up documenting most of my day on Monday so I thought it would make a good recap post. Here we go!

The alarm went off at 5:55 am on Monday, which was almost a whole hour later than normal. Woohoo! After getting up and getting dressed, I took Jack on a quick walk around the neighborhood and to the park for his morning walk. Then I hopped in the car to pick up Anne for our morning workout! I love that we are neighbors again. 🙂

On Monday we checked out a new class via ClassPass: the bis, tris, and thighs class at TRUE Health & Wholeness.

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It didn’t take us long to get there and we found parking easily, so we had plenty of time to stretch and check out the gym. One of the first things I noticed about TRUE Health & Wholeness was the positive energy of the place! Many of the walls were covered with inspirational chalkboards covered with members’ personal goals and records. I loved this public display of accountability with individual goals!

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I also noticed a health and wellness area tucked into the corner of the gym that had a plastic skeleton on display where I assume instructors talk to you about your overall health. Cool!

Once the class started, Keith, our instructor for the day, led us through a quick 30-minute circuit that included a warm-up outside and plenty of stations that had us challenging our biceps, triceps, and thighs.

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One of my favorite exercises from the class was what Keith called “21s” which is when you do 7 reps of bicep curls halfway up, 7 reps halfway down, and 7 reps of full high to low bicep curls. It was a good one!

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Anne and I both agreed that we liked the class a lot, but we felt 30 minutes was a little too short. We would have loved a longer class from 6:30 – 7:30 am!

I usually leave for work around 8:00 am, so I arrived home with just enough to hop in the shower and throw some clothes on. Luckily I had packed my breakfast and lunch the night before, so I was able to run out the door fairly quickly. I even skipped my usual makeup routine in favor of a quick dash of mascara, and I arrived at work 9 minutes late. Hey, it could have been worse!

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I then proceeded to eat breakfast at my desk, which included a Nature Valley protein bar.

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These bars are great for when you need a quick boost of protein since they have 10 grams per bar. They’re not too bad with the sugar either (6g).

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I also had an unpictured banana, which was almost too ripe for me to eat since I’m a texture freak. Luckily I powered through it, haha!

Then I work, work, worked all morning, and before long it was time for lunch. My salads this week have been particularly tasty thanks to a recent trip to Trader Joe’s where I picked up a few new-to-me salad add-ins like pre-cooked lentils and pomegranate seeds.

In my bowl: mixed greens (with arugula, my fav!), feta cheese, lentils, chicken, pomegranate seeds, balsamic dressing.

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I actually had shredded carrots at home too but forgot to add them in. Darn!

At around 3:30 I stopped for a snack: a nectarine and green tea. This one was incredibly juicy and made a huge mess (which is just how I like them!).

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When I left work at around 6:00 pm, the sky was looking very ominous!

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Yikes! Apparently a huge storm rolled through as soon as I got on the metro, so luckily I avoided getting wet. Phew!

When I arrived home around 7:00 I was feeling pretty snacky so I grabbed a handful of almonds and cashews. They were really tasty and I could have easily gone back for more.

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Instead, I joined Fabio for a walk with Jack! There were a few storm clouds building up in Arlington, but it definitely didn’t look as bad out as Silver Spring had when I left the office. It’s crazy how much the weather changes in the summer!

We took Jack over to Quincy Park, which is only a couple of blocks away and one of our favorite new stomping grounds. When it’s not too crowded we let him run around off the leash, but it was pretty packed on Monday with people playing tennis, softball, and soccer.

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Jack didn’t mind though since he was still able to hunt for squirrels among the big trees in the park.

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Haha!

When we arrived home I poured myself a glass of white wine and got to work on dinner.

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During my recent trip to Trader Joe’s I had also picked up their curry chicken tenders which I cooked up on Monday alongside some brown rice. I also sauteed some onions, garlic, carrots, and tomatoes in coconut milk and Thai red curry paste which made for a nice topping.

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Yum!

While we ate we watched Bachelor in Paradise, the world’s most ridiculous show. Anyone else watching?

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Even Jack watched with us! I think he was confused by Carly’s feelings for Evan. 😉

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Once we cleared up the dishes I also enjoyed a mini ice cream cone that I also got from TJ’s. These things really are mini; this is what it looked like after I ate the tiny top off!

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At around 9:45 a huge thunderstorm came through, and Fabio and I peeked outside and realized we have a slight gutter problem. Sigh. I guess now we’ll have to get a bigger ladder so we can clean out our gutters and see if anything else is wrong with them.

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#Homeownerproblems

When the show was over we headed upstairs and I spent a few minutes organizing my new jewelry holder that I recently ordered from Etsy. I love that it has room for studs, hanging earrings, bracelets, and necklaces!

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It was also very easy to hang since it came with a paper template to help you line everything up. I would 100% recommend this if you’re in the market for something similar!

This is only a fraction of my jewelry, and I can’t wait to finish organizing the rest of it. Already I’ve been noticing that I’m wearing certain pieces more than I did before when they were all tucked away in a jewelry box! I love this thing!

Then I read my kindle in bed for a few minutes (I’m reading A Man Called Ove and truthfully am happy I’m almost finished with it – see my list of favorite books here) and fell asleep approximately 15 seconds after I put my book down.

The end!

Question(s) of the day: How do you organize your jewelry? Are you watching Bachelor in Paradise? Read any good books lately?

 Posted by on August 17, 2016
Aug 102016
 

As you know, Fabio and I got invited to a ton of weddings this year, and a few months back when I was planning what I would wear to each of them I got really stumped! While I definitely have a decent amount of nice dresses to wear to weddings, there came a point where I realized I was probably going to have to go out an buy something new to wear for at least some of them.

It was around this time that I started thinking about trying Rent the Runway! A few of my friends had tried it in the past and were pleased with how everything worked out, so after staring at my collection of dresses that I’ve worn tons of times already, I decided to give it a shot.

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Signing up was easy, and once I was logged in I browsed through tons of dresses that I liked and was able to save them to different “wish lists” in my account. I made lists for the different weddings I was planning to get dresses for (one for Jay and Meg’s black tie wedding and one for Bobby and Dani’s regular one) and then once I had a few contenders I took screenshots of my options and sent them to a few of my girlfriends for feedback (as one does). They helped me narrow down my choices and then I selected the dates I would need the dresses for, chose my size, clicked my way through the payment process and voila! Dresses = purchased.

A couple of days before Bobby and Dani’s wedding, the first dress arrived! For this wedding, I initially chose the Sangria Claire Dress from Elizabeth and James, which was $70 to rent and would have cost $365 to buy.

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When you order a dress from Rent the Runway you can get a second size for free, so I got a 4 and a 6. When I tried on the 4 it was SUPER tight, but I tried on the 6 and it fit ok. It was definitely still tight, but I was ok with how it looked. Unfortunately when I took the size 6 dress off I noticed it had a bit of a stain/water mark on it, and since it was so close to the wedding I didn’t think I would have time to get it dry cleaned. Obviously this was very, very annoying and definitely wasn’t a good first impression for my experience with Rent the Runway.

Thankfully I had Friday off from work due to my summer flex schedule so I was able to bring both sizes of the dress to my local Rent the Runway store in Georgetown and make an exchange. When I explained my situation to the staff at the store they were very apologetic and immediately set me up with a computer so I could browse the dresses in their store and exchange the dresses with something that would work.

I wound up finding a dress that I actually liked even more than the original one, and I got a $25 credit to my account because of the stain issue. Not bad at all!

The dress that I got from the store is the Lavender Floral Marceline Maxi dress from Parker (size 4), which cost $80 to rent and would have cost $398 to buy.

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(FYI – that’s a slit in the back.)

I really loved this dress and felt so good in it at Bobby and Dani’s wedding. I also received a ton of compliments on it too! It was a little long on me but I wore flat sandals since it was an outdoor wedding on the water, and I’m sure if I had worn heels it would have been fine.

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When I was done with the dress I zipped it back into the bag and dropped it off at a UPS box down the street from me, which was the easiest thing ever. I was actually sort of sad to return this one; it was so beautiful and I bet I could have found an occasion to wear it again.

Then a few days later, my dress arrived for Jay and Meg’s black tie wedding! For this wedding I chose the Hudson Gown by Laundry by Shelli Segal (size 4) which cost $100 to rent and would have been $325 to buy.

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I especially loved the back of this one!

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I tried to order a size 4 and a size 6 of this dress since the second size is free, but the 6 was unavailable so I wound up getting a size 4 and a size 8. The 4 fit pretty well but was a little snug and the 8 was HUGE up top so I think a 6 really would have been best, but in the end the 4 was just fine.

This dress was absolutely perfect for Jay and Meg’s wedding, and once again I received so, so, so many compliments on it.

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I also thought that Rent the Runway was perfect for this occasion because I don’t go to many black tie events that would require me to actually own a dress like this, and even if I did, a bright red dress is pretty memorable so I wouldn’t want to wear it again for quite a while. Renting this dress from Rent the Runway was perfect!

All in all, I was really happy with my experience with Rent the Runway even if it didn’t start off on the best foot. I thought the ordering process was really easy and the staff at the store made me feel a lot better about having to go in to make an exchange due to a stain on one of the dresses. I loved both of the dresses that I got and even surprised myself by wanting to keep the first one. I do think this service is fairly expensive just to rent a dress (I’m very cheap/frugal!) but I definitely think it’s worth it for special occasions like black tie weddings or if you have 7 weddings to go to in one year. 😉

First time users of Rent the Runway can also get $30 off with my referral code here. If you try it out, I hope you like the service as much as I did!

Question of the day: Have you ever tried Rent the Runway? How did it go?

Note: This post was not sponsored in any way, although it does include a referral link. All opinions are my own. Thank you for your support. 

 Posted by on August 10, 2016