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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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!!

The Week In Review: Birthday Celebrations, Christmas, Weekending

 

Good morning! It feels good to be back 🙂 Besides one post last week, I decided to take the week to just detach a bit- I had no desire to blog so I figured it was a sign I should take a little break. I’m back today, though, to recap the week! With RM’s bday on the 23rd, Christmas week is always a little crazy and chock full of celebrating (read: indulgent food, lots of dessert and plenty of drinks). Even though I’m off today, I’m excited about getting back on a little bit of a schedule this week… that is, until New Years Eve 😉

Monday- Last week I organized a little holiday celebration for a few of the teams at my office. We went to Kings in Lynnfield and had a blast drinking, bowling and munching on various passed apps.

Tuesday- After work on Tuesday, I went into the city to meet up with my sister and some other people at Back Deck for a drink before they went to the Nutcracker. I had wanted to go, but with it being the day before RM’s bday, it was just too much.

Wednesday- I used a floating holiday on Wednesday which was a nice way to ease into the holiday. Since it was RM’s bday, I told him I would make him whatever he wanted for breakfast. He decided on banana cinnamon French toast- how delicious does this look?! It was 2 pieces of Ezekiel bread, 2 eggs, dash of milk, plenty of cinnamon and sliced bananas that I sautéed in the pan.

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After breakfast, I left the house to let him study for his big broker exam (who schedules a big exam on their birthday?!) and hit up a class at Orangetheory. The first time I went to that studio was over the summer and the class was good, but not crazy hard. This one? Much harder! It was endurance day so we ended up starting the class on the treadmills for nearly a half hour! My base pace was 7 and my pushes were in the 8’s and then sprints in the 9’s and 10’s… I was dying by the end!! The strength session was also more challenging and I was sore the next day. Can’t wait to go back!

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I finished up with shopping and wrapping while RM headed into the city for his test. A few hours after the test started I hopped on the bus to be in the city when he finished so I could take him out to dinner. Luckily, he passed the exam so not only were we celebrating his bday, but also that! It was a very good day and Davio’s did not disappoint!

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Thursday- We took our time getting up on Thursday and eventually went into the city for birthday massages (well, birthday for him) at Exhale Spa. Per usual, the whole experience was wonderful- it’s really the best place to get massages!

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had to rick my “mistletoe & mimosas” T!

After we were finished, we hit the road to head to Maine. I went to Christmas Eve mass with my family and then we prepped for family friends to come over. It was a another successful Christmas Eve party! Good group of friends, plenty of delicious food, lots of bubbly and laughs. I did not take many pictures as I was just having too much fun being present in the night.

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Friday- We woke up later than normal on Christmas morning and found ourselves nearly rushing through presents- oops. We all got lots of great things, but I have to say that my sister’s gift to me was probably my favorite -it was so incredibly thoughtful and I loved that it was wedding themed since up until now, I hadn’t really received anything wedding-related. The ring holder is absolutely perfect, the shirt is so “me” and the book filled with all of the important things so far (“the ring”, “the Date”, “the location”, “not the dress”, “the band”…) nearly made me cry! I can’t wait to fill it up with things throughout the wedding process and then with photos from the big day.

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After presents, we packed up and headed back to MA to do Christmas with RM’s family. I didn’t take any pictures, but his mother and sister made a delicious meal, we had fantastic wine and opened more presents. I loved the sweater and necklace that his mom and sister got me- now it just needs to get cold enough to wear them 😉

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Saturday- I started out the day working on our wedding website and then hit the pavement for a 3.5 mile run, followed by some upper body strength circuits. After a rest day on Christmas and indulgent food for a few days, it felt very good to move!

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After lunch, the post holiday blues started to hit me and I had to laugh as I realized my outfit was coincidentally mirroring my mood.

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I knew I needed to get out of the house so I returned a few things, went to the library to get another book for book club and then decided to grab a glass of vino at Branch Line while waiting for RM to be done with his things for the day. I brought my book in and totally enjoyed sipping my Chardonnay while I read (even if it did seem weird to people who saw me).

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The rest of the night was spent relaxing- we ordered in, I kept reading and was in bed by 10. It was perfect 🙂

Sunday- I decided to get up and make us healthy pancakes. I changed the recipe by adding in another egg and we both agreed they may be the best batch yet!

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The rest of the day was spent being incredibly productive: 2 loads of laundry, changed the sheets on the bed, put away Christmas gifts, cleaning the entire apartment, grocery shopping, meal prepping and blogging. I did get RM to food shop with me and happened to sneak in a bouquet of flowers 😉

 

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Meal prepping isn’t always something I want to do, but once I get going- and especially once I’m done- I’m always SO happy I did it. I still have to make a meatloaf and cook the kale today (and RM has string beans and broccoli he wants to cook- we go through veggies so fast in this house), but knowing the most time consuming part is done is amazing.

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And that about does it! I know this post was long, but hopefully the pictures kept you reading. I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone, but at least we have our wedding to look forward to in the next 6 months or so!

I hope all of you had a fantastic holiday week!

Questions for you: What did you do to celebrate the holiday this year? Do you have to split holidays? Do you have any traditions? Meal prep- love it or hate it? Did you do any shopping after the holiday? Are you taking any time off this week? Any good workouts to share?

Weekending: Thanksgiving & Long Weekend Edition

Good morning! I feel like I haven’t “talked” to you guys in a while… I guess an extra long weekend will do that 😉 I ended up taking Wednesday off since my company gave us a half day, so not working Wed-Sunday was a nice little treat! Although the time off was very relaxing, we did do a lot of fun things, so let’s recap! Warning- this is a long post, but there are lots of pictures so you can just skim and check those out if you want 😉

Wednesday

After sleeping in a bit, RM and I got up and had breakfast and then I hit the gym for a run and lifting session. It’s always a nice treat to be able to workout mid-morning without being on a time crunch.

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Since a few of my girlfriends also had Wednesday off, we decided to meet up at my friend Jess’s apartment in the North End since she needed to stay close to home for her daughters nap time. It worked out well because we were able to chat and hang out without feeling rushed like we might at a restaurant.

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For dinner, RM and I met up with his brother and sister in law at Charcoal Guido’s on Moody Street. One of RM’s childhood friends opened the restaurant a few years ago and since we live closer to the area now, we decided to finally check it out. The pizza and atmosphere were both great! I had never been to Moody Street but I think we will be going back soon because it’s such a fun street!

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Thursday

We woke up on Thanksgiving and lounged around while watching the parade. I wasn’t sure if I was going to workout, but ultimately decided it was something I wanted to do. I wasn’t doing it to “earn my meal” or because I wanted to feel better about possibly indulging, I did it because I felt rested and I felt thankful for the fact my body can move and that it’s strong.

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My parents ended up going to my sister’s for Thanksgiving so RM and I decided to go there for apps and a drink before doing the whole dinner thing at his mother’s house. I decided to bring a variation of the Apple Brie Appetizer Bites Athena posted last week. To change it up, I ended up using sharper, hard cheeses instead of the mild, soft Brie. They came out great and everyone loved them!

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We had a blast at my sister’s and even though it was hard leaving them, it was nice to be able to see both families. Dinner at RM’s mother’s house was- no surprise- delicious, but sadly I didn’t take a single photo! I always feel awkward taking food pictures when I’m around his family, but I think I need to suck it up and take them because everything is always very picture worthy.

Friday

Friday was a super fun day because not only did I shop for wedding dresses, I ended up buying one!!! More on that later- I have a whole post to describe that experience 😉

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I loved that my whole family- including my dad- were there for the experience. It was so special and so fun! And, might I add, there was no “Say Yes to the Dress” drama! To celebrate, we went to Buff’s Pub for lunch. My parents hadn’t been before and my sister and I thought it was a great place to take them. The verdict? They loved it!

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After my parents left, RM and I went to Lookout Farm to visit his cousin and check out their new taproom. I fell in love with everything about this place! It was originally just a farm where you could go apple, pear, peach and strawberry picking, but recently they decided to make good use of the excess apples and they started making their own hard cider. I’ve never been a huge cider person (except for when I studied abroad in England and we drank cider all the time!), but the ciders at Lookout Farm are absolutely delicious! They aren’t too fruity sweet and they’ve got great fizz to them. We started with a sampler flight of the 4 flavors they had on tap: Farmhouse Blend, Super Berry, Green with Envy (has green tea in it) and Barn Burner (which is spicy, I think with habanero peppers in it).

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Mark, RM’s cousin, brought us for a tour of the property and it was incredible to see how big it was and to see where they brew the cider.

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Once we got back to the taproom, we each ordered our own cider (Super Berry for me) and shared a charcuterie plate (3 meats, 3 cheeses & olives for $12.75 I think). They also have big, soft pretzels and various flatbreads and everything looked delicious.

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Such a fun time! If you’re ever in the South Natick/Wellesley area, this is definitely a place you need to check out!

Saturday

We got up early on Saturday and I fit in a workout before hitting the road to Ikea.

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I’ll say that I love a good dorky matchy-matchy sesh, but RM and I were even a bit much for me on Saturday. In my defense, I got dressed first! Luckily he ended up taking off the vest once we got to Ikea 😉

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We grabbed some Starbuck’s and then attacked Ikea. I was so impressed with how well the experience went. We were there early enough to avoid the crazy masses of people and we found everything we were looking for.

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To celebrate, we went to La Casa De Pedro for lunch and cocktails. Everything was fantastic!

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The rest of the night was spent putting stuff together and being totally lazy. We logged some serious couch time!

Sunday

I woke up craving pancakes so I decided to whip some healthy ones up.

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And yes, I love topping mine with syrup, homemade jam and almond butter. Don’t judge 😉

After breakfast we did a good cleaning of the apartment and then I went and got a new phone. My old one had something stuck in the headphone hole so I couldn’t really use it when I was at the gym or teaching which was annoying.

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We decided to get a new, smaller table and I love how it looks now! and the yellow chairs RM picked out are amazing!

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Later in the afternoon, RM had to cash in a bunch of quarters so I went along for the ride… mostly because he also suggested getting a drink at a local bar after 🙂

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Wine and an onion soup for me- perfect mid afternoon snack!

The rest of the night was spent doing some meal prep and lots of blogging. This is a busy week and I have lots to share with you guys so I tried to get ahead of the game by logging in some serious blogging hours. It’s actually a perfect sunday night activity since RM is usually watching football!

Questions for you: Did you take extra time off around the holiday? Where did you celebrate Thanksgiving? Did you do any good workouts over the weekend? Have you been to Ikea before? Ever been to any of the restaurants linked in this post?

Weekending: Home improvement is hard work!

Good morning, friends! How was your weekend? This was the first weekend in a really long time where we were around ALL weekend, without many plans, too! It worked out really well since RM and I were really itching to finish home improvement projects and get more unpacked. Living in a half unpacked apartment for 2 weeks has been challenging, to say the least!

For those of you who may not know the whole story, no, we did not buy a home! We are renting a 2 bedroom apartment in a 2-family home that RM’s mother owns (she doesn’t live in it, in case you’re wondering 🙂 )and it really needed some serious updating. To help keep the costs down for his mom, we have taken on projects that we can do: painting, sanding, etc. Ideally, we would’ve done this BEFORE we moved in, but we didn’t want her to go a month without rent so we’ve been living and renovating at the same time. While it hasn’t been terrible, we are both really ready to be done the renovations and be fully settled in!

But, before we got to renovations, let’s talk about the weekend. I met up with RM in the city after work since it was such a gorgeous night (and because I had an appointment in the city at 6pm so it worked out great). We started at Vanderbilt (used to be The Vault) and then decided it was too nice to have drinks inside and went over to Sterling’s because they have a great outdoor patio.

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Once we got home, we decided to walk over to Buff’s Pub since it’s so close AND so good. I got a delicious Gyro-style wrap and RM got their famous wings. Both were delicious!

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After kickboxing on Saturday, I ran a bunch of errands, including a stop at Watertown Main Street Florist, where my friend Jen works on Saturdays. She hooked me up with a beautiful bouquet of fall-esque flowers. Thanks, friend!
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