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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
Dec 162016
 

Every Friday afternoon at my job, our Chief Marketing Officer leads us in the weekly “Friday dance” around the office, conga-line style. She sings this catchy tune and then we all chime in at the right time with “Thank God it’s Friday.” It’s a lot of fun, and I’m so excited for 5:00 pm to roll around tomorrow (it’s Thursday night as I write this) so we can do the Friday dance and kick off the weekend! Woohoo!

This weekend we were supposed to visit our wedding venue and a potential bakery with my mom, but now the forecast is calling for freezing rain on Saturday morning so we’re rescheduling for mid-January. Boo! On the plus side, this means I’ll have some time to do some of the Christmas shopping I desperately need to do, and I might even bake some festive treats for my coworkers. ‘Tis the season!

Before I get too far ahead of myself though, let’s take a look at what made me smile this week with today’s edition Favorite Things Friday! Feel free to play along in the comments below!

Favorite Dinner

After our fun weekend in New York City, the last thing we felt like doing on Sunday night was stop by the grocery store. Luckily we had one rogue Blue Apron meal hanging out in the fridge, and it was the best thing to come home to on Monday after work!

The meal was really tasty and included squid ink pasta, a delicious Thai tahini sauce, and lots of tasty vegetables (broccoli rabe, carrots, and quick pickled radishes). I also learned how to make crunchy garlic and peanuts like you see in some of those takeout Thai restaurants. Yum! This was a really delicious meal.

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Favorite Planning

Speaking of Thai food, Fabio and I are in the midst of planning our honeymoon to Southeast Asia!! We have a rough idea of the places we want to visit, but I am continuing to do research to make sure we make the most of our itinerary.

For anyone who has experience traveling in this area, maybe you can help us! 🙂 For some background: we are leaving right after our wedding (so in mid-June) and want to travel for two weeks. We want our trip to include some time relaxing on the beach (preferably at the beginning to get over jet lag), some time doing active adventures like hiking waterfalls, and some time exploring the culture (temples and elephant sanctuaries). Eeek! I want to pinch myself just typing that out. 🙂

We know that cramming too many locations into one trip is not a recommended strategy, but we did that when we went to Europe last year and found that we prefer to see as much as we can even if it means spending more time traveling from place to place. We also have no interest in spending time in Bankok and think of it more of a pit stop since that’s where the main airport is.

With all that being said, here’s our rough schedule:

  • Sunday, June 11 & Monday, June 12: Home → Bankok → Ko Samui
  • Tuesday, June 13: Ko Samui

[Ko Samui – Source]

  • Wednesday, June 14: Ko Samui
  • Thursday, June 15: Ko Samui
  • Friday, June 16: Ko Samui → Chiang Mai

[Chiang Mai – Source]

  • Saturday, June 17: Chiang Mai
  • Sunday, June 18: Chiang Mai
  • Monday, June 19: Chiang Mai → Pai
  • Tuesday, June 20: Pai
  • Wednesday, June 21: Pai → Chiang Mai
  • Thursday, June 22: Chiang Mai → Angkor Wat

[Angkor Wat – Source]

  • Friday, June 23: Angkor Wat
  • Saturday, June 24: Angkor Wat → Home

Eek!

If anyone has any tips or recommendations I’d love to hear them!

Favorite Sweat

This week I took two great bootcamp classes with Anne again via ClassPass (<– affiliate link for $30 off!), one at Urban Athletic Club and one at Definitions. The instructor at Definitions usually takes a video of everyone during the workout, and this week we asked if she could share it with us. She actually wound up compiling it in a really fun way, so I thought I’d share it with you guys here! It might take a second to load but should come up eventually.

So nice of her to do this for us, right?

Anne and I are planning to take another class at Definitions on Sunday morning with their new climb machine, and I’m really excited about it. Their classes are always challenging, but so fun when you have a buddy by your side!

Favorite Purchase

I know I mentioned this on Wednesday, but I recently decided we needed a Christmas ornament commemorating our first year in our first home! (And yes, next year I will likely buy a wedding one for us too. #sucker)

I bought this one from Etsy with our names, the year, and our address (which I blurred out for safety reasons) and I think it turned out so cute! It’s a nice quality too and I know it’s going to make me smile for many years to come. Yay!

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Favorite Festivities

I had a bunch of fun holiday festivities this week! First, we had an ugly sweater day at work, and I took the opportunity to wear a truly heinous amazing embellished vest that I got a few years back at a thrift store. I also listened to Christmas music while I worked, which made me one very happy camper. I love this time of year!

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Then we went out for a team holiday lunch at Ted’s Montana Grill, where I got the farmhouse salad with salmon. It was delicious!

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At our lunch we went around the table and said what our favorite moment of the year was, and I thought to myself – once again – how happy I am to have this job where I can make such a big difference for people with diabetes. It’s definitely stressful but so amazing!

Favorite Wednesday Adventure

On Wednesday night, we met up with a couple of our friends to see the Zoo lights! We stopped off for a beer first, and then spent the evening wandering around and enjoying the (free) festive displays.

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Yay!

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We were only able to go into the reptile house and small mammal house, but we had a nice time watching turtles, creepy snakes, small cats, mice, and other creatures. It was a lot of fun!

The lights too were really beautiful, and I can’t imagine how much time it took to wrap all the branches on these trees. Wow!

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It was definitely a fun evening!

Favorite Cozy

It’s super cold here on the East coast tonight with temperatures in the teens and wind chills in the single digits. Brrr! Thank goodness Fabio has gotten so good at making fires!

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Having a fireplace is just the best!

Alright friends, that’s all I have for you today. Have a great weekend!

Question of the day: What made you smile this week? Do you have any honeymoon tips for me?

 Posted by on December 16, 2016
Dec 142016
 

Holiday gift guides seem to be popping up online every day now, and I always love browsing through them. Truthfully, my favorite guides to read are the ones geared toward women with similar interests as me–that way I (selfishly) know what to ask for! 🙂 And while the clock is definitely ticking, there’s still some time to get something special for the fitness-loving, foodie, female in your life (how’d you like that alliteration, eh?).

So, here are some of my favorite holiday gift ideas this season!

holidaygiftguidecet2016

Gift card for a fitness class or studio

Last year my Aunt CC and Uncle Steve got me a two-month gift certificate to ClassPass (<–affiliate link for $30 off!) which was just the best! Having a membership to ClassPass is something that makes me so incredibly happy, so this gift went over great for me.

This year I’m asking for a gift certificate to CorePower Yoga since their classes aren’t on ClassPass as much these days. They have a great deal right now where $100 gift certificates only cost $80!

Festive Jewelry

I always enjoy a little something sparkly around the holidays (and, let’s be honest, all times of the year). I’ve gotten some really fun sparkly statement necklaces as gifts in the past (Francesca’s has a great selection and they aren’t as pricey as some others you’ll find) and I find myself turning to them time and time again during the holidays!

I also love all things Kate Spade, and I think their sparkly studs that come in a bunch of colors are really fun.

katespadestuds

Wintery Clothing

This time of year I feel like you can never have enough cozy sweaters in your life! This year I’m loving the longer cardigans, kimonos and vests that drape down, and I’ve seen a ton of affordable ones — some with fun aztec prints! — at places like TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Target.

Here’s a fun vest I saw online at Francesca’s!

vest

Psst – this is a steal compared to similar versions sold at Anthropologie!

Fitness Apparel

Come on, you knew this would be on my list right? 😉 I ask for new fitness gear every year and usually take this opportunity to ask for something a little bit nicer quality than I would typically buy for myself.

This year I’m loving these tights from Athleta and this jacket from Lululemon.

athletapants lululemonzipup

This is something I would use every day and is a little bit more of a splurge than I would get for myself. It’s a perfect holiday gift!

New Training Shoes

Similar to workout apparel, I think new training shoes would make a great gift! I rarely buy myself new running shoes or cross-training shoes, so when someone buys me new ones that’s pretty much the only time I replace them. (Unless they are seriously worn down, in which case I will procrastinate as long as possible before buying new ones.)

I’m loving the Nike Women’s Flyknits right now and think they would be great for all the bootcamp classes I take! Plus they come in lots of fun colors.

flyknits

Something Personal

The end of 2015 and all of 2016 were big years for me personally–from getting engaged last Christmas to buying a house in July–so a personalized gift with some of these milestones would mean a lot to me. I actually recently bought myself this ornament from Etsy to remember our first Christmas in our house, and I think a personalized wedding ornament or memento could make a great gift.

ornament

While Etsy is obviously a good place to look, there are lots of other places online to find gifts too! I was actually recently contacted by the folks at Uncommon Gifts, and I was surprised by the amount of truly unique personalized gifts I found on their website. In particular I’m loving this tote bag with a personalized picture of your pet on it. If anyone wants to get me one with Jack’s picture on the front I won’t mind a bit! 😉 I actually wound up crossing two people off my list this year with personalized gifts from this site, but I can’t post them here because they both read the blog! 🙂

Some of the stuff on that site is a bit out there, but some of it’s really great too. I think it would be especially helpful if you’re stumped on what to get a boyfriend or husband–I never know what to buy for boys!

Question of the day: How much holiday shopping have you done?

I only have three measly gifts so far…looks like I need to get on it!

*Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored in any way and all opinions are my own. Some affiliate links are included. I also received two free gifts from Uncommon Goods in exchange for a review of their site.*

 Posted by on December 14, 2016
Dec 122016
 

Hey friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Mine was so much fun and included lots of fun time with friends in New York City. Here’s a recap!

Friday

Fabio and I took the bus up to the big apple on Friday evening with our friends Megan and JR. It was a nice quick trip up and we arrived in NYC by around 11:30. Not too shabby!

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Fabio and I had planned to stay at Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s apartment on the Upper West Side, and we decided it made the most sense for Megan and JR to join us there. Thanks for hosting us, CC and Steve! After a very fast trip on the subway, we had arrived at their cozy apartment. 🙂

We spent some time chatting on the couch before we decided it was time for bed. We knew we had a busy day ahead of us!

Saturday

On Saturday morning, we popped open a bottle of champagne that CC and Steve had left for us in the fridge. They are just the BEST! Thank you, CC and Steve!

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After getting ourselves ready for the day, we walked over to our favorite Upper West Side bakery: Levain. Their cookies are out of this WORLD, so we picked up a bunch to take to our friends’ place downtown. We snacked on some on the way down, and we all agreed they were incredible. Wow! They never disappoint.

Before long, we had arrived on the Lower East Side where we met up with our friends for brunch!

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Vic and Megan hosted us and had all kinds of goodies including French toast casserole, ham and egg cups, bagels, and cider sangria. Yum!

We spent the next few hours catching up! Nothing beats time with your best friends.

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This group was a mix of my home friends and college friends, plus our significant others, so it was a ton of fun!

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Eventually a group of us decided to walk around see some holiday sights, so we ventured out into the cold. We walked over to Union Square which had turned into a fun Christmas market!

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There were lots of festive decorations and shops, and even though we didn’t buy anything we had a blast just walking around.

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I’ve been friends with these ladies since first grade (Hana), middle school (Bianca) and high school (Sam)!

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I was so happy Fabio came with us for all the weekend festivities too. Love him! <3

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Then our walk took us over to a cute gingerbread house! There was a huge line to go inside – we still aren’t sure what you do in there – but we decided to skip the line and just take a picture out front. It was still fun!

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After that, we walked over to Hana’s apartment and got ready for dinner. During this time we sipped on some wine, did each other’s makeup, and curled our hair. I always love these moments with my friends! (The boys were troopers and sat on the couch talking about sports. Typical.)

Once we were ready, we hopped in a cab and went over to Puglia, a SUPER fun Italian restaurant in Little Italy.

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Puglia is great for groups (there were lots of birthdays being celebrated), and each person pays $65 for bottomless beer and wine plus family-style Italian food for 3 hours.

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The food was really tasty, and of course we enjoyed all the wine.

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After we were done eating, a male and female singer came around singing popular songs like Sweet Caroline and Christmas carols. Everyone in the restaurant sang and clapped along, and it was so fun!

Then came the real fun: the man and woman sang this song that they called “the napkin song” where everyone is supposed to stand up on their chairs and wave their napkins around in the air.

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This is SUCH a weird concept but it’s a blast! The song was really simple so everyone could easily sing along to it, and it was just so fun seeing everyone in the restaurant climb on their chairs to wave their napkins around in the air.

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What a fun idea!!

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They wound up playing the napkin song a bunch of times, and it was totally stuck in our heads for hours afterwords. (In fact it’s still in my head now…)

This place was easily the highlight of the weekend! In fact we had so much fun that we decided we want to play the napkin song at our wedding before everyone gets on the dance floor. Haha! I’m sure half our guests will be totally confused, but the group that came out to this dinner should get a kick out of it. 🙂

After dinner we wound up going out to a bar for lots of dancing! A bunch of Fabio’s friends met up with us, and it was great to see them. Like always, it was a blast!!

Sunday

On Sunday morning a small group of us met up at Big Daddy’s for some much-needed post-drinking-and-dancing food. 😉

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I wound up getting a burger and a milk shake which totally hit the spot. Bianca got this fun birthday cake milkshake which came with a candle and rainbow sprinkles! How fun!

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While at lunch we couldn’t stop talking about how ridiculous the restaurant had been the night before and how we had such a blast waving our napkins around in the air. So fun!

After lunch we hopped on the bus and headed back home. We got lucky with traffic again and were home in no time!

As soon as we got home we drove over to pick up our little furry friend! He had a blast with his new BFF Tilly while we were away.

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Thank you so much to everyone who made this amazing weekend possible, from Jojo and Jadd who watched Jack for us to CC and Steve for allowing us to stay at their apartment to all the friends who came out to have fun with us. We had so much fun and couldn’t have done it without you!! I love you all!

Question of the day: Would you stand on your chair and wave your napkin around at a restaurant?

 Posted by on December 12, 2016
Dec 052016
 

Hey there! How was your weekend? Mine was great, and included time with both Fabio’s family and my own. 🙂 Here’s a recap!

Friday

Fabio’s dad came into town from New York on Thursday afternoon to help us with some more house stuff, even though he was just here helping us last weekend. Isn’t that so nice of him?! (This was part of the reason I couldn’t get a post together on Friday – I was busy spending time with Fabio’s dad!)

Then on Friday after work, the three of us headed over to Home Depot where Fabio’s dad bought us tons of stuff that we’ve been needing for a while (new fans and light fixtures for the bathrooms, new door knobs, new outlet covers, etc. etc. etc.).

I loved all the poinsettia plants they had on display. So festive! Fabio’s dad wound up buying us a couple of those too. 🙂

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Fabio and his dad spent the rest of the evening the loft working on the HVAC system (cleaning the ducts and sealing up some insulation that was falling down). When it was time for me to go to bed, they were still working hard. You could hear them staple gunning from the bedroom, and Jack was so confused as to where all the noise was coming from. Haha!

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Saturday

On Saturday the boys finished up their work in the morning, and then we headed into DC for a fun day with Fabio’s family! In addition to Fabio’s dad being in town, his sister Karen and niece Sofia visited since they weren’t able to come down for Thanksgiving, and Diane also drove in from Baltimore. It was so nice having the whole gang together!

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First on the agenda was lunch at Pi Pizzeria. We had visited this spot a few weeks ago and really liked their pizzas!

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The deep dish one (unpictured) is especially tasty. Yum!

After lunch, we walked over to the Museum of Natural History! I think this might be my favorite museum of all time because there’s always SO much to see…and it’s free. 🙂

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We started off with a tour of the live butterfly exhibit, which was a big hit with Sofia.

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There were butterflies flying all around and it was so cool to see all the different types. The ones enjoying the fruit below were brown and kind of ugly on the outside of their wings, but once they opened them up we could see that the other side was a beautiful iridescent blue.

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So cool!

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Up next was the mammal exhibit!

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There was a lot to see here and I didn’t get pictures of too much, but I thought this giraffe was especially cool. Imagine having to stand like that to drink water?

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Sofia (and the rest of us) definitely enjoyed exploring the museum!

Once we all started to get tired, we headed back to our house to relax for a bit.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon on the couch watching a cute Christmas movie called Santa Paws. Sofia was a fan!

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Doesn’t our fire place look cozy?

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Eventually the group drove back to Diane’s house in Baltimore where they stayed on Saturday night, before Fabio’s dad and Karen drove back to New York on Sunday. It was so great spending time with this bunch!

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(Jack made it into the picture too!)

Sunday

On Sunday, we drove over to my mom’s house for the second half of our family weekend. My mom and stepdad were in Italy during Thanksgiving, so they hosted a belated Thanksgiving celebration on Sunday instead. A bunch of our family friends were in attendance, and it was a ton of fun!

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Me & my mom! Pearly girlies!

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While my mom was in Italy she found a dress that she’s pretty sure she’s going to wear for our wedding, and before we sat down to eat she tried it on for me. It’s beautiful!! (Obviously.) We think we might go shopping together in a couple of months anyway just to be sure it’s “the dress,” but this one really looks great. 🙂 So exciting!

Before long, it was time to eat!

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I filled up my plate with all the usuals, and everything was FANTASTIC. My mom is definitely one of the best cooks I know, and my stepdad Fritz nailed the turkey. So delicious!

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After enjoying some pie it was time to head back home. Thanks for a lovely Thanksgiving meal, mom and Fritz! 🙂

The end.

Questions of the day: Do you prefer deep dish or thin crust pizza? What’s your favorite museum?

 Posted by on December 5, 2016
Nov 302016
 

Over the weekend, Fabio and I got started on decorating our home for Christmas! I am one of those people who goes bonkers around the holidays – nothing is too glittery, festive, or cheerful in my opinion. I can listen to Christmas music nonstop and never get tired of it! To me, it really is the most wonderful time of the year!

As I mentioned, we got our decorations out on Sunday and set everything up. This is our first time ever having an outside to decorate (we used to hang wreaths on our apartment door but that was about all we could do) so I was really excited to hang some lights up outside!

Fabio and I are on a strict budget these days – we just redid our wedding budget and, eek!! – so we hung a star decoration that my grandparents gave us and placed a couple of candlesticks in the windows. That’s good enough for this year!

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We also tried to buy a tree over the weekend, but when we showed up at Home Depot it was a total mad house! The parking lot was packed and once we finally found a spot, we walked into the nursery department to find a line of people with Christmas trees wrapping all the way to back of the store. No. Thank you.

Since we don’t live too far from Home Depot, we decided to go back on Monday night instead. This wound up being SUCH a great idea and we practically had the place to ourselves.

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We even got some one-on-one help from a Home Depot employee named Dale, who pulled a bunch of trees out for us to make sure we got a good one. Then he helped us strap the tree to the car. Hooray for Dale!

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When we got home, we blasted the Christmas music and got to work! I think our tree turned out pretty well. 🙂

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Fabio and I have a tradition of buying ornaments for special occasions (usually when we travel) so decorating the tree is always one of my favorite events of the season.

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First, we obviously have a bunch of Jack-themed ornaments (don’t tell me you’re surprised…)

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And then we have a bunch of travel ones! We got this chiva bus ornament from Cartagena during our trip to Colombia! FYI – chivas are basically Colombian party buses. 🙂

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Then there’s this pretty one from our trip to Jackson Hole

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…one from beautiful Amalfi

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And one from Bryce Canyon! There’s also one from our trip to the top of the Empire State Building.

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I think we have some others too – we have quite a collection going! I love having all of these ornaments to remind us of fun times in our life. 🙂

Tonight (Tuesday), we are enjoying all our beautiful holiday decorations alongside some Blue Apron! They had a sale a while back and I couldn’t resist signing up for a week.

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On the menu tonight was Thai Green Coconut Curry, and it was SO delicious but SO spicy!! Holy cow. I don’t think I should have added all the curry paste in. Oops!

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This recipe also made a ton of food, so I have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Yay!

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Now dinner is over, and I’m working on this post during commercial breaks during of one of my new favorite shows, This Is Us. I remember when the promos ran over the summer and I was so excited for the show, and so far I would have to say it’s living up to my expectations. Maybe it will be the new Parenthood? (Which I only have like 4 episodes left of – wahhh!)

Questions of the day: Do you like spicy food? On a scale of 1 – 10, how into the holidays do you get? Are you watching This Is Us?

 Posted by on November 30, 2016
Nov 282016
 

Hi friends! To all those who celebrated it, how was your Thanksgiving? Mine was a lot of fun and also sort of relaxing since we didn’t travel too far this year. Here are some of the highlights!

Wednesday

Fabio’s dad came into town on Wednesday afternoon, and we all met up for happy hour at Texas Jack’s BBQ in Arlington. Fabio and I had been wanting to check out Texas Jack’s for a while, so I’m glad we finally got the chance!

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Their food is a bit on the pricey side – a sandwich costs around $15 – but we went during happy hour when the sandwiches were only $5. Woohoo!

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Everything was fantastic and we all enjoyed mixing and matching the different types of BBQ. Delicious!

When we got home, I got busy in the kitchen making this apple pie with crumb topping.

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Someone wanted to “help” me in the kitchen!

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Haha!

Thursday

On Thursday morning I enjoyed all of my usual Thanksgiving traditions, including watching the parade and then the Westminster dog show! While the TV was on, I started prepping some of the food for the day including baking these pumpkin cream cheese muffins, which were SO easy and SO delicious. They were a big hit!

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I also made this casserole with greens and artichoke hearts but it turned out pretty boring so I wouldn’t recommend it.

Soon enough, it was time to drive to Diane and Alex’s new house outside of Baltimore!

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Like us, Diane and Alex were apartment renters for a long time, so it was exciting to celebrate in their new home. It was absolutely gorgeous too!

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Everything looked quite festive for the holiday!

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After hanging around with all the family and chatting for a while, it was time to eat!

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Turkey time! These boys crack me up. 🙂

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Alex’s family is Russian, so in addition to all the traditional Thanksgiving fare we had some wonderful Russian dishes as well.

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Plate #1 for me! 🙂

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One of the best Russian dishes we had was khachapuri (I think that’s how you spell it) which is basically the most ridiculous cheese bread ever.

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Clearly Fabio was thankful for it. 😉

After dinner and going around and saying what we are thankful for, it was time for dessert!

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I think my apple pie turned out pretty well, and luckily there were lots of other delicious treats on the table as well. 🙂

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We spent the rest of the evening hanging out with Fabio’s parents, Diane, and Alex after Alex’s family headed home, which involved all sort of shenanigans like making the three dogs pose for Christmas pictures.

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None of the dogs were really a fan of this – at all. LOL.

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But they were rewarded with treats in the end! What a bunch of cuties. 🙂

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Before bed, the boys started looking up black Friday deals online. Alex is planning to turn their basement into a home theater, so the guys were comparing the different TVs on sale and deciding which was the best kind to get, all while sipping some drinks. Typical.

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Jack was one of the boys too!

Overall we had a really fun time at Diane and Alex’s first Thanksgiving in their new house!

Friday

On Friday we spent some time with my side of the family! We drove over to my grandparents’ house on the Eastern Shore, and since we arrived with some time to kill we decided to show Fabio’s dad our wedding venue.

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It was as beautiful as we remembered!

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Fabio’s dad seemed to like it a lot too! We are going back in a couple of weeks to confirm some of the details, so this got me even more excited to finish planning. 🙂

Then we drove over to my grandparents’ house! The sun was just starting to set, so we headed out for a quick (freezing cold) boat ride. Jack came with us too!

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Love my little family. <3

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My boys!

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It was great spending time with my sister too! I had missed her (and the rest of my family) on Thanksgiving.

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What a beautiful afternoon to spend on the bay!

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Eventually we got too cold and headed back in. Brrr!

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After our boat ride, we all headed out to dinner at the Ram’s Head on Kent Island. I ordered a delicious shrimp and scallop salad, and devoured every bite.

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Meanwhile, Fabio ordered a gigantic bacon cheeseburger topped with mac ‘n cheese!

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So fun!

Eventually it was time for us to head home, and Fabio and his dad did some late-night work around the house. Jack and I were pooped from the holiday!

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Saturday & Sunday

Saturday and Sunday were fairly uneventful; we took Jack to the vet, cleaned the house, meal planned, grocery shopped, and relaxed. We also did some wedding planning and got out our Christmas decorations! I’ll take some pictures for you once everything is set up. 🙂 I love this time of year!

And there you have it, the highlights from Thanksgiving 2016! It sure was a good one!

Question of the day: What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?

I am all about the stuffing!!

 Posted by on November 28, 2016
Nov 232016
 

To all my American friends out there, are you ready for some delicious Thanksgiving food tomorrow? I know I am!

This year we will be spending Thanksgiving with Fabio’s sister, Diane, and brother-in-law, Alex, at their new house outside of Baltimore. They recently made the switch from apartment living in downtown Baltimore to being homeowners in the ‘burbs, and I’m so excited to see their new place!

Photo with Diane and Alex from last Thanksgiving 🙂

Most of Alex’s family will be there as well, as well as Fabio’s mom and dad. It’s always fun catching up with this crew!

Another photo from last year!

I’m contributing this apple pie and this casserole of baked polenta with greens and gruyere to the feast, so tonight I have to finish putting everything together. Right now the pie crust is chilling in the fridge (literally) so my plan is to knock the rest of the pie out after work today. Fabio’s dad is also staying with us tonight, so I’m sure we’ll do something fun to celebrate him being in town. 🙂

To prepare for the big day tomorrow, I’ve also been really busy on the exercise front. Gotta burn those calories before I add more to my belly! 😉 I went to Urban Athletic Club twice this week, once with Anne and Kathleen and once on my own.

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Both classes included a ton of upper body work, and combined with the Sculpt class I took at CorePower Yoga on Sunday, my arms are definitely sore right now. Ouch!

Alright friends, that’s all I really have for you today. It’s kind of hard to talk about much else when you have turkey on the brain! Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. I had a lot of fun looking back at past Thanksgiving posts as I pulled this one together. So many happy memories including hosting my first Thanksgiving

Spending Thanksgiving with Aunt CC and Uncle Steve in Otis

Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from CC and Steve’s apartment on the Upper West Side

and going out to a nice Thanksgiving Day lunch with Fabio’s dad in NYC.

So many fun memories! I love this holiday!

Question of the day: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving memory or tradition?

I always LOVE watching the Thanksgiving Day parade. I used to watch it with my mom when I was growing up, before my dad would come pick me up and take me to my grandparents’ house. These days I like to enjoy a special breakfast and sip on mimosas while we watch it. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day!

 Posted by on November 23, 2016
Nov 212016
 

Hey friends! How was your weekend? Mine was a relatively relaxing one spent at home, which was definitely appreciated! After a crazy summer with 8 weddings, I don’t think I’ll ever take a weekend with minimal plans for granted again. Here’s a peek at what we were up to!

Friday

Honestly, I can’t even remember what we did on Friday night. What did we eat? What did we watch? I remember falling asleep on the couch at one point during something I was supposed to be paying attention to, so there’s that. Lately I’ve found that after a stressful week at work, I can’t do anything productive on Friday evenings at all. When did I get so old?

Saturday

Saturday was Jack’s birthday! (Fun fact: his birthday is always the Saturday before Thanksgiving since that’s when we adopted him and we can’t remember when the actual date was. 🙂 Hey, whatever works!)

We kicked our morning off with a trip to the dog park!

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Jack always has a blast at the dog park in Clarendon, and now that they’ve drained the water out of the fountain for the winter and he doesn’t come home dirty and wet, Fabio and I are much happier to take him there.

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What a happy birthday boy!

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When we got home we treated him to a bone marrow-filled bone, which he happily chewed on for the rest of the weekend. Happy birthday, Jack! I can’t believe he’s six(ish)!

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After dropping Jack off back at home, Fabio and I headed out to run some errands. Our first stop of the day was Starbucks where I picked up a skinny peppermint mocha. Yum! Then we headed over to Home Goods to shop for some house stuff, and I felt like the most basic person ever. Red Starbucks holiday cup + Home Goods? You can’t make this stuff up.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon heading to various other stores, including Best Buy where I upgraded my iPhone 6 to an iPhone 7. My 6 had been cracked for about a month (booo) so it was definitely time for an upgrade.

After all that shopping (and a late lunch pit stop at Chipotle) we stopped by one of our favorite bars, Heavy Seas, to fill up our growler! On Saturdays and Sundays you can fill up growlers with their beer for half price, so we usually try to go to take advantage of the discount. We’re never the only ones in there either – you can see someone else’s growler a little further down the bar!

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We also shared a beer while we waited for the growler to get filled. 🙂

When we got home we unloaded all of our new purchases, including some festive winter throw pillows for our new couch!

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I think they all look so cozy. 🙂 I’m glad I talked Fabio into letting me buy a holiday one.

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Clearly I am excited about it, haha!

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Then we started a fire and drank our beer! We wound up not being hungry for dinner after eating Chipotle so late in the day, so we munched on a couple of snacks instead. Our plan was to watch a movie, but we wound up talking all night long! We drank all of the beer in the growler, which probably had something to do with our random chattiness. 😉

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After singing along to Disney songs around midnight, Fabio suggested we should go up to bed. Haha! Good idea. 😉

Sunday

On Sunday, Fabio and I headed over to CorePower Yoga in Pentagon City to take a Sculpt class with some of his coworkers!

I haven’t taken their Sculpt class in months, but it’s definitely one of my favorites. I used to take it once a week!

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Like usual, it was hot and really challenging, and I felt so good when I was done. Phew! Red sweaty face, FTW!

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I was also really proud of Fabio for sticking with it. That class is no joke!

The rest of the day was spent meal planning, grocery shopping, and making spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Yum!

Question of the day: How much holiday decor do you have in your house? Have you put any of it out yet?

 Posted by on November 21, 2016