Sep 062017
 

Hello! How was your weekend? For my American friends, I hope you enjoyed a nice Labor Day yesterday!

Our weekend was pretty good – Fabio spent most of it studying for a computer technology certification for his job, and I spent a good chunk of it working on Hurricane Harvey support, but despite all of that we still managed to have some fun!

Friday

On Friday night, we headed out for a date! We popped over to Texas Jack’s BBQ because they have a great happy hour deal: $5 drafts and $6 sandwiches!

Their beer is especially tasty, as is their brisket sandwich. Yum! We were able to snag a seat at the bar and enjoyed a nice evening chatting with each other about anything but work. 🙂

Afterwords, Fabio decided he really wanted to try one of Burger King’s new Lucky Charms milkshakes. Note: There is not even a Burger King close to us, so this was an actual planned outing.

The verdict: Gross! Do NOT get one of these – haha! Oh well, now he knows.

We finished up our Friday night watching the new season of Narcos on the couch. 🙂

Saturday

Unfortunately, my entire day on Saturday was spent working. We are still sending supplies down to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey (and now planning for Hurricane Irma – ugh), and I had to help post about the locations where people could get their supplies.

Luckily the weather was pretty crappy – it rained a ton on Saturday – and Fabio had to spend the day studying anyway, so it wasn’t like I was missing much. Jack kept us company.

When I finally wrapped up work at around 6:30, it was cocktail time!

Fabio made us some mojitos which came out delicious! Also, take note of Fabio’s sweater above – it was chilly on Saturday! Fall is definitely in the air.

Yum!

For dinner, we headed over to Pupatella, a pizza place near us that we’d heard about but had never visited. At Pupatella, all the pizzas are personal-size and are made to order!

Fabio got a Margherita and I got meatball. Yum!!

Date night number two was a success!

Sunday

On Sunday I was finally finished with work (phew!) so I was able to squeeze in a bit more fun. First up: a trip to the dog park in Clarendon!

After that, I headed to a relaxing yoga class at one of my favorite spots, Edge Yoga. I love their classes – they really give you the opportunity to stretch out and relax.

My hips were actually a little sore after taking the class; I guess I need to work on stretching them out more. Note to self: Sit in pigeon pose while watching TV!

After my class I walked over to Current Boutique, a cute consignment shop with designer clothing brands. I wound up getting a pair of jeans, a shirt from Zara, and a Lululemon tank all for $80. Score! The Lululemon tank by itself was only $18, which I couldn’t get over.

Fabio was still studying when I got home, so I tackled some cleaning around the house and folded some laundry while watching Harry Potter. 🙂

After two nights in a row of eating unhealthy crap out at restaurants, we enjoyed a lighter salad at home on Sunday evening which was definitely needed.

Monday

Monday revolved around weekly meal planning and grocery shopping, and then Fabio and I took Jack to The Brig, a fun dog-friendly beer garden in DC, for my friend Jojo’s 30th birthday! Jack wasn’t the only dog in attendance – I would say there was probably one dog to every four people!

It was definitely a fun atmophere, and Fabio and I enjoyed the chance to get out and be social (in the beautiful weather, no less!) after a somewhat quiet weekend at home. Happy birthday, Jojo!

Eventually it was time for us to head home so Fabio could continue studying (his test is this week!). I think Jack had fun at the beer garden, and would totally go back!

The end.

P.S. I got these glasses a few weeks ago – did I mention that? What do you guys think?

Question of the day: Do you prefer really busy weekends or ones that are more slow?

We thought we were going to have some other plans for Labor Day, but when Fabio’s test popped up and my work got crazy, we figured it was probably smarter to stay around town. It actually wound up being really nice to have some time to relax at home, and it made the weekend feel even longer!

 Posted by on September 6, 2017
Aug 282017
 

Hi friends! How was your weekend? Ours was a good mix of fun and relaxing, which is always the best way to spend a weekend if you ask me! Here’s a peek at what we were up to.

Friday

On Friday night, Fabio and I went on a boat cruise hosted by his work. (Yes, that makes two Friday nights in a row with boat cruises…who are we??)

This time our boat left from the Navy Yard and we cruised south along the Potomac, as opposed to last week when we left from Georgetown and cruised north. I guess now we’ve seen the whole river by boat! 🙂

It was a lovely night to be out on the water, and we had fun eating, drinking, and dancing with Fabio’s coworkers.

After the boat ride, we hopped into an uber and headed over to Policy on U Street with a few of Fabio’s coworkers. Once there, we continued to dance the night away. I hadn’t been to Policy in ages, and it was a lot of fun to be back!

Saturday

Saturday morning began with a quick run with Jack (I always feel like a little sweat session helps get alcohol out of my system faster – ha!) and then around 12:30 we got ready for two special guests to arrive, my stepsister Maggie and her boyfriend, Nick!

Before they got there, Fabio and I tag-teamed cleaning up the house and then he offered to run out to the store to pick up some snacks while I finished getting ready. Our neighbor also happened to be selling some figs from his fig tree, so when Maggie and Nick arrived we all snacked on champagne, cheese, figs, prosciutto, and cantaloupe!

Happy Saturday indeed! 🙂

A little while after our snack session, we all hopped in an uber that would take us to a BBQ hosted by our family friends Dan and Alanna. Even though we had just eaten cheese and snacks, I wasted no time filling up on amazing BBQ food.

I hadn’t eaten breakfast on Saturday, so I basically considered our cheese course breakfast and the BBQ lunch. Haha! Everything was delicious, especially the two salads made by Alanna. I’ll have to get those recipes!

Before long, it was time for our group to pack everything up and walk over to the Nationals game! Maggie had never been to a Nats game before, so we briefly split up from Dan, Alanna, and the rest of their friends so we could show her the Bullpen.

It was packed, as usual! Must have been because of the good weather, live music, and beer. 🙂

I love this place and was so glad Maggie and Nick got to see it!

Before long, it was time to head into the stadium!

Our seats were fairly high up, but we still had a good view of the field.

Thanks so much to Dan to treating us all to these seats!!! (He’s a season ticket holder and was able to cash in some rewards points so everyone could go together.)

At the end of the fifth inning, we left our seats to meet up with our good friends Courtney and Kevin who also happened to be at the game. We shared a beer with them and enjoyed catching up! Before we knew it, the 8th inning had arrived so we all scurried back to our seats to watch the rest of the game.

My handsome husband!

I think I’ve mentioned that Fabio used to be a bat boy for the Yankees and the Mets, and when we first started dating he took me to a bunch of Mets games so I could watch him down on the field. Because of him I also got to visit the club house and dugout – and go onto the field – after a game. Because of this, I was having mixed emotions about which team to root for, Nats or Mets, but in the end I was happy when the Nats pulled off a win. 🙂

It was such a fun day with fun people, and after a quick dinner at Nando’s and saying goodbye to Nick and Maggie, I fell into bed exhausted at 10:00 p.m. Fabio wound up watching the big fight at a friend’s house on Pay Per View, but I was happy to stay home in my PJs and catch up on sleep instead. 🙂

Sunday

Sunday was a very relaxing and lazy day – we slept in, watched a few episodes of Shameless, and just kind of hung out around the house which was glorious.

Eventually I did some meal planning and hit up the grocery store, but other than that it was quite a relaxing day!

Now I’m just waiting for Fabio’s cousin and her boyfriend to come over a little later for the Game of Thrones finale! I can’t wait to see what happens but am bummed this season is already almost over. Wah!!

Question of the day: Did you watch the finale? What did you think?

 Posted by on August 28, 2017
Aug 242017
 

Hi friends! Today I’m popping in with the very last recap of our amazing honeymoon trip to Thailand! It was such a fun experience, and writing these posts has allowed me to relive it, which is such a nice bonus.

In case you missed my first six (holy cow!) posts, you can find them here:

Today I’m highlighting a few of the activities we really loved in Ko Samui. If you ever find yourself in that part of the world, here are some things I recommend doing during your stay!

1. Take an all-day speedboat tour of Ang Thong Marine National Park. This was an excursion we knew we wanted to do, so we booked a tour through the concierge at our hotel. We might have had more options if we had booked online before our trip, but with coordinating the rest of this vacation and – oh yeah, planning a wedding – I decided winging it and booking upon arrival would be fine. And it was! 🙂

When we arrived at the tour’s starting point, I knew we were in for a fun day!

We boarded a boat with about 20 other people and then zoomed across the ocean. Our boat’s first stop of the day was snorkeling!

Fabio and I are lucky enough that we’ve both snorkeled in plenty of places around the world – though mostly in the Caribbean – and this snorkeling was pretty similar to other snorkeling trips we’ve done. Lots of coral and plenty of fish!

Our next highlight on the boat was riding around the National Park itself, which allowed us to view tons of cool rock formations that came right out of the water.

We even got to see “Monkey Rock,” and this one that’s out of a James Bond movie.

After that, we had a couple of other stops including one to eat lunch and one to climb up some super steep steps to check out a blue lagoon!

There was also a great view of the National Park’s rock formations from up there. Oh, and we got some Thai beers from a little refreshment stand to enjoy while we soaked in the views!

Our last stop of the day took us to a nice relaxing private beach (there was no one around except for the people who were on our boat) where we were able to take out some kayaks, play beach volleyball, and soak up the sunshine.

It was definitely a fun day-long excursion!

2. Eat dinner at The CliffI already told you guys about our super romantic, delicious dinner at Six Senses’ Dining on the Rocks, but we also enjoyed a nice dinner out at The Cliff restaurant.

This one wasn’t quite as nice as Dining on the Rocks and the food definitely wasn’t as good, but it was much cheaper, still tasty, and had a really nice view! And I guess you can’t eat like a king every night, right?

3. Eat all the mango sticky rice. This tip really goes for all of Thailand, but since we visited Ko Samui during the end of our trip, we really felt the need to enjoy this amazing dessert as much as we could before it was time to head back to the U.S.

The mangoes were always perfectly ripe, and the warm, sweet rice was perfection. Yum! I think I need to recreate this dish sometime soon.

4. Attend a party on Chaweng Beach. There weren’t any crazy full moon beach parties happening when we were down by Ko Samui, but there was still plenty of beach entertainment! One night we walked up to famous Ark Bar and enjoyed an amazing fire-throwing show on the beach.

There were lots of people trying to sell us stuff which was kind of annoying, but it was still fun to listen to good music, sip deliciously cold beer, and watch the show. Afterwards, we walked over to the Green Mango club area of Chaweng Beach and enjoyed a really fun night at a couple of different bars! Green Mango is a really big, crowded club, but we had just as much fun at a smaller bar next door with an awesome DJ! Lots and lots of dancing happened that night. My favorite! 🙂

5. Go to the Thai ExperienceThis is something you absolutely, positively MUST do if you’re ever in Ko Samui! Our friends Brian and Daria (who we met up with in Chiang Mai) did this during their stay, and they signed us up for it as a wedding/honeymoon gift for us. They’re the best!!In a nutshell, the Thai Experience was created for people who have outgrown staying in hostels during vacation but still want an opportunity to get to know other travellers and bond over shared experiences.

In a nutshell, the Thai Experience was created for people who have outgrown staying in hostels during vacation but still want an opportunity to get to know other travelers and bond over shared experiences.

A van picks you up right from your hotel and takes you to the Thai Experience location where a friendly host for the evening explains that you’re going to wear silly hats, drink lots of booze, talk to other travellers from around the world, learn about the Thai culture, and eat TONS of delicious Thai food.

We also got to learn how to make Thai cocktails!

The food was incredible, and we ate SO much of it. We also had a blast getting to know a family from New Zealand that was seated next to us. And now we’re all friends on Facebook!

Plus, as promised, there was an endless supply of cocktails. 🙂

We wound up doing this on the last night of our trip, and it was such a fun way to end our vacation! Apparently there’s another “Experience” location in Argentina, so if we ever make our way down there (which we plan to!) we will definitely add that to our itinerary.

After all that fun, we spent 30+ hours traveling back home to the states. Womp womp. Oh well, at least our two-week vacation was a blast and one we will never forget!

Question of the day: Do you like dancing at big clubs or smaller bars?

 Posted by on August 24, 2017
Aug 212017
 

Hi friends! How was the weekend for you? We actually stuck around this weekend, which was really nice after what feels like a whole Summer of being away. Here’s my recap!

Friday

On Friday night, Fabio and I joined a few of my coworkers for a fundraising event for a very special nonprofit organization, the Luv U Project. My former coworker Christin and her dad created the Luv U Project after a tragedy struck their family, and it’s so inspiring to see how they’ve been able to take their grief and turn it into something positive. I’m so proud of Christin for what she and her family have been able to accomplish, and I love being able to attend these events to show my support.

Friday evening’s event was a booze cruise along the Potomac, which made it even easier to show our support. 🙂 Who wouldn’t want to raise money for a great cause and still have a fun evening out with friends?? Here we are pre-booze cruise with my coworker Carly, her husband Matt, Christin, and my other coworker Dani!

The cruise set sail at 9:30 p.m., and though it was an incredibly humid night, the air was slightly cooler on the water.

After some quick remarks from Christin and the honoree of the evening, we enjoyed an open bar, lots of food, and plenty of good music! At one point there was a hula-dancing contest among three guys, which, as you can imagine, was pretty entertaining.

Overall we had such a fun night at the Luv U Luau, and I felt so lucky to have coworkers that I also consider to be great friends. 🙂

Saturday

Fabio and I slept in on Saturday, and then made our way over to Northside Social for breakfast! I opted for the smoked salmon and poached egg sandwich, and it was as amazing as I remembered.

We also shared a bacon scone – meaning I ate most of it, no shame – and each got an iced coffee.

The rest of the day was spent running tons and errands and getting some stuff done around the house that we’d been putting off for a while. Around dinnertime, we broke out the new pasta machine we got for the wedding.

I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make fresh pasta!! You basically dump in one measuring cup full of flour, then one measuring cup full of a beaten egg + some water, and then turn the machine on. Out comes fresh pasta!!

We enjoyed our pasta with some tomato sauce that my mom made with all her fresh tomatoes from the garden, and it was SO delicious. We will definitely be using this machine a lot!

We finished up the night with a few episodes of Shameless on the couch. 🙂

Sunday

We slept in again on Sunday (one of the best parts of spending the weekend at home!) and then I took Jack for a quick run before it was time to head over to Diane and Alex’s house so we could meet our new nephew!

Baby Michael Leon is just a few days old now, and we had fun holding him, burping him, staring at his adorableness, etc. 🙂

I wound up making this quinoa veggie enchilada casserole and these no-bake oatmeal nut butter balls for the new parents to enjoy since I figured cooking wouldn’t be at the top of their priority list right now. Both recipes seemed like they were hits! It was so great to catch up with them and meet our new family member!

And now I’m back at home while Fabio is squeezing in a quick 9-hole game of golf with our friend Jason. We are looking forward to watching Game of Thrones later tonight, and I might try to take a short nap since I heard it’s going to be an extra long episode! (And I’m a Grandma and hate going to bed so late.) Can’t wait to see what happens!

Question of the day: How good are you with babies?

I’ve held newborn babies before, but today was the first time I tried burping one. It was hard because I couldn’t see the baby’s face when he was on my shoulder, and I wanted to make sure I was doing it right! I guess you get better with practice, right?

P.S. It’s really hard for me to type “burping” – it seems like my fingers only know how to type “burpees.” Haha!

 Posted by on August 21, 2017
Aug 162017
 

Fabio and I knew we wanted part of our honeymoon to be filled with lots of adventures – like hiking through the forests of Chiang Mai to get to secluded temples, swimming in waterfalls, and walking with gentle elephants – but it was also important for us to take some time to relax and remember that we are on our honeymoon and are supposed to be enjoying romantic time with one another as husband and wife. (Eek! Those words still seem unreal to me.)

We decided to end our trip with a stop in Ko Samui, one of the beautiful islands off the southeast coast of Thailand (FYI – we picked the east coast because we read it was supposed to be less rainy in June). And while I truly enjoyed every moment of learning about Thai culture and exploring new places, there is something so calming about plopping in a chair on the sand and just soaking up the sun to the sound of the waves.

And, in addition to spending some time relaxing in the sun, we enjoyed the most romantic dinner of our trip in Ko Samui. In fact, it might have been the most romantic dinner we’ve ever had!

When we arrived at Ozo, our Ko Samui hotel in Chaweng Beach, Fabio wasted no time in asking the concierge for dinner recommendations. Thankfully she recommended Six Senses’ Dining on the Rocks restaurant as one of the places we had to visit during sunset, and I’m so incredibly thankful that she did.

We took a cab from our hotel to the Six Senses luxury resort, and then took a golf cart up to their Dining on the Rocks restaurant. Before we headed up to the main part of the restaurant, we were whisked onto a patio just in time to watch the sun set over the ocean.

Our table was right along the edge of the patio so we were treated to an amazing view!

With the mountains in the distance and the beautiful ocean in front of us, this wound up being one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen! It didn’t hurt that I was so relaxed and happy about spending a romantic evening with my husband. And you can’t see our faces here because of the sun, but I promise you we are grinning ear to ear.

As soon as we sat down, we ordered two glasses of champagne. Cheers to a honeymoon in paradise!

After the sun had gone down, we headed up to the main part of the restaurant where we’d eat an amazing meal.

It was still beautiful up there, but we were facing slightly away from the sun so I’m glad we enjoyed happy hour on the smaller patio first.

Instead, we got to take in beautiful views of the ocean!

(With more champagne, obviously.)

The meal itself was also amazing! I started off with some prawn and sea bass ceviche with “sweet potato sheets” which was delicious and refreshing, especially since it was pretty hot out.

For my entree, I enjoyed the scallops! Fabio got a steak, and we also shared a few side dishes.

Dessert was probably my favorite dish – I got the mango yogurt roll which was a mix of the most perfectly ripe mango and frozen yogurt. Yum!!

This restaurant is not cheap by any means – in fact it was the most expensive meal we had during our trip – but it was so romantic and relaxing and so perfect for a honeymoon. I loved every second!

Question of the day: What’s the most romantic dinner you’ve ever had?

 Posted by on August 16, 2017
Aug 142017
 

This past weekend, Fabio, Jack, and I drove up to Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s house in Otis, Massachusetts (in the Berkshires) for a weekend of fun in the sun! We were joined by my friends Hana and Britt, which made the trip extra amazing.

Here are some scenes from the weekend, with a few notes of commentary here and there. 🙂

We hit the road on Thursday evening after work!

After a long car ride, we arrived in Otis to quite the welcome spread!

We stayed up until around 4 a.m. before throwing in the towel. We were exhausted.

Friday

We slept in a bit on Friday and then had breakfast outside. I made this lemon blueberry “bread” (aka – cake) and it was fantastic!

My plate:

Then it was time for some fun!

Water activities are the best. 🙂

We recently bought this life vest for Jack so we don’t have to worry about him when he jumps off the kayak or paddle board in the middle of the lake. It worked perfectly!

Steve took Jack on his kayak, and the rest of us used the stand-up paddle boards. Poor Fabio had to work on Friday so he stayed at the house, and Britt didn’t arrive until Friday evening. (That pesky day job.)

But the rest of us had fun!

After paddle boarding, we hung out in the back yard enjoying the sunshine and playing lots of lawn games.

Jack wanted to join us in playing bocce. 🙂

Steve was on cocktail duty and made us some amazing concoctions!

Later in the afternoon, the sky began to look a little ominous so we moved our games inside. Steve showed us how to play Gobblet, and we were all instantly addicted.

Once Britt arrived, it was dinner time!

We called it a night around 1 a.m. after playing lots more board games. We were pooped!

Saturday

Saturday morning started off pretty gray and cold, so we huddled inside and went through our wedding pictures together! Then we made a stop at the farmer’s market.

Lunch featured wraps on the deck, and then we headed off for a four-mile hike!

Which of course, meant more swimming for Jack.

The sun was fully out by the time we got back to the house, so we put on our swimsuits and headed over to the lake.

We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at the house playing lots and lots more games.

The games didn’t stop when the sun went down – night time bocce, kan-jam, and badminton for the win!

We finished up the evening sitting around the fire pit and called it a night around 1:45 a.m. (Dinner was also in there somewhere, but I was too busy having fun to take any pics!)

Sunday

We stuck around for breakfast on Sunday before packing up to head home.

It was a long drive, but the fun weekend was worth it!

The end.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite game?

 Posted by on August 14, 2017
Aug 072017
 

Hi there! How was your weekend? Hopefully it was the perfect mix of productive, fun, and relaxing, which is how mine unfolded. Let’s take a look!

Friday

After work on Friday, Fabio and I met up with a few of our friends for dinner at Baby Wale in DC. Two of our good friends Andy and Cullen were in town from LA, and we definitely wanted to see them while they were here! Our friends Jon and Liz are close with Andy and Cullen too, so we figured a group dinner in DC would be a good idea.

I had never been to Baby Wale before but it had a great atmosphere and the food was tasty yet affordable! I had a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a perfectly dressed side salad, and a couple of tasty cocktails. It was a really fun night and so great to catch up with everyone!

Saturday

Saturday did not start off on the best note for me. Fabio headed off to golf with a friend early in the morning, while I stayed behind and cleaned the entire house. We’re talking vacuuming, dusting, window-washing, tub-scrubbing, toilet-cleaning – the whole nine yards. When Fabio called me after golf saying he was on his way home, I got irrationally mad since he’d been outside enjoying the beautiful weather while I cleaned everything by myself. I kept thinking about how I could have been sitting outside at a coffee shop or taking a yoga class, but instead I was stuck inside scrubbing.

Having a clean house just isn’t something that Fabio cares about, but it’s something that’s important to me. Since this wound up upsetting me more than it should have (and this is definitely not the first time this has happened), I think it’s time to invest in some kind of cleaning service so I’m not spending hours on a Saturday morning cleaning by myself. If any of you have any tips for hiring a cleaning service (or dealing with husbands who don’t care about a clean house…), I’d love to hear them!

After Fabio arrived home, we both hopped in the car and sat in two hours of traffic (again, not the best start to the day) before finally arriving at my grandparents’ house in the Chesapeake Bay where we planned to spend the rest of the weekend. As soon as we arrived, my bad mood lifted.

Just walking to the dock and looking out at the water made me feel so much better.

And as soon as we dropped our stuff off, it was time for a boat ride! My dad, sister, cousin, and uncle had arrived at my grandparents’ house earlier in the day, and we were all eager to get out on the water.

Fabio even brought some beers along for our ride. Cheers!

The water was pretty choppy on Saturday, and the waves splashed me multiple times. Apparently I should have put my bathing suit on!

After boating around for a while, we stopped into a restaurant on Kent Island for happy hour drinks, and Fabio and I each got a “Kent Narrows Crush” which was delicious and so refreshing. Then it was time to head back to the house!

Back at the house, my grandpa made us a couple of Old Fashioned cocktails, which are definitely his specialty. The one I had was really strong, especially when added to the beer and the Kent Narrows Crush I had already had. 😉

So it’s safe to say that we enjoyed a fun happy hour at home with my family! 😉

A while later we all started to feel hungry, so we headed over to Adam’s Grille for dinner. I got a chopped chicken salad which was huge! I only wound up finishing about half of it.

My dad, sister, cousin, and uncle all left after dinner, but Fabio and I headed back to my grandparents’ house to spend the night. By the time we returned from dinner it was 10:30 p.m., and I didn’t last long at all before calling it a night.

Sunday

Sunday was another beautiful day at the Bay!

Fabio and I enjoyed a leisurely morning with my grandparents (we even checked out the new IHOP in their town, which was fun and definitely delicious) before it was time for golf! Fabio and my grandparents had an early afternoon tee time, and while I could have gone to the pool by myself, I decided to drive around on the golf carts with them and watch their game.

Fabio has been trying to get me to play golf with him for years, but it just doesn’t seem like it would be something I’d like. My hand-eye coordination is pretty terrible, and I just know I’d get so frustrated. I did have a fun time hanging around with everyone on the course though, so maybe I’ll give it a try one day?

After 9 holes of golf, we headed back to the house and packed up our stuff to head back home. We had such a wonderful weekend at the Bay with my grandparents, and it felt like a mini vacation. I am always so grateful when we get to spend this kind of quality time with them. 🙂

We sat in some beach traffic on the way home and got back to the house at around 6:30. Now we’ve unpacked our bags and are waiting for Game of Thrones to start! (As usual, it’s Sunday night as I type this.) I can’t wait to see what happens on the show this week!

Question(s) of the day: Do you have any cleaning tips for me? If you use a cleaning service, how often do they come? Would you/do you play golf?

 Posted by on August 7, 2017
Aug 022017
 

Hey friends! I’m back today with another recap of our amazing honeymoon in Thailand. If you missed any of my earlier posts, you can find those here:

I already told you about the main things we did in Chiang Mai, namely visiting wats and walking with elephants, so today I thought I would tell you about some of the other fun things we did in the city.

1. Drink pandan leaf (bai toey) tea. Fabio and I were greeted with this refreshing welcome drink at almost every nice establishment we visited (hotels, spas, etc.), and it was always served icy cold in cute little tin cups.

It’s hard to explain what this tea tasted like, but it was sweet, lemony, and so refreshing after being out in the hot and humid Thai climate.

Fabio and I actually found some of these tin cups at a local market in Chiang Mai and wound up buying them as souvenirs! We’re going to try to recreate this drink at home the next time we have guests over — it was such a nice way to be welcomed to a new place!

2. Get a massage. Massage places can be found all over Thailand and compared to massage places in the U.S., they are incredibly affordable. Fabio and I each got one-hour aromatherapy massages at Phurin Thai Spa in Chiang Mai for about $20!

There are also plenty of places that are cheaper than this one, but we wanted to pay a little more for an upscale spa experience. Plus, it was still just $20!! Take me back!

Note: When selecting a massage place, make sure the women out front look like real masseuses and aren’t wearing clothes that are too skimpy, or you might wind up in the wrong kind of establishment. 😉

3. Go to a fish spa. Being the tourists that we were, Fabio and I had to try out a fish spa, which is one of those places where you drop your feet into the water and little fish eat your dead skin.

Thank you to the nice lady from Chicago who offered to take this picture for us!

Fish spas are everywhere in Chiang Mai, and when selecting one, you’ll want to make sure it looks clean and is registered with the Thai government or else you could be at risk for a nasty infection. Yikes! The spa we picked looked clean and had official-looking signage on the door (it was in Thai so we couldn’t read it, but it looked ok), so we gave it a shot. It cost about 200 baht ($6) for a 20-minute session, so Fabio and I paid the fee and dunked our feet in the tank.

It was SUCH a weird experience and tickled like crazy. It was really hard not to pull my feet out and squirm away from the fish!

Even though it was a really weird feeling, I would definitely recommend this as something you must try when in Thailand.

4. Eat khao soi, preferably with a view of the river. Khao soi is a traditional northern Thai noodle soup that’s made with a coconut/curry broth. It is incredibly delicious and comes with crunchy noodles on top.

We first tried khao soi at the Riverside Bar & Restaurant outside the Old City in Chiang Mai, and we were treated to lovely views of the water in addition to our tasty soup.

Side note: Why do the Thai people like spicy soup when the climate is so hot??

I was lucky enough to have khao soi again at a no-frills, more traditional (read: less touristy) restaurant called Aroon Rai that I had read about online.

I really liked both versions of khao soi, and I am now on the hunt to find a place in the U.S. that serves it!

Note: iced coffee is also a huge thing in Thailand and is available everywhere, so we had a lot of iced coffee with our meals.

5. Check out the night bazaar. Fabio and I had read a lot about the night bazaar in Chiang Mai, and it did not disappoint! The streets are full of vendors selling everything under the sun, and the shops are open super late. We wound up buying some cool souvenirs for our family and friends, including some one-of-a-kind art!

Tip: If you see a painting you like at the bazaar but it’s too big or not the right size, you can ask the artist to make you a different size painting and pick it up a day or two later.

There’s also a really cool open area near the night bazaar with live music where you can grab a beer or a cocktail bucket and enjoy the evening outside.

Or if you’re not feeling a cocktail, you can get some rolled ice cream! I got a Kit-Kat, banana, and vanilla ice cream mixture, and it was as fun to watch them make it as it was to eat.

6. Check out the bars. The night life in Chiang Mai is pretty great, and there’s something for everyone!

If you want a rowdy, college-type of bar scene, check out Zoe in Yellow. There you’ll find blasting music, strobe lights, cheap cocktail buckets, and lots of drunk, young people. We went with two of our good friends who happened to be in Chiang Mai at the same time as us, Brian and Daria, so we had a good time, but I don’t think we would have enjoyed ourselves that much if it was just the two of us. We were feeling a little old for this crowd!

One place we did really enjoy going to though was the Jazz Bar by the North Gate of the Old City. We watched a couple of different bands play and had a good time sitting around and enjoying the live music.

7. Go to a cooking class. This was something that lots of people recommended that we do, and I’m so glad we did! After reading lots of reviews on Trip Advisor, I made a reservation with Asia Scenic Cooking School before we arrived in Thailand, and Fabio and I had a ton of fun cooking Thai dishes one night.

We got to make a stir fry, spring rolls, soup, and a curry dish, and each of us got to choose which ones we wanted to make.

We also got to put on silly hats and take a trip to the local Thai market (this is where we found our tin cups!).

I could have easily bought more at the market, and am now regretting that I didn’t purchase these soup packets. We had so much good Thai soup on our trip!

The market was really cool because there weren’t a lot of tourists there even though it was in the heart of the Old City. It was down a small road that wouldn’t have been easy to stumble upon, so I’m so glad we went with the cooking class!

Then it was cooking time!

Making the curries took a lot of work – we had to chop all the ingredients really finely and then pound them for while using a mortar and pistil.

Curries!

Eventually it was time to eat!

Yum!

All in all, we had a really fantastic time in Chiang Mai, and it was probably my favorite city that we visited during our trip. There’s just so much to do and see, but it still doesn’t feel like a crazy busy city. We loved it!

Question(s) of the day: What’s your favorite Thai food? Would you let fish eat dead skin off your feet?

 Posted by on August 2, 2017
Jul 312017
 

Every year, my college girlfriends plan a weekend trip to Fire Island, New York.

I wasn’t able to go last year because Fabio and I had a wedding that weekend, but you better believe I wasn’t missing it this time!

Fire Island is a small island off the coast of Long Island in New York and is only accessible by boat. It’s also a pain in the butt for me to get to since I have to get up to New York, out to Long Island, and then over to the ferry. There are also no cars allowed on the island, so we take public transportation to get there. It takes forever, but is so worth it!

My friends and I all shared our locations with one another on Snapchat, and I got a kick out of seeing our bitmojis hanging out together on the beach. 🙂

To get up and out to Fire Island, I began my journey after work on Thursday with a 6:00 p.m. Amtrak train. My friend Megan lives outside of Baltimore, so she hopped on the train from there. We treated ourselves to a seriously overpriced train dinner (I got a chicken wrap) and some wine. Vacation time!

When we arrived in New York City, we spent the night at our friends’ apartment and in the morning we all made our way out to Fire Island. Before we knew it, we were on the ferry!

There were 13 of us on this trip, including my friend Catrina who lives in California. It was so good to see her!

Hi, ladies!

After quickly stopping by the house to drop of four bags and unload groceries, we made our way to the beach! Friday was a great beach day, and we spent the afternoon soaking up the sun and catching up.

At one point, a deer made its way onto the beach! (Deer are pretty prevalent in Fire Island.)

Oh deer! 🙂

We stayed on the beach until the sun started to dip in the sky, at which point we headed back to the house to shower and start making dinner. Our house had an awesome rooftop with a big table and chairs, so we enjoyed our meal outside! We also got really lucky with a beautiful sunset.

Our chefs of the evening (Vic, Malena, and Layne, mostly) made us burgers, hot dogs, corn, pasta salad, and salad. Yum!!

We spent way too long sitting outside in the dark chatting before moving our party inside.

We thought briefly about getting ourselves dressed up and walking to the bars in town, but we decided sitting around and creating bitmojis for each other was more fun. 🙂

We clearly missed each other and enjoyed the chance to catch up!

Saturday

Sadly, we woke up to rainy skies on Saturday which pretty much killed any plans we had of going to the beach. We made ourselves a delicious breakfast of eggs and bacon (mine was enjoyed on an English muffin) and sat around talking over coffee for a while.

Eventually the rain let up and we decided to walk into town for some shopping. I didn’t buy anything, but it was still nice to look around. The town in Fire Island where we were is called Ocean Beach, and it’s so cute!

Later in the afternoon, my friend Kristen told us that her parents would be stopping by for happy hour. They live in Long Island and were planning to be in Fire Island this weekend anyway (just a different part of the island), so we planned to meet up with them for drinks at around 3:30.

Our happy hour wound up turning into an epic dance-party/sing-along day drink at the bar, which was easily the highlight of the weekend for me. It was so fun!

The music at the bar we went to (called CJ’s) was spot-0n and we enjoyed popular songs from lots of different time periods. We were all singing and dancing loudly and definitely made a scene at the bar, but no one seemed to mind. 🙂 It’s the beach, after all!

I can’t think of any way I’d rather spend a rainy day at the beach!!

After the bar, we all headed back to the house for another rooftop dinner. We were treated to another gorgeous sunset!

On Saturday night we had chicken and steak with the most delicious glaze that my friend Vic made. Yum! I can’t wait for her to share the recipe.

We also had more salad and pasta salad. My plate:

After sitting around and having another sing-along/dance party in the living room after dinner, a group of us decided to head to the bars. We didn’t get too crazy since we were all tired from day drinking, so luckily I woke up on Sunday morning without a hangover at all. Woohoo! We are definitely getting older, haha!

Sunday

Sunday was the most beautiful day we’ve had in months, so we woke up early to pack up our bags and then head to the beach. Megan, Kristen, and I stayed on the beach until around 1:00, at which point we had to go back to the house to get ready to go home. Wahh!!

These weekends are always so much fun, and I hate when they’re over. I miss my friends so much and really appreciated having all this time to catch up with them. Can I do it over again, please?

Question of the day: Do you have annual trips with your friends? If so, where do you usually go?

 Posted by on July 31, 2017
Jul 272017
 

Hey friends! How was your week? I’m sorry I didn’t get my act together to get a real post up this week (other than my weekend recap). I started pulling together another honeymoon post that I wanted to schedule for Wednesday, but it took me a long time just to get the photos together, and by the time I was done with that I ran out of time and energy to write anything. Next week!

Work should also be much slower next week – two of the big projects that have been stressing me out and keeping me in the office late wrapped up this week – so I should have more time and energy to sit down and blog in the evenings. Woohoo!

As for today, I am heading off to Fire Island this evening for a weekend with my college girlfriends!

This is a trip my friends (aka, sloppytown) plan every year, but I haven’t been able to go for the last couple of years due to weddings and being out of town. I’m so excited to get out there again this year!

And even though I can’t wait to relax on the beach (and am praying for good weather — it looks kinda crappy right now…), what I’m most looking forward to is sitting around with my friends and just catching up. I feel like I barely got to talk to them during the wedding!

I’ll be arriving back into town late on Sunday night, so we’ll have to see how much energy I have for posting right away. You know I’ll get to it eventually, and I thank you for your patience! 🙂

Question of the day: Do you have any kind of annual trips with your friends?

 Posted by on July 27, 2017