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

Ski/Snowboard Trip To Jackson Hole

Now that we are back and unpacked from our trip, I wanted to share some highlights and details with you in case you’re thinking of taking a ski/snowboard trip out west. I’ll preface this post by saying that I am by no means an avid skiier, but it’s something that I am trying to do more of since RM really loves snowboarding. That said, he was the one to plan the trip which was a nice treat! I hope you enjoy the recap!

Why Jackson Hole?

RM generally takes a snowboard trip out west every year and Jackson was a mountain that he had not been to yet. When he started asking around, everyone who had been to Jackson Hole had such great things to say so we decided to check it out. Two of my close friends from college lived out there after we graduated and taught skiing so they were a great resource for us to get our “must do/try/see” list together.

We decided to fly right into Jackson Hole which was a great decision because the views from the plane as we got into the area were literally the most beautiful thing. If you’ve never been, the airport is basically in the midst of the mountains so even when you get off the plane you’re looking at mountains all around. Plus, they serve mini mimosas to you!

Where To Stay

We chose to stay at the Sleeping Indian condo’s in Teton Village, but if we had known it was a 15 minute walk to get to the mountain base restaurants/bars/etc., we would have opted to stay elsewhere. The condo we rented had everything we needed, but was lacking in some of the things that would have been nice. For instance, we would’ve liked if it was a little more updated, if it had an easily accessible hot tub (rather than walking down the road to use a community one) and if it was in a more central location. While the walk wasn’t THAT far, at night when it was dark and cold and we were tired from skiing, it was the last thing we wanted to do! We ended up staying in a few nights because of it. If/when we go back, we will likely stay at the Snake River Lodge, Teton Mountain Lodge or another one of the more centralized hotels. Staying at the Four Seasons would be amazing, but that comes with a hefty price tag 😉 Staying in downtown Jackson is also an option, but that’s about a 15-20 minute drive to the mountain so if you plan on going for a ski/snowboard trip we would suggest staying in Teton Village.

What To Do

Ski! Snowboard! Snowmobile! Snowshoe! Cross-country Ski! Shop! and those are just the winter activities. Even if you aren’t a skiier/snowboarder, there are definitely plenty of things to do, but since we went with the purpose of going skiing/snowboarding, that’s primarily what we did.

Our first full day there was beautiful- low 40’s and so sunny- so we opted to not ski and head into downtown Jackson to do some touristy things. We shopped, took pics at the antler arches, had drinks and lunch at the Snake River Brewery and popped into the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar because it was a “must do”! RM was so glad we did because we ended up seeing Sanjay Gupta and his family there. If don’t know who this is, it means you don’t watch CNN enough 😉

 

 

We had other things we wanted to do, but since we were skiing for 3 days we just didn’t have enough time to get it all in.

As far as skiing, we were lucky that the first day we skiied was nice because we were able to soak in the most amazing views from the chair lifts/gondolas and throughout our trail runs. It started snowing at the end of our first day on the mountain and literally didn’t stop snowing the rest of the trip, which made for great skiing! We skiied the right side of the mountain the most- Apres Vous, Casper, Teton, etc. We did venture up to Bridger a few times, but between the wind and snow, the visibility was basically non-existent so it was not that fun for me. I loved the blue and double blue trails on the other parts of the mountain, though, but I will say that it is a pretty challenging mountain in terms of steepness so the blues and double blues were no joke! I feel like when I ski here back east it’s going to be such a letdown since the mountains aren’t as tall and there aren’t as many trails to choose from.

 

and just for fun… this video is of me trying to be “good”

Watch me whip, watch me nae nae. ⛷🎿#jacksonhole #skiing #springskiing #volcom #northface #smith #powpow #powfordaysbrah

A post shared by Monique Gagnon (@burpeestobubbly) on

 

and this is what reality is generally like…

I could watch that and still laugh a hundred times over!

Where To Eat/Apres Ski

This is probably my favorite thing to recap because there were so many great restaurants/bars for food and Apres Ski.

  • Mangy Moose– Obviously this is number one on the list! Everyone told us that we had to go there because they have the best apres ski and they were not wrong! It was always the most crowded and the drinks (get the margarita!!) and food were awesome- and reasonably priced. There was also a live band every day! If you go to JH, you MUST go to the Mangy Moose. It’s also worth noting that they have a little grocery store in the lower level where we were able to get some staples for our condo- including wine and beer!

  • Il Villaggio Osteria– This was in Hotel Terre and had amazing pizza! One night RM wasn’t hungry (too many apres ski nachos and wings…) and we ended up walking over there and sitting in the lobby bar and I had the meatballs and kale salad which were great. Another night RM was laid up because of a hurt foot (he’s fine now) so I walked and picked up pizza for us and we both raved how good it was. They also have other traditional Italian dishes that sounded amazing.
  • Spur Restaurant – This was in the Teton Mountain Lodge and was another hot spot for dining. We grabbed seats in the bar area and shared a delicious salad, mini tuna tartar tacos, steak and a droolworthy bread pudding. The staff was incredibly attentive and warm- I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant!

  • The Handle Bar– This was a restaurant in a prime location: direct base of the mountain connected to the Four Seasons. We had and Apres ski round of drinks there one day after skiing and were able to sit outside which was a nice March treat. We ended up having dinner there- an incredible burger!- on our last night. They’ve got a great bar inside, too!

  • Alpenhof– They had great apres ski deals, but we only had drinks there. They were supposedly a great apre ski spot, however, the few times we popped in to see if we wanted to stay, it was really quiet. It’s still in a great location so I would check it out if you are in the area!
  • Snake River Brewery– We popped in here during our day in town and ended up having lunch there, too, which was a fantastic idea since the food ended up being really delicious. And who am I kidding? The beer was also really good (and I’m not even a huge beer person!). We shared a salad and steak tacos and both agreed the tacos were the best we’ve had (for the steak varietal).

  • Million Dollar Cowboy Bar– We felt like we needed to pop into this bar since it’s a pretty famous landmark in Jackson. It was fun soaking in all of the details throughout the bar.

We had all intentions of making it back into town on our last night to check out the Silver Dollar Bar at The Wort hotel, but it was still snowing and we didn’t want to make the trek back to town so unfortunately we never made it back 😦

All in all, this was such an incredible trip and we would both highly suggest it to anyone who is looking for adventure in an absolutely beautiful place. I really hope we can make it back out here again!

 

 

Still on cloud 9

Trying something new is always a little scary, right? Fear of the unknown, fear of potential “failure”, fear of doing something incorrectly, etc. And because of this, because of these fears, we often are held back from trying something new. It’s so much easier and more comfortable sticking with something we know, right? I get it. But the thing is- and I’ve talked about this a lot on B2B- always sticking to what we know and are comfortable with leaves little room for change or growth. These things happen when we get a little bit outside of our comfort zone and see all that we are able to do if we just try.

A perfect example of this for me is teaching fitness classes. Over the years I have grown so much as an instructor- whether it’s my cues, my interaction with the participants, the formatting techniques or even my own form, I sometimes feel like a totally different instructor when I first started… which certainly isn’t a bad thing, lol. However, this growth didn’t come from keeping and teaching the same class or classes week after week. In fact, sometimes I think those hold me back from becoming a better and stronger instructor because they allow me to get too comfortable. The classes tend to be mostly regulars so I know exactly what they can and cannot do and often find myself skipping through some of the different cues and introductions that I normally do because these members have been with me for many years and “know the drill” as I like to joke with them.

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And this is exactly why I signed up to teach a class at Janji through MoveWith. While I knew there would be some familiar faces in the crowd, I had a feeling there would be people who were brand new or just newer to my classes, which changes things up drastically with regards to the way I teach/approach the class. I’m brought back to the basics- introducing myself, the class format, explaining some of the exercises in advance, giving more cues, etc. I want to make sure that I am addressing everyone’s potential needs/wants, and because I don’t know specifically what those things are, I need to give lots of variations, options, cues, etc., all with the hope that everyone gets what they want out of the class.

Out of the 14 participants in class last week, only FOUR had taken my classes before, meaning I was essentially teaching to an entirely new group of fighters. I LOVED THIS!!! It challenged me to be the best instructor I could be and I thrived off of their energy as we got to know each other a little better. During the warm up, I worked us through all of the punches, kicks, bodyweight exercises and general lingo I’d be using. I also had them set intentions so that they could have something to work for. Whether it’s to do the burpees, punch stronger or to just finish class, I feel very strongly about setting that intention so you can be fighting for something.

The class went better than I could’ve expected. Everyone was on fire and it absolutely fired me up as well. They were also such good sports when it came to navigating a very crowded room and even worked out down the hallway to get more space- serious dedication if you ask me!

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I left the class feeling so grateful. Grateful to have been able to meet so many people. Grateful for the amazing MoveWith community. Grateful that Janji let us sweat in their awesome space. But most of all, I was grateful for the fact that I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something new, because without doing that, I would’ve have been able to have such an amazing experience.

I challenge you to think of something that maybe you’ve been avoiding because you’re scared of the unknown associated with that particular thing, and then I want you to think about what it would be like if you tried/did it. If you think there’s any inkling of a chance that it could be a really good thing, then I urge you to try/do it. It might turn out even better than you expect.

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Thank you to MoveWith for creating such a wonderful, strong fitness community- 2017 is off to a great start and I can’t wait to continue to meet more people through hosting more original classes. If you’re in the Boston area, I’m hosting another class on Wednesday, February 8th at 6:30pm at the Janji popup store on Newbury Street. You can sign up here. If you plan on attending, I’d sign up sooner rather than later because space is limited!

Also, I was featured on the MoveWith blog last week- check out this post to see what I had to say: How to put your fears behind you