Hosting our first holiday

Good morning! I realize it’s now two weeks into December and I’m just now sharing our Thanksgiving recap – oops! Between work, teaching, training and leading a challenge at work, it’s left very little time at night for blogging, but since Thanksgiving turned out so well, I wanted to pop in and share some photos and tips that helped it be relatively stress-free. I’ll preface this by saying that we don’t really have the ideal house/space to host a formal event like this, but it was something I really wanted to do so we made it work!

I’ve always loved entertaining, but I won’t lie and say that it’s not a lot of work. No matter what you’re hosting, as the host, there is always more work to do than one might think, but over the years I have figured out ways to manage all of the little details without being super stressed out. This year, the key for me to be relaxed on Thanksgiving and not running around like a chicken (err, turkey) with my head cut off was doing a lot of things in advance. That, and asking for help! Sure, I could’ve prepped all of the side dishes on my own, but if others wanted to help, who am I to take that away from them 😉 As is with most things in life, asking for help isn’t a bad thing and doesn’t mean you can’t handle it on your own. It simply means you’ve learned that asking for help makings things easier!

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I’ll be honest – the real reason I wanted to host Thanksgiving was so that I could decorate the table and use my fine china that we received for our wedding 🙂 There’s just something so great about a beautifully decorated table with matching dinnerware, glasses and a beautiful centerpiece, #amiright?! Here’s what I did to make my vision come to a reality:

  • I knew I wanted whites & golds for my color scheme, rather than traditional oranges and reds, because of my china. It’s gold and navy and so pretty 🙂 That said, I went to Whole Foods and picked up a bunch of lily’s, hydrangias, white roses and greenery. All of the flowers came to about $35 and I made 2 centerpieces so that’s a good deal. I’ve been into making my own flower arrangements so this was fun for me. I did them on Sunday and by Thursday they were bloomed and settled.

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  • While I had vases I *could’ve* used, I stumbled upon these great vases at Target as part of their new Chip and Joanna line and I’m obsessed with them! They went well with the candle holders I bought last year at Target as well
  • Since we had to have 2 tables, I needed to figure out the table cloth situation. I used the table cloth and table runner from Crate and Barrel that we received for our wedding and then I picked up a white table cloth with gold and silver in it from Target as well. I thought they worked well together!

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  • I thought about getting cute Thanksgiving-y napkin holders, but ultimately went with the gold ones I got from Crate and Barrel for our wedding. they looked so nice with the plates!

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  • Lastly, the black chairs were an impulse buy when I saw Target was having a sale. I found the exact same chairs there as I saw on Wayfair, but for $100 less. AND! They were delivered in less than 24 hours from the time I placed the order. Can you tell I’m a big Target fan these days?

IMG_2453[1]And that’s it! While we certainly didn’t use all of the dishes in the place settings and had to remove the flowers so that we could eat and see each other, the table decor outcome made me so happy!

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I never used to be into these types of things in terms of making everything look so pretty and planned, but I have to say, it’s really fun! I’ve been doing it with Christmas, too – I mean, I spent an embarrassing amount of money on Christmas/Holiday pillows, lol.

How about you guys – do you get really into the decorating aspect of parties, holidays and get togethers? Or, do you care more about the food and drinks? Do you like to entertain?

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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?

 

Quick Charleston Weekend

Hey guys! How’s everyone doing? Did you have a nice 4th? My blog had a ton of hits earlier this week, mostly relating to 4th of July workouts so I hope you guys found something fun to do! We had a great 1 year anniversary trip back in Jackson, NH. I’ll share more on that later, but today I wanted to share my recap of a recent trip to Charleston, SC  enjoy!

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A few weeks ago, I went to Charleston, SC for a bachelorette party. Charleston is a city that’s been on my “want to visit” list for a long time, so I was thrilled when the bride-to-be picked it as the destination. Not only was I excited to finally get to experience the charm that is always depicted in the pictures I see people share, but I was also excited at the potential possibility of running into someone from Southern Charm 😉 This is my not-so-guilty pleasure show that I absolutely love! Lucky for me, we did get to see Chelsea driving down the street with her mom in a little golf cart. And yes, I did run out of the bar (The Gentry, owned by another cast member on the show, JD) to say hello… I was totally that girl!

Let’s back up, though. Due to my work/teaching schedule, I decided to fly out on a Saturday morning and home on  Monday morning. I scheduled a 6am flight so that I could get there early enough to basically have the whole day.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned in this post, that did not happen as there was a snafu with my luggage (spoiler alert & update: my luggage was found AND returned to me with NOTHING missing. My faith in humanity has been restored!) so by the time I got there, it was nearly 5pm so I had just enough time to chug a vino at the apartment before literally running down King street trying to shop for necessities before the stores closed at 6pm. Woof.

 

That said, my Charleston experience barely brushed the surface of what I was hoping for, but it just means we will need to go back again!

Where We Stayed

The bride-to-be’s cousin and my sister coordinated most of the weekend’s details and found the most amazing AirBnB rental for us to stay at for Saturday & Sunday night. It was on Society Street, which is right off of King street, one of the most popular streets in Charleston, lined with shops & restaurants. I would highly suggest this place if you’re going with a group and need lots of space. It has two big bedrooms and plenty of the space in the living room for an air mattress, 2.5 bathrooms, private garage parking included, a gym in the facility and a HUGE outdoor patio/deck space.

What We Did & Where We Ate

Although I was not there on Friday night, the girls who were there had dinner at 5Church, which they all raved about! They said the decor, atmosphere, food & drinks were all amazing, so it’s definitely a place I would like to check out.

On Saturday, my sister had made lunch reservations at HUSK, which is a very well-known, highly visited restaurant in Charleston. Unfortunately, due to my baggage fiasco, I did not get to Charleston in time for this, which I was REALLY bummed about. The girls said that it was one of the best lunches they’ve ever had!

Once I did get to Charleston, we shopped quickly and then saddled up in a corner window area of The Gentry, which is a bar owned by JD on the show Southern Charm. This place had a cool vibe and the Rose was delicious! We share a few starter plates which were also great.

Since we had plans of going out on Saturday night, we opted to hang out at the apartment and order pizza, which was a great idea as it gave us 7 girls plenty of time to get ready, catch up and have fun.

We ultimately ended up at Republic, which was more of a club atmosphere than I was anticipating. However, we made our way outside to the bar area and it was much quieter and a better scene for chatting and hanging out (although I would’ve loved to have danced all night inside the club!).

Sunday we went out to Folly Beach and had lunch right outside, basically on the water, at Blu, which was awesome! They have a huge deck, great drinks and food and live music! I could’ve spent hours just hanging out and drinking on that deck, but the beach was ultimately calling our name so after lunch we set up shop in the sand.

While walking to dinner on Sunday night, we decided to pop into a restaurant with a cool looking roofdeck, but unfortunately I can’t remember the name of it 😦 From there, we walked to Craftsmen Kitchen and Tap House for dinner and we were able to sit outside in their little patio area. The weather was perfect for outdoor dining! The food was SO good- we shared some apps and then got a various array of different dinner items and shared those as well. We finished out the night at Vendue for a little more roof deck action. Since it was a Sunday, things were pretty quiet so we went back to the Airbnb after 1 drink.

My flight was at 9am on Monday so I was up and out pretty early. The flight Gods were on my side and our first flight left early and I was able to get on an earlier connection flight back to Boston which was really great, especially after my less than stellar airport/flying experience on the way to Charleston.

Overall, even thought the weekend started our rough and I thought that I was never getting my bag back, it was such a FUN weekend spent with a really great group of girls. Can’t wait for the big day in August!

Questions for you: Have you ever been to Charleston, SC? What was your favorite part? What’s a city on your “want to visit” list?

 

Kicking It At Fenway {& Other Birthday/Long Weekend Celebrations}

When I told people that I got up to go to a 6am workout at Fenway on my birthday, most thought I was a little crazy. Who wakes up extra early on their birthday, and day off, for that matter?! Me, haha But for me, starting out the day/year with one of my favorite things (working out) is exactly what I love doing. And, when you combine that with getting to workout AT Fenway and WITH Eliza & a huge Kick It Crew, it makes for a pretty awesome start to the day and year.

Big thanks to New Balance for inviting me to take part in the workout & DayBreaker event. and providing me with this awesome outfit to wear! I’m totally obsessed with everything!

Unfamiliar with DayBreaker? In short, it’s a really incredible way to start the day- first you workout (yoga or some other fitness class) and then you dance… all before work. Yes, it is as amazing as it sounds! Founders of the idea came up with it as a way to show that you can dance and have fun while being sober, and that doing that before work is a great way to get the brain’s “happy chemicals” going (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin & endorphins). Another cool part about the event is that you wear headphones to hear the music and instructor, so to onlookers it looks like a silent workout since you can’t hear what’s going on. As I looked back through my Instagram Story, I was laughing at how funny it looked because there was no sound!

I had a blast hanging out with fellow instructors and bloggers!

From there, I came home to the most beautiful, springy bouquet from RM and then went to get my nails done.

For Christmas, my sister had gotten us a night at a hotel, so we opted to cash that in on my birthday up in Portsmouth, NH. Being from Maine, Portsmouth has always been that perfect halfway meeting spot for family and friends, but other than lunches or dinners up there, I haven’t really spent any extended time getting to know the city. That said, RM and I totally fell in love with the city- so many great restaurants, bars, shops, etc.

We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, which was a perfect location for everything downtown. The room was big and clean- we would definitely recommend it! Here’s a quick recap:

  • Lunch at Gaslight- food was good, but the service was terrible and so slow!
  • Post lunch drink on the awesome (but small) deck at Old Ferry Landing– we has so much fun there!

  • Birthday dinner at Black Trumpet– This came highly recommended by Athena and some others so we decided to check it out for dinner. They did not steer us wrong- we had the most unbelievable meal there! It’s a small spot with 2 levels and we grabbed seats at the bar upstairs. We had drinks (the wine on tap was SO good) and then shared the following: Chickpea Socca, Goat Doner Kebab, Warm Octopus Salad,  Archer Angus Chuck Steak and cookies & milk for dessert.

  • My parents met us for lunch the next day and we went to Rudi’s, which was also fantastic! We had a drink at the bar and then enjoyed a great lunch. My parents had just gotten back from a 3 week road trip/vacation so it was fun to catch up with them!

We squeezed in a quickie workout when we got back before having a quite night in.

Easter Sunday started with breakfast and Church followed by a small Easter dinner at RM’s mother’s house and a long walk when we got back.

Before we knew it, Marathon Monday was upon us and we were heading to Solas to hang with the NB crew. This is such a fun day and event- so thankful to get to be a part of it!

All I could think about when I saw this photo was “I’m on a boat!” haha

Overall, it was such a wonderful birthday/holiday/long weekend filled with pretty much all of my favorite things.

Reflecting on 31 & Looking Forward to 32

April 14th. My Birthday. It’s crazy how quickly this day seemed to sneak up on me this year. When I was younger (and by younger,  I mean like up until just a few years ago), I would be so obnoxious about my birthday- err- birthmonth, birthweek, etc. However, as I get older, I’m starting to lose that a bit. To be honest, I feel like this year my birthday totally snuck up on me- I feel like I was just planning our wedding! While I don’t think I’ll ever think of my birthday as “just another day”, I have taken a lot of the hype and expectation out of it, which helps me enjoy and soak in the day more.

As I started to write up a list of my favorite memories of the past year, I realized that I already hit on most of them in my 2016 reflections post that I shared at the beginning of the year. I guess that means they were really my favorite things, huh? 😉

As I look back over the year, I can’t help but feel so thankful and so blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life, as well as hobbies that I am so passionate about. And even though blogging has its frustrating moments, being able to go back through the year by reading through the blog posts I’ve written is pretty wonderful, and makes me so happy that I’ve continued to write, not to mention it’s helped me connect with so many of you!

As for 32, I have no idea where this year will bring me, and that’s totally OK. These days, I’m trying to focus on living more in the moment and worrying less about the “what ifs” of the future. I continue to try and do things that make me happy and that I truly want to do, rather than because I feel like I should. After reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, I’m also trying to better balance what I give a F*ck about, and letting go of the little things that, in the bigger picture, mean absolutely nothing and just take up unnecessary mental space. Life is just too damn short for that!

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me throughout it all! xoxo