Jan 162018
 

Hi friends! Thank you so much for the kind words after my 2018 goals and blogging update post – it’s so nice to know you guys are behind me no matter what my blogging schedule looks like moving forward. 🙂 For now, I wanted to pop in to share a super fun 3-day weekend that we had in Philly. I didn’t take a ton of photos because I wasn’t sure if I was going to post about it, but here I am on Monday evening with an urge to share, so I’m going for it!

Friday

On Friday evening, Fabio and I had a date night! Fabio’s on an international networking group at his job, and they’re planning a cool event to celebrate the Winter Olympics in a couple of weeks. They’re planning to serve Korean food at the event, and Fabio recently got to sample food from a couple of local Korean restaurants so he could help decide what to have at the event. He and his team wound up going with food from a place called Seoul Spice, and after he raved about it to me I made him promise to take me there for dinner. 🙂 We didn’t have plans for Friday evening, so a date night at the Korean spot was in order!

Seoul Spice is actually located in our old neighborhood of NoMa, and when we arrived we realized it was a fast-casual spot! Ha! I guess we should have looked it up ahead of time. Oh well – it was still a fun date night even it was more casual that we realized. Plus the food was SO delicious!

I went with the “Klassic” bowl with purple rice, and everything was so delicious. I definitely recommend this place if you’re in the area!

Saturday

Saturday morning began nice and slow. While I took Jack on a long walk, Fabio was busy at home making us lattes and arepas (basically Colombian corn pancakes, but not sweet at all). I made some soft-scrambled eggs to go with the arepas, and we enjoyed a delicious late breakfast.

After that, we got ourselves ready to head up to Philly! Our friend Jake turned 30 this weekend, and his fiance Greg threw a surprise party for him on Saturday night. Jake and Greg were both in Fabio’s fraternity in college, so many of his fraternity brothers were coming into town for it too. I couldn’t wait to see everyone!

We hit some traffic as soon as we arrived in Pennsylvania, but all things considered, we had a pretty easy drive up.

We arrived in Philly around 2 p.m., and then spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with our friends watching the Eagles playoff game at a bar near our hotel. Then at 8 p.m. we headed to the party, and the birthday boy (and his friend who was also turning 30) entered the room as we all yelled “Surprise!”

I think it’s safe to say Jake and his friend were surprised – they literally yelled, “Is all this for us?!”

Success! The party itself was so much fun, and Greg did a great job coordinating every detail. I miss these guys!

After the party, Fabio and I went out to another bar with his best friend, Hayden, and we spent the night dancing just like old times. So fun!

Sunday

On Sunday morning we had brunch plans with my good friend (and sorority sister/bridesmaid) Kristen, and her fiance Mark. We went to Girard Bruncherie to eat, and it was so, so delicious. Highly recommend this spot!

While we were there, Mark casually mentioned that next weekend they had plans to attend the Philadelphia Home Show, and we joked that we should drive back up to go with them. Then he said that the home show was also in town that weekend and that he happened to have two extra tickets to go. We then found ourselves making plans to go to the home show after brunch. Who knew we’d wind up doing something so random, impulsive, and adult?!

We wound up spending the next couple of hours walking around the Philly Home Show with Kristen and Mark as we checked out lots of different home renovation booths. It was super helpful to see different materials in person, especially since we’re meeting with the kitchen contractor later this week to start making real plans. We looked at cabinets, countertops, flooring options, hardware, and more, all with two of our favorite people by our sides. Yep, it was random, but so fun!

We said goodbye to Kristen and Mark around 3 p.m., and got home around 5:30 p.m., at which point Fabio offered to make chicken parm for dinner. What a treat! It was really cold out too, so we enjoyed a cozy fire at home while we ate.

Oh yes, and those are Fabio’s famous mozzarella sticks on the side. 🙂

After dinner, we stayed up way too late watching our current favorite Netflix show, The Travellers. Has anyone else been watching that one? We also recently watched Peaky Blinders and Godless, all of which have been amazing. Netflix is killing it with their original series lately!

Monday

We had talked about meeting up with our friend Jason for a FlyWheel class on Monday, but instead Fabio and I decided to have a lazy day at home. We slept in, we watched more Netflix, I took a nap, and then I did other important stuff like meal-planning and grocery shopping to prep for the week ahead. We currently have another fire in the fireplace, and Fabio’s making me dinner again. Woohoo! I could get used to this.

This week ahead should be a busy one – work is pretty busy right now and we are planning to get started with kitchen plans, which I’m getting SO excited for. I’m sure I’ll be sharing some updates about that soon!

Question of the day: Have you ever had a surprise party planned for you?

My best friend Bianca planned one for me when I turned 15. It was at my own house and I was STILL shocked!!

 Posted by on January 16, 2018
Jan 042018
 

Helloooo there! How’s your first week of 2018 going? Mine is going pretty well, though it’s *SO* cold in D.C. this week. Brr!

Anyway, I’m back today with another recap of my holiday break! After Christmas, Fabio and I both had to work for a couple of days and then after work on December 27th, we drove up to Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s mountain house in Otis, Massachusetts. I was able to duck out of work about 15 minutes early and Fabio picked me up right from the office, so we made it up north in record time! We usually don’t arrive until 2 a.m., but this time we arrived around 12:30. Woohoo!

I had to snap this picture as I headed upstairs to put my stuff down – isn’t it just SO cozy?

We had a bunch of friends come up with us for the weekend, including one of my besties from high school (Hana), one of my sorority sisters (Britt), and two of Fabio’s friends (Jason and Bryan). We love spending time at CC and Steve’s place, and we were excited to share it with our friends!

Of course when we arrived, CC spoiled us with a gigantic spread of goodies.

We had some gigantic shrimp (seriously, they were SO big and tasty), chicken sausages, cheese, cookies, caprese skewers, and more.

CC really outdid herself! (Especially since it was the middle of the night…)

Steve, of course, poured us some delicious cocktails upon arrival, and we all settled on the couch to play What Do You Meme. Have you guys played this game? It’s similar to Cards Against Humanity and is really fun! Eventually Hana and I fell asleep on CC and Steve’s huge comfy couch, but the boys stayed up until 6 a.m. playing games. Oof!

Thursday, Dec. 28

We woke up to some brutally cold weather on Thursday, so after a delicious breakfast we all bundled up in tons of layers so we could head out to the slopes.

Also I clearly needed to charge my phone – LOL!

CC and Steve live next to two different mountains – one is kind of small and just five minutes from the house, and the other is a bit bigger but about 30 minutes away. On Thursday we tackled the smaller one, Otis Ridge.

I’m not a very good skier, and I like to go really slowly and stay in control. I did ok with my skiing on Thursday, but I went down the mountain at an embarrassingly slow speed. But, I only fell once, which was a heck of a lot better than last year! My friends were all a lot better at skiing than I was, and they lapped me a few times on the mountain. Oh well, I did my best!

When we ladies were mostly done skiing, we grabbed some soup in the lodge while Fabio and Steve completed a few last runs. Then it was back home to sit by the fire! Ahhh!

We all showered (the hot shower felt *amazing*) and then changed into warm PJs. We spent the next few hours sipping cocktails and eating snacks until it was time for dinner!

We wound up having two kinds of lasagna (veggie and meat) and a delicious salad that Hana brought.

Plus cheesecake, brownies, cookies, and bars for dessert! #allthetreats

Dinner was also a TON of fun – maybe my favorite part of the whole trip – and we went around the table saying what our last meals would be and which celebrities we would invite to a dinner party. Everyone in this group is really outgoing, so the atmosphere was just a lot of fun. The delicious wine didn’t hurt either. 🙂

After dinner, we played Speak Out, another new-to-me game where one person wears a ridiculous mouthpiece and tries to talk, while everyone else guesses what they’re saying. Ha!

It was a lot of fun!

Friday, December 29

The next day was another cold one, though the “feels like” temperature was only -12 this time. Ha! Twice as warm as the day before! 😉

This time we hit up the bigger mountain, Butternut!

Here’s the whole gang!

Britt & me!

And Hana & me 🙂

I liked this mountain a lot better – there was a glorified bunny slope that I went down a ton of times that helped me get more comfortable on my skis and get better at controlling my speed. Luckily, CC skis like I do (nice and slow) so we went down that mountain a lot and only went down a bigger mountain once (I was scared going down that one, and did wind up falling once).

It was so nice having her there with me to go my speed! Our friend Jason wasn’t a fan of the bigger mountain either, so he kept us company on the small mountain when he wasn’t warming up in the lodge (he also has a back injury right now so didn’t want to ski too much).

The rest of the group tackled the tougher runs! Here’s a picture Hana took (she snowboarded) of Fabio and Britt. Aren’t the surrounding mountains pretty?

Fabio even went down a black diamond, which was new for him. Go Fabio!

The mountain closed at 4 p.m., at which point we repeated our cycle of showering and changing into jammies.

So cozy!

That night we ate an assortment of random leftovers for dinner, including some challah French toast that Bryan made, soup, and leftover lasagna. Plus we just about ate our weight in cheese. ‘Tis the season!

Sunday, December 30

On Sunday morning we all had breakfast at the Otis diner (I got an omelet with veggies, cheese, and bacon) and then hit the road. The drive usually takes us about 6.5 hours, but it snowed all through Massachusetts and Connecticut, so we carefully crawled along. We didn’t get home until 7 p.m., at which point we sat on the couch and didn’t move. Ha!

Monday, December 31

Our New Years Eve day was pretty relaxing and included a lot of Netflix and couch time. In the evening, we headed over to our friend Courtney and Kevin’s apartment in Clarendon for a celebration with friends!

She had some delicious snacks set out for us and made a festive champagne cocktail.

We had a dinner reservation across the street at 8:30 at Green Pig Bistro, which was super convenient. At 8:25, we walked right over!

I’d always wanted to try Green Pig Bistro, and I thought the food was really tasty! I especially liked the cinnamon bun bread pudding, which came coated in corn flakes. Yum!

The company wasn’t bad either. 🙂 I had a GREAT time sitting next to two of my besties and catching up on life.

We got back to Courtney’s place just in time to count down and watch the ball drop!

Happy New Year!!

After the ball dropped, we changed into PJs and stayed to chat until 3 a.m. at which point Megan declared it was time to go home. Ha! She was right, as usual.

Overall it was an absolutely perfect holiday season, and I’m once again left feeling so thankful for all the people in my life who made it so fun! <3

Question of the day: Do you like big New Years celebrations or smaller, quiet ones? This one was just perfect!

 Posted by on January 4, 2018
Jan 032018
 

Hey friends! Happy 2018! I hope you all enjoyed a nice break over the holidays – I know I did! Our Christmas and New Year celebrations kept us very busy over the last week or so, and I have a couple of posts coming your way with recaps. First up is our Christmas celebration!

Friday, Dec. 22

I had off from work on Friday and spent the majority of my day in the kitchen! In the morning I baked three kinds of cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction: Classic Peanut Butter Cookies, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, and Chewy Gingersnap Cookies (from her cookbook, but these are similar).

Since I needed these cookies to last for a few days, I packaged them up and added a piece of bread to each container, which I had heard would keep them soft longer. It wound up working great, and I ate one of the cookies last night and it was STILL soft! I’m definitely going to use this trick again.

I also made this lemon blueberry bread to bring to a Christmas Eve brunch, and it was a huge hit. It was a busy day in the kitchen!

Later in the afternoon, I sat through some brutal traffic before arriving at my mom’s house for some tree-decorating and dinner. It was so fun reminiscing over old ornaments with her, and my stepdad made some delicious potato pancakes for dinner. Yum!

After we ate, I headed over to my friend Hana’s house to decorate gingerbread houses. Hana, Bianca, Sam, and I are all best friends from high school, and every year when everyone’s home for the holidays we gather at Hana’s to decorate gingerbread houses. It’s always so much fun to catch up with the girls!

This year Bianca picked up my house for me, and when she was out shopping, she texted me asking if I wanted to join her in making a “surprise” house. Of course I said yes, and it wound up being a gingerbread castle from Frozen!

It even came with little cut-outs of the characters. So fun!

In the end, the castles came out…ok. Ha! Hana and Sam’s traditional houses came out a bit better, but Bianca and I had fun with the castles. Too bad mine fell apart on the drive home!

The gang!

Saturday, Dec. 23

Fabio and I had plans to spend Saturday with his family outside of Baltimore, and before we hit the road, we stopped for breakfast at my favorite Arlington spot, Northside Social. Their breakfast sandwiches and coffees are just the best!

We had to run a few errands on our way over, including a stop at Home Goods where we saw this awesome black lab nutcracker on skis (his tail was the nutcracker part). We sent a photo to Aunt CC and Uncle Steve saying that if it hadn’t been $300 and so difficult to transport, we would have bought it for their mountain house in the Berkshires. Ha!

They told us to save our money. 😉

After that, we arrived at Fabio’s sister Diane/her husband Alex’s house where we got to visit our favorite Christmas elf!!

Baby Michael was four months old on Christmas, and looked so festive in all his holiday gear! We spent a fun afternoon and evening just hanging out with the fam, which was nice and relaxing. I even got to feed Michael!

Cutie in his Christmas PJs!

Sunday, Dec. 24

The next day, Christmas Eve, was super busy for us! First, Alex’s family came over for a Christmas Eve brunch, and we enjoyed plenty of delicious treats. Everyone loved my lemon blueberry bread! I loved the smoked salmon and everything bagels. 🙂

Then we participated in a fun white elephant gift exchange…

…and gave baby Michael and my neice, Sofia, their gifts (they arrived late the night before).

Fabio got Michael a baseball glove and a tee-ball bat and stand, even though he’s only four months old and won’t be able to use them for a few years. Ha! What can I say, he’s excited!

And we got Sofia a fun sparkly mermaid fin! She totally loved this gift and didn’t take her “fins” off for the whole rest of the day.

In the early afternoon, we said goodbye to Fabio’s family and drove over to my grandparents’ house! This is where I’ve traditionally spent Christmas Eve, so I’m glad we were able to make it over there again this year.

When we arrived, I discovered my sister and I were twinning!

Clearly we are related. 🙂

We then headed to the living room to swap presents with my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins.

We all got great gifts, and Fabio and I got money to put toward our upcoming kitchen renovation. 🙂

Then it was time to eat! I got to sit next to my sister (who changed into a new shirt that she got from my grandma…either because she was cold or because she didn’t want to match me anymore. Ha!)

Dinner included some delicious turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, and rolls.

Plus TONS of dessert!

At one point my phone got hacked…

And then there was some dancing and family photos after the plates were cleared. I love this one of my sister and grandpa!

And my adorable grandparents!

Here’s my side of the fam!

After that, we headed back to my dad’s house where we watched Elf and fell asleep around midnight.

Monday, Dec. 25

We woke up on Christmas morning to lots of presents!

Even the dogs got some big bones to munch on. 🙂

And we spent the next few hours opening presents, sipping mimosas and coffee, eating breakfast, and playing with our new stuff.

A little later in the day, we watched Home Alone and then got ready to head to my mom’s house.

My mom and stepdad host a big open house on Christmas Day, and this year’s party was really fun! I didn’t manage to snag any pictures because I was busy talking the whole time, but we had a really nice day chatting with my mom and stepdad’s friends.

Eventually it was time to head home (Fabio and I both had to work on the 26th) and we crashed hard when we got back around 8 p.m. Phew! At that point there was nothing I wanted more than to just sit on my own couch and do NOTHING. It was a busy, busy Christmas! However, we left feeling so thankful that we have so many wonderful family members close by to spend time with.

Question of the day: Do you celebrate Christmas in one place or do you travel around to a few different ones?

 Posted by on January 3, 2018
Dec 192017
 

When I looked back at my phone to see what pictures I had to document this past weekend, I realized there were surprisingly few. Womp womp – blogger fail.

BUT, I did have some pictures from a fun night out on Wednesday last week, so I’m sharing those with you guys today as well! Let’s dive right into today’s weekend + random Wednesday recap. 🙂

As I mentioned, after work on Wednesday I had plans to meet up my old coworkers, Claire, Jojo, Shriya, and Brittany!

We haven’t all worked together since early 2013, but I love that we always make an effort to see each other for various dinners and happy hours throughout the year. I love having good friends that I can count on to stay in touch!

This time we decided to meet up for a cozy dinner at the festive Floriana, and of course, we couldn’t resist snapping a picture with the large Christmas tree outside the restaurant. I just love this spot during the holidays!

Once we sat down at our table and caught up over delicious bread and homemade pesto, we swapped Secret Santa gifts! I had Claire and got her a sweater from J. Crew, and Brittany had me and got me an eye mask and the most amazing smelling candle. Yay! Secret Santa is so fun. 🙂

For my meal, I got the braised lamb gnocchi with a big old dollop of house-made ricotta on top. Yummmm.

My meal was delicious, and I had plenty of leftovers the next day too!

Claire and Jojo are both somewhat recently engaged (and now after this past weekend, Brittany is too!) so we had a fun night catching up about wedding planning and work over lots of wine and laughter. What a fun night with friends!

As for my weekend, it was a good one! Friday night was spent hanging out at home watching The Crown. Anyone else watching?

I was so, so happy to be on the couch with the glow of the Christmas tree and the warmth of the fire. Is there anything better?

On Saturday, we were up bright and early for an early morning dentist appointment in Reisterstown, MD (outside of Baltimore) with our brother-in-law, Alex. Though we had to get up pretty early to make it to Alex’s office by 9, it was worth it since we got to stop by and see this little cutie on the way! (We dropped Jack off at Diane and Alex’s house so he could hang out there while we got our teeth cleaned).

Baby Michael turned four months old on Saturday and was looking even cuter than last time we saw him. What a little nugget!

He was also way more grabby this time – when I held him he was all about holding on to my nose, chin, and scarf. 🙂

After our dentist appointment (no cavities!), we ran some errands then scooped up Jack and headed over to our friends Jay and Meg’s place in Baltimore. Jay and Meg recently bought a house, and we were excited to see it and stay there for the remainder of the weekend.

Upon arriving, we wasted no time heading out for some fun! We first popped into Das Bier Haus for some lunch and drinks and were entertained by a crowd of folks participating in an ugly sweater bar crawl, complete with competitions to see which team of four people could finish off a boot of beer first. Yep, entertainment at its finest!

For my lunch, I enjoyed a tasty Reuben sandwich and fries. Yum!

After that, we headed to one other beer garden (I forget the name!) and then headed back to Jay and Meg’s to get ready for a holiday party at our friends Tom and Cait’s place. Tom and Cait also recently got engaged (next year is going to be #alltheweddings) so we were thrilled to be able to celebrate with them! Somehow I didn’t manage to get a single picture from the party – I was having too much fun catching up with everyone! – but it was really a lot of fun.

Fabio and I headed back home around noon on Sunday, and my afternoon was spent baking tons of cookies for our coworkers to enjoy this week.

I wound up making ginger snaps and chocolate chip M&M cookies from my Sally’s Baking Addiction cookbook, and these “world peace cookies” that I heard about on the Bon Appetit podcast. All of the cookies came out great, but I was especially happy with the world peace cookies! BTW – apparently they have that name because if everyone ate them we’d have world peace. Ha! They’re THAT good!

And that’s about it for our weekend! It sure was a good one, and it’s hard to believe next weekend is Christmas! Where did 2017 go?!

Question of the day: What kind of treats do you like to make or eat during the holidays?

 Posted by on December 19, 2017
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 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 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 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