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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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 🙂

Four on Friday {10.28.16}

Good morning! How has your week been? Unlike last week, I feel like mine has flown by. Today’s post is only four on Friday, but a few are long so that’ll make up for it 😉

  • South Boston Sweat Crawl My sister sent me the link to this event that Social Boston Sports is coordinating and it sounds amazing! There are 3 workouts/studios to try: Handle Bar, Radiant Yoga and Everybody Fights and you do each workout for 30 minutes before going to Barlow’s for the after party. I can’t go because I have a massage appointment, but I wish I could because I think it will be a blast.

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  • Extended Seaport Sweat- By popular demand, Seaport Sweat has been extended through the end of December, but with a slightly different schedule. I won’t be teaching my Monday kickboxing, but I will be leading a 5K on Wednesdays at 6pm (which will likely include some bootcamp pieces to break up the run) and I’ll be teaching a boxing bootcamp/fighters conditioning class on Thursdays at 5:30pm. We realize it’s getting chilly, but I promise that once we get moving you’ll warm right up! I’m excited for this next adventure because I’ve never done anything like this… that, and it means I get to buy some new cold weather workout gear. Does anyone have any “must have” cold weather pieces I need to check out?

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  • Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Turkey Chili– I dug out this recipe that I found AGES ago over on Fitnessista which was perfect for the cold rainy night we had last night. I prepped it on Wednesday night so it was able to go right in the crockpot all day yesterday. I’ll tell ya, coming home to a hot batch of chili after a longgg day (10 hour work day, teaching and lots of traffic) was the absolute best! I added turkey, but I think it would be fine with just beans and sweet potato- up to you!

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  • Brooklyn/NYC weekend- Last weekend, RM and I took the train to NYC for the weekend. His sister was having an engagement party in Brooklyn so we opted to rent an Air BNB in Brooklyn for the weekend, which was amazing! We were right in the heart of Williamsburg in a really funky loft apartment. Although it was raining when we first arrived, it ended up clearing out and being a pretty decent weekend weather-wise which was nice because we were able to walk around.

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I ended up going shopping and scored this awesome romper and a great pair of shoes- everything I brought with me felt so not NYCish so it was fun to shop for something new.

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We went into Manhattan for dinner with RM’s sister and fiance at Minetta Tavern, where we had a fantastic (and ridiculously expensive) burger. We loved the restaurant vibe! Before dinner we had a drink at The Quarter since we couldn’t get into Employees Only due to big crowds. Saturday we slept in, I blogged and then went for a quick run while RM made breakfast. Coming home to this after a run was amazing!

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The rest of the day was spent walking around, enjoying lunch at The Meatball Shop, getting coffee’s, getting a pedicure (for me) and relaxing before we went to the engagement party at DOC Wine Bar, which was just a few blocks from our Air BNB. The wine was flowing, we were fed course after course of the most delicious food and ended up dancing the night away. It was SO much fun! We finished out the weekend with brunch at Cherche Midi in SOHO, which was wonderful.

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All in all, it was such a great weekend- can’t wait for their wedding!

This weekend we have virtually no plans, which is such a great feeling! I’ll be teaching tomorrow if anyone wants to come 🙂

Questions for you: How has your weekend? What do you wear for cold weather workouts? Have you ever been to Brooklyn? What’s on the agenda for this weekend?

 

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!!

Weekending: Wedding Update & Double Easter Celebrations

Good morning! Hopefully by the time this post goes up, I will have already gotten my butt kicked by Eliza at the Watertown GymIt/EBF studio. As part of the Box FIIT certification I’m working on, I’m trying to get as much class experience as I can with other instructors to help better prepare me for when it’s time to start teaching my own classes- eek!!

This past weekend was another good one- lots of family time with both families which is always a nice treat! However, I am looking forward to this weekend since we FINALLY have a weekend with virtually no plans, which hasn’t happened in forever. I have so many general life things that I want to catch up on, so hopefully I’ll be able to get a bunch done!

After work on Friday I went to the Paper Source in Lynnfield to finalize our wedding invitations. I started them online which helped because I went into the store knowing exactly what I wanted and how it looked, but I was also able to work with a super helpful lady who helped me add more text lines and change the layout a bit. They are super simple, but classy- I love them and can’t wait until they come in! Oh, and the best part? All wedding invitations and related things were 20% off, which really helped keep them within my budget.

Once that was done, I picked up a few things at Whole Foods: pizza ingredients for dinner and quiche ingredients for Saturday brunch with my family. I made this quiche which was a big hit.

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The pizza I made for RM and me was also fantastic- the dough from Whole Foods is so good!

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Saturday started off with a sweaty kickboxing class. I don’t know if it’s because I hadn’t worked out in 2 days or if it was because I hadn’t slept well the night before but the class kicked my butt!!

After class we showered up and headed into the city to go to my sister’s apartment for part 1 of our Easter celebrations. So much food, so much wedding talk, so many laughs! I also brought out my biggest of hair for the occasion 😉

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Oh! And my mom washed her vail and brought it down to see if I wanted to use it for our wedding. I think it will be so special having my “something old” (and something borrowed) as her veil. I just need to find a nice comb to attach it to.

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(and yes, I am a giant next to her!}

We stopped at Branch Line for a few drinks on our way home. As good as the drinks are, we REALLY need to get back there for dinner because everything looked and smelled amazing!

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Sunday morning I kicked off the day with a quickie 20 minute bodyweight tabata workout (I’ll share it with you on Wednesday!) and then went to church. I haven’t been to church since we moved, so I figured Easter Sunday was as good a day as any to start. I hope to get back into a more regular church-going schedule.

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When church was over I went food shopping and got wine and flowers for the Easter dinner at RM’s mother’s house. I didn’t get any photos of the food, but it was quite a feast: homemade lasagna (homemade noodles and everything!), grilled lamb, salad, brussels sprouts, potatoes, peppers and so many desserts. My future SIL’s parents came and when her mom walked in with a bunny cake it made me so happy because my mom always made me a bunny cake for my birthday/Easter!

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As much as I didn’t want to food prep when we got home, I knew it would be better if I just got it over with!

And that about does it- the weekend came and went way too quickly, per usual! I hope you all had a great weekend and have a kick ass week!

Questions for you: How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun? What did you do for Easter? Did you get any good workouts in? Do you go to church?