Weekending: Pure Barre, Crock Pot Meal, Boston Visiters

This past weekend was relatively quiet, which was good since I was still feeling pretty crappy unless I was drugged up on Sudafed. By Friday afternoon, though, I was itching to get out of my apartment (2 days in a row of working from home will do that to you!), so I decided to get my grocery shopping done. Woohoo, wild and crazy Friday night, huh? To spice things up, I stopped in at TJ Maxx first and scored this awesome Essie nail polish. Did you guys know they sell it there for $4.99?? I’ve been really into paining my nails recently, so I was stoked!

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My Friday night wasn’t entirely boring, though, as I did get together with someone for a class of wine, which ended up making me so stuffy I had to stop after one. The horrors!

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That was a bottle included in an awesome “box” of wine that I got as a Christmas present. I’m going to do a whole recap on that in another post because good wine deserves its own post, right?!

I had been looking forward to Saturday all week because I was finally cashing in my Christmas present from my sister, which was a class at Pure Barre on Newbury Street. I’ve been to a few barre classes, but I still went in without knowing what to expect. Well, 5 minutes in when I was dripping sweat holding all sorts of leg lifts and inner thigh squeezes and 90 second planks, I realized I was in for a real treat!

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I loved the class and could see myself going more often if it wasn’t so expensive, but I have to say that my first reaction of my first class wasn’t what I expected it to be. I think the reason I felt this way was only because the class moved SO fast and I had no idea what I was doing, which left me a little frustrated (it’s the Type A “I want to know exactly what to do, how to do it, what it should look like and how long we’ll be doing it for” in me.). I kept trying to look around for someone who looked like they knew what they were doing, but it was a class primarily full of “newbies” like Danielle and me, so I was out of luck. Even though I spent a lot of time fumbling around trying to figure out what to squeeze and tuck, I was able to “get” the move before it was time to move on, which was good. The instructor was also really attentive and walked around and corrected form (I kind of wanted her to just stand by me and fix me the whole class…) which was great.

I talked to the instructor after class to thank her for a great workout and to ask if it’s normal to be confused with the moves/terminology and she said that everyone feels that way after their first class and that after a few classes you learn the lingo and the moves and it becomes easier in that respect (not in terms of the workout). This made me feel better! And just because I was frustrated didn’t mean I didn’t like it, because I loved it. We worked muscles I didn’t know I had and when I woke up on Sunday morning, I could feel EVERYTHING. Holy moly. My hamstrings, abductors, triceps (I didn’t even think we did anything to work our triceps) and back were screaming as soon as I woke up. It was great. Thanks for a great Christmas present, Danielle! It was so fun trying something totally new and having it literally kick my butt. I want to go back!

After class, we headed to Douzo Sushi for a healthy and light lunch. We shared a Bento Box, Tempura Broccoli and Edamame. We didn’t share our wine, though 😉

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I love going out to lunch and having wine SO much. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday! I had to babysit on Saturday night, so I had to stop after 1 glass. Womp, womp.

Sunday morning I got up, did laundry, made granola (I’ll post it soon- SO good), went for a run and then got my crock pot meal ready since Danielle and I were getting drinks with our cousin on Sunday evening. I got the crock pot recipe from Eat, Live, Run and was happy with how easy it was to prepare. Are all crock pot meals as easy as cutting things up and putting them in the crock pot? I should do more of these…

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I followed Jenna’s recipe exactly except I used sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. I tried to halve the recipe, but I ended up doing probably 3/4 of the recipe. Soup freezes well, so I’m sure I’ll be doing that!

On Sunday evening, my sister and I met up with our cousin who was in town for various camp fairs (He’s the director at Hosmer Point in Craftsbury Commons, VT.) at Otto Pizza in Coolidge Corner. We got to meet some of his former campers/counselors which was really fun. We talked about Burpees to Bubbly (Hi everyone if you’ve ventured over here!) and I loved it 🙂

And that about sums it up! All in all, it was a good weekend… a little quiet/laid back, but with this stupid cold thing that’s probably just what I needed.

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? Have you been to Pure Barre or another Barre studio in Boston? Do you have tips for a newbie?? What’s your favorite crock pot recipe?

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Weekend Catch-Up: Sister time, shopping, partying, relaxing

I think we can all agree that December is a crazy busy month, right?! This past weekend was no different, but it was nice because I was able to relax on Sunday and catch up on blogging, baking cookies, doing laundry, writing Christmas cards, etc. Even though I am not always good at this, it is so important to make some time for yourself to do whatever it is that makes you happy and makes you escape from the craziness of the holiday season.

Friday

I had to go to the office to pack up my stuff for the move, but it wasn’t so bad because I treated myself to lunch at Flour Bakery. JP and I always used to get lunch out on Thursdays when we worked together, but since he left, I’ve been bringing my lunch almost every day (which is good for the waist and the wallet).

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After work, I came home and dealt with organizing the Pampered Chef stuff before picking up my sister at the airport and heading to Ecco for drinks and then walking across the street to Santarpio’s for dinner. Danielle had never eaten there so I was so excited to bring her!

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Saturday

I started my day the best way: teaching kickboxing at the Y. From there, I went to Target to get all sorts of random stuff. This was apparently the week of treating myself to indulgences because I got a Skinny Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks, which I NEVER do anymore. It was so, so good.

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After Target, I went into the city and was done shopping within 30 minutes. I know. I was impressed, too.

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My friends Jessi and Cristina had their annual Christmas party at their apartment in Charlestown, so Danielle and I braved the storm and headed there. It was so good to catch up with everyone, but getting a cab home in the snow storm? Notsomuch. I started calling cabs at 11:45 and didn’t get one until after 1am. Yuck! Otherwise, it was a really fun night!

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Sunday

I started my day with breakfast, blogging, laundry and baking some adorable snowmen cookies!

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It was so nice being around and having a chance to relax on Sunday morning. I don’t do that nearly enough! After I worked out and had lunch, I headed to TJ Max and Market Basket and then spent the rest of my Sunday puttering around my apartment, getting Christmas gifts together, doing a little more baking, prepping my lunches for the week, etc. I made a super simple dinner since I won’t be around on Tuesday and Wednesday for dinner. Market Basket rotisserie chickens are the best. thing. ever!

Questions for you: Did the weather ruin any plans for you this weekend? Is your Christmas shopping done? When’s the last time you had a jello shot?

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!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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” 😉

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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!

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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.

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Bubbly and blogging… how fitting.

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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.

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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?

What’s In My Grocery Chart…

My family loves grocery shopping. We’re a grocery store family. My dad was a meat cutter at Shaw’s for years and then worked as a maintenance technician at the Shaw’s Warehouse, so it’s just normal to be aware of grocery stores.

As a kid, I remember Saturday’s consisting of dance lessons/class in the morning and then grocery shopping in the afternoon. Grocery shopping wasn’t a quick, in and out type of thing; it was a 1-2 hour ordeal. We walked up and down every aisle and filled the cart to the brim. I’ll admit: we were always the house with the good “snack closet”. Mom always had plenty of fruit snacks, crackers, granola bars and whatever else might be a “new” type of snack at the time.

The love of grocery stores and grocery shopping has stuck with both my sister and me throughout the years and we, to this day, still get excited about trying out new-to-us grocery stores (when I first moved to Eastie and realized I was close to the Chelsea Market Basket I was pumped! And then I found a Shaw’s a half a mile from my apartment and was so excited I had to find an excuse to go and I called my dad to rave about it). These days, I tend to do my shopping at Market Basket because the prices are so much better than anywhere else.

When I got home from Michigan, I got right in the car to do my grocery shopping for the week and when I got home, I thought it might be fun to share my goodies with you! I’ll admit, I don’t buy organic. Heck, I don’t even wash my fruit before I eat it (I know, I know.). But other than that, I do eat pretty healthy!

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Let’s start with the produce:

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Since I try to get most of my veggies for the day at lunch, I make sure to get lots of salad stuff:

  • Bibb lettuce (my favorite)
  • Green pepper
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Goat Cheese
  • Chicken

My salads aren’t creative, but I try to load them up with veggies, protein (chicken or hard boiled eggs), cheese, avocado. It helps make them more interesting 🙂

Next up: Fruit, yogurt, pantry items

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To accompany my salads, I always bring a Greek yogurt and berries. Chobani is usually my yogurt of choice, but I do buy other brands, too. I was SO excited to find these “value pack” Chobani yogurts. Even though I like a variety of flavors, it was a great deal to buy the value pack.

I buy whatever fruit is on sale for the week: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries… I don’t discriminate against my berries 😉 I have a banana every morning so I always get a big bunch of them!

A treat for me this week was the Vermont Bread Cinnamon Raisin bread. The hotels we stayed at in Michigan had free continental breakfasts and they all had cinnamon raisin bread and it reminded me how much I love it! When I saw this bread (a much better brand of bread than others), I had to grab a loaf. Pair that with a small bowl of cereal and it kept me very satisfied!

As for the Stacey’s pita chips, those, paired with hummus, are a staple in my apartment 😉

Also, one tip I have for my fellow friends who live alone: cut your pizza dough in half or in thirds before you freeze it. Since it’s just me eating, it takes days and days for me to finish a whole pizza, and by that point I am so sick of it I end up throwing the remaining slices away. I decided to cut the dough into smaller pieces and freeze them in little baggies so I could pull one out and have it be “personal pan” size. I’m going to make one tonight and I’m pumped!

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Now, I know this doesn’t look like a lot of groceries, but for 1 person, it is plenty. I take inventory of what I have and what I need before I go grocery shopping, as well as figure out what I am going to make for my “Sunday dinner”, so my grocery list varies by week.

Questions for you: Do you like to grocery shop? What’s your favorite grocery store? What’s a staple item in your grocery cart every week?

I hope you all have a great weekend! I have work today and then lots of errands to run this evening for my housewarming party tomorrow!

ps- I’m not sure what’s going on, but my pictures won’t get big anymore! It’s very annoying. If anyone has any idea how to fix this, let me know 🙂

Apple Picking and Enjoying the Weather

Monday is over- woohoo! I hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy the weather this past weekend because it was beautiful! Still a little warmer than I would like (I am ready for fall!), but I really shouldn’t complain since it’s nice to have great weather.

By the time Friday rolled around, I was so bored! I didn’t have any plans after work or teaching last week and worked from home on Friday, so by that point, I was really ready to get out of the house and hang out with people! My sister was flying out the next morning, so I headed to Somerville and we grabbed dinner and drinks at Orleans in Davis Square. We shared the Brie, Mushroom, Caramalized Onions and Spinach burger which, unfortunately, sounded better than it tasted. We had been going back and forth between nachos and that, and totally should’ve gotten the nachos!

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Saturday, I got up and taught kickboxing (seriously my favorite way to start a Saturday. Nothing like getting a crazy sweaty cardio class first thing!) and then went to Market Basket to do my small weekly grocery shopping. Boy was that a mistake! It was a million times busier on Saturday than it is on Sundays. Yuck.

My college girlfriends and I had tentatively planned to go apple picking on Saturday and when I sent a text to see if anyone was still interested in going, I had three takers! We were going to go to a place in Stow, MA, but Jessi needed to get something at her parent’s house in Hampton, NH, so Lauren, Jess, Jessi and I ended up going to Apple Crest in Hampton Falls.

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Thanks for the photo, Lauren!

I think it’s safe to say that you can’t go apple picking without getting a cider donut, right?! I don’t even like donuts (I know, crazy. I’m a sucker for muffins.), but this thing was absolutely delicious!! Paired with a hot apple cider? Perfect afternoon snack!

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After we finished our treats, we hopped on the hay ride that took us to the area of the farm where picking was happening.

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So fun! We spent a bit picking and chatting and laughing.

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Before picking, though, we got a whole speech about how to pick an apple, with the emphasis on “twisting and pulling” the apple from the tree, not just yanking it off. Thank goodness the apple police wasn’t around when this happened

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We all died laughing!

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What a fun afternoon! So glad we were able to coordinate schedules 🙂 After we finished picking, we headed to Jessi’s parent’s house and had a glass of wine with her dad before heading back to Boston. Lauren and I had planned to go bowling with Jessi and her boyfriend, but by the time we got back and ate, both Lauren and I lost steam and ended up not going out. Whoops. Sorry Jessi!

Waking up Sunday morning feeling great was well worth being lame and not going out on Saturday night! I made some Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, cleaned, went to Wal Mart, went for a run, did laundry, cooked dinner. All around, a very productive day! I hope to have a few recipes for you later this week!

Questions for you: Where is your favorite apple orchard? What did you do to enjoy the weather this weekend?