2016 Holiday Season Recap

Last night I went home directly after work so that I could try and get some of the blog posts in my head into my computer. Although I’ve tried to keep my weekend/holiday/life recaps to a minimum, I’ve realized that it makes me happy to share them because along with B2B {hopefully} being a resource for you when it comes to workouts and things like that, it’s also a bit of a diary for me. I love looking back on old blog posts to see what I was up to- the ultimate trip down memory lane!

With that said, we had such a great holiday season that I wanted to share a bit about it!

The celebrations started on the 23rd as that’s RM’s birthday. This year we went to Hopsters and made beer! I’ll share a full recap on that soon, but for now just know it was such a fun experience!

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Next up was Christmas Eve. I had to teach in the morning and it was an absolute blast!! It was a decent crowd considering the holiday, and lots of people sported the red, white and green color scheme which made for one happy instructor 🙂

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Later that day I got a massage and then RM and I hit up Buff’s for a little quiet time before the craziness of Christmas Eve/Christmas started.

This year we went to RM’s mother’s house for Christmas Eve, which was a wonderful experience! As his family is from Italy, we had quite the feast consisting of fried calamari & smelts, Ahi tuna, stuffed quahogs, pasta with lobster, breaded shrimp, seafood salad with octopus, calamari, shrimp, etc. and baccala. Oh, and chocolate molten cake for dessert 😉 It was all as incredible as it sounds!

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It was so fun waking up at home on Christmas morning, especially as our first Christmas as a married couple! We went to Church and then hit the road to Maine to spend Christmas night with my family. We opened presents and drank wine and had a really nice roast chicken meal- it was a fun new-to-us tradition!

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Once we got back to MA, we had a few days of “normalcy” before heading to Florida to celebrate Jessi and Chuck’s wedding. Overall, it was such an awesome trip! The wedding was at The VInoy in St. Petersburg and we opted to rent an Air BNB instead, which worked out perfectly as it was only 2 blocks from the hotel. I was asked to do a reading at the wedding, which was such an honor! I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

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Dress courtesy of Best Dressed!

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Some of us opted to stay through NYE so after brunch RM and I went for a walk then laid poolside with my friends for most of the day. NYE was relatively lowkey as we just hung out at the hotel bar. New Years Day was the most perfect weather and luckily we had a later flight so we got to catch some more sun. And then before we knew it, it was time to go home 😦 I can’t wait until Jessi is back from her honeymoon so we can recap the wedding because it was so wonderful- everything about it couldn’t have been more perfect!

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Phew! What a great holiday season, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ready to get back to a more normal (to me) lifestyle which includes less drinking and eating out and more making food at home and going to bed at 10pm 😉

I hope all of you had a great end to 2016 and are kicking off 2017 feeling good! I can’t wait to recap 2016- it was quite an amazing year for us 🙂

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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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Honeymoon Recap: Sorrento & Pompeii

Part 3 of our trip was spent in Sorrento, which we got to from Ischia by another hydrofoil ride. We were so sad to leave Ischia, but were also excited to see more parts of the Amalfi Coast. I’ll be honest when I say that Sorrento was not our favorite part of the trip- not because it wasn’t beautiful, but moreso because it was a bit of a culture shock after coming from Ischia. Everything felt super touristy and way too Americanized- or catering too much to Americans. No one spoke Italian to us, even when RM would initiate the conversation in Italian.

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We also decided to skimp on the hotel a bit, which was a big mistake because our hotel (Hotel Eden) really left something to be desired, especially after having come from such a gorgeous, spacious hotel. Our travel agent warned us that it was only a 3 star, but we went ahead with it anyway with the plan that we would only be sleeping there. Unfortunately, RM was really sick for most of our 3 days in Sorrento so he/we spent more time in the room than anticipated and we were kicking ourselves for not getting a nicer hotel!

In hindsight, we should’ve just done a day trip to Sorrento since there isn’t really a ton to do/see there and everything you would want to see could be easily done in a day trip. That said, we really enjoyed the food there and ended up finding less touristy things to do so it turned out being all good. Plus, we were able to get to Pompeii really easily and that was incredible.

Where we stayed

As I mentioned, we stayed at Hotel Eden. Even though it needed some serious upgrades in parts of the hotel, it was in a really perfect location- walking distance from the major Piazza’s, restaurants, cafes, etc., which was ideal. They did have a pool which was a nice addition!

What we ate

Every meal we had in Sorrento was wonderful- there wasn’t a meal that we any complaints about!

  • Fauno Bar This is probably the biggest restaurant in Piazza Tasso (main Piazza in Sorrento) and has been around for a super long time. We were starving when we first got to the city so we popped in there and had a nice lunch.

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  • Trattoria Da Emilia Once we decided to open our Rick Steves book, we learned about Marina Grande, an area on the water in the lower part of Sorrento, a bit of a walk from Piazza Tasso. We fell in love with this area because it was quieter and more authentic feeling, and the recommendation to go to this restaurant did not disappoint! The food was really wonderful and I tried lots of fish that I normally wouldn’t, but they way they lightly fry things makes it hard to not be good 😉

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  • L’abate We were not in the mood for walking a lot and ended up choosing this restaurant which was right in the heart of Piazza Sant’Antonino. We loved everything about the experience- the food was really good, the atmosphere was great and there was awesome people watching.

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  • We had another great meal at a restaurant off the beaten path but I cannot remember what it was called, so pictures will have to do it justice!

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What to do

  • Walk around all of the small streets- there were so many little side streets, lined with shops, restaurants and cafes. While these streets were BUSY, it was cool to check them out.
  • Marina Grande- Make the walk to go down there because there are lots of great restaurants and cafes and it’s a bit quieter than up in the main piazzas.

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  • Rent a chair at the “beach”- Sorrento doesn’t really have traditional style beaches, but they have these boardwalks lined with chairs that you can rent. Rentals come along with the use of their bathrooms, wait staff and access to the swimming areas. The water was amazing- crystal clear and perfect temp! We spent an afternoon doing this and it was awesome. We went to Marameo and it was well worth the 10 euros each because we spent hours there, had drinks and a really awesome sandwich. It was such a relaxing afternoon!

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  • Take the train to Pompeii- This was one of our favorite memories from the trip because it was really surreal to think about HOW OLD everything was. We took the train (1.20 euros each way! Very cheap) and it was really easy to get to since it was a stop on the train route. Tickets to Pompeii were 12 euros each (I think), which did not include any guidance. You can rent headsets or hire a guide, but we did ok with just the Rick Steves book/his guide… and listening in on other people’s tours 😉 While we stayed for around 3 hours, we could’ve stayed for much longer because there is so much to see! To summarize better, I’ll share blurps along with the photos- enjoy!

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Mount Vesuvius in the background.

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Did you know prostitution is the oldest profession? Even in 30 BC it was a prominent part of the lifestyle. They had a whole house dedicated to it and this was one of the rooms- the concrete beds & pillows look so comfy 😉 along the top of the walls they had the “menu” of services provided. It was an interesting thing to check out!

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This is a picture of me in the “fast food” shop. It was located across the street from one of the bath houses and since the houses people lived in were so small, many chose to order food instead. This was so neat to imagine.

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This was me in a house- seriously so cool!

And that does it for out Sorrento visit. By the time the end of this part of the trip was coming to a close, we were really starting to like Sorrento a lot more than our original impression, which was a nice way to leave the city. And don’t get me wrong- Sorrento really was beautiful, we just felt as though it lost some of its charm because of how touristy it has become. That, and we would suggest doing just a day or one night there rather than 3… and don’t cheap out on the hotel- ever 😉

Questions for you:Have you ever visited a city for longer than you felt necessary? Do you tend to splurge or skimp on hotels? 

Wedding Recap: Part 3 {Reception}

Hi there! I’m back with another wedding recap. I figured since I’m ready to start recapping our honeymoon, I should probably just finish this post which has been drafted for an embarrassingly long tim! In case you missed the others, here you go:

Wedding Recap Part 1
Wedding Recap Part 2

I last left off as we were getting ready to be introduced as Mr. & Mrs., right? Yes, that’s exactly where I left off! Since we didn’t really have wedding parties, our family just got introduced from their seats and then we did our entrance as we made our way to the dance floor for our first dance.

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Funny story: we had a song picked and all planned out and then literally 10 minutes before we were supposed to enter the tent RM felt like we needed to go to our plan B song since we didn’t get to practice enough for our plan A song. Luckily the band was able to download our new first dance song with a few minutes to spare 😉

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After the first dance, my parents did a speech, RM’s brother did a speech and then my sister did a speech. Everyone did such a wonderful job with the speeches- we were laughing and crying as they shared memories/stories/etc. It was such a special part of the night.

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After that it was time to eat! While the steak ended up being a little over-cooked (pretty typical for wedding food I think), everything else was really perfect. We had crab cakes to start, fresh salads, either steak or swordfish (or a vegetarian meal that I heard was unbelievably good) and then instead of cake, we had a huge assortment of Italian pastries/cookies. RM’s mother and some of her sister’s made some of the items at our dessert bar- all of which were fantastic! I also provided the guests with little takeaway bags so that they could take some cookies home, which ended up being a really great idea since there were so many cookies left over!

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{above food photos taken by our family friend, Jeanne, who is amazing!}

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After dinner a lot of people ventured out of the tent for a bit of a reprieve from the heat inside the tent, but once the sun went down a bit, people were pretty much on the dance floor ALL night, which is exactly what I wanted! For the father/daughter dance, we started off dancing to a slow song and then about halfway through I gave the nod to the band to switch it up and start playing “Happy” by Pharrell,  since that was a song my dad really wanted to dance to. We also invited my mom onto the dance floor with us and it was so much fun! My dad’s smile and dance moves were just priceless 🙂

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RM’s dance with his mother was a bit more mellow, but still very sweet. I love seeing how much he loves her!

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I happily spent the rest of the night on the dance floor, living it up with everyone. One of my favorite parts of the night was when the song “American Girl” by Tom Petty came on and RM came out of nowhere to grab me and start dancing- he was quite the dancing machine and by the end of the song my face hurt from smiling and laughing so much.

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After a few more hours of dancing, we closed out the night with one last slow-er song before heading into the Inn for late night snacks and piano show tunes 😉

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Overall, it was the most perfect, amazing, magical night that I will never forget. Everything that we, as brides, worry about leading up to the big event went better than I could’ve expected. We laughed, we cried, we ate & drank, we danced and we soaked up all of the love. We would re-live the day/night a million times over if we could. Thank you to everyone who made our day so special!

Photo Credit: Janelle Carmela Photography– she’s absolutely amazing!!

Five on Friday {9.16.16}

Hi there! I cannot believe it’s already Friday! And today kickstarts a very long vacation for me, starting tonight with my best friend’s bachelorette weekend in NH and then Sunday with us leaving for our honeymoon. With everything that’s been going on the past few weeks, including working long hours, teaching extra classes, shopping/packing/planning/preparing for our honeymoon, etc., I am MORE than ready to escape for a bit of R&R with my favorite guy.

Since I’m running short on time, let’s get right to the post!

  • Cycle & Sweat Fitness Event for ALS One at Derby Street This Sunday, there is an awesome event happening at the Derby Street shops in Hingham benefiting ALS ONE.  Cycle & Sweat Fitness will feature nine fitness classes over the course of three hours, held every hour, on the hour, from 9am through 12pm in front of Whole Foods and lululemon at the Derby Street Shoppes. Class choices include spinning with Rev’d Cycling, based in Dedham, yoga with lululemon and ivivva, and cardio boot camp with Mobile Fitness. The first 100 people to register via Eventbrite will receive Cycle & Sweat tanks and swag bags. Classes are $15 each.
  • Sunset Bootcamp Class at ZINC Apartments This is a FREE fitness event happening on Tuesday, September 20th from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The class will take place on ZINC’s stunning outdoor terrace as the sun sets over Cambridge. The event is free to attend, but space is limited. Please register here. Additional details are here:
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  • Best Dressed On Wednesday, my friend Lauren hosted an event at Best Dressed in Charlestown. Have you heard of that store? It’s a store version of Rent the Runway, which is so awesome. You can go in, try stuff on and rent what you like for whatever event you have coming up. They had a huge selection, as well as jewelry to rent or buy. More to come on this later, but I had to share a bit about it now because I think it’s a genious idea for a store!!

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  • Travel Reads- I picked up 2 new books to bring on our trip. Have you guys read these (Easter Rising & All Souls)? Apparently they’re about a guy growing up in Southie, so I’m excited to read them!

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  • Honeymoon! Our honeymoon is finally almost here! On Sunday we leave for a 16 day vacation throughout the Amalfi Coast. I’ve gotten so many recommendations from friends who have recently gone (thanks, ladies!!), but if anyone else has any “must do/try/eat” recommendations, feel free to leave a comment on this post. We just booked a couple of excursions, so everything is starting to feel more real. B2B will be very quiet while I’m gone, as I’ve decided to not have any guest posts. I couldn’t add another thing to my plate the past few weeks, but don’t worry- I’ll have lots to share when we get back. I’ll also be keeping my other social media channels active, so feel free to follow along there (burpeestobubbly).

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I’ll talk to you in a few weeks!