Celebrations & Decorating for Christmas

The past weekend was full of some of my favorite things: birthday celebrations, lots of girl time and decorating for Christmas. Saturday was my sister’s birthday, so Friday night we went out with our closest girlfriends to celebrate both Danielle’s and Amy’s birthdays. It was such a fun night! If you missed my post on Saturday, click here for the recap.

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Saturday morning, I headed to Brighton to teach kickboxing. From there, I ran errands and then met Danielle and Amy for lunch at The Asgard in Central Square. The last time I was there was for Athena’s birthday back in August. The lunch was SO good. seriously we were all gushing about it!

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My first stop of the night was at my friend Lauren’s apartment in Malden. My friend Liz came with me, which was an added bonus! Lauren’s apartment was so cute and festive and they even had a “photo booth” area set up. How fun is that?! I love getting together with my SMC girls.

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Like my skirt? It’s my new sparkle skirt from the Gap and I am obsessed with it!!

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Around 9, Liz and I grabbed a cab and headed to Scholars for Danielle and Amy’s birthday celebrations. I haven’t been OUT OUT in the city in so long.

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We randomly ran into my old yoga instructor, which was SUCH a fun surprise! I love this girl to pieces and hate that I don’t see her every week anymore:(

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Sunday morning I woke up feeling: A. Happy I decided to not have that last drink at the bar and B. happy that I was home by 12:30. I had a full day of errands, so after I relaxed and had breakfast, I got busy! I went to the Christmas Tree Shop, Market Basket and Home Depot and then I spent the afternoon decorating my apartment! Even though it’s only me and my apartment is small, I couldn’t imagine not decorating for Christmas! My tree is small, but it’s perfect for my apartment. I can’t wait to decorate it this week!

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This was exactly what I needed to get me into the spirit! There’s nothing like the feeling of having a freshly cleaned and newly decorated apartment!

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? Do you get a real Christmas tree or fake one?

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Settling in: First weekend in my new place

I finally feel like I’m starting to get settled in to my new place. It was such a great feeling going into the weekend knowing that I had loads of time to get my “to-do” list in order.

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After work on Friday, I headed back to Somerville since I needed to go back to the Christmas Tree Shop and Home Depot (I should get a frequent shopper card for all these stores. Either that or buy stock in them since I think I’m keeping them in business with my recent purchases). I decided to get my coffee table and end table (that I’ll be using as a TV stand) at the Christmas Tree Shop, not because I was looking for outstanding quality, but more because I don’t want to spend a lot of money on furniture until I buy a home and won’t be moving for a while. At this point, my furniture gets very dinged up every time I move, so it’s not worth buying nice stuff right now.

I also planned on spending the night at my old apartment to hang out with my sister and keep Charlie company until she got home from her week of travel. I had a bunch of things to do at the apartment and near the apartment, so it made sense to stay there! I couldn’t wait to open some wine- it had been a long week!

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Although I contemplated chips and wine as my dinner, I decided to get some real food in my system and made a quesadilla with chicken and peppers and onions. So good and perfect for a quick and easy meal!

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I woke up on Saturday and had extra time before BodyPump, so I finally cleaned my old room. It was really weird seeing it so empty, but Charlie was having a field day with all the extra space!

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Since my sister was going to Country Fest and left at 8am, my plan was to hang around the apartment and keep Charlie company (I know, totally a crazy cat lady move, but I feel bad that he’s been alone so much lately!), however, when I got a text from my friend, Athena, asking if I wanted to join her at Winthrop Beach, I quickly changed my plans, packed up and headed to my apartment to drop everything off and meet her. Winthrop Beach is less than 15 minutes from my apartment and it’s a really nice, quiet beach! We spent a few hours chatting and catching up about all things fitness, work, blogging, etc. It felt great to relax and not feel bad about it!

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When I got home, though, I got into serious productivity mode. I opened a beer and put furniture together and organized my apartment for two solid hours. I couldn’t believe it!

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My place feels SO much better now that I have furniture set up, curtains hung, and closets organized.

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Looks good, right?! To reward myself, I met my friends out at Pier 6 in Charlestown. It used to be Tavern On The Water, but recently opened as Pier 6. I took PT into the city and decided to bring a little road soda, errr, road wine. The ol’ Dasani water bottle trick isn’t hiding anything from anyone, but my mom is convinced it works.

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Although I went to hang out with my friends, I ended up spending the whole night talking to Jean’s niece, Michelle, and her cousin Hilary. I couldn’t believe it when I ran into them, but Michelle is basically the Mayor of Charlestown so I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised to see her on the opening weekend of Pier 6 😉

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These ladies are a blast… I better get that pool invite, Michelle- don’t think I’ve forgotten about that!

Even though I could have chatted with them the entire, time, I did break away to hang out with the birthday girl!

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And, did you know all the fall beers are out?? I’m not really ready for summer to end, but having a sip of this Shipyard reminded me of how much I love fall!

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YUM!! Such a fun night 🙂

I woke up Sunday feeling like I had had a liiiitle too much wine the night before, but felt much better after an English muffin and lots of water! I had very sad looking bananas, so I decided to make some banana bread… with a twist! I’ll post it later this week. So yummy. While the bread was cooking, I tried to get caught up on blogging. I have a number of draft posts for lots of different topics so it was nice to have time to develop those posts a little more.

Around 11, I decided to get out and go for a nice walk. I’m loving the neighborhood near my place! It’s so nice to have a good place to walk/run.

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Danielle came over shortly after I got back and we headed back to Winthrop Beach since the weather was so nice! Couple of hours at the beach was a very nice treat!

And, that about sums up my weekend! Be on the lookout for a recipe or two this week! 🙂

Questions for you: Have you been to Tavern on the Water or Pier 6? What’s your favorite fall beer? What was the best part of your weekend?

The Big Move…

“The Big Move”… I am so overly, unnecessarily dramatic 😉 But, in all actuality, it was a pretty big move for me. Even though I am very independent and am not one of those people to always need someone around to go shopping with, watch TV with, workout with, etc. etc., I have never lived alone (although for the past year or so, I’ve wanted to! No offense, Danielle or Amy, but at 28 it was just time to have my own place and no roommates), so this was a big step!

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I started my search in May or June (I think), and found my new apartment basically right away. My landlord is awesome and we got along great right from the start, so it just felt right to sign the papers, not to mention it was a super affordable 1-bedroom apartment!

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This pretty much sealed the deal that I made the right choice! I can be won over by wine.

So, Saturday morning, Sue and Al (aka mom and dad) packed up the truck with my couch and other various things I needed from home and came down to help me move.

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It didn’t take Danielle long to figure out what she was going to do to help us

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assume position and start barking orders. Just kidding! She was actually very helpful for the entire day and in no time at all, we had the first load ready

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I breathed a huge sigh of relief when my parents immediately started gushing at my new place. My only issue with the apartment is that it is basement level and although the ground is at a slant and my bedroom has 2 full size windows, I was just having a hard time accepting the fact that I was on ground level. Walking in with my parents and sister and having them all talk about how it didn’t seem like it was basement level, made me feel great (even if they were saying it just to make me feel better).

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Kitchen and living room

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Bedroom- see? It’s bright!

I put mom to work with getting my kitchen in order while I finished bringing in load after load after load of my stuff. Once everything was in from the first load, it was time to pop the bubbly!

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What I really love about my place is the back patio! I can’t wait to have little BBQ’s and little gatherings out there. It didn’t take dad long to break the patio in!

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We finally got lunch around 2 or 3 and I didn’t take a picture because I was way too hungry. Between teaching cardio kickboxing in the morning and doing heavy lifting/moving for another 3+ hours, I needed food in a bad way. Once we finished eating, my sister left to go to a friend’s house and mom, dad and I went to Home Depot and Target.

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Once we got the vast majority of things on my list (at the time… my list seems to continuously grow as the days go on. yikes!), we dropped dad off at my old apartment and mom and I went back to my new apartment to unload some more things. I was obsessed with getting my bathroom set up- weird, right?! I also put together shelves and mom unpacked and set up other random things.

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By 7:15, we were absolutely beat and decided to head back to Somerville for the night (it was easier to stay there since there was more room)… but not without picking up Chinese food for dinner. Yes, you read that correctly: we had Chinese take-out on Saturday night. I haven’t had Chinese food in probably 3 years!! Totally worth it, though… I was famished and it absolutely hit the spot.

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I crashed pretty hard on Saturday night and before I knew it, it was time to get up and start all over again on Sunday! While mom was at church, Dad and I packed up the rest of the things in my apartment: bed, bureau and all my clothes/shoes/food/etc. Gosh, I was dripping in sweat within minutes! Moving is seriously NO JOKE. Great workout!

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It was definitely bittersweet leaving my old apartment knowing that I had everything packed up (ok, almost everything- I realized later that I forgot all of my jackets in the coat closet there, but no biggie since the girls are staying there this year!). But that feeling went away as soon as I had everything in my new apartment and started making it feel more like home.

We broke around 1 to go have a birthday lunch for my parents at Joe’s American Bar and Grill in the North End. The purpose for going there was to have brunch on the water, but long story short, we ended up inside. I’ve always enjoyed the food there even though it’s a chain restaurant, but this past experience was horrible!!! From the food to the service, everything was awful! Well, except for this drink

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Now THAT was good!

After lunch, I was feeling like it was time for some “Monique alone time”, so I sent my parents and my sister off so I could be in my apartment alone to putter and try to organize my life! I washed things that didn’t need to be washed and moved things from one place to the next and then back to the original place. I finally decided it was time to get out and grocery shop and pick up a few more things at TJ Maxx and Target.

My trip to Market Basket was rather large, but I think I spent half what I would’ve spent had I gone elsewhere! I love that store 🙂

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I also bought myself flowers because, well, sometimes you just need flowers 🙂

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Again, I didn’t stop until about 10pm on Sunday, but it was nice knowing that I’d be working from home on Monday (Comcast was coming so I wanted to be around for that!). Besides work on Monday, I was able to get some things done around my apartment, go to BodyPump after work (holy moly… I lifted heavy and was rather sore on Tuesday!! I secretly loved it 😉 ) and then hit up the Christmas Tree Shop for a few things. I also made my first “dinner” at my new place. Nothing fancy, but I’m loving my new pots and pans!

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I made my first commute to work on Tuesday from my new apartment and was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was!! My old commute was a short walk to the bus, a bus ride to the T, taking the T 4 or 5 stops into the city and then walking about 15 minutes to the office. Phew! My new commute is an 8 minute walk to the T, 2 stops into the city and a 12 minute walk to work- amazing!! 🙂

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When I got home, I went for a 3.5 mile run around my new neighborhood. There is a REALLY nice park with all sorts of paved trails a half mile from my house which I see myself taking advantage of during my time here!

By the time I got home from work last night, I was utterly exhausted! I ended up subbing the class before mine and I found myself having no energy to teach which never happens. I took that as a sign and did the low-impact version of the workouts. Thankfully I had leftovers for dinner, otherwise my dinner likely would’ve looked like this:

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My friend, Tim, texted me that and I thought it was perfect timing! Mom, he thought you’d get a kick out of it, too.

Even though I’m not completely settled in, I feel like I’m getting there, bit by bit! Luckily I don’t have any big plans this weekend so I’ll have time to finish up even more!

Questions for you: When is the last time you moved? What’s the first thing you like to set up in your new apartment? How long is your commute to work?

Run Through Cambridge, Lunch w/Mom & Dad, Gardening, Chicken Parm Burgers

Hey everyone! Happy Sunday. I woke up thinking that the weather looked so nice, but when I checked my weather.com app (first thing I do every morning!), I was rudely awakened (haha no pun intended, but I’ll take it!). 40 degrees?! It’s MAY. Our thermostat in the apartment read 61 degrees. I’m sorry, but it’s MAY and I am not turning on the heat anymore! Where is the warm weather?!

Anyway, I posted a lot of photo’s yesterday and wanted to fill you in on them today!

Wednesday

I got to Central Square about an hour earlier than I needed to be there, so I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and go for a jog through Cambridge. I say jog, because that’s really all it was for me. I wasn’t in the mood to push myself and track my pace, but rather I was more in the mood to be in the sun and clear my mind. Running with this view certainly helped that!

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001Class was awesome- I incorporated one of the moves that Jen’s posted in her most recent Monday Moves post and everyone loved it! I’ll post the workout later this week- promise!

Friday

My sister had a “live” in Western Mass, so my parents went and stayed with her for the night (yes, this may seem odd, but if you knew my parents you would understand. They love any sort of little adventure, especially when they can be around us.).  Since I had to teach my double on Thursday night, I couldn’t make it to join them, but persuaded them to drive out of their way and come visit me for lunch on Friday!

Mom can’t visit us or we can’t go home without her giving us a little present, and today was no different. They went to the Johnny Appleseed Visitor Center in Lancaster on their way to see me (I know, seems silly, but I love how cute they are when they do stuff like that!) and picked up this cute little plate!

lady bug plateDid you know that the Lady Bug is the Massachusetts state insect? I had no idea, but apparently the little lady running the visitors center shared this info with my parents.

We had a great time catching up, laughing and eating lunch- the BEST work lunch ever! (sorry, JP!)

011Friday night, I went to Olives in Charlestown with my friend Jessi. It was a long overdue, greatly needed girl sesh catch up night. I had never been to Olives before, but I totally loved it. The atmosphere was awesome, the people watching was superb and the food/wine was delicious! We shared a bottle of Cono Sur Sauvignon Blanc and the sweet potato appetizer. Hit.The.Spot.

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014Saturday

I woke up and was SO excited that it was my day to teach. I hadn’t been there for 2 weeks and I was really itching to get back.

excited to teachSign of a good class? When a member (yes, you, Macall) asks me what I smoked prior to teaching. haha I love it! Obviously, I didn’t smoke anything, but I love teaching kickboxing and getting super sweaty so when you combine those, it equals a pretty intense class- perfect for a Saturday morning, if you ask me!

After teaching, I picked up my sister and we went to Home Depot to get all of the necessary supplies to get my garden going.

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020All of that shopping really worked up an appetite. Chipotle to the rescue! The burrito bowls there are so big, that it works out great when Danielle and I go together because we can share one (with a side of chips and guac, duhhh).

019For the most part, I think of Chipotle as a relatively healthy “fast food” place to grab lunch. Ok, maybe that was really only backed because I saw so many cross-fitters there and other people who looked like they came straight from the gym. You tell me- healthy or not?

The rest of the day was spent outside in my garden. I am not naturally blessed with a “green thumb,” but I sure do try! My dad, on the other hand, is amazing. He has a super hi-tech green house (temperature sensored so when it gets too hot, the vents open and a fan turns on and if it gets too cold, the vents shut and a space heater turns on. Classical music is played for the plants. yeah, THAT type of green house) and has always started all my veggies and flowers for me, but this year, I decided to do it all on my own. Who knows how it will turn out, but I am hoping for the best!

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026Chicken Parm Burgers

For dinner, we made one of our go-to favorite meals: Healthy Chicken Parmesan Burgers from Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life. Every time we make them, I am reminded of how good they are! here is the recipe from her site:

Chicken Parmesan Burgers

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1lb. ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Extra marinara sauce
  • Hamburger buns

Directions:

Combine first nine ingredients (through dried basil) and mix well. Form into four patties, creating a slight dent in the center of the patty; refrigerate about 30 minutes. Grill over medium-high heat, 6-8 minutes on each side. Top cooked chicken burgers with mozzarella cheese.

If desired, coat insides of hamburger buns with a little spray butter and a sprinkle of garlic powder or Italian seasoning and place on the grill 1-2 minutes, until lightly toasted. Spread marinara sauce on toasted buns and top with cooked chicken burgers. Enjoy!

Ours didn’t look as good as hers, but I can bet that they tasted just as good! We tried them 2 different ways: in a wrap and on an english muffin (we didn’t have any buns so we got creative).  Both were good, but I liked eating it as a sandwich better.

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Yum. Definitely a fun thing to eat on a Saturday night. I made the roasted broccoli by coating the florets with a little bit of EVOO, Sea Salt and Pepper, Garlic Seasoning and Mrs. Dash- we baked them for about 15-20 minutes. Delish!

As for the rest of my Sunday, who  knows! We might head over to the SOWA Open Market, clean the apartment, cook a fun Mexican meal and make margs for Cinco de Mayo!

Questions for you: Chipotle- do you think this is a healthy “fast food” option? Have you ever been to the SOWA Open Market? What are your Cinco de Mayo plans?