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 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
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
May 302017
 

Helloooo! How was your weekend? For those who celebrated Memorial Day, I hope you had a nice day off from work! My weekend was spent in Ocean City, MD, with some of my best friends, and it could not have been better! Here’s a look back. 🙂

Friday

I was allowed to leave work at 2 p.m. on Friday, so you better believe I was walking out of there right when the clock struck two (or 2:05 according to my snapchat – lol). Fabio was downstairs waiting for me in the car so we could hit the road right away!

Traffic wasn’t bad at all, and we were able to make it across the Bay Bridge without any backups. Woohoo!

After crossing the bridge, we dropped Jack off with my grandparents who were kind enough to watch him for us over the weekend, and after another hour and half or so of driving we arrived!

We stayed at Bianca’s (my Maid of Honor!) aunt’s condo on the bay side of Ocean City, and as soon as I got there I swooned over the view from the balcony.

So beautiful!

Upon arriving and having a celebratory glass of prosecco, we changed into some nicer clothes and prepared to head out for dinner. Of course we had to take some photos on the balcony first!

How pretty is this sunset behind us?

Only two more weeks until this guy is my husband! Eek!

Then we also got some pictures with the girls! Here I am with Hana, another one of my besties and bridesmaids!

We’ve all been friends since high school, and I’m so lucky that through group texts and technology we still talk every day.

Bianca’s boyfriend, Squalls (real name = Pasquale) was there too! Group selfie!

After we were done with pictures, we headed over to Macky’s for dinner. We snagged a table outside and were treated to this awesome view.

Seriously, how pretty is that?! I especially love the couple taking a selfie in the bottom left corner (upon zooming in after taking this picture, I realized it was Bianca and Squalls. 😉 Ha!). But then again, we took a selfie like that too, you just can’t see the sunset as much.

But then again, we took a selfie like that too, you just can’t see the sunset as much.

It was too pretty not to!

For dinner, I got a Caesar salad with a crab cake on top and it was quite delicious! I was also super impressed with the service at Macky’s, which I expected to be very slow since it was so crowded, but that wasn’t the case at all. Our server Chase took great care of us!

After dinner, it was time for dancing! We spent the rest of the evening navigating a very crowded dance floor but I loved every second of it. 🙂 Love these girls!

Saturday

Saturday was Seacrets day! For those of you who are unfamiliar with Seacrets, it’s a gigantic bar (well, technically 16 bars or something like that) that’s half in the bay and half in the sand. Memorial Day is always their busiest day of the year, so even though we knew the line would be long we decided to brave it anyway.

Well, after two hours of standing in line we finally made it in! At least standing in line is actually kind of fun when a) there’s some amazing people-watching and b) you’re with your best friends. We weren’t in any rush, so it was actually not bad!

As soon as we made it inside we immediately ordered a round of orange crushes. Woohoo!

There was one concert area that was absolutely mobbed with people, so we decided to bypass them with a secret (seacret? Lol. ) sky bridge. 🙂

It was a cute opportunity for a photo opp too!

Eventually we made our way over to the water – which is always my favorite area of Seacrets – and nabbed a table on the sand.

Success!

We spent the next few hours drinking orange crushes and “pain in the ass” drinks, and dancing/talking/snapchatting/enjoying each other’s company.

Apparently I took the most pictures with Hana since she was sitting right next to me, but I promise the others were there too! 🙂 It was such a fun day and waiting in the line was definitely worth it.

We wound up taking it easy Saturday night and ordered pizza and watched Split from Redbox. It was a pretty weird movie, and although I’m not sure I would recommend it, it still kept me engaged and entertained. It was a fun night in!

Sunday

On Sunday morning, I headed out for a solo run! I wound up making my way to the boardwalk and back, and covered about four miles.

It was a beautiful morning for it!

Then I walked another mile or so with Bianca and Hana to Dunkin Donuts for some iced coffee and breakfast before we ladies headed to the beach! (The boys were golfing, which suited everyone just fine. 🙂 We love girl time!)

It was a nice and sunny morning, and we actually wound up getting a decent amount of color! At one point the clouds came out and Hana and I decided to do a little yoga. 😉 Haha!

Soon rain clouds rolled in and it started drizzling so we headed back to the condo. We decided to clean up the house a bit and when the boys arrived back at 3 p.m. we decided to hit the road to get a head start on traffic.

We stopped by my grandparents’ house on the way back to pick up Jack, and they convinced us to join them for dinner and then spend the night since we were already tired of driving. We had a fun evening catching up with them and I felt so happy that we decided to spend some extra time with them. 🙂

Monday

We came home on Monday morning (avoiding any traffic – hooray!) and spent the entire rest of the day doing wedding planning stuff. Oof.

At least we got a lot accomplished!

Question of the day: How did you celebrate Memorial Day? Have you ever been to Seacrets?

 Posted by on May 30, 2017
Feb 172017
 

Happy Fridayyyy!! How was your week? Mine went by really fast, which always a good thing. And now I have a three-day weekend in front of me so I couldn’t be more excited! Woohoo!

Let’s jump right into today’s post with a recap of my workouts this week.

Saturday, Feb. 11 – Rest day! We ran about a million errands this day, so at least I got plenty of steps.

Sunday, Feb. 12 – Ran six wet and cold miles with Fabio. This wasn’t our best run ever, but it wasn’t too terrible either. Listening to the Hamilton soundtrack while running helped. 🙂

Monday, Feb. 13 – Rest day! I don’t usually take rest days on Mondays, but I was all out of classes on ClassPass and didn’t feel like going for another run. It was nice to sleep in!

Tuesday, Feb. 14 – Sculpt class at CorePower Yoga with Anne. We took Monica’s class and it was just as hard as I remembered. She led us through an intense plank series during the class that had my core BURNING. Phew!

Wednesday, Feb. 15 – Bootcamp at Urban Athletic Club with Anne and our friend Kathleen. Our instructor Romain (who we love!) took us through three stations with various exercises like broad jump/burpees, pull ups, mountain climbers, TRX rows, chest presses, thrusters, squats, lunges, and more. It was a great variety and the class flew by!

Thursday, Feb. 16 – FlyWheel class with Fabio. Now that Fabio is signed up for ClassPass (he gets 5 classes a month) I have been LOVING having him come with me to all my favorite spots! He seems to like FlyWheel a lot, which is great for me since now I have a buddy to keep me company during those classes. 🙂

Also, I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to the shower at my office that never has a line, because it means I don’t have to deal with situations like this:

I have stood in that line before and it is NOT fun. Thank you, office shower!

Friday, Feb. 17 – Rest day!

Overall, I’d say it was a good week of workouts!

And now let’s chat about Valentine’s Day! Of course I wore my favorite heart sweater from J. Crew. My Grandma bought me this sweater a few years ago, and I feel like you can’t own a sweater like this and not bust it out on Valentine’s Day.

When I got home, I saw that Fabio had surprised me with beautiful roses!

He split them up into two vases so I could enjoy them twice as much (you can see the second vase in the background here). He is the best!!

He also knew that I would be disappointed if I didn’t get any chocolate, but I’d be more disappointed if he bought me a whole box (haha!). Yep, he knows me so well. So he bought me just a few Lindt chocolates, which was exactly what I wanted! 🙂

Since we already celebrated our Valentine’s Day date on Saturday, we kept things low-key on Tuesday night and cooked a delicious dinner at home. We played some music from Spotify’s Valentine’s Day playlist (all the while thinking about songs we could potentially use as our first dance song at our wedding – that playlist had so many contenders!), sipped on wine, and cooked dinner together. It’s always nice when Fabio joins me in the kitchen to help me chop and cook!

Before long we were digging into a delicious meal of salmon with cabbage slaw that was tossed in a Greek yogurt sauce with fresh wedges of grapefruit and grapefruit juice (this is one of the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse recipes).

It turned out SO well, and was maybe one of the best pieces of salmon I’ve ever cooked. Delicious!!

We spent the rest of the evening on the couch watching The People Vs. OJ Simpson (we just finished this show – it was a good one!) and snuggling with our furry friend.

The end.

Question of the day: How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?

Admittedly, Fabio and I are pretty terrible when it comes to celebrating these kinds of holidays. I guess neither of us are that romantic? I think Fabio has stepped up his game lately though — this year he did great!

My dad always made a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, and I remember being a little girl and getting some really thoughtful gifts from him on this holiday. 🙂 Dads are the best.

 Posted by on February 17, 2017
Jan 032017
 

Hi friends! Happy 2017! I hope you all had a wonderful New Years. As I’m sure you noticed, I decided to take some time off from the blog last week to enjoy a bit of a holiday break. It was really nice to take a break, but today I’m back at it with the rest of my holiday recaps.

When we last left off, Fabio and I were driving from New York down to my grandparents’ house on the Eastern Shore for Christmas Eve celebrations! We always spend Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house, and it’s definitely one of my favorite holiday traditions. We arrived around 3:15 p.m. to their festive home!

This scene was especially cozy after such a dreary/rainy/traffic-filled car ride. Yuck! I’ll take one cozy fire and a glass of wine, please!

Once we arrived, we spent some time catching up with everyone and chatting about Christmas festivities. Fabio and I decided to play Santa’s elves again and pass out fun Christmas hats, headbands, and ugly sweaters. Having this bag of holiday costumes makes Christmas so much more fun! I think we’re going to make this a new tradition. 🙂

My sister & me!

Even Jack got in on the action with his Christmas tie! There was also a set of doggy reindeer antlers, but he took those off after about 2.5 seconds. Haha!

After having some snacks and wine, it was time to open presents! My sister is 11 this year, which means Christmas is still basically the best thing ever. She was definitely excited to open her presents from Grandma and Grandpa!

She also handed out the presents to the rest of us.

Fabio and I both wound up getting some really nice gifts, and we had a nice time handing them out to my grandparents as well. So fun!

Then it was time for dinner!

We enjoyed a Thanksgiving-esque menu, which is always one of my favorite meals. We had turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, and roasted veggies! Plus warm rolls from the oven. Yum.

For dessert, we had Grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookies and slices of a festive cheesecake that Fabio and I had brought from New York. Everything was delicious!

After dinner everyone was pretty tired – Jack included – so we decided it was time to hit the road and head over to my dad’s house where we planned to spend the night.

It was a wonderful Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house!

Christmas Day

When we woke up at my dad’s house on Christmas day, we saw that Santa had come!

We all got lots of great presents, and Fabio was particularly psyched with the half-zip sweaters he received since he basically lives in them during the winter.

Meanwhile, I got some new clothes and some fun stuff for our wedding and honeymoon! Santa was good to us. 🙂

After opening up presents and eating breakfast, my sister and I sat down to do some coloring while we watched the Disney parade on TV. My dad got us each a coloring book and a set of colored pencils. It was so fun and relaxing!

Eventually it was time to pack up our gear and move on to our next stop: my mom’s house! (Luckily it’s only about 10 minutes away from my dad’s house, but it was still a lot of driving around for just a couple of days).

My mom and stepdad typically host a big open house every year on Christmas, and we got there a bit early to exchange gifts before the rest of the guests arrived.

Later on, one of my best friends, Hana, arrived! She was in town for the holidays and had a spare moment to stop by. 🙂

Throughout the day guests continued to drop by, and it wound up being a really fun day! Fabio and I spent the night at my mom’s, and then drove back to Arlington the next day.

Christmas through New Years

The days after Christmas were pretty quiet on this front; I had a lot of work to do but luckily I was able to do it all from home. On Friday Fabio was allowed to work from home too, so my view looked something like this…

Haha!

I did get some in fitness action in with an Urban Athletic Club class with Anne via ClassPass! (<– affiliate link for $30 off!)

Anne and I wound up being the only two people in class that day (it was rainy and a lot of people were probably still out of town for the holiday) so our instructor was able to get lots of good pictures for us. 🙂

The first class back after the holidays is always a hard one, and Anne and I were feeling it by the end. Phew!

When it came time for New Years, Fabio and I laid low at home. We were originally supposed to go up to Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s house in Massachusetts for the holiday, but poor CC sprained her ankle, had a weird allergic reaction that caused a lot of pain in her eye, AND got some kind of stomach bug/the flu. Can you believe it? What bad luck. Poor thing. We decided to go up for MLK weekend instead, and enjoyed a quiet New Year’s Eve on the couch.

After all the traveling we did for Christmas, it was actually really nice to ring in 2017 from the comfort of our home. 🙂

Of course the next morning I woke up with a fire under my butt to put away every single Christmas decoration. I just can’t stand having them up past New Years! Anyone else like that?

And now I think we’re all caught up!

Question of the day: Would you rather spend New Years at home or out at a party/club?

 Posted by on January 3, 2017
Dec 272016
 

Hi friends! How’s everyone doing on this Tuesday? Did you have a nice Christmas? Mine was absolutely wonderful, even if it was a bit crazy driving around from place to place. I’m planning to recap everything, but there’s too much to cover in just one post! Let’s start off with part 1 of my recap: a day at the New York Botanical Garden!

As I think you all know, Fabio’s dad, sister, and niece all live in Queens, New York. Since they came down to Maryland for Thanksgiving, it was our turn to go up there for Christmas. Initially we weren’t sure how we were going to manage splitting up the holiday with Fabio’s family and my family, but luckily we found a solution that involved us driving up to New York on Thursday evening, spending Friday with Fabio’s family, and then driving back down to see my family on Saturday morning. Phew! I told you it was a lot of driving around.

Thursday

After work on Thursday, Fabio and I packed up all our gear and drove over to my mom’s house since she and my stepdad kindly offered to watch Jack for us. We were planning to pick up Fabio’s sister, Diane, and brother-in-law, Alex, on our way, but they had an office holiday party to attend until 9 p.m. That meant we had some extra time to kill at my mom’s house, so we enjoyed a lovely dinner there!

Our family friends Lee and Dan were over, and Lee made a delicious pasta carbonara dish with homemade pasta. My mom’s pasta machine is amazing – it’s a Phillip’s pasta maker – and you better believe we added this thing to our wedding registry. You just dump the ingredients in, put on the pasta attachments you want, and press a button. Boom! Now you have fresh pasta.

Lee’s carbonara sauce was absolutely amazing as well. We enjoyed the pasta alongside a warm spinach salad. Yum! I’m so glad we were able to stop by for dinner!

After dinner, it was driving time! After a short trip, we met up with Diane and Alex and then continued making our way up north to New York.

We didn’t wind up arriving in New York until nearly 2 a.m. since we had such a late departure time, and we were all pooped when we arrived. Bed time!

Friday

Friday was such a fun day! We lazed around the house a bit in the morning and enjoyed some whole wheat croissant sandwiches with cheese, spinach, and smoked salmon (yum!) before getting ourselves ready for the day’s adventure: a trip to the New York Botanical Garden! This amazing garden in the heart of the Bronx has 250 acres of beautiful woodlands, gardens, plants, and trees. The conservatory also has a special display at Christmastime where model trains run on different tracks around miniature plant versions of popular New York landmarks. Cool!

I had been to this garden once before with my family in about 2003, and I remember it being really pretty. We thought it was the perfect place for a family outing, and something that Fabio’s niece, Sofia, would really enjoy.

Although you can definitely buy tickets for the garden on-site, we decided to buy them online ahead of time since we heard it can be really crowded during the holidays. This made getting inside really easy!

Once we had our tickets in hand, we walked a short ways down to get to the conservatory building where the train show was taking place. It was a beautiful day out and surprisingly warm!

The conservatory itself was a huge greenhouse-like building with literally thousands of plant species inside.

When we entered, we saw our first model NYC building, the Macy’s store! All of these “buildings” are made with twigs, sticks, leaves, and anything else you might find in nature.

All of the creations had such amazing detail, and we were all in awe of the patience that the artist must have.

Here we are, ready to start exploring!

When we entered the first room of the exhibit, we saw a miniature version of the very conservatory we were standing in! I can’t even begin to imagine how they made this out of twigs and leaves and got all the proportions just right.

There were also trains running in every direction around the buildings! It was really cool to watch them all.

This front room also had some beautiful Christmas trees set up for the holidays. Of course we had to stop for a photo opp!

Then we entered the main conservatory area where trains and miniature buildings were intertwined with all the beautiful plants. There were even replicas of all the famous New York bridges that the trains were running over! It was so impressive and these pictures don’t come close to doing it justice.

One of my favorite displays was midtown Manhattan! Here they had copies of the Chrysler building, Empire State building, and even Rockefeller Center.

See the Rockefeller tree and skating rink at the bottom of the picture below?

It was very cool. Around the corner was lady Liberty!

Then came Fabio’s favorite replica of the day: Yankee stadium!

Fabio and his dad had season tickets to the Yankees for 14 years, so of course they had to take a picture together in front of the replica. 🙂

Then we found the Frick museum, which is really close to where Fabio’s dad works. We got a picture with this one too. 🙂

My favorite display was the random assortment of brownstones and townhouses. I thought these had so much character!

Overall we had a fantastic time at the exhibit and I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a family-friendly holiday activity in New York.

Once we were done looking at the trains, we took a tram ride around the garden to get a sense of what the rest of the 250 acres looked like. The tram stop was right next to a set of gorgeous Christmas trees! Everything at the botanical garden was so festive for the holidays.

The tram ride was very informative, and we all agreed that we need to come back and visit in May or June when all the plants are at their peak. Everything was kind of sad looking in December, but I’m sure it’s breathtaking in the spring!

Before we left, we stopped for a group photo in front of the lovely trees. 🙂

What a fun day!

After our garden adventure, we stopped at a fun Italian restaurant called Dominick’s for dinner, and then headed over to Fabio’s sister’s house to open up some Christmas gifts. We decided to throw on some festive holiday vests, sweaters, and Santa hats to make it more fun for Sofia. 🙂

Santa’s helpers!

It was the perfect end to a fun day!

Saturday

On Saturday, Christmas Eve, we were back in the car on our way out of town. Sigh.

What a fun (quick) trip!

Question of the day: Would you like exploring the Botanical Gardens?

I honestly thought it might be a little boring, but everyone in our group seemed to have a great time!

 Posted by on December 27, 2016
Dec 222016
 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go….

Hello, friends! Happy Thursday before Christmas! I don’t know about you guys, but I am SO ready for the holidays. Today is my last day at work for a little while, and then we have some busy travel plans that have us driving up to New York tonight to see Fabio’s family, and then driving back down to Maryland midday Saturday to spend time with my family. ‘Tis the season to be travelin’.

Before I get wrapped up in any of that fun stuff though, let’s have a little virtual coffee date!

How do you like my festive Christmas nails? Yes, I am THAT person. 

I always like taking these opportunities to tell you guys about random thoughts on my mind. Here we go!

I tried two new-to-me recipes this week, and both were delicious. First, I made the basil Thai chicken lettuce wraps from one of my favorite cookbooks, Eating in the Middle. Like every other recipe I’ve made from Andi’s book, this one was a hit!

We didn’t have any hoisin sauce so I made my own variation based on some recommendations I found on good ole Google, and it turned out great! I especially liked the large pieces of basil, which added so much flavor to every bite. Yum!

We ate these with lettuce wraps for dinner one night, and then I used the leftovers in a salad the next day. Fabio and I gave this recipe two thumbs up!

I also made the prosciutto-wrapped chicken from Cravings, my other favorite cookbook at the moment.

This was another delicious recipe, even if it wasn’t that healthy (I mean this recipe calls for bacon AND prosciutto – next time I’m skipping the bacon). We served this delicious chicken with a side salad and some bread for mopping up the tasty juices. It was another hit, and we even had some leftovers to enjoy another night. Win!

My knee has been bothering me lately, and my Physical Therapist friend, Sam, thinks it might be some tendinitis. I wound up skipping a boot camp with Anne and Kathleen on Monday because it was bothering me so much, which had me really bummed! It mostly hurts when I bend my knee 90 degrees or more, and after doing lots of lunges and squats during my bootcamp on Sunday, I figured it would be best to rest a bit and let it recover. Womp womp. Sam thinks that I haven’t been stretching my quads enough, so I’m hoping that with some extra stretching and lots of ice I can get back into action in no time.

Update: I wrote that last part on Tuesday night, and as of today (Thursday) I’m doing a little better. I wound up going for a short run yesterday and did a bootcamp with Anne this morning at MADabolic in Arlington. While my knee isn’t 100% better, I think things are improving slightly…maybe? Working out doesn’t seem to irritate much more than not working out, so I’m just keeping an eye on it for now. 

I had dinner with my friend Claire this week, and it was so nice to spend some time catching up with her. When we started working together back in 2012(ish), we talked all day every day! Now we will usually text around once a week and will get together every other month or so, which is not nearly enough! I miss my Claire!

Having dinner with her was really nice, and I have plans to see her a couple more times in the next week or two. Hooray! Time with girl friends is so important.

Wedding planning (and honeymoon planning) is still going really well! Recently we booked our florist, and I’m pretty sure we’ve landed on a bakery too. We’re scheduled to meet with the bakery toward the end of January for a full consultation, but my grandma has been buying cakes from there for years for my birthday and they’re always delicious. Plus, the woman has been such a pleasure to work with, AND our venue recommended her. All signs are pointing toward go!

We also have another visit to the wedding venue scheduled for that same weekend in mid-January, and I’m so excited to get some of the final details narrowed down. 🙂

Fabio also got his suit recently, which is a really nice custom made one! Now we just have to figure out what we want the groomsmen to wear, and where they should rent their suits from. I’m going to ask some of our other friends who got married recently what their experiences were like with places like Men’s Warehouse and…whatever other places offer suit rentals. Ha! Clearly I need to do some more research on this.

Honeymoon planning is also going really well, and I think we’ve nailed down our itinerary and are ready to buy our flights! Yay!

Also, my bachelorette party and bridal shower are in the process of being planned! My friends are planning the whole bachelorette party and surprising me with ALL of the details, so I have no clue where we are going. Eek! I love surprises, so this should be really fun. The bridal shower is not really a surprise, but my friends and family are still doing most of the planning themselves so I don’t know many details.

All the fun things!

I can’t believe I’ve been engaged for almost a whole year. On Sunday, it will have been one year since Fabio proposed! It really was SUCH a fun year for us, and I know I will look back so fondly of this year of engagement parties, wedding planning, and lots of champagne. 🙂

🙂

Alright friends, that’s all I have for you today. It’ll probably be pretty quiet on this front until after the holidays as I want to spend as much time with family as possible.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Question of the day: Are you traveling for the holidays?

 Posted by on December 22, 2016
Dec 192016
 

Hi! How was your weekend? Mine was a nice and relaxing one at home, but was also really productive. Now I’m feeling ready for the holidays and the week ahead! Woohoo!

Friday

Fabio and I enjoyed a nice little date night on Friday. 🙂 We had such a great time at Texas Jack’s over Thanksgiving – and really appreciated their $5 sandwiches during happy hour – that we decided to go back for a date night!

We both started with beers, which were also $5. You can’t beat these prices!

Then we each got a brisket sandwich and shared an order of fries. Everything was just as delicious as we remembered, and we had such a nice evening sitting at the bar and chatting about work, our plans for the holidays, our wedding, and our honeymoon.

Recycled photo from last time

What a fun date night!

When we got home, we did a little more honeymoon planning which was really fun. I think we’re going to book our flights soon! Eek!

Eventually we wrapped up our planning session and moved to the couch where we watched an episode of our new favorite show: The Crown. It’s a good one! Meanwhile, Jack kept us company. 🙂

Eventually we all got sleepy and headed up to bed.

Saturday

I had hoped Saturday would be a fun day spent doing Christmassy things, but it wound up being not as fun but way more productive. Eh well, it could have been worse.

First, we headed to Home Depot where we spent way too much time returning a bunch of stuff we bought during our last trip, and then filling up our cart with just as much new stuff (that we will probably wind up needing to return in a week or two). Story. Of. My. Life.

After Home Depot we drove over to TJ Maxx where we did get to do a little Christmas shopping. It was so crowded though! I guess we aren’t the only ones who wait until the weekend before Christmas to get stuff done. 😉

When we got home, Fabio got working on a bunch of house projects. He wound up fixing the light in my bathroom, and it looks so much better now! He also fixed the fan in my bathroom last week, so now both are working perfectly. Yay!

He also replaced all the doorknobs upstairs, which is a HUGE improvement. Not only do they look better, but now no one is going to accidentally lock themselves in the guest bathroom …which is what used to happen anytime someone used that bathroom. Yikes. This update was definitely a good one.

Meanwhile, I cleaned the whole house from top to bottom! It felt good to have clean windows, showers/tubs, toilets (ughh), microwave, laundry, and everything else, since lately I’ve only had time for the basic vacuuming and dusting. Sigh. One day I will be able to convince Fabio that we need a cleaning lady.

Once we were both finished, we rewarded our hard work with spiked hot apple cider, pizza, and a movie. 🙂

We wound up watching the Fundamentals of Caring on Netflix which was really cute! I did think the plot was weirdly similar to Me Before You (minus the romance), but I still enjoyed it a lot. It’s a good one!

Sunday

On Sunday morning, Anne scooped me up for a workout date! We headed back to Definitions — this time to try their new MRT climb class!

Their new climber equipment is really cool, and pretty challenging too! To use the machines, you step up onto pedals and then grab hold of the handlebars, and then “climb” until you reach a certain speed (there are signs for targets to reach for jogging, running, and sprinting).

The day’s workout was a particularly tough one, and these climbers didn’t make it any easier! There was a lot of cardio and Anne and I were both panting and sweaty by the end. Phew! All in all we loved this class, and are trying to encourage our friends at Definitions to add a 7 a.m. climber class into their weekly rotation. We will totally take this class again if it fits into our schedule.

It was weirdly warm out after class, so we grabbed a couple of lattes from Baked and Wired and then walked around the Georgetown waterfront. It was looking very festive!

Like usual, we had a great time chatting away and before we knew it, it was time to turn around and head home.

When I got back, I quickly showered and meal planned, and then Fabio and I were off to the grocery store.

After a quick trip, we arrived back at home and I got busy in the kitchen making holiday treats for our coworkers! I wound up making these gingersnap cookies

this “Christmas crack”….

…and a variation of these m&m cookies (the ones in the cookbook I used also have chocolate chips in them). Of course I did some tasting and snacking while I baked, which in my opinion is the best part of cookie-making. You gotta’ taste the dough to make sure it’s going to be good, right??

Jack was a fan of all my baking too. 🙂

No surprise there.

Now everything is packed up and ready to take to work! I hope our coworkers like them. 🙂

We ended the evening with laundry folding (clearly we procrastinated a bit on that) and more episodes of The Crown.

The end!

Question of the day: What’s your favorite thing to bake during the holidays?

Growing up, my mom always made homemade caramels and snickerdoodles, so now I always think of those as holiday desserts. 🙂

 Posted by on December 19, 2016