Happy Birthday Papa Bear! {and 5 things I’m looking forward to this weekend}

Hey there! Happy, happy Friday! And a very special Happy Birthday to my dad, aka: Papa Bear! Thank you so much for all your recent help with moving me into my new apartment and always being there when I have a stupid little question to ask your or need someone to keep me company while I walk home.  Also, since my dad is a twin, it’s only fair for me to wish a happy birthday to his twin, Uncle Joe! I hope you have a wonderful day with your family 🙂

bermuda dancing



I don’t know about anyone else, but I have been waiting for this weekend to come ever since Monday morning rolled around. I feel like I have so many unfinished things on my to-do list that I’m really looking forward to having time to at least cross some things off! On top of that, while I was in the shower, I realized there are lots of things I’m looking forward to, so I thought I would share 5 of them with you 🙂

  1. Cristina’s birthday get together at Tia’s on Saturday night. I always like having events like that on my calendar for the weekend because it’s a great excuse to get together with my girlfriends!


2. Working from home today. There’s something so great about knowing on Thursday night that I don’t have to pack up my lunch and other bags and make the trek into the office the next day. Today is also my much-deserved rest day so it’s nice to not have to schedule in a workout.

3. Starting my Saturday with a workout that doesn’t include teaching (not that I don’t love it, but when I don’t teach I can get up and get my workout done nice and early! Or, not nice and early and do it later in the day… it’s nice to be on my own schedule) and then tackling my “to-do” and “to-get” list. Don’t worry, my Saturday won’t be filled with only errands; it’s supposed to be nice out, so I’m going to take a few hours to relax and sit by the Somerville pool since I’ll be in the area!


4. Spending Sunday with my sister! We haven’t hung out since last weekend and I miss her (okay, and I need her styling advice with various apartment decisions I need to make).


5. Exploring my new neighborhood a little more. I found a lot of things during my run on Tuesday, but I know there’s lots more to see! I need to get in touch with some of my friends who live in the area, too… it’s going to be great having people around!

Your turn!! What are you looking forward to this weekend? Any fun plans? Do you have any twins in your family?

The Big Move…

“The Big Move”… I am so overly, unnecessarily dramatic 😉 But, in all actuality, it was a pretty big move for me. Even though I am very independent and am not one of those people to always need someone around to go shopping with, watch TV with, workout with, etc. etc., I have never lived alone (although for the past year or so, I’ve wanted to! No offense, Danielle or Amy, but at 28 it was just time to have my own place and no roommates), so this was a big step!

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I started my search in May or June (I think), and found my new apartment basically right away. My landlord is awesome and we got along great right from the start, so it just felt right to sign the papers, not to mention it was a super affordable 1-bedroom apartment!


This pretty much sealed the deal that I made the right choice! I can be won over by wine.

So, Saturday morning, Sue and Al (aka mom and dad) packed up the truck with my couch and other various things I needed from home and came down to help me move.


It didn’t take Danielle long to figure out what she was going to do to help us


assume position and start barking orders. Just kidding! She was actually very helpful for the entire day and in no time at all, we had the first load ready




I breathed a huge sigh of relief when my parents immediately started gushing at my new place. My only issue with the apartment is that it is basement level and although the ground is at a slant and my bedroom has 2 full size windows, I was just having a hard time accepting the fact that I was on ground level. Walking in with my parents and sister and having them all talk about how it didn’t seem like it was basement level, made me feel great (even if they were saying it just to make me feel better).

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Kitchen and living room


Bedroom- see? It’s bright!

I put mom to work with getting my kitchen in order while I finished bringing in load after load after load of my stuff. Once everything was in from the first load, it was time to pop the bubbly!


What I really love about my place is the back patio! I can’t wait to have little BBQ’s and little gatherings out there. It didn’t take dad long to break the patio in!


We finally got lunch around 2 or 3 and I didn’t take a picture because I was way too hungry. Between teaching cardio kickboxing in the morning and doing heavy lifting/moving for another 3+ hours, I needed food in a bad way. Once we finished eating, my sister left to go to a friend’s house and mom, dad and I went to Home Depot and Target.


Once we got the vast majority of things on my list (at the time… my list seems to continuously grow as the days go on. yikes!), we dropped dad off at my old apartment and mom and I went back to my new apartment to unload some more things. I was obsessed with getting my bathroom set up- weird, right?! I also put together shelves and mom unpacked and set up other random things.


By 7:15, we were absolutely beat and decided to head back to Somerville for the night (it was easier to stay there since there was more room)… but not without picking up Chinese food for dinner. Yes, you read that correctly: we had Chinese take-out on Saturday night. I haven’t had Chinese food in probably 3 years!! Totally worth it, though… I was famished and it absolutely hit the spot.


I crashed pretty hard on Saturday night and before I knew it, it was time to get up and start all over again on Sunday! While mom was at church, Dad and I packed up the rest of the things in my apartment: bed, bureau and all my clothes/shoes/food/etc. Gosh, I was dripping in sweat within minutes! Moving is seriously NO JOKE. Great workout!


It was definitely bittersweet leaving my old apartment knowing that I had everything packed up (ok, almost everything- I realized later that I forgot all of my jackets in the coat closet there, but no biggie since the girls are staying there this year!). But that feeling went away as soon as I had everything in my new apartment and started making it feel more like home.

We broke around 1 to go have a birthday lunch for my parents at Joe’s American Bar and Grill in the North End. The purpose for going there was to have brunch on the water, but long story short, we ended up inside. I’ve always enjoyed the food there even though it’s a chain restaurant, but this past experience was horrible!!! From the food to the service, everything was awful! Well, except for this drink


Now THAT was good!

After lunch, I was feeling like it was time for some “Monique alone time”, so I sent my parents and my sister off so I could be in my apartment alone to putter and try to organize my life! I washed things that didn’t need to be washed and moved things from one place to the next and then back to the original place. I finally decided it was time to get out and grocery shop and pick up a few more things at TJ Maxx and Target.

My trip to Market Basket was rather large, but I think I spent half what I would’ve spent had I gone elsewhere! I love that store 🙂


I also bought myself flowers because, well, sometimes you just need flowers 🙂


Again, I didn’t stop until about 10pm on Sunday, but it was nice knowing that I’d be working from home on Monday (Comcast was coming so I wanted to be around for that!). Besides work on Monday, I was able to get some things done around my apartment, go to BodyPump after work (holy moly… I lifted heavy and was rather sore on Tuesday!! I secretly loved it 😉 ) and then hit up the Christmas Tree Shop for a few things. I also made my first “dinner” at my new place. Nothing fancy, but I’m loving my new pots and pans!



I made my first commute to work on Tuesday from my new apartment and was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was!! My old commute was a short walk to the bus, a bus ride to the T, taking the T 4 or 5 stops into the city and then walking about 15 minutes to the office. Phew! My new commute is an 8 minute walk to the T, 2 stops into the city and a 12 minute walk to work- amazing!! 🙂


When I got home, I went for a 3.5 mile run around my new neighborhood. There is a REALLY nice park with all sorts of paved trails a half mile from my house which I see myself taking advantage of during my time here!

By the time I got home from work last night, I was utterly exhausted! I ended up subbing the class before mine and I found myself having no energy to teach which never happens. I took that as a sign and did the low-impact version of the workouts. Thankfully I had leftovers for dinner, otherwise my dinner likely would’ve looked like this:


My friend, Tim, texted me that and I thought it was perfect timing! Mom, he thought you’d get a kick out of it, too.

Even though I’m not completely settled in, I feel like I’m getting there, bit by bit! Luckily I don’t have any big plans this weekend so I’ll have time to finish up even more!

Questions for you: When is the last time you moved? What’s the first thing you like to set up in your new apartment? How long is your commute to work?

Wednesday Workout: Pyramid Workout

Hey there!! As I’ve mentioned, my posts will be light this week as I am still in the midst of settling into my new apartment, but I was able to put this workout post together for you since I know you all love Wednesday Workout posts, right?! 😉 I taught this last week and even though I forgot to go back DOWN the leg pyramid, it was still an awesome workout.

We worked our way up the pyramid, meaning we started with 10 reps then went to 20, then 30 and finally 40 reps. Before moving back down the pyramid, I had us hold a 60 second plank. In addition, I had us do 3 minute cardio blasts before each pyramid- a great way to get the heart rate up!

Pyramid workout

Now, I realize that it looks like you’re going DOWN the pyramid first, but when I wrote it out with the 40 rep exercise at the top, it looked weird; my eyes looked immediately to the top exercise in a diagram, meaning it made me think I was starting with the 40 rep exercise, so I switched it. ANYWAY… clearly big issues 😉 I hope you get the idea of what I mean by this pyramid workout: 10, 20, 30, 40- 60 second plank- 40, 30, 20, 10. Makes sense, right?!

Once I get myself some weights for my new apartment, I look forward to doing this workout in my living room when I don’t want to go to the gym.

Speaking of gyms… Look what I came across during my evening jog:


Love it!! The class schedule looks ok, but more than that I love that I’ve found a gym a 1/2 mile from my apartment. There’s also an awesome park with lots of great running trails- makes me so happy!

Let me know if you try this workout 🙂

Questions for you: Have you ever done a pyramid workout? What’s the gym closest to your apartment? Do you choose your gym by the location or the classes/equipment offered?

Weekly Workouts: An exhausting week

Hey there! I wanted to pop in quickly to say hi since I feel like I’ve been totally MIA from the social media world (besides posting a few Instagram photos). As most of you already know, I spent the weekend moving into my new apartment! I’ll post about that hopefully later this week (once I get real internet- I’m connected to my work iPhone’s hotspot right now and it’s SO slow!). I’m incredibly thankful for my parents and sister for helping me move, though- there’s no way I could have done it without them!

But let’s get to the workouts, shall we? I was SO sore yesterday- a mix from doing Tabata TRX abs before teaching kickboxing on Saturday and moving all weekend- yikes!

Last Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I ran 3.5 miles before work. Again, I ran pretty much as fast as I run when I run after work. It must be because my body is getting used to waking up and working out first thing.


  • Tuesday- I was out late on Monday night so my plans of getting up to workout before work went out the window. I was going to go after work, but my sister reminded me that I hadn’t really rested much lately and when you pair that with being tired, she suggested I rest. So, I did. We met at my apartment and she brought champagne and treats- so nice of her!
  • Wednesday- I worked from home on Wednesday so I had extra time in the morning to workout. I’ve been rather stagnant with my running, doing just 3-3.5 miles each time, so I decided it was time to up that. I ran 4 miles and although it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t terrible! I then taught my UXF Burn class and introduced the new 3-2-1 format. I don’t think people really liked it that much, but I am not sure if it was because it was new or they just didn’t like it. Regardless, I ended up doing most of the workout to try to keep the energy up and the class exciting (yes, that means running and jumping around like a crazy person).


  • Thursday- I taught a pyramid workout in SHRED that I hope to post on Wednesday for you. I loved the workout, but was so bummed when I realized that we never went back down the pyramid on the legs section. Ugh! That drives me crazy!! I used to get so annoyed at instructors when they lost count or forgot to do something, but I find myself doing that now. It’s so hard to talk, instruct AND count AND remember everything, right?! After SHRED, I taught kickboxing!


love this shirt!!

  • Friday- I went for a 5K run after work and made a new PR (personal record) of 25:46. I hit stop, but apparently it didn’t stop, hence the time on the watch. It was fun running after work for a change.

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  • Saturday- I taught the same kickboxing routine that I taught on Thursday and then I spent the rest of the day moving. So many things carried, so many stairs run up and down, so much shopping and lifting. I was literally spent by the time we got home at 7:30pm. Talk about a long day!

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  • Sunday- More moving, lifting, carrying, shopping, walking. I didn’t stop besides sitting down to eat lunch with the family.

This Week’s Workouts

  • Monday- I am working from home in the afternoon and taking the morning off since my life is still relatively in shambles (although I am REALLY impressed with how well my apartment came together in such a short amount of time) and I need to deal with Comcast. After work, I’ll head to the Wellington BSC to lift and do cardio (would love to make it to the 5:30 BodyPump class!)… unless I’m exhausted, then I’ll rest or maybe walk around my neighborhood.
  • Tuesday- I would love to run around my new neighborhood after work, but if I don’t rest today, I’ll probably rest tomorrow.
  • Wednesday- I am subbing Kate’s Sports/Cardio Conditioning class at 5:30 and then teaching my UXF Burn class- come join me for a double:)
  • Thursday- Another double. Woof. SHRED then kickboxing.
  • Friday- Potentially another rest day, especially if I feel like I want to run errands and/or meet people for dinner.
  • Saturday- Probably BodyPump and cardio since I’m not teaching!
  • Sunday- Depends on how the rest of the week went. If it was heavy on the workouts and I feel like I need rest, I’ll take it, otherwise I’ll do something.

Questions for you: What’s your least favorite part about moving? Do you like doing “two-a-days”? Are you someone who counts in class and/or gets annoyed when instructors don’t count and forget stuff?

Photo Shoot with Kapitol Photography and a Weekly Catch-up

Hey there! TGIF 🙂 This week started out fairly busy, but calmed down throughout the week. As of the end of work today, though, I will be gearing up for a very busy weekend consisting of teaching, moving and doing lots of shopping.

You may remember me mentioning my coworker/friend, Tim, in my Stowe, VT recap. Well, he was up here for business again at the beginning of the week and decided to come up Sunday evening instead of taking one of those deathly early flights on Monday morning (don’t those flights always seem like a good idea when you book them? And then you are rudely reminded of how awful they are when your alarm goes of at 4am, right?), so we got together and grabbed dinner and drinks at the Yard House in Fenway. I thought it would be go to Fenway since Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake were playing there. It was packed, but since the Yard House is huge we didn’t have a problem getting a table. I was a bad blogger and didn’t take any photos, but Tim did take this video that I’ll share.

IMG 4712 from Monique Gagnon on Vimeo.

It was pretty cool that you could hear the concert so well!

I was able to get up Monday for an early 3.5 mile run before work. After work, since Tim was still in town, we grabbed drinks at the Alibi Bar which is in the Liberty Hotel. The drinks were delicious!

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Since most coworkers were on vacation this week or out of town for client site visits, we didn’t have a big group dinner like we usually do. Some of us went to Gaslight in the South End. I was hesitant of going there because the one and only other time I had been was one of the worst dining experiences I’ve ever had! From the service to the wine to the food, I was utterly unimpressed. It bothered me so much because I’m usually pretty easy to please and the Gaslight has really great recommendations. With that said, this past visit completely erased the former bad memories associated with the Gaslight. The wine was delicious and my dinner (Swordfish Roti–with couscous, heirloom tomatoes & cucumber gazpacho) was amazing!! Some of the best swordfish I have ever had. So happy they redeemed themselves!

On Tuesday, my sister met me at my new apartment after work. She was so sweet and brought champagne and treats! I’ve been avoiding moving or even thinking about moving (I’ve had my keys since August 1st and hadn’t even stepped foot in the apartment since then. Clearly I’m having issues with moving!), but having her there and seeing her be so excited for me helped to get me out of my pending move funk and actually make me excited! So much so that I started making my “need to buy” list. Yuck!


The rest of the week was as they all are: work and teaching, but I did want to take some time now to show you the amazing headshot photos that I got back from my friend, Dan Brown (aka, Kapitol Photography). Dan and I went to college together and via Facebook, I realized that he is an incredible photographer. Not long after I started my blog, I realized that I wanted to get some professional photos taken so I reached out to Dan. He was more than happy to help! It took us forever and a day (ok, not really, but it took a while) to get a date that worked on both of our calendars, but after seeing the photos, it was well worth the wait. We headed to Acorn Street in Beacon Hill and then made our way to the Esplanade. Here are some of my favorites! I’m looking to pick one to use as my B2B headshot- please vote for your favorite in the comments! 🙂


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The two photos above were taken on Acorn Street, which is the most popular street to photograph in the city of Boston! It was absolutely beautiful and we were lucky enough to have it to ourselves the entire time we were there. We walked up and down the street and Dan got photos from all different angles, but these two were my favorite (very similar- I realize that 🙂 ).



These two were taken as we left Acorn Street and made our way up and down various other streets in Beacon Hill. The brick buildings are my absolute favorite! How great would it be to live in Beacon Hill?! We also tried a bunch of serious face photos, but I looked terrible in them! I am just not one of those girls that can pull off the straight/serious face photos.







We took these right as we were about to cross over the bridge and photograph on the Esplanade. I feel like these have the real “city” image so I like them for the background, but they aren’t my favorite in terms of strictly headshots. By the time we made it over to the Esplanade, the sun had unfortunately set a little more than Dan would have liked. I was really impressed with how he was able to know where to put me, how to have me angle my head and my body (did you know if you put both your hands right on your waist, vs. on your hips, it makes you appear thinner in photos? These are things us ladies should all know 😉 ) and how to maneuver his way around different places in the city to get the “right” shot.

We are going to do another shoot, but instead of focusing on the “professional, Boston living, work hard/play hard” side of me, we are going to focus on the fitness side of me. I’m super excited for that shot because it means I get to buy new Lulu, right?! Big thanks to Dan for taking time out of his busy schedule (he’s getting married in 2 weeks!!) to take these photos and allow me to share them with all of you! If anyone is interesting in having Dan shoot photos, he can be contacted through all forms of social media:
Facebook: Kapitol Photography
Instagram: kapitolphoto
Twitter: @KapitolPhoto

That about does it for me today! I am not sure how much I’ll be blogging throughout the next couple of days or so since I’ll be moving, but I hope to get some regular posts up next week!

Questions for you: What is your favorite Fenway bar? Where is the last restaurant you went where you had a horrible experience? Have you ever had professional photo’s taken?