Weekending in D.C.


Last weekend, RM and I hopped on a quick flight to D.C. It’s been on our “want to visit” list for a while, and when I found a great price on flights (that we could use our JetBlue CC points on!) and a super cool Airbnb, we decided to jump on it. All of the sites I went to said that September through November were the best times to visit D.C., weather-wise, so it worked out perfectly.

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We opted to fly out on a Saturday as it was cheaper than a Friday, and I think I actually liked it better than leaving on a Thursday. We flew into the Ronald Reagan airport, which I would recommend as it was a quick 15 minute Uber into downtown D.C. Plus, JetBlue has flights basically every hour so it’s easy to find something that works for you! We opted for the 8:40am flight out of Boston, allowing us to sleep to a normal hour and still get us to D.C. by 10:30am.

We stayed in a really great Airbnb in Logan Circle, which was the absolute perfect location for us. It was within a 5 minute walk to 14th Street, which is lined with restaurants, bars, cafe’s and stores. It was about 1-2 miles to the major sites, but we would rather be close to restaurants than the sites so it worked out well. Here’s the link if you’re looking for the best place to stay: Affordable Luxury – Locan Circle. Penny was so nice and helpful and the Airbnb had everything we could need or want. We both loved the feeling of “going home” after a long day of touristy things on our feet.

We quickly dropped our things off and headed out for a quick snack (and drink) before making our way to the White House. We ended up at Slipstream, which was totally our style – lots of healthy food options, good coffee and tasty bubbly 😉

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From there, we walked to the White House, Washington Monument (which is HUGE, btw, I couldn’t get over it and kept talking about it all weekend, lol), WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorial and more. It was a lot of walking and a lot of site-seeing, but it was a great way to kick off the weekend!

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We walked our way back up to 14th Street and popped in at Churchkey for a drink and a snack. They have a HUGE beer selection, so if craft beers is your thing, I’d suggest checking it out. When we finished up, we stopped in at the Whole Foods to stock up on necessities for our stay: breakfast items, fruit, snacks, beer & wine. Loved having that handy!

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After resting up and showering, we decided to go to Estadio, which was a Spanish tapas restaurant. We found seats at the bar as soon as we got there, which was lucky because the place got so busy throughout the night! Everything about this restaurant was excellent – the bar staff, drinks, food & vibe. Seriously, we were both in foodie and drink heaven! While we sipped our drinks (Tecolate – Tequila & Cava, Rosemary & Grapefruit, for me and Old Raj Gin & Orange Thyme Tonic for RM – the Orange Thyme Tonic was house-made and so good!), we took recommendations from the bar tender. We opted for the following dishes: Bacalao Crudo, Jalapeño, Avocado, Orange & Olive Oil, the Calamari, the Sauteed Shrimp, the Grilled Pork Loin, Crispy Kale & Seared Peaches and then the Brussels Sprouts, Caramelized Onions, Pine Nuts & Currants. We ended with a Pumpkin Bread Pudding which was TO DIE FOR. Seriously, one of the best desserts we’ve had!

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On Sunday, I started the day with a quickie workout and then we made our way to the National Archives Museum to see the Declaration of Independence, Emancipation Proclamation, Constitution and more.  I’ve heard that this museum can have long lines, but we got there early enough to avoid them so it was great. From there, we went to the Capitol Building, Library of Congress, Botanical Gardens, National Air and Space Museum and ended at the Holocaust Museum. It was a long day of tourism things, but everything we saw was incredible, but I have to say I was most moved by the Holocaust Museum. It was a really intensely powerful museum and there were times where I got really emotional. I’m still thinking about it, so even though it was a lot to take in, I would highly suggest visiting if you can.

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Once again, before we went back to our Airbnb, we popped into a bar for a drink. This time we ended up at Pearl Dive Oyster Bar, which was great because they had an outdoor bar and a good scene of people.

For dinner, we opted for a casual dinner at Etto Pizzeria, where we had a delicious meal. We started with some cured meats and a spicy cauliflower dish and then shared a pizza and everything was really good! Plus, sitting outside in October is pretty great 🙂

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On our last day in D.C., we opted for less touristy stuff and decided to head over to Georgetown for shopping and walking around. We stopped by the White House first, though, hoping we might see some action (we didn’t 😦 ).

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Georgetown reminded us both of Newbury/Boylston, but also Beacon Hill. The only difference was that there were more stores and fewer restaurants. It was a really fun way to spend the day end end out the vacation – and we scored some great things!

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For our last dinner, we went to Ghibellina. I had wanted to go to Le Diplomate because it was recommended to us by the Airbnb owner and every website we went to, but it was always super busy. Ghibellina was great, though, and we enjoyed a casual meal at the bar.
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All in all, it was such a wonderful trip! I’m not a huge history person, but I have to say that I really enjoyed all of the history that D.C. has to offer – it was a pretty incredible city! I hope you find this post helpful if you decide to take a trip to D.C.!

Questions for you: Have you ever been to DC? What’s a city that’s been on your “want to visit” list? Do you prefer active vacations or beachy vacations?

 

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The Easiest Veggie & Turkey “Hash” (aka: our summer staple dish)

We eat a lot of veggies in our house. When I went shopping with my sister, she couldn’t believe we bought a few heads of lettuce, kale and spinach, which are just our leafy greens. She asked if we ate all that in a week and I said “YUP!”. RM has veggies pretty much every meal and I eat salad’s for lunch a lot so when you add it up, we plow through veggies!

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And, while I do like veggies more than I used to (thanks to RM for being such a proponent of veggie eating, and showing me new ways to cook them so that they taste great!), the process of cleaning and chopping can be time consuming. If I had more free time, I would love to spend hours in the kitchen, chopping, cooking and drinking wine, but that’s just not realistic for me right now.

Enter my favorite time saving hack thanks to Whole Foods; pre-chopped veggies!!! Yes, it may cost more than buying whole veggies and chopping them myself, but the time I save is worth the money I save! I find these in the produce section, where Whole Foods has a HUGE selection of partly prepared produce varieties that save lots of time in the kitchen. I’m not sure what other stores have in terms of this, but I’m sure they have something!

This “recipe” is seriously SO easy, but what we love about it is that it covers a ton of ground on the veggie front, plus we add the turkey for a little protein. In terms of eating, we either eat it alone, with eggs (RM does this), on salad, in a quesadilla – there are seriously so many options! Which is key for us when it comes to meal prep – we want lots of variety so we don’t get sick of what we have in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • Chopped onions (you can buy pre-chopped or chop your own)
  • Confetti rice (this has broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, but you can use whatever you find, which might be just broccoli or just cauliflower)
  • Shredded Kale (or spinach, if you prefer)
  • Shredded Brussels Sprouts (if you want)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2-3/4 lb Organic ground turkey
  • EVOO – to taste
  • Salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes – to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a pan over medium heat and add some EVOO. Once warm, add the onions and let cook for a few minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for a few minutes before adding in the confetti rice and then the kale and Brussels sprouts. Throughout the course of cooking these veggies, add in the salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes to your liking, as well as the EVOO.
  2. Once the veggies are cooked, remove and place in a bowl. Add the ground turkey to the pan you used to good the veggies and cook until it’s fully browned.
  3. Add back in the veggies and let simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Serve however you wish 🙂

See? I told you this was easy! And, really, there are no rights or wrongs when it comes to what you add and how you cook it. I’ve done it a dozen different ways and we have never been disappointed.

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If you find yourself short on time and not able to get in the veggie in-take you want because it takes a long time to prepare everything, I highly suggest trying this method out. While it may cost you a little more, when you think about what you’d do instead of this (maybe order out or get stuff from Whole Foods hot bar?), it’s probably worth it!

Have a great day 🙂

Questions for you: What’s your best time saving hack in the kitchen? Do you like to chop veggies or would you prefer it done for you? 

What’s been up?

Good morning! Happy Tuesday! I don’t do many “Weekend Recaps” anymore, but considering the past weekend was a really good one filled with lots of different things, I thought I’d share with you 🙂

It had been a long week, so I was more than ready for a vino! We went to Buff’s (surprise, surprise) for dinner after and it was a great way to end the week

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Saturday I had the opportunity to sub TWO classes at EBF Seaport so I ended up getting Dana to sub my YMCA Kickboxing class (thank you!) so I could head to the Seaport. I subbed a BAGSXKICKS and BAGXBEATS and they were both SO fun! I was nervous about the Kicks class since I had never taught it, but I think between having enough BAGS experience and enough kickboxing experience I was able to teach a good class. I also finally got my haircut. My normal hairdresser was not working on Saturday so I had to go back to my old salon, but she did a good job so I was happy with it! After teachin and hair I went to lunch and got my nails done in Southie with my sister and a friend from work and then got home with enough time to relax and finished The Wonder, which was SOOO good- you need to read it if you haven’t! Saturday night, Roberto took me to SRV to celebrate my promotion and Valentine’s Day. This restaurant has been on my list for a while so I’m glad we finally got to try it. It’s a Venetian small plates type of restaurant and everything we tried was great, and I especially loved that they served Aperol Spritz- which is my favorite Italian drink!

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After church on Sunday, Roberto and I headed to the Boston Wine Expo since his friend was gracious enough to give us tickets to. He owns Tre Olive, which I’ve talked about a lot on here! We had a blast at the expo and it was so nice to catch up with the Tre Olive guys- if you are in need of a good foodie gift- check out their site. You can adopt an olive tree for them and they’ll receive tins of olive oil from that tree- it’s very cool! When we got home, I went for a quickie run because the weather was too nice to not get outside, and then I spent the rest of the night cleaning, cooking and watching Cinderella Man with RM.

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Yesterday morning, I headed to EBF #FIDI to take a class “Pre-Opening”  with George as a way to break in the new studio before opening day. It officially opens on Thursday and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the fun! Catch me on Thursdays (starting this week!) at 6:20pm for BAGSXBEATS- sign up here!

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After class, I went up to Maine after the EBF class and had a great time catching up with my parents. My mom and I went snow shoeing/X-Country skiing on the lake and then around the house before settling down in front of the fire to drink bubbly and hang out. Relaxing, again, is so under-rated 😉

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And here we are, another week! As far as teaching, I think I’m just teaching 2 BAGSXBEATS classes this week- tonight at GymIt in Watertown at 6:30pm and Thursday at FIDI at 6:20pm- come join for the fun!

Lastly, I am hosting another MoveWith class, but this time it’s going to be at the New Balance Flagship Store in Brighton, which I’m SO excited about! It’s on March 29th and DJ Sprino will be there and I’ll have after workout treats from Purity Organics and Larabar (and hopefully more) and everyone will get a 20% discount for shopping! You don’t want to miss this, so grab your friends and sign up here!

Honeymoon Recap: Positano

I realized last week that I never shared our final honeymoon recap with you! In case you missed the first 3, you can find them here:

Napoli
Ischia
Sorrento & Pompeii

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about heading to Positano for the fear that it would be too touristy, similar to Sorrento. However, upon our first sights of Positano during our drive in, my fears were quickly washed away. Although it was still touristy, the charm of Positano was still very much in tact and it just felt less touristy than Sorrento.

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On top of that, we stayed in the most luxurious hotel, which just made everything better, especially after the poor hotel experience we had in Sorrento.

Where We Stayed

We ended up staying at Hotel Villa Franca during our time in Positano. While it was a rather expensive hotel, I’m so glad we splurged on it because it was a wonderful way to end the trip. They ended up upgrading us to their biggest/nicest room and “big” and “nice” really don’t do it any justice. It was the size of a small studio apartment, with a large, luxurious bathroom and amazing jacuzzi tub, a whole sitting area and an oversized terrace overlooking all of Positano. It was in a separate building from the main hotel, but it didn’t prove to be an issue at all since it was only a 30 second walk or so.

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The staff was unbelievably warm, hospitable and helpful- we couldn’t rave enough about how welcomed they made us feel, starting with complimentary champagne upon our arrival.

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We spent a lot of time at their roof deck pool- the lounge chairs were so comfy, the Aperol Spritz’s were absolutely delicious and the bar tenders were very attentive.

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We didn’t end up eating up there, but everything we saw people eating looked delicious. We did indulge at their daily breakfast where they had everything you could ever imagine, including eggs made your way, assortments of breads/cheeses/meats, cereal, yogurt, granola, fresh juices and plenty of bubbly 😉

Our only complaint about the hotel was that it was so far up from the main areas of Postiano- 597 steps, to be exact! While I didn’t mind the steps (obviously), it made it difficult to bounce around and you had to plan ahead for how long you wanted to be down by the beach. They do offer a complimentary shuttle service leaving from the hotel every half hour that brings you down to the beach area which we did take advantage of at night when we would head out for dinner. This was a wonderful service!

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That was our hotel… wayyyy up there!

Where We Ate

Prior to our honeymoon, we received lots of recommendations for lunches/dinners during our time in Positano, which was nice to use as a base. We found some places on our own which also did not disappoint.

  • Ristorante da Costantino This came recommended to us by the driver who took us from Sorrento to Positano. It’s set up even higher than Hotel Villa Franca, but don’t worry- they have a car service that will pick you up at your hotel and drop you off after, which is a very nice service. While they don’t have outdoor/waterfront space, the front wall of the restaurant is all windows so there are spectacular views- both during the day and at night. We had our driver take us there to make the reservation and the owner was a sweet old Italian man who made us drink an espresso with him after we chatted- it was awesome. It’s a family owned & run restaurant and serves truly authentic (non-americanized touristy) Italian food. It was such a great way to kick off our last part of the trip.

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  • Chez Black This was a recommended restaurant, I think because of it’s prime location near the beach. We had a really nice meal there, although it did seem to cater more specifically to Americans and other tourists. We would still recommend it!

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  • Ristorante Max This was another highly recommended restaurant to try out (3 separate people told us about it!). We loved our meal here- everything was so flavorful and the wine was ridiculously good! We sat outside and got to play with a neighborhood cat, which I obviously loved!

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  • Ristorante Saraceno d’Oro We had big plans of doing up our last night in Positano big, but it ended up raining, so we opted to keep it closer to our hotel. We ended up at this restaurant which ended up being an awesome find. The food was very good and very authentic- I had the eggplant and it was as good as RM’s mother’s- which is saying a lot!

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  • Sandwiches- One day we were really craving a basic sandwich & chips type of lunch so we asked a jewelry vendor if he knew of any Salumeria’s in the area (deli type stores) and luckily there was one nearby. The sandwich was SO good we ended up there at least one or two more times. There’s something so great about a simple sandwich made with incredibly fresh ingredients.

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  • Caffe Positano Friends also recommended this place, and since it ended up being exactly halfway down the cliffs from our hotel to the beach, we saddled up there for lunch one day. The views were spectacular and the food was also really delicious. We got a platter type of plate with all sorts of amazing options- we definitely recommend checking this place out!

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What To Do

  • Walk around and window-shop/pop into stores. There are so many cute little stores selling beautiful things, especially the linen clothes items! I’ll warn you, though, the shops are expensive! We laughed because RM would see something he thought I’d look good in so I’d check it out and be appalled at the price tags- usually upwards of 200-300 euros! That said, everything was really beautiful!

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  • Have drinks at Hotel Villa Franca- Although these were expensive (25 euros for a glass of bubbly!), the ambiance of the drink area and the views were worth it. Plus, they gave awesome “snacks”- my favorite 😉

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  • Check out the beaches- We were warned in advance that the beaches were not sandy, so we weren’t totally surprised to find a rocky beach. The rocks were surprisingly pretty comfortable to relax on, and the water was so refreshing! What made it even better was that you could get “to go” drinks from nearby bars/restaurants- Spritz’s on the beach are the best!

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  • Get handmade sandals- We’d heard that you could get handmade sandals in Positano, and people were right- there were so many little stores selling homemade sandals. We ended up at Creazioni Nana which was next door to Caffe Positano, and I was so happy with how my sandals turned out!! It was such a special memory to take home with me!
  • Rent a scooter RM finally persuaded me to rent a scooter and drive out to Amalfi and Ravello and although I was scared sh*tless about the whole experience, it ended up being one of the best experiences/memories from the trip. We had an absolute blast!!

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You can also take the ferry to Capri, do cooking classes, etc., but we opted to just soak in the hotel and things around us.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we absolutely fell in love with Positano! So much so, that RM said for our 3rd wedding anniversary we need to go back- I’m certainly not going to complain (or forget) about that! This was the last of our honeymoon recaps- I hope you’ve enjoyed them, and maybe they’ll be helpful if you decide to visit the Amalfi Coast!

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Five on Friday {10.21.16}

Good morning and TGIF! Was it just me or did this week feel extra long? Between having no motivation to do anything (literally), not sleeping well and managing life with a new kitten who needs LOTS of attention, I feel like this week dragged on. But! RM and I are heading to NYC via train today for the weekend to celebrate his sister’s engagement, which is very exciting. The dinner is actually in Brooklyn so we opted to rent and Air BNB in Brooklyn so I’m looking forward to checking that out! For now, though, let’s talk shop about what’s been going on.

  • RM’s new adventure- Shortly after we got back from Italy, RM gave his notice at work. This was a longgg time coming and I couldn’t be more proud of him for finally taking a chance on himself and choosing happiness over job security. I’ll have more details to share soon, and I hope you’ll check out his website once it’s up and running! If you’re finding yourself in a similar position where you’re unhappy at your job or in your career and you have a passion you want to pursue, there are always ways to make it happen. And, like I said to him, even if it doesn’t work out (which it will!), at least he can say he tried and won’t have a big “what if” hanging over his head!

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  • Jessi’s bridal bath- The weekend leading up to our honeymoon was spent up in NH celebrating my best friend Jessi’s bridal bath, which was a joint bachelorette party & shower. Her family has a house on a lake so we had a great time laughing, hanging out, boating, lounging, drinking and eating. I always love events that bring all of my SMC girls together! Can’t wait for their big day in December 🙂

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  • Crockpot Pork Tenderloin- I know it hasn’t felt like fall this week, but last week I made a delicious- and SUPER easy- crockpot meal. You know how there are always those little cooking videos flying around Facebook? Normally I just watch or scroll past, but this one caught my eye so I tried it out: Slow Cooker Hasselback Apple Pork Loin. Even though it got a little dry (I made it on a Sunday but we didn’t eat it until Monday), it was really flavorful and I loved that the ingredient list was short. I highly suggest this if you’re looking for a new meal to try!
  • OAKtoberfest 5K- Last weekend I ran the annual OAKtoberfest 5K put on by the Oak Square YMCA that I teach at. I have been running this race for YEARS, and I always enjoy it. It’s a relatively small race so it’s not crowded, plus you get the hills over with right away! Last year I ran a big PR and even placed 3rd for my age group. This year I went into it with zero expectations because I haven’t really been doing a ton of running, but I ended up running a nearly 1 minute PR race! 22:32 was my official time, which is crazy fast for me. I didn’t place, but I didn’t care- it was just fun to run the race with some of my gym friends!

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  • Meet Francesca: I’m sure you’ve all seen by now, but last weekend RM and I brought a new little kitten into our family/home. Francesca is 8 weeks old, under 2 pounds, a total fluff ball and a little firecracker. She was so scared when we first brought her home, but soon enough she opened up and has been a blast ever since. She’s super playful and always wants to be where we/I are/am, which is absolutely adorable. We got her from the Salem Animal shelter and they were wonderful to work with throughout the adoption process. My sister is going to stay with her this weekend so she doesn’t get lonely!

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And that does it for me- hoping to get some blogging done while we are on the train since I have lots of posts I want to write. I hope whatever you have going on this weekend, you have a wonderful time!

Questions for you: Have you ever chosen happiness over security? Do you have any pets? What’s a great fall recipe I should try? Have you run any races lately?