Weekending: Getting Into the Christmas Spirit

Good morning- happy Monday! Did you guys have a good weekend? Ours was relatively low-key, but that was perfect since I was pretty dead most of Friday because of getting home at 2:30 in the morning after 11 hours of traveling! Work was luckily quiet so I was able to catch up on some stuff without being interrupted. Let’s recap!

Friday

I was supposed to get together with my friend Liz and then go to a little party with my sister, but I ended up canceling on both because I was just too tired and knew I had to teach on Saturday and wanted to be rested. RM ended up coming home early from work so it was nice getting to hang with him before he went out with some of his friends that night. He offered to pick me up Whole Foods hot bar for me for dinner, which pretty much made my night. That, and being able to watch a sappy Hallmark Christmas movie and finish our latest book club book.

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Have you guys read this? If not, YOU MUST! This was such a fantastic book and I can’t wait to read the sequel. I may or may not have balled my eyes out as I finished the last couple of pages. Ugh. So good!

Saturday

I woke up feeling great thanks to 9+ hours of sleep! I was so excited to teach my cardio kickboxing class for 2 reasons:

  1. It was my last class before Christmas and I couldn’t wait to use my Christmas playlist. It’s always a big hit and I love seeing everyone smiling and singing along.
  2. I had some awesome new lululemon pants to wear- you can never have too much mesh, right?! The best part? They were an outlet deal- $29!

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Class was awesome! Everyone brought their serious A game and it was so fun to get in a good sweat sesh before the day’s activities.

After, I met up with my friend Jessi and her twin sister to talk wedding hair. I’m in the process of selecting someone to do my hair and Jessi’s sister pretty much specializes in wedding hair so hopefully it will work out! I was pumped to get to wear my new Stitch Fix sweater (a full review of my latest fix to come!)- it’s so soft!

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After hanging with the girls, I met RM at the Assembly Row shops and we grabbed a very late lunch/snack at Fuji. While the sushi was good, the rolls were very small and we were shocked that Roberto’s beer was $12 (!!!). Womp.

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Once we finally started to get hungry for dinner, I whipped up some roasted buffalo cauliflower and some baked butternut squash and RM cooked some spicy broccolini. We also shared some leftovers to round out the meal. It totally hit the spot.

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Sunday

Sunday started out the best way: with healthy pancakes! Historically, RM has always made them but lately I’ve taken that role and I have to say, I’ve been doing a pretty good job! I do not measure anything but here’s the ingredients I used yesterday: 2 eggs, 1/2 banana, coconut flour, almond meal, vanilla, flax seed, little bit of honey and some water.

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After breakfast, I headed out to do some errands. I wore my new Athleta sweater that I got for a SUPER deal during a recent Schoola promotion. I am in love with how comfy it is and I can’t believe I got it for $42 when it’s originally a $128 sweater. Yes, please.

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I also treated myself to a chai tea latte at Starbucks thanks to a very sweet member who gave me a gift card before class on Saturday!

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It was a pretty busy shopping experience, but I was totally immersed in the holiday spirit so it was fun! I was able to finish up most of my shopping, which will make this week easier 🙂

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I love the looks of a Christmas tree filled with presents underneath it. My mom always wanted to wait to bring presents down on Christmas morning (or late Christmas Eve), but my dad would always try to sneak the presents down earlier than that. I remember one year the back and forth of my dad bringing them down and my mom bringing them back up . I have to say, I like the presents under the tree before Christmas!

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Late Sunday afternoon we went to RM’s mother’s house to celebrate his birthday, which is on Wednesday. We had a delicious escarole soup, croquettes and a fantastic coffee cake. The rest of the night was spent hanging on the couch, relaxing before a busy week- I love our couch time!

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And that wraps it up! I have to go into the office today, but it’s a fun day because we are having our group Christmas party at Kings in Lynnfield. I also made my favorite Funfetti cookies, which basically make anything better 😉

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Have a great Monday, friends!

Questions for you: How was your weekend? What was the best part of it? Have you finished your Christmas shopping? Are you working this week? What’s your favorite holiday treat?

Wednesday Workout: 2 Part (or partner) Stations Workout

Good morning! These days I don’t tend to share workouts that I’ve taught, mostly because I teach a Burn class with a standard format that isn’t supposed to change week to week so that would get pretty boring 😉 A few months ago, I subbed for Athena’s 6am Total Body class and I was reminded of how fun it is to create different workouts and formats every week. There are so many options between how you want to set up the class, what equipment you want to use, etc. Totally loved it!

I wanted to share this workout with you because there are two ways you can complete it: solo or with a partner. I had the class partner up so that each partner did both moves at each station, but you could certainly do it on your own if you didn’t have a partner or workout buddy handy. You’ll be at each station for two minutes- 1 minute per move. Halfway through the circuit and at the end of the circuit you’ll complete a lovely little cardio blast- doesn’t get much better than that!

2 part or partner stations workout

Here are some explanations and/or demos of the exercises:

  1. TRX Row/Burpees– For the rows, you can make them easier by putting your feet closer to your body so that you’re at less of an angle. To make it harder, walk your feet out further away from you. Engage your core and pull your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Remember to keep your shoulders pulled down away from your ears. Check out this video for a TRX row demo. For the burpees- you can either jump your feet back, walk them back, drop your chest to the ground, do a pushup… whatever version of the burpee you want to do- rock it!
  2. KB Goblet Squat/Jump squats- Here’s a video for Goblet Squats. For the jump squats, you can either go for depth and make sure to touch your hands to the ground each time or you can go for speed and do rapid fire baby jumps.
  3. Squat hold/Battle ropes- If you have a partner, one partner will get into a squat hold while holding the rope, acting as the anchor. Make sure to brace your core and position because it gets challenging to hold this as your partner does the ropes. Check out this video where I demo the battle ropes. If you don’t have a partner hopefully you have access to the standard rope setup!
  4. Dynamax ball Russian twists/cross body mountain climbers-With a Dynamax ball you’ll perform the standard Russian twist exercise (in a seated position, with your feet either in the air and bent at 90* or on the ground and moving a weight/ball from one side of your body to the next). For the mountain climbers, instead of bringing your knees straight forward to your chest, you’ll bring your right knee to your left elbow and your left knee to your right elbow. Go as fast or slow as you want/need.
  5. Forward lunge & twist/jumping lunges– As you step forward into a lunge on your right leg, lift your arms and extend a weight out in front of you. In your low position of the lunge, twist through your core and move the weight over to the right over your right knee. Repeat on the left & alternate right & left for the 60 seconds. Jumping lunges should be pretty standard 😉
  6. Push-up w/frogger stamp/in & out plank jumps- Perform a  push-up (either on your knees or toes) and then jump your feet up to the outsides of your hands and then back to your high plank/push-up position. If you’re doing the push-ups on your knees, just drop down to your knees after you jump back. For the in & out plank jumps you’ll start in a high plank position (shoulders, elbows & wrists in line, neutral spine, shoulders pulled on your back, core engaged) and jump your feet straight up to your hands (not to the outsides like the first exercise) and then jump back into a high plank and jump your feet out like you would for a plank jack. repeat.
  7. Stability ball pass/Skier jumps– For the first move, check out this video– make sure you’re keeping your core tight and your back flat against the ground. If this is too hard, ditch the ball and either keep your legs bent, lower them not so far or do one leg at a time. This video demos the ski jumps well.
  8. Side lunge w/center press/TRX Push-ups- For the side lunge/center press, you’re going to hold a weight in both hands at chest height. You’ll step out to the right and do a side lunge (sitting your butt way back, keeping your knee in line with your toes on the lunging leg and keeping the other leg straight) and then when you come through center, press the weight overhead. Repeat to the other side. TRX push-ups are almost the opposite of the rows discussed earlier, except instead of pulling your weight up towards the straps, you’ll be pushing your weight away from the straps as you extend. Again, the closer your feet are to you, the easier it is; stepping your feet back away from you & making your body more parallel to the ground will make it harder

I think that should do it! I hope you give this a shot- everyone seemed to like it and my sister said she was a little sore the next day!

Questions for you: Do you  like partner workouts? Do you like using TRX straps or battle ropes?

Weekending: Birthday Celebrations & Decorating for Christmas

Good morning! I hope you all had a great weekend. Although we did lots of Christmas-y things, it sure didn’t feel like Christmas with 50-60* weather all weekend. I’m not complaining, though, I’m sure we will have freezing temps and snow soon enough!

Before we recap, I want to wish my sister a very happy birthday!!! I hope you have a great day! xo

Friday

I really wasn’t ready to head right home after work on Friday so I texted my friend Jessi to see if she wanted to meet up for a drink on my way home. Lucky for me, she was around and willing to meet up! We met at Assembly Row and puttered through Home Goods before grabbing seats and some vino at the Legal Seafoods bar.

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I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home to get stuff for dinner: quesadillas! We had chicken we needed to eat and I was in no mood for a boring chicken and veggie meal. I feel like Fridays should be fun meals, not boring standard meals.

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We used Ezekiel wraps, chicken thighs I had baked earlier in the week, freshly shredded Gruyere cheese and veggies. I plan on writing these up in a post of their own because they were that good!

Saturday

It was my Saturday to teach and it was fun because there were lots of friends in class! I can tell winter is coming because each week my numbers continue to increase.

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We had a rare Saturday where both RM and I were around with no real plans. He took advantage of it by starting to study for his broker exam and I started to do some decorating. Since we loved the quesadilla’s so much, I offered to make them again for lunch!

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Later in the afternoon I popped over to Target to stock up on some household items… $85 later and multiple things I didn’t “need”. How does that store always do that to me?!

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We decided to get our Christmas Tree later in the afternoon. RM’s family always gets their tree at Russo’s in Watertown so we went there. I was totally impressed! The tree wasn’t cheap, but it just seemed to much healthier than the ones I’ve previously gotten at Home Depot so I didn’t mind spending the money.

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My sister was celebrating her birthday on Saturday night at The Brahmin so RM and I decided to head in a little early and grab some sushi at Red Lantern since it’s right next to The Brahmin. We got bubbly, spicy edamame, avocado salad, a spicy tuna roll and a salmon avocado roll and everything was fantastic!

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Once we got word that my sister was at The Brahmin we headed over. It was such a fun night- I definitely drank more than usual and more than I probably should have, but I don’t go out like that very often so it’s all good. We laughed, we danced and we took birthday shot shots- so much fun!

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RM and I were both craving pizza when we left, but we couldn’t find an open pizza joint so we ended up at Tasty Burger. I had never been and I have to say, although the burger was good, it wasn’t as good as Shake Shack! RM refused to share with me and made me get my own… two bites in and I decided I didn’t want a burger so we ended up taking it home, haha the fries on the other hand? Those were totally hitting the spot!

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Sunday

We slept in (no surprise there) and had a nice lazy morning. I whipped up some healthy pancakes and then went back to Target to get a new tree stand since the one I’ve had for a few years apparently had a big crack in it and leaked all of the water we added to it… so not fun!

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The rest of the day was spent decorating, food shopping and taking a stab at making Rosa’s sauce. I had a few bites and it definitely isn’t as good as hers, but it’s still pretty good!

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It’s been so fun decorating “our home” and getting our first Christmas tree together! We have so much fun living together that I sometimes still feel like we are playing house 🙂

For dinner, we had some paleo slow cooker wings that RM threw together- they were fantastic!

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And that about wraps it up!

Questions for you: Did you do anything fun this weekend? Have you gotten your tree and/or started decorating for Christmas? What’s the best meal you had this weekend? Any fun drinks or Christmas parties?

Weekending: Friendsgiving, SoulCycle, sweetgreens & Taco Night

Good morning! Well, here we are- Thanksgiving is on THURSDAY. Can you believe it?! I have Wednesday-Friday off so last night barely felt like a Sunday night knowing I only had 2 days of work before an extra long weekend 🙂 We had a really great weekend, so let’s get to recapping it!

Friday

I went food shopping on my way home after work on Friday- how exciting, right?! Once I got home and unpacked, RM and I enjoyed a glass of wine while catching up and throwing around options for dinner. We ended up walking to Bertucci’s, but sadly our meal was just OK- the pizza was just not nearly as good as I remembered it being. I hate that!

Saturday

We had a lazy start to our Saturday until it was time for me to go teach at the Y. It was a really fun class and for some reason my energy was off the charts so I hope I didn’t scare any new members away 😉

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After teaching, I showered and headed to Queen Bee Nails to get my nails done. I had a free manicure coupon and decided to upgrade and get a shellac since I wanted nice nails for Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving and dress shopping. I thought this color was very festive for this time of year.

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Once I got home, I got busy in the kitchen. I agreed to bring Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and homemade cranberry sauce so I had lots of things to make! For the Brussels sprouts I just sautéed them in EVOO and added salt, pepper and 1 clove of chopped garlic. I also added pancetta which adds a great salty & crunchy combination to the dish. Athena left a suggestion on my Five on Friday post for a homemade cranberry sauce, so I checked it out and decided to make it. I loved that it was so easy to throw together! The only things I changed were adding more water, I put all of the orange peels in it and added a little bit of regular and coconut sugar because it was still a bit too tart for my liking (I think I had more cranberries than her recipe called for). It was super tasty!

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In the early afternoon, RM and I got gussied up and headed into the South End to meet up with all of my friends.

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Saturday night out is always more fun with leather pants on 😉

My friend Amy’s brother has an incredible pent house apartment above Boston Chops and graciously let us host our gathering there (he plays hockey in Canada so he wasn’t there anyway).

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We had a blast chatting and drinking wine and eating. The food was incredible- everyone did a really great job with the dishes they were assigned!

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I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful friends in my life- these ladies are the best of the best!

Sunday

Needless to say, I woke up with a bit of a wine headache on Sunday so I had breakfast and then snuggled up on the couch with our new book club book for a while before I went to spin.

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Has anyone read this? I’m only about 100 pages in, but I’m enjoying it so far!

SoulCycle often sends out emails to take complimentary classes, I assume to help boost numbers for some of their lower attendance classes, but generally I can’t take part in them because they’re usually on really off times. This time, though, they had a Sunday 4pm class on the list, but when I called it was already full so they let me take the 11:45am class instead, which actually worked out better. I felt bad for the people next to me as I likely sweat out pure wine 😉 The class was really fun and the instructor, Jeff, had lots of energy! Per usual, I didn’t think the class itself was that hard- I don’t know what it is about the classes there, but I never think they are as hard as they are at other studios. Where I think they do step it up is the party atmosphere, which is what makes the classes so fun!

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After class I went next door to have lunch at sweet green- a little Sunday treat 🙂

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I did a make your own salad with kale, cucumber, broccoli, carrots and spicy quinoa and a side of their butternut squash which was not great- it was so thin and watery! The salad was fantastic, though.

When I got home, RM was snuggled up watching American Sniper so I decided to join him. It was a cold, rainy afternoon so it was a perfect thing to do! After the movie we went to Whole Foods to pick up a few additional staples for the week and for our taco dinner. We had a piece of steak in the freezer so RM took it out and suggested we slice it and put it in tacos. He’s full of good ideas sometimes 😉 To go along with it, I made a super easy salsa (red pepper, tomato, red onion, pineapple, lime juice- everything chopped really small and then throw half of it into a food processor to give it more of a salsa consistency.

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I also made a avocado “sauce” made up of all sorts of random things we had lying around (I didn’t have sour cream or greek yogurt so I had to get creative): 1/2 avocado, 1 scoop of hummus, 1 scoop of goat cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, ~2 tbsp. EVOO and 1/8-1/4 cup of vegetable broth. Surprisingly, it came out great and was perfect to top the steak with.

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RM cooked the steak in butter and with salt and pepper- so delicious!

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It was a such a yummy Sunday night dinner! We both were pleasantly surprised by how well everything came together- even with using Ezekiel wraps instead of corn tortillas.

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YUM!

And that does it for us- All in all it was a great weekend filled with good food, great friends, fun exercise and lots of relaxation!

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? What did you do? Did you get in any good workouts? Hang out with friends? What are you making for Thanksgiving?

Wednesday Workout: Thanksgiving Workouts & Events To Try/Checkout

Good morning! I have a great Dynamax workout I want to share with you, but since Thanksgiving is just about a week away, today I want to provide you with some workouts and workout events happening in and around the Boston area in case you want to plan ahead and schedule your Tday workout. I love working out on Thanksgiving, not because I want to “earn my turkey” (although I used to have that mindset), but because I love my body and am thankful for all it can do for me. I feel my best when I eat well and move well, so it make sense that I’d want to do both of those on Thanksgiving 🙂

If you’re looking to do your own workout on Thanksgiving, I posted these workouts over the past couple of years:

*Turkey-Day 20 Minute AMRAP Workout

Turkey day 20 minute AMRAP workout
*The “I’m Thankful” Workout

I'm thankful workout

If you’re looking for classes or events to go to in the area, check these out:

  • The Handle Bar:
    75-Minute Endurance Ride, 8:30 am (At South Boston, Fenway and Harvard Square)- Ride with Rachel, Alexa or Allie at one of our three studios for a 75-minute ride and give thanks to your hard earned sweat. You can sign up on their Schedule Page
  • Recycle Studio has a bunch of classes between Wed-Sun- full list is here, but here are some that my friends teach:
    11/25- 6-7pm- “Pre stuff reboot buff ride” with Lindsay (hour long class!)
    11/26- 8-8:45am- “Reboot Bird Ride” with Alice, 10-11am with Lindsay
    11/27- 10:30-11:30 “Reboot Bird Ride” with Lindsay.
  • The Oak Square YMCA has a whole bunch of classes- if that’s not your gym, but you’re interested in trying one out, let me know 🙂
    Thursday, November 26
    8:30-10a Group Cycle with Kelly (60 minute option)
    8-9 Barre with Carolyn
    9-10a Zumba with Lindsay
    Friday, November 27
    8-9a Total Body with Athena
    9-10a Yoga with Ben
    9-10a Group Cycle with Emily
    10-11a Zumba with Michelle
  • Thanksgiving Day at 7:45am-8:45 for F.I.T. BootCamp at Glen Meadow Park, Lynnfield MA (weather pending!)
    ***ALL MONEY WILL BE DONATED TO MY BROTHERS TABLE, Lynn MA***
    For only $5 you can come workout, feel good and know that you’re helping others:) Bring water & towel or mat too, it gets messy! Please contact Dina (dmetrano@gmail.com) to register.

I know there are lots more, but here’s a brief roundup of some of them 🙂

Whether you decide to workout or not, I hope you make that decision as an entirely separate thing from food and your Thanksgiving Dinner. Exercising just to try and eliminate guilt as a result of a meal is not worth it. Exercise because you love it or because you know all the benefits it provides. Eat because you love it and because it tastes good and fuels you. Don’t mix the two.

For me, I’ll likely workout because I love to move and I love to start the day with a sweat. For the meal, I like to indulge on things I may not eat year-round (all the desserts, stuffing, mashed potatoes of all varietals, etc.), but I try to do it mindfully because I HATE being overly full and feeling sick from it! I’d rather eat enough to feel satisfied and then go back for more a few hours later 😉

Questions for you: Do you have a Thanksgiving workout planned? Any that you want to share with other readers?