Weekending: Italian Cooking Lessons, Birthday Celebrations and Lots Of Patio Time

Good morning! What a weekend I had- I’m still smiling from it 🙂 Although it started out a little busy, once my parents got here, there was LOTS of relaxing for me. I mentioned it to my parents as we were sitting on my patio and my dad said that the last time I relaxed that much was probably the last time I was with them. I have to say- he’s got a point. If they weren’t here, I would’ve kept myself busy with random things, but since they were here, I pushed aside all of my “to-do’s” and focused on enjoying my time with them. It was perfect timing amidst the craziness of this summer!

Friday Night

My mom’s request for her birthday meal was “something Italian”. My boyfriend’s mom is from Italy (she moved here when she was 19), and I always rave to my parents about her cooking so my mom wanted to see for herself. RM and I went to Waltham on Friday after work and after eating dinner (she made us pork, carrots and a salad), we got busy in the kitchen. I’m not sure if it’s an Italian cooking rule or not, but the first order of business for me was wine… duh 😉


We made a chicken cacciatore dish and it couldn’t have come out more perfectly. Everyone (even RM, who has his mother’s cooking all the time), was raving about it!


So lucky to have the chance to get extra cooking lessons. Meatballs are next on the agenda 🙂


I headed to Wakefield to teach my first class at PUMPS (went so well!!) and then ran about a million errands to prep for my parents arrival. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you’re on a timeframe 😉 Sue and Al got here around 1:15 and I made a little mixture of things for lunch while we caught up on the patio. Mom and I later went to get pedicures. I had a little treat planned for her: bringing mini bottles of wine to make the experience even better. Everyone around us was pretty jealous!

IMG_8357 IMG_8361 IMG_8362

Later in the evening, RM joined the Gagnon’s, bearing gifts of wine and flowers for my mom- very sweet!


Phew- we drank A LOT of wine throughout the evening. It’s so hard not to- family, laughs, great patio weather… they all go hand in hand!

IMG_8364(apparently I missed the red shirt memo…)


I let my mom relax and I took care of all the prep work- I think she needed to wear the apron as a security blanket to make her feel ok about not helping!

IMG_8370 IMG_8371


Although my apartment is small, it was just enough room for the 4 of us (my sister was away).

IMG_8373 IMG_8374

Look at that dish! Oh. My. God was it delicious!!! I couldn’t get enough of it. All in all, it was a perfect night!


I stayed with RM and let my parents stay at my place (Hotel Monique), so I headed back there on Sunday morning before church. We walked to a nearby church and were amazed that the mass was only 35 minutes! For my fellow Catholic readers, 35 minutes is generally unheard of for a mass! I’m used to at least an hour. Crazy.

RM took us to brunch later and then I spent the rest of the afternoon reading with my parents on the patio. While I was reading, I had thoughts like “oh man. I should be blogging right now. I should be getting ready for the week. etc.”, but instead, I let myself indulge in a new book! It felt really good.


Have any of you read this?

Once my parents left, RM and I headed back to Waltham to return the pot I borrowed from his mom. Conveniently enough, it was time for Sunday Dinner 😉 We had steak, sausages, salad, rainbow chard and peppers- so delicious, and eating outside again was even better!

We made a quick stop at the driving range before heading back to East Boston (and an ice cream stop… whoops!).

I was in bed by 9:30 and it was awesome… I can’t remember the time I slept that much and that well. Boy was it needed- I felt like a new woman yesterday!

Questions for you: What was something fun that you did last weekend? Have you ever taken a cooking lesson? What’s a book you’ve read or are reading?


Weekend in Maine: getting out of dodge

City life can be so tiring. We are constantly rushing from one thing to the next: plans, work, gym, catching the next T or next stop light… always rushing. While I don’t mind a fast-paced lifestyle most of the time (I like to do things fast. All the time. Maybe that’s why I get so run down!), there’s something to be said about “getting out of dodge”, and for me, that’s heading to Maine for a weekend of complete R&R. Maine living is completely the opposite of Boston living and sometimes that’s exactly what I need.

With that said, after teaching my kickboxing class on Saturday, that’s what I did; made the trek up north, but not without a number of stops on the way. Not being on a timeline is something I don’t do often (or well, for that matter), so it was a nice treat to have the day open for anything I wanted to do!


side note: how fun are my new pants?! Love them!

I stopped off in Kittery, which, in hindsight was a terrible idea since it was so busy, but I did score some good deals at Banana Republic so I guess that made it worth it?


New pants that match the suit I bought this summer, 2 new blouses and a new sweater… all for less than $100! The outlet was 50% off. Doesn’t get much better than that! I also stopped off at Lowe’s to get a digital thermostat to help make regulating my heat easier.


My last stop of the day before going to my parents was the hair dresser. I usually go to a salon in Boston, but as of late, I haven’t been happy with my hair cuts and she has gone up to $65, which I think is outrageous! I decided to get my hair cut in Maine since it’s $26… yes, that is a huge difference. She went a little shorter than I had wanted, but hair grows and I’ve always been more of a short hair person than long hair.


I wonder how it’s going to look curly… hopefully not too short!

We had a dinner party on Saturday night at my parents, which is always a fun thing. What made it even better was how much bubbly people brought; sometimes I think they do it just for me and “Burpees to Bubbly” 😉

IMG_5423 IMG_5428 IMG_5435

Have I mentioned how much I love being home?

Sunday consisted of church with both parents (dad doesn’t always go, so it’s a nice treat when he does) and then lots of shopping at Wal Mart, Kohls and Market Basket. I also visited with my friend Meredith, which is always a special treat. She sent me home with ice cream.. the best ice cream!

IMG_5442 photo

Yes, that’s liquor ice cream. Strong liquor ice cream.

We had visitors in the afternoon on Sunday… another one of my favorite parts of going home. I wish people my age did afternoon cocktail hour on Sundays that just consisted of a few cocktails and a few snacks.


Bubbly and blogging… how fitting.

IMG_5448 IMG_5452

Starting sweet Emma off young… her favorite thing at my parents’ house is the plastic wine glass collection. And Longaberger baskets.

For dinner, mom asked what I would want and randomly enough, I requested Beef Burgundy. It’s something I have made before, but likely wouldn’t make again for a while so it was the perfect meal to have her make me. Served with fresh, roasted garden veggies and garlic mashed potatoes (from the garden, too) made for a delicious meal. And, speaking of gardens, look at the last of the tomato crop from my dad’s garden.


I wanted to have a “guess how many tomatoes” game on B2B, but that would require me counting the tomatoes and there were just too many to do that!

And, that about sums up my weekend. I’m heading back to the city feeling refreshed and ready to attack a few crazy weeks of work travel, parties and teaching. Bring it on!

Questions for you: Where is your favorite outlet shopping? What was the best thing you did last weekend?

Girls Night & Other Weekend Happenings

What a fun weekend I had! I am loving having some extra free time on the weekends to go out and have fun in Boston, as well as get my apartment more and more settled!

Friday evening, the Shapleigh girls came over for a girls night. I did my best to play “hostess” and set out snacks and drinks.



Our original plan was to go to Rino’s or Prima e Dopo, but we decided we were having too much fun drinking wine and munching on snacks at my place and didn’t want to leave! So, we ordered pizza which did the trick!


I’ve lived with all of these ladies at one time or another and we all grew up together (Amy’s sister, Sara, is the last piece of the Shapleigh girls puzzle; she lives in NH so when we go home we make it a point to always get together!) so when we get together, it’s basically like hanging out with 3 sisters. We do stupid stuff like have random dance parties and jump contests. Friday was no different as we had a stretching competition to make fun of Danielle for being so un-flexible!


Clearly the wine had set in at that point so we called a cab and got ready to head into the city.


Amy had some friends going to Tia’s so we headed there first. From Tia’s, the plan was to go to The Brahmin, but per usual, the line was crazy long so we hopped over to Red Lantern to have a drink while waiting for the line to go down. I’ve never eaten there, but it’s been on my list of places to go for a while now!


IMG_4958 IMG_4959 IMG_4960

I think this is where things started to go from casual fun to drunken fun, haha I blame it on Amy’s college friend, Andrew, as he could be a professional partier 😉


I hadn’t planned on going out and/or drinking wine like it was water, but the nights where you don’t plan on going out and end up going out tend to be the best, right?! Saturday night was no different! Any night with dancing is a good night in my eyes 😉


Needless to say, I did not feel up to my normal self on Saturday, but I made the best of it! I got new glasses, went to the beach, made pizza, watched half of The Great Gatsby (couldn’t stay awake for the whole thing!) and was in bed by 9:30- regular ol’ crazy Saturday night 😉

IMG_4976 IMG_4977 IMG_4984 IMG_4985

What do you think of my new glasses?? I am totally loving them and it’s fun having something so different than my other 2 pairs! They make me feel smarter, haha.

Sunday I got up and felt so much better so I went for a nice walk to enjoy the weather. I met up with my college friend, Pat, and his wife, Colleen for breakfast at Angelas Café, which is equidistant from both of our apartments. I’m SO excited to have some friends within very close walking distance- it’s going to be so fun 🙂 They also took me for a tour of Eastie and introduced me to another amazing park and ‘must try’ restaurants.

IMG_4990 IMG_4991 IMG_4992

Beautiful, right?! I’m excited to run there and use the gym that they have in the park- it’s a little area with all sorts of fun things to use as workout tools.

After the tour was complete, I headed back to my apartment to do laundry and hang up pictures and other random new apartment organizing things before my sister came over for a Target and Market Basket run.

I finallllyyy got a normal sized tv! It’s awesome!

I also got new pillows for my couch! I’m going for a yellow/gray/white color scheme and I found these at Home Goods and couldn’t resist!


I made Shepherd’s Pie for dinner, which I’ll post for you later this week 🙂

Questions for you: Have you seen the Great Gatsby? What was the best part of your weekend? Do you know of any “must try” restaurants in Eastie that I should add to my list?

Happy Birthday, Mom! (and other random things)

Today is a very special day as it is Momma Gag’s birthday!!! I’m sure by the time she’s read this blog post, she has already had a day where she’s been spoiled by all of her friends, but she really deserves nothing less! I’m sure most of you regular B2B readers have seen my mom’s comments, which she does on almost every post, and I cannot thank her enough for her continued support in all my crazy adventures (there’s a new one that I’ll be sharing soon!!). I especially appreciate her always being there when I’ve “hit my wall” and call her in tears during the midst of a meltdown… there’s just something about talking to her that makes me feel SO MUCH BETTER! So mom, thank you for always being there for me and for being the cutest, sweetest, most fun mom around!

IMG_4542 IMG_4547

(Like mother, like daughter… except I can’t even come close to holding my own around her!)

Anyway! I feel like I have lots of random things I want to share with you, mostly lots of pictures of sweet Emma at her 1st birthday party… gosh I just love that little girl. I headed home after teaching kickboxing on Saturday morning (I know, I know… you all probably think I go home all the time, but I hadn’t been home since the 4th of July! And, I love being home in Maine. Period. End of story:) ) and got caught in ridiculous amounts of traffic. Literally, I couldn’t even believe how much traffic there was. Shouldn’t people have been on the road early on Saturday to get to their vacation spots? Jeesh!

I finally made it to the party and couldn’t wait to snuggle all of my favorite babies! Zeke is literally a baby, not a newborn anymore. He has grown SO MUCH!


And Sara seriously looks phenomenal. The “mom” thing looks great on her!

Emma was cruising around everywhere and watching her and Rozzie play together made me laugh so hard!

IMG_4549 IMG_4552


Playing in buckets of ice… who knew how fun that could be?!

My favorite part was watching Emma go TO TOWN on her birthday cupcake!


I so wanted to do the exact same thing, but people would have gave me weird looks so I contained myself 😉

After that, I met up with an old friend for dinner. We grabbed sushi and I would show you pictures, but there was really nothing picture-worthy about the food or drinks so I’ll spare you. The whole experience was hilarious, though, because nothing went right. One example, was when I asked the waitress what her favorite roll was (because I always do this when I go to restaurants- I want to know what the staff eats) and she responded “I don’t like fish so I’m not a good one to ask”. Ha! Why are you working at a sushi restaurant, then?! Anyway! Fun dinner other than that 🙂

Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day in Maine. Summer without humidity is the most amazing thing! I had Danielle take pictures and videos for me that I used in my burpee post that I posted yesterday and then we went on a nice walk/jog around Shapleigh. It was fun to do that together!


We spent some of the afternoon at the Mahoney’s pool (my favorite place to spend hot, summer days!) and then grabbed an ice cream before hitting the road. It made me remember how much I love ice cream 🙂


And, that’s about it for my random musings/weekend catch up!


Oh, except for I forgot to tell you that my parents got a new kitten! Renee (little Renny, as we call her) is just the sweetest little girl ever! So fun to play with a kitten instead of a big (fat) cat like Charlie!

Questions for you: Do you ask servers what their favorite meal is when you go to a restaurant? Have you ever gotten a cake in the face? What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?