Jul 052017
 

Fabio and I spent an amazing weekend with my Aunt CC and Uncle Steve at their house in Otis, Massachusetts, but unfortunately we found out some sad news on Sunday night which definitely put a damper on the trip. Fabio’s grandfather, who we call Abuelo, passed away on Sunday at the age of 93.

Fabio’s grandfather lives in Bolivia, and I am so incredibly thankful that we were able to make a trip down there in 2014 to meet him. Though he’s lived in Bolivia for quite some time now, he lived with Fabio and his family for a while when Fabio was growing up, so they had a pretty close relationship.

I am so sad for Fabio and his family right now, but I know that Abuelo lived a long, happy life surrounded by people who love him. He wasn’t sick and didn’t suffer much – he was only in the hospital for two days before passing. Fabio is on his way down to Bolivia right now for the funeral (I wasn’t able to take more time off work since we just returned from the honeymoon), and I am sending all of my love down there with him. Rest in peace, Abuelo!

Despite the sad news about Abuelo, we still had a really nice weekend in Massachusetts. Here’s my recap!

Friday

Fabio and I drove up to Massachusetts after work on Friday evening. We had a few pit stops to make first, so we didn’t really get on the highway until around 8:30 p.m.

At that point, we had a scary driving incident about 10 minutes into our drive – we narrowly avoided hitting a small deer, only to have car next to us clip it and send it flying into my passenger door, which left a nice dent, made a loud boom, and scared the crap out of us. Thank goodness it didn’t have antlers or it would have shattered the window for sure. It was definitely scary!

After that, the rest of our 6.5-hour drive was uneventful, and we arrived at 3:00 in the morning. We spent a few minutes chatting with CC and Steve over wine and late-night snacks before crawling into bed. The birds were chirping and the sun was starting to rise when we fell asleep!

Saturday

We slept in until about 10 a.m. on Saturday, and then enjoyed a nice breakfast at CC and Steve’s house. I just love it here!

The weather wasn’t looking too great on Saturday and we had afternoon plans to attend a concert at Tanglewood, so we stayed close to home during the day. The boys played a bunch of lawn games (kan jam, horseshoes, and a golf chipping game they made up) while CC and I lounged on the deck enjoying the intermittent sunshine, and crossing our fingers that the rain would stay away for just a little longer.

Eventually, it was time to head out for the concert! We drove over to the town of Lenox, MA, for some dinner before the concert, and then headed to the venue, Tanglewood. This concert venue is super popular for the Berkshires, so we’d been dying to check it out ever since CC and Steve bought a house here a few years ago.

It was drizzling when we arrived, so we were glad we had tickets under the “shed” area, which is the covered section of the venue.

There were plenty of people with lawn seats who were stuck out in the elements, but most of them looked pretty prepared with lots of umbrellas! The good thing about Tanglewood is that you can bring in your own coolers with alcohol and snacks, so it was really cool to see some of the elaborate set-ups. Some people even had tables, chairs, and candelabras!

We didn’t bring a cooler ourselves because we knew you weren’t allowed to bring them into the shed area, so we enjoyed some beers in a designated area of the concert venue. Cheers!

We also walked over to see the beautiful Stockbridge Bowl, which is a big lake with some beautiful rolling hills around it. It was pretty hard to see through the mist, but you could tell it was beautiful!

Then it was concert time! We wound up seeing John Mellencamp on Saturday evening, and I really enjoyed hearing his classic hits like Jack and Diane, Hurts So Good, and Pink Houses.

He did an amazing job and was a really great performer! His band really killed it too, especially the female violinist. Wow!

When we got home, we had some late-night dessert of homemade peanut butter pie courtesy of CC.

Yum!!

Then the boys played a bunch of games downstairs (per usual) before we all called it a night.

Sunday

CC and Steve had two friends coming down on Sunday, so we went to the nearby diner for a quick breakfast and then spent some time getting the house ready for the day ahead.

When their friends arrived at a little past noon, we got the kayaks and paddleboards ready for an afternoon on the lake!

CC and Steve’s friends brought their adorable lab Ellie along for the trip (we sadly left Jack with my mom this time) and she even went on the kayak!

It was SUCH a beautiful afternoon on the lake with perfect temperatures and plenty of sunshine, and we wore ourselves out paddling around for a couple of hours.

When we got back to the house, we enjoyed a lovely happy hour on the deck!

It was around this time that Fabio got the call about his grandfather, so we stepped away from the festivities for a while so he could talk to his family members and coordinate his trip to Bolivia. It was a much more subdued night for us after that, but when we were ready to rejoin the group we enjoyed a delicious dinner of BBQ chicken, ribs, corn, and squash salad. Everyone was very understanding and sympathetic to Fabio, and I’m glad we had them there for extra support.

Monday

Monday morning was another beautiful day in Otis!

We all decided we wanted to go on an early morning bike ride, so we got ourselves ready to go and hit the road! I borrowed CC’s mountain bike, and though it was pretty challenging to keep up with the rest of the group who were all on road bikes, I think I did a pretty good job!

The views were gorgeous as well, and I enjoyed checking out all the lakes and ponds that we passed.

This was my first time riding a bike while being clipped in (other than on a stationary bike), so it took me some time to practice clipping out before stopping, but eventually I got the hang of it. I’m sure I’ll get better with practice too!

We wound up covering 20 miles (well, 19.9, which drove CC and me crazy) before heading back to the house.

At this point I did some work for a while, and then later in the afternoon we headed out for some more stand up paddle-boarding and kayaking!

We took it easier on Monday and spent more time relaxing and soaking up the sun on our boards compared to the more strenuous paddling from the day before. Ellie came again, and rode in the car with us on the way back.

In the afternoon, we had another concert at Tanglewood on the agenda (like I said, it’s a big summertime thing to do out in the Berkshires!), this time to see James Taylor. We stopped for dinner in Lenox again and enjoyed a nice meal outside at Firefly.

CC and I both ordered the white peach sangria, which was quite delicious.

And we got a bunch of appetizers to share for the table. Yum!

For my entree, I got a salad made with arugula, goat cheese, blueberries, strawberries, pistachios, and lobster, with a side order of truffle fries for good measure. 🙂 It was such a fun way to kick off the evening!

Then it was concert time! The Stockbridge Bowl was looking much prettier than it did on Saturday, now that the skies were clear.

We also brought a cooler and a picnic blanket this time, which meant we could enjoy our beverages right on the lawn.

The whole group of us!

The vibe for this concert at Tanglewood was really fun with lots of families picnicking, drinking, and playing lawn games. James Taylor performs every July 4 weekend at Tanglewood, and, according to Steve, it’s basically a Berkshires right of passage to go see him. There were tons of families who clearly come to the concert every year, and Fabio and I thought this would make a really fun tradition. We hope we can go back next year!

When it was time for the concert, we moved our cooler over to a spot near our seats (which were under the shed again) and we picked a spot that was also close to the bathrooms and the exit. Excellent game plan!

Though we couldn’t take our cooler or our drinks into the shed, we chose a spot under a tree that was pretty inconspicuous, and no one wound up stealing it or anything while we were at our seats. During the intermission we all came out to enjoy another drink, which worked out perfectly!

Truthfully James Taylor is not my favorite performer – I think his music is a little slow – but we had such a fun time at the concert anyway! I would absolutely go back next year; the atmosphere is just so fun!!

Tuesday

On Tuesday morning we left Otis by 7:30 a.m. since we had a long drive ahead of us. We made it home in the early afternoon and then I dropped Fabio off at the airport. Now I’m working on this post and trying to decide if I feel like venturing out amidst the crowds to watch any fireworks. I’m thinking watching them at home on TV in my PJs is sounding like a better option after this busy weekend! 🙂

Question(s) of the day: How often do you go to concerts? Do you like watching fireworks?

 Posted by on July 5, 2017
Jun 282017
 

Hello there! Today I’m coming at you with the first recap of our amazing two-week honeymoon vacation in Thailand! Our first stop was Bangkok, where we only stayed for one day. We were told by friends who had visited Bangkok previously that we probably didn’t need to allocate more than a day or two to seeing Bangkok’s sights before moving on to the rest of the country, so we took that advice to heart!

Our trip began with a 9:50 p.m. flight out of Dulles the day after our wedding. That day was such a whirlwind – we woke up as husband and wife, enjoyed breakfast with our wedding guests, packed up everything at the hotel, came home to do some laundry and swap suitcases, and then headed to the airport. Phew!

When we arrived at Dulles airport, we realized we were able to access the airport lounges through a travel credit card that Fabio has (I think it’s Chase Sapphire Preferred, but I’m only like 80% sure about that). Anyway, we got into the lounge and took advantage of free champagne! Woohoo! Kicking off our honeymoon in style. 🙂

Cheers!

We then embarked on a 12.5-hour flight to Qatar via Qatar Airways. In case you’re wondering where Qatar is, it’s here:

The country is actually having some diplomatic issues right now so we weren’t sure if our flight would be affected, but luckily it wasn’t. By the way, Qatar Airways is very nice (it is usually ranked either the best or second-best airline) and we had a very comfortable flight. We were pretty tired from the wedding, so we slept the whole way!

As our flight was landing, the flight attendants came around serving breakfast to everyone (although it was early afternoon in Qatar and they called it lunch – it felt like breakfast to us). Fabio and I had read that the Doha airport in Qatar had tons of nice restaurants, so we decided to skip the airplane meal thinking that we’d get something to eat at the airport. Then of

Then of course we landed and the flight attendant made an announcement reminding us that since it was Ramadan, eating in public in Qatar is prohibited until 6:30 p.m. Um, what?? Noooo!!! We definitely were not planning for this, and I was wondering if I was going to have to smuggle one of the protein bars I had in my carry-on into a bathroom stall or something.

Once we got off the plane we asked more about Ramadan customs at the airport information desk, and we were told that while the restaurants remain open, it would be pretty disrespectful to eat at them, but ultimately the choice was up to us. I asked if drinking water at the gate was ok, and again was told that it was up to us. Well ok then.

Luckily we found another one of those airport lounges that we were allowed to access through Fabio’s credit card perks, and I was SO happy to see that everyone inside (who was also a tourist) was eating and drinking. THANK GOODNESS! I don’t know what we would have done otherwise, since we still had another 7-hour flight ahead of us to Bangkok. Phew.

There were some other interesting sights at the Doha airport, including this weird teddy bear art installation and some cool middle-Eastern/deserty things. 🙂

Then after a pretty uneventful flight, we arrived in Bangkok! We took the Bangkok airport skytrain (also called the Link) out to the very last stop on the red/blue line, Phaya Thai, and from there got in a taxi headed to our hotel near Khao San Road. Todo, we are not in Kansas anymore!

Quick note for anyone looking to book a stay in Bangkok: We chose to stay close to Khao San Road, which is a really fun/popular area with lots of night markets, clubs, bars, restaurants, etc., but we didn’t stay on Khao San Road because we’d read it can be kind of loud and noisy. Our hotel, Casa Nithra, was about a 10-minute walk to the really popular area, which wound up being perfect for us!

When we checked in to Casa Nithra, we were greeted with the most amazing chilled Thai tea drinks (something we found all throughout our Thailand travels!) and were thrilled to find out our room was ready early. Thank goodness, as we really needed to shower after all that time spent on planes! After freshening up, we headed up to the hotel roof to check out the view of Bangkok.

The area where we stayed is also much more “old city” compared to the neighborhoods with lots of modern high-rises, which I was ok with. I like seeing the old culture much more!

Then we headed out to begin our adventures! (BTW – Thailand is 11 hours ahead of D.C., so it was around 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning by this point. Mind-boggling for sure!)

Our planned agenda for the day was to walk to the Grand Palace to visit the Emerald Buddha and see our first temple, Wat Pho, to check out the reclining Buddha, but a super sweet pedestrian stopped us in the middle of the sidewalk to ask us where we were going, and told us that there was a special ceremony for the King happening at the Grand Palace that day and that if we wanted to go, we’d need to be dressed in black with long sleeves and pants, and would have to wait about four hours to get in. Ok then, back to the drawing board. She helpfully told us about a few other tourist stops we could see nearby, and even told us how much we should pay for a tuk-tuk (basically little open-air, three-wheeled taxis) to take us to all the places.

Fabio and I were both waiting for her to sell us a tour or something, but with a friendly wave, she went on her way. This was our very first insight into the Thai culture and gave us a preview for the kind of generosity and hospitality we’d discover throughout the rest of our two-week Thailand trip. The people here are just genuinely kind (I think the Buddhist religion is a big reason for this) and so helpful!

Here we are in our first tuk-tuk!

Our first stop was Wat Intharawihan, a temple with a huge standing Buddha. The temple itself was really lovely, with lots of gold, ornate details (which we came to find is typical for almost all temples, or wats, in Thailand).

Then we saw the big standing Buddha! It was…big. Lol.

Then we hopped back in our tuk-tuk (the driver waited for us outside of each stop) and headed off to the Golden Mount, or Wat Saket. You had to climb 344 steps to get to the top of the Golden Mount, but there were lots of interesting little sculptures along the way to keep you entertained.

And there was even some “wildlife.” Yuck.

Halfway to the top, there was a little coffee shop (we came to find out coffee shops are EVERYWHERE in Thailand), so we stopped for iced cappuccinos. Yes please! It was hot in Bangkok!

We made it to the top!

And we looked like total tourists once we got there. 🙂

The wat was really interesting because there were lots of people praying and making offerings to Buddha, so Fabio and I just kind of quietly walked around and tried to be respectful. You are also supposed to cover your shoulders and thighs in wats out of respect, but since our plans had changed in the morning I didn’t bring anything with me for this, and it didn’t seem to be a big deal in these particular wats (there were others, especially in Chiang Mai, where I definitely had to wear extra clothing to cover myself).

After the Golden Mount, our tuk-tuk driver took us to a suit-maker! The Thais make excellent custom suits, so it’s a popular stop for tourists. Fabio wound up getting a couple suits and shirts, and spent tons of time haggling down the price. I always think this is so awkward, but it’s worth it if you don’t want to get ripped off.

The suits actually should be arriving at our house this week – they are quick!

After this stop we decided we were hungry, so we asked our driver to take us somewhere for lunch. I have no idea where he took us, but it was a cute little spot right on the river and we had fun watching some big fish and lizards jumping around in the water. Note to all: Do not swim in that river. Ever.

For our meal, we got some Tom Yum soup (with chicken since Fabio is allergic to shrimp, which is more traditional in this soup) and Pad Thai. Everything was phenomenal!! Sigh. I miss Thai food already. The flavors are so unique!

And even though we were full, we had to get mango sticky rice for dessert. It’s our absolute favorite, and this one did not disappoint! YUM!

After lunch, it was time for our final stop of the day: a boat tour along the canals! Our tuk-tuk driver dropped us off at the docks, and we couldn’t believe how cheap our day with him had been. For the whole day’s worth of stops, he charged us just 70 baht per person. This comes out to $4 total!! All of the other tuk-tuk rides we took during our trip were slightly more expensive than this, so it goes to show how much they increase their prices for tourists versus when we had the helpful Thai lady tell us how much to pay. Our tuk-tuk driver had also been really friendly, so we gave him a nice tip before saying goodbye.

Then it was onto the boat!

This was such a cool way to explore Bangkok, especially since so much of it relies on the canals and waterways. We got to see lots of cool houses, shops, and wats!

At one point we slowed down so a woman on a small wooden boat could offer us souvenirs and snacks. Ice cold beers? Don’t mind if we do!

The local Thai beer brands – Chang and Singha – are both delicious too!

At one point we stopped along a little set of concrete steps that led down to the water (these are everywhere, and seem to be like docks for the locals to access the river) and saw a little boy throwing bread into the water. Remember how I said don’t swim in this water? Yeah. There’s about a million big fish in there, and even some alligator-sized lizards. Yeesh! Fabio and I were both wondering how safe we were in our wooden boat. LOL!

Soon enough, our tour concluded at the Grand Palace!

Once again we thought about visiting the palace, but were told by a few other helpful people that we’d have to be wearing all black and would have to wait a long time because of the King’s special ceremony. Darn. Next time, Bangkok!

After this, we strolled around for a while, looked into some shops, got quick 30-minute foot massages (this is very common in Thailand and massage places are everywhere), and then headed back to the hotel for a much-needed nap. The jet-lag was catching up to us!

When we were ready to resurface, we got changed and ready for dinner at the famous Sky Bar! We had heard that Sky Bar was ridiculously overpriced (it was) but that the views were worth it (they were). Plus we received money from our wedding to use for the honeymoon, and we figured our friends and family would want us to have a nice, romantic dinner out!

We hopped in another tuk-tuk (about 100 baht this time) and made our way across town!

When we arrived around 9:00 p.m., we saw that it (thankfully) wasn’t too crowded and we were able to really enjoy the view!

Hello, Bangkok! You are beautiful!

A table was ready for us in no time, and we enjoyed some delicious cocktails while we waited for our food. We weren’t too hungry after the big lunch, and since the menu was pretty pricy we decided to share a steak dish. It was pretty tasty, but nothing crazy, especially considering the price. Clearly, you are paying for the atmosphere here.

Despite the relatively expensive bill, we had an amazing time! I’m so glad we decided to trust our gut and go to this beautiful spot.

Me and my husband!! <3

After Sky Bar, we took a tuk-tuk down to Khao San Road and walked around for a while ogling at the crazy bar scene. Most of the parties were in full swing when we arrived, so we had fun walking around and watching lots of rowdy and drunk tourists. We weren’t really in the mood to try to catch up with them, so we decided people-watching was good enough for us. We also passed a number of vendors selling all kinds of delicious-smelling street food, and even some trays of bugs for tourists to try! Eek! No thank you.

When we’d had enough, we walked back to our hotel and fell asleep instantly. What a fun day in Bangkok!

The next morning, we headed off to Chiang Mai! More adventures to come!

Question(s) of the day: Would you try eating a bug? Would you have gone to the expensive restaurant or skipped it?

 Posted by on June 28, 2017
May 302017
 

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

Friday

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

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

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

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

So beautiful!

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

How pretty is this sunset behind us?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was too pretty not to!

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

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

Saturday

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

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

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

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

It was a cute opportunity for a photo opp too!

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

Success!

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

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

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

Sunday

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

It was a beautiful morning for it!

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

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

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

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

Monday

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

At least we got a lot accomplished!

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

 Posted by on May 30, 2017
May 082017
 

Well hello there! Did you have a good weekend? Ours was spent in New York City! Our good friend Hayden (also Fabio’s best man) recently passed the CPA exam to become a certified accountant, and his parents threw him a party in NYC (where he lives) to celebrate. Obviously, this meant we had to go up to join him!

Friday

On Friday evening, Fabio and I took the bus up to New York right after work. We took a 6:00 bus out of Rosslyn, and even had time to grab dinner from Panera beforehand. Sadly, I finished all my food really quickly, and then was wishing I had some extra road trip snacks to munch on (mostly out of boredom).

Our bus ride was super easy though, and we made it into the city in record time!

Saturday

On Saturday morning, we headed downtown (we were staying at Aunt CC and Uncle Steve’s apartment on the Upper West Side) for a birthday celebration! Fabio’s cousin Nick happened to be turning 21 this weekend, so we joined him, his sister, and a bunch of their friends for brunch at Sons of Essex.

I got the breakfast tacos, which were delicious and came with eggs, spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Yum! Plus some delicious home fries on the side.

After brunch we weren’t quite ready to say goodbye yet, so we all walked over to one of my favorite bars, Hair of the Dog. It was pretty empty when we arrived, but I knew it would get crowded soon! And I was right – by the time we left around 4:00 p.m. you could barely walk in there!

Anyway, we had a lot of fun hanging out with Fabio’s cousins and getting to know their friends. I’m so glad we happened to be in town for the celebration!

Fabio’s cousin Ligia even bought her little brother – the birthday boy – some shots, which he was not too thrilled about. Lol!

But that’s what big sisters are for, right? And it was his 21st birthday. 🙂

Since Fabio and I knew we still had a long night of drinking ahead of us, we took it easy during all of this and drank our beers slowly and sipped lots of water. We aren’t as young as we used to be – we had to pace ourselves!

Eventually, we decided we better head back uptown, but not before stopping for a late lunch at the famous Katz’s Deli.

Fabio and I shared a delicious pastrami sandwich with mustard and some house-made pickles. Everything was delicious, as always!

After eating, we headed back to Aunt CC’s place and took a quick nap. Like I said, we can’t hang like we used to, and we knew we had a long night ahead of us!

At around 8:30, it was time for us to head out to the main event of the trip: Hayden’s CPA party! How cute are these two? 🙂

There were lots of fellow Sigma Nu brothers there, which of course made Fabio happy. It was so great seeing everyone!!

And their respective significant others. 🙂

We had a great time catching up with old friends, and celebrating with Hayden!

Lol – my face after the bartender gave me a gigantic glass of rose. 😉

We stayed at the bar until around 12:30, at which point a couple of us moved on to another bar where we danced for a while. We wound up heading back to Aunt CC’s at around 2:30 a.m., which makes three weekends in a row of super late Saturday nights. Oof. I’m definitely getting too old for this.

Sunday

Fabio and I caught the early bus home on Sunday, and arrived back in Rosslyn by 2:30 p.m. We immediately headed over to my mom’s to pick up Jack, and she and my stepdad had an early dinner waiting for us.

We started off with these amazing fried cheese rosemary bread things that my mom has been making lately, which are insanely delicious.

Then we had homemade coleslaw, grilled chicken, and cheesy potato casserole. Yum!!

Plus my mom’s cheesecake for dessert, which was phenomenal and even better than I remembered. Holy cow.

After dinner we came back home, unloaded our bags, and finished opening up gifts from our bridal shower that arrived last week. As I write this (on Sunday night), I am surrounded by tons of cardboard boxes and packaging and trying to figure out how we will break all of the boxes down so they will fit in the recycling bin. Yes, #humblebrag but also, not an easy task. I’m hoping that Fabio will take care of it for us…which, I guess, is partly why I sat down to write this post right now isntead of dealing with it. 😉 Ha!

The end.

Question of the day: Pie, cheesecake, or cake?

 Posted by on May 8, 2017
Apr 242017
 

Hi friends! How was your weekend? Ours super fun, and was spent mostly in Philadelphia! One of Fabio’s good friends/fraternity brothers, Jake, works at his family’s jewelry store called Sydney & Rosen in Philadelphia, which has been in business for more than 70 years! Fabio got my engagement ring from Sydney & Rosen back before he proposed, and we always knew we’d be back to buy our wedding bands there too. Way back in January we coordinated with Jake to figure out when we should come up to buy our bands, and the weekend sort of snuck up on us!

More on that in a minute though – let’s stick with the order of events and talk about Friday first.

Friday

It was a beautiful evening on Friday, so after walking Jack, Fabio and I decided to walk to get something to eat for dinner. We decided on one of our local favorites, Taylor Gourmet, since Fabio could get a breaded chicken sandwich and I could get something a little on the healthier side. 😉 I got “the parker” salad, which came with chicken, dried apricots, barley, and watermelon radishes, among other things. It was delicious!

We took our food home to eat because we are right in the middle of binge-watching the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. Is anyone else watching?? It’s so, so good.

A little later in the evening we took a break from our binge to pick up some sweet treats from the grocery store: enlightened ice cream for me and Snickers ice cream for Fabio. Plus wine. 🙂

The englightened ice cream was just ok – it’s supposed to be lower calorie/lower sugar/higher protein, but I thought it also tasted like it was all of those things, so I’m not sure I’d buy it again. It’s still ice cream though, so I was happy. With ice cream in hand, we watched another episode of the show before calling it a night around 10:30.

Saturday

On Saturday morning it was time to head up to Philly! Our amazing friends Jojo and Jadd agreed to watch Jack for us and, after dropping him off and then sitting in loads of traffic due to some rainy weather, we eventually arrived at Jake’s jewelry store in Philly.

After saying hi to Jake and his fiance Greg (another one of Fabio’s fraternity brothers), it was time to get to business. I had sent Jake some pictures of wedding bands I liked, and he had a couple picked out for me that he thought I might like. He nailed it, unsurprisingly. I decided to go with something similar to the ring in the photo below, only with slightly smaller diamonds.

It should be arriving in a few weeks, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Fabio also picked out a really nice ring, with lots of help from Jake. 😉

After ring shopping, we drove over to my good friend Kristen’s house where we’d be staying for the evening! We sat around chatting with her for a while before deciding to head over to Kraftwork for a late lunch. Kristen and I shared a tasty chicken sandwich. Yum!

After chatting for many more hours (it was SO nice to catch up with her one-on-one) it was time for dinner! Our friend Greg is one of the managers for the restaurant Double Knot, and since he couldn’t get off work for our visit we decided to come to him instead! He made a reservation for us in the lounge area of the restaurant, and I was honestly surprised when I saw how trendy it was. It was like a Japanese speakeasy!

The lighting was pretty dark, and we wound up having to use the candles on the table to read the drinks menu. It definitely had a fun ambiance!

My friend Sam, who also lives in Philly, joined us for dinner too. Love these ladies! 🙂

All of the food we tried at Double Knot was incredible, and Greg took such good care of us for the evening. It was so nice to see him and Jake! I love these college buddies. 🙂

After dinner, we walked over to McGillin’s for an evening of dancing. Kristen’s boyfriend Mark was there too! (He was supposed to be away on a business trip but wound up getting an earlier flight home and surprised her at dinner. So sweet!)

It was such a fun night, and Kristen I got a big kick out of the songs that were being played at the bar from artists like Celine Dion (My Heart Will Go On and It’s All Coming Back to Me Now) and Vanessa Carlton. Lol! There was lots of signing happening on our end, before the bar closed at 2 a.m. and it was time to go home. Phew!

Sunday

On Sunday morning, Kristen, Mark, Fabio and I met up with Jake and Sam for brunch at For Pete’s Sake, where I enjoyed some delicious chicken and waffles. After that, we stopped by Sam’s house for a minute since it was close by, and then Fabio and I hit the road!

Our drive home wasn’t too bad, and now we are relaxing for a bit before I’m sure we will continue watching 13 Reasons Why. I’m not sure a grocery trip is in the cards for us today, so we will see how we make it through the week without any fresh produce. Eek! Maybe we will go on Monday after work?

Question of the day: Are you watching (or did you watch) 13 Reasons Why? What did you think?

Edited to add: Ahh we wound up finishing it late tonight (Sunday)!! It was so good and now I’m so sad it’s over.

 Posted by on April 24, 2017
Mar 302017
 

Hey friends! I’m back today with the final recap of my bachelorette weekend! Here are the first few posts in case you missed them:

And today we are talking about our last full day in sunny Florida, which took place at the beach!

When we woke up, we immediately saw sunny skies and headed outside by the pool. Going straight from PJs to bathing suits is a wonderful thing!

We all still had our Fabio tattoos on from the night before, which was so funny. Everyone was walking around making coffee and getting bagels, and I just saw Fabio’s face everywhere. Haha!

Also, we had another new spachat filter on Saturday. Amazing!! 🙂

After everyone was up for the day, we decided to walk over to the beach! It was about a 10-minute walk from the house, which wasn’t bad at all.

The water was really cold so I only dipped my feet in, but we had a really fun day sitting on the beach and chatting. This actually was one of my favorite parts of the trip, since we told lots of embarrassing stories (mostly Bianca telling everyone about our awkward middle school years) and laughed for hours. It was so much fun!

Eventually we got hungry for a late lunch, so we walked along the boardwalk until we found a delicious-looking beachfront Mexican restaurant. I got fish tacos and a Corona and was a happy girl!

After lunch, we headed back to the house to relax for a bit. When we got to the front door, we noticed there was a package on the doorstep addressed to me! When we opened it up, we saw a dozen Georgetown cupcakes from our friends Jess, Jess, and Courtney who weren’t able to come on the trip with us. So, so, so thoughtful of them. 🙂 Thanks, guys!!

After relaxing around the house for a little while, we had dinner delivered (Megan had ordered a bunch of kabobs, rice, grilled veggies, hummus, and pita in advance) and spent more time sitting around chatting before it was time to go out. Sometimes these quieter moments when we just sit and chat are my favorite!

When it was time to go out, everyone wore black except for me!

This naturally meant we had to take lots of pictures in front of the BRIDE balloons. 🙂

Me & Catrina…

My bachelorette planning princesses, Megan and Bianca…

Sloppytown!

Kappa Delta pledge sisters, Britt and Kristen <3

And one with Hana and the E for my new last name!!

I also got to wear my bride-to-be sash and veil, which was so fun.

I actually got a little emotional when I put the veil on – this is starting to feel real!!

That night we went out to a bar that was a lot of fun, although I honestly couldn’t tell you the name of it. When we arrived and got our first round of drinks, we were told that they were paid for by Jess, Jess, and Courtney! Ahhh! I couldn’t believe it. As if the cupcakes weren’t enough…sheesh! I really do have the best friends.

We stayed out at the bar for a while before eventually calling it a night.

The next day we had to pack everything up and leave the house. Womp womp.

Before we all had to head home though, we went to brunch at the Marriott along the boardwalk. The kind bellhop let us leave our suitcases with him even though we weren’t staying at the hotel, which made navigating the restaurant SO much easier!

The food and atmosphere of the restaurant were great (except for the fact that it was SUPER windy since we were right on the beach, though there’s not much they can do about that!) but I just have to take a minute to comment on the amazing service we received. All of the waitstaff took such good care of us and when they heard it was my bachelorette party, they brought me a celebratory drink and a key lime pie dessert.

This was just the icing on the cake pie! What a perfect way to end such an amazing trip.

After brunch we all headed to the airport and went our separate ways. Luckily Megan was on my flight home, so we spent the whole plane ride talking about how much fun we’d had and doing some more wedding planning. Now I can’t wait for the rest of my wedding events! My bridal shower (which is more of a couples’ BBQ) is up next! Woohoo!

Thank you to every one of my amazing friends (and my mom) who made my bachelorette party so amazing. I am so blessed to have such thoughtful people in my life!!

Question of the day: Cake or pie?

 Posted by on March 30, 2017
Mar 232017
 

Well, I really tried to make this the final recap post of my bachelorette party in Fort Lauderdale, but I couldn’t do it! So, you will have one more post after this one. Sorry! Hopefully you don’t mind too much. 🙂

If you missed the first two recaps, you can read about our first day and night in Fort Lauderdale here, and read about our fun day by the pool here! When we last left off, we had just finished chatting in the hot tub before going inside to get ready for dinner.

We decided to wear our fun bachelorette tanks for this night – mine was white and in gold sparkles said “Drunk in Love” and everyone else’s were black and said “Just Drunk.” Yep! Sounds about right! 🙂

Once we were all just about ready, all my friends secretly got together in the back room. I had no idea what they were doing, but then they all came out with flower crowns and – get this – tattoos with Fabio’s face on them!!

(FYI – they got them from my sorority sister’s Etsy store, Dunkirk Designs!)

How hysterical, right? They had one for me too, obviously. 🙂

How funny! They also had tattoos that said “Make good decisions,” so I decided to wear that one on my lower back. Haha!

I then took the opportunity to take a million pictures with my amazing friends! Here I am with Sam, Hana, and Bianca. I’ve been friends with Hana since first grade, and Sam and Bianca since middle school!

Bianca is also one of my maids of honor, and she did a great job planning some of these fun bachelorette decorations and surprises. 🙂

I also grabbed a picture with Kristen, my pledge sister! We met in the fall of 2008 – the same time that I met Fabio – and have been such good friends ever since. <3

Then there’s Megan, who was basically the bachelorette planning Queen! She’s super organized and helped Bianca with a lot (ok, all) of the planning logistics. We’ve also been friends since college, and she’s now the only one still living in Arlington with me (all of our other gurlays have moved away!). I don’t know what the heck I would do without her.

Then we have Catrinaaaa! My California girl, fitness buddy, fellow foodie, and amazing friend. I don’t get to see her enough!!! Move back to the East Coast, Treen!

A Megan/Catrina sandwich!

And then there’s this. Lol.

That right there is probably one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip. It’s so us!

Once we were done with our photo shoot (this wasn’t even all the girls – just a few of them!) we hopped in a Lyft and headed to a drag show at Lips!

When we got there, we saw that Hana had coordinated another Snapchat filter for us. Seriously, my friends spoiled me rotten during this trip.

Somehow we got SUPER lucky and wound up with a table right up front. Look at my bachelorette crew! Aren’t they beautiful? (People probably hated us, lol. We were definitely “those annoying bachelorette party girls.”)

Yay!

Before the start of the show, we met our waitress for the evening, Chocolata. She had such great energy and right from the get-go I could tell she was going to make the night so much fun.

We ordered our food and a couple of drinks before the show started, and I ate some surprisingly good mushroom raviolis. (I say surprisingly because I’m not sure good food is the main focus of a drag show place, haha!)

Then Chocolata brought over two bottles of champagne and said they were from Claire and Jojo!! I couldn’t believe it – two of my sweet friends who weren’t able to come on the trip had coordinated to have the champagne brought over to us. How many times can I say that my friends are the best?

Once we were done with our food, it was time for the show! Our front and center seats came in handy and we had a great view.

After a couple of entertaining acts, Chocolata came out in a whole new outfit and worked the room with an amazing lip synching and dance performance!

I looove this picture of her putting her boot on the table in front of Megan.

LOL!!

Basically, Chocolata was phenomenal.

Then before I knew it, the main part of the show was over and I was being called up on stage with a bunch of other bachelorettes for a challenge! I screenshotted this picture from Hana’s Snapchat. 🙂

For the challenge, we had to get on our hands and knees and take a “blow job” shot without using our hands. Yep, I had to do that. On stage. In front of a bunch of people.

Ready…

Go!

The challenge was a lot of fun, and at the end I fulfilled my dream of taking a picture with Chocolata (who had changed outfits again).

Right before we left, I talked to Chocolata a bit more (probably too much) and thanked her for empowering women everywhere to be the best version of themselves and to just be confident in their own skins. Yep. I’m not making this up. Luckily my friends pulled me away and we left Lips before I got too annoying. I hope, anyway. Haha!

That’s some love right there.

What a fun night!!

Question of the day: Have you ever been to a drag show? Also, do you get stage fright?

I thought I would be nervous about going on stage for the challenge, but since my friends were all right in front of me I didn’t feel nervous at all. The drinks beforehand probably helped too. 😉

 Posted by on March 23, 2017
Mar 152017
 

Hi friends! Today I’m back with part 2 of my amazing bachelorette weekend! If you missed part 1, read that first here! I was hoping this would be the last post in the recap, but with so many pictures it’s looking like I’m going to need a third one to finish everything up. *Sigh.* Hope you guys aren’t sick of these yet!

When we last left off, we had finished up our Thursday evening with tacos, good music, and girl talk before bed. The next day, Friday, was a pool party day at the house!

Self-timer FTW!

Despite going to bed really late, I was up bright and early on Friday when I saw the sunshine coming through my bedroom window. I instantly threw on a bathing suit and joined my friends by the pool!

The rest of the girls trickled outside as they woke up, and we all enjoyed bagels and coffee by the pool. At 9:00, Hana and Bianca said they had “something to show me,” and took this picture. I didn’t think much of it, but then I looked at my snapchat a few minutes later and saw that I had my very own filter!

Ahhh! How cute!! I loved this little surprise and continued to use the filter on about a million snapchats for the rest of the day. Thanks, guys!!

We debated walking down to the beach, but the weather was looking like it was going to shower on and off throughout the day, so we decided to wait for the beach until the next day. Instead, we laid out by the pool!

It did drizzle a little, but whenever that happened we would move under the covered portion of the patio.

The house really was perfect for this! Back and forth we went – out under the sun and in under the rain. We probably moved back and forth about 10 times! None of the rain showers were ever very strong and temperatures were in the 80s, so I would still call it a successful pool day! Better than March DC weather, anyway.

What could be better than hanging around poolside all day being silly with your best friends? Here are some photos of our shenanigans. 🙂

In the early afternoon, the doorbell rang. I couldn’t image who it could be, and I was so surprised to see it was delivery with my name on it! Inside the package was a box of chocolate covered strawberries and cherries from Fabio’s sister, Diane! She wasn’t able to join us for the weekend since she’s expecting and her doctor was worried about zika, but I thought it was so sweet of her to send the fruit. Thanks, Diane!

Around this time we also brought out the drinks! Look at this beautiful one that Bianca put together for me. 🙂

Cheers!

Naturally, we decided it was time for some drinking games, so Bianca set up the beer pong table for us. We also involved the flamingo cup holders and made a rule that anyone who shot their ball into one of the flamingo cups had to run around the pool. Haha!

It was so much fun and HILARIOUS!

Then we decided a photo shoot by the pool was necessary. With the bachelorette props, of course!

By this point it was later in the afternoon and we were feeling a little chilly, so we brought our drinks into the hot tub.

With the flamingos, obviously. For some reason they all kept going over to Megan.

Haha!

Once we were done in the hot tub it was time to get ready for the evening! I have about a million pictures from this night as well, so I’ll save those for another post! 🙂

Question of the day: Are you a pool or beach person?

 Posted by on March 15, 2017
Mar 082017
 

On Thursday of last week, I headed out for a surprise bachelorette adventure with 11 of my best friends!

I spent the morning finishing up my packing, and then hopped in an uber at around 10:45 am. From there we picked up my friend Megan, and then rerouted to Regan airport. When we arrived, Megan handed me my boarding pass, which said we were going to Fort Lauderdale!!! Woohooo!!!

We got to the gate by 11:30 or so, and decided we needed to celebrate with some margaritas.

As you do!

After a quick and easy flight where Megan and I spent a ton of time wedding planning on the back of one of the airsick bags (I wish I was kidding!) we had arrived in paradise!

Our friend Catrina arrived from California at the same time as us, so after greeting her with lots of hugs we all hopped in an uber and headed over to the house where we’d be staying for the long weekend. I didn’t know anything about our plans at that time, but I was really happy to hear we had a house instead of a hotel since it meant we could spend more time together.

After driving past lots of palm trees, we arrived a huge house just a few blocks from the beach. When we came inside, my friends Hana, Bianca, Sam, and Britt were all waiting for us with a bottle of champagne!

I spent the next half hour or so wandering around the house in awe. First of all, the place was humungous with enough room for all 12 of us to sleep comfortably (no air mattresses needed!). It also had an awesome back yard area with a big pool, hot tub, patio, and bar area. AND my friends had decorated everything so adorably with lots of bachelorette/bride decorations. They are seriously the best!!

After the house tour, I immediately poured myself a cup of champagne and headed outside!

My friends had strung up a bunch of glittery tank tops for us all – mine said “Drunk in love” and the rest said “Just drunk.” Haha!

These were so adorable and were definitely a big hit with the girls.

We spent the next few hours sitting by the pool, enjoying the warm weather, blowing up floats, munching on chips and salsa, and catching up!

The swan float that the girls bought me was particularly difficult to blow up and required some teamwork.

After what felt like forever, we finally got the whole thing blown up. Can you see my thumbs up below? Haha!

The heart was quite a bit easier. 🙂

During the rest of the late afternoon, the girls finally told me what the plans were for the rest of the weekend which included a beach day, a pool day, and a drag queen show, among other festivities. Woohoo!

Does life get any better?

Eventually it was time for us to head inside and get cleaned up for dinner! My friends bought a bunch of photo props, which I thought was really fun.

We had some trial and error with a selfie stick before eventually getting it right. Lol!

Girls!

My high school besties!

Me and my Maid of Honor, Bianca!

She and Megan did most of the planning for the trip and I am so, so, so thankful to have such amazing friends in my life.

For dinner, we decided to walk down the street toward the beach see what we could find. We wound up stumbling upon a place called Taco Bar, which was really more like a taco club.

We sat on white couches and listened to great music from a DJ like we were in a club, but we got to eat tacos while doing it! It was totally my kind of place!

We had a blast sitting with each other and enjoying our delicious tacos (and drinks!) as well as the music.

Whee!!

We didn’t stay out too late since it was our first night, and after dinner all the girls hung out on the bed chatting for a while. It was the perfect way to end day 1 of my amazing bachelorette party!

A few of the other girls arrived in the middle of the night due to a combination of not being able to take off work on Thursday and delayed planes, so when we woke up the next day the rest of our friends had arrived! Yay!

More to come! 🙂

Question of the day: Have you ever been to Fort Lauderdale?

 Posted by on March 8, 2017
Mar 062017
 

Well friends, I’m back from the most amazing bachelorette weekend in Fort Lauderdale with my AMAZING best friends.

Seriously, I cannot even begin to tell you how fantastic they are and I am so, so lucky to have such thoughtful, caring, funny, loving, supportive people in my life.

I have about a billion pictures from the trip and it’s going to take me some time to sort through them all, so it might be a couple of days before I get a recap post (or two) up.

I’ll be back with an update for you soon!

 Posted by on March 6, 2017