San Francisco Recap {Part 3- Final One!}

Here is my third and final recap post of my recent trip to San Francisco! If you missed the others, you can find them here:
San Francisco: Part 1 Recap
San Francisco Recap: Part 2 {Wine Country!}

Sunday was such a great day in San Francisco- the weather was gorgeous (again), Kelly didn’t have to work and we didn’t have any “real” plans… the day was ours for whatever we wanted 🙂 All of us woke up pretty early and decided to head out on the 2 mile trek to have breakfast at the Buena Vista Café to indulge in some of their famous Irish Coffees. While I’m not a coffee drinker, nor am I a whiskey drinker, I have to say that these Irish Coffees were ahhhmazing!

IMG_0275

I went simple with breakfast, which is usually how I like to start my day.

IMG_0276 IMG_0284

After we finished eating, I played tourist on the trolley and then we walked up the steepest road I’ve ever walked on in order to get to the top of Lombard Street.

 

IMG_0323 IMG_0277

Continue reading

I’m Back!

Well hello, there! Remember me? I used to write a blog fairly consistently…. 😉 I have to say, not blogging at all last week was exactly what I needed. It was so nice to detach myself a bit from social media and taking pictures and things like that. And, now I have so many posts I want to write- luckily I’m off from work this week and will hopefully have time to get them drafted.

How were your holidays? Anything fun planned for New Years Eve? Anyone else off all week? I’ve never had a “staycation”, but so far, I’m totally digging it! Let’s recap over the past week- lots of celebrations between RM’s birthday and Christmas!

To celebrate RM’s actual birthday (I threw him his surprise party a few days earlier), I took him to Eastern Standard, which is one of our favorite places. We snagged two seats at the bar and ordered up some drinks. Not only was it his birthday, but it was also the start of my very long “staycation”.

IMG_9752

We had a delicious meal of a pork dish, steak frites, bone marrow and oysters. Finished off with some birthday bread pudding and we pretty much rolled ourselves out of the restaurant 😉

IMG_9756 IMG_9757 IMG_9758

We woke up on Christmas Eve and both had a bunch of things to do- he was picking up his new car (so funny we both got new cars right around the same time!) and I had to get my new watch fixed and pack for Maine. I listened to Christmas music the whole way and totally got  in the mood- match that with some bubbly and a Christmas apron and I was full on festive!

IMG_9761 IMG_9762

Every Christmas Eve we throw a little party- we make homemade pizza’s, dad makes his tourtiere, people bring lots of food and we drink plenty of bubbly. I didn’t take any photos except for food and one of me- classic- but we had a good crowd!

IMG_9766 IMG_9777

Christmas morning we awoke to crappy, rainy weather, but we made the best of it.

IMG_9780

My parents got me some fun things like new rain boots, sweaters, hair products, a Veggetti and some other random things. My sister got me a sick Reebok jump rope, Kate Spade earrings and a 3 month Birch Box subscription- have any of you done that? Roberto totally spoiled me and got me a Michael Kors watch, a Fitbit, perfume and slippers- incredibly thoughtful!

IMG_9744

On Friday, I hit up the gym and did Athena’s Chimney Workout followed by some supersets (will post them for you later!) before calling it a day. Athena- LOVED the workout! Post gym, I picked up RM at the train station and we did a few things before heading to my parents. We exchanged gifts (he got an LL Bean flannel! and he got my parents an Olive Tree adoption- more on that later) and had a delicious Cornish hen dinner.

IMG_9794 IMG_9791 IMG_9798

We headed back to MA on Saturday and RM and I did some returns in the city, lunch at Granary Tavern and a quiet night in with reading and a movie. Our book club book this month is Unbroken- have you heard of it or read it? I’m not a fan of anything army or military related (I know- sounds crazy, but it scares me), but so far, I’m totally hooked on the book!

IMG_9800

I was able to spend all Sunday at my apartment puttering, putting things away, cleaning and relaxing- it was wonderful! After an unseasonably warm run, RM and I went to Santarpios for dinner. He’s starting the Whole 30 diet/detox on January 1, so we are really living it up until then. I’m planning on doing that diet about 80% of the time.. we’ll see how it goes!

IMG_9808 IMG_9810

Andddd phew! If you made it, thank you. I had so many pictures to share! I will be announcing the Happy, Healthy, Fit challenge winners tomorrow- thanks to all of you who participated!! Also on the dock this week is a recap of 2014, looking forward to 2015 and maybe even a workout? I’ve got about 3 or 4 workouts lined up for you 🙂

Questions for you: How were your holidays? What was the best part? Have you read Unbroken? Are you on vacation this week? What are your New Years Eve plans?

 

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made some delicious cookies for the Super Bowl Party I went to a few weeks ago. Cookies? For the Super Bowl? Yeah, I got a few questions on that, but when I found out someone else was making a Buffalo Dip, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to make a dessert instead of a dip. So, I whipped up some oatmeal cookies with cinnamon chips and chocolate chips- and was happy with my decision. Oats+ Cinnamon + Chocolate is a really great combination if you ask me. It’s probably even worthy to make for your Valentine 😉

I’ve had this recipe for ages and I’m not sure where I got it, but I added/changed some things so I’ll just leave you with the recipe that I came up with after my alterations.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

IMG_6572

  • 1 3/4 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup cinnamon chips
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375*.Combine the dry ingredients (oats through the sea salt) in one bowl.

IMG_6573

2. Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix well.

IMG_6574

3. Combine wet and dry ingredients and add in the cinnamon and chocolate chips.

IMG_6575

4. Make tablespoon size balls and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes (or until cooked to your desire). Remove cookies and let cool… or eat one while they’re still warm 😉

IMG_6582 IMG_6581

These cookies were a big hit… luckily, I saved a few for myself so I could have some to enjoy throughout the week 😉

Questions for you: What’s your favorite kind of cookie? What’s your “go-to” dish that you bring to a party?

Weekending: South End, Southie, Barry’s Bootcamp, Super Bowl

Phew! This past weekend was super busy, but super fun! I know some of you may not like the play by play of the weekend, and sometimes I’m not even sure if I like it, but since I went to some good restaurants and tried a new workout, I figured it was worth sharing!

Friday

I helped my friend Jess with an event at Little Lovage Club, located under Coco Baby in the South End on Friday afternoon. She had a baby animal petting event and I jumped at the chance to help her! Look how stinkin cute these little babes are!

IMG_6568

After the event, we headed over to The Gallows for dinner, which was amazingggg. I love small plates and sharing, so this was a perfect place to go. We got the Braised Beef tacos, Brown Butter Cauliflower and a delicious butternut squash dish. So many interesting flavors that made for a happy little party in my mouth!

IMG_6565

Saturday

After kickboxing, I treated myself to a pedicure. I had no real reason to do this other than the fact I needed to do something for myself that would make me sit and relax… this was certainly something that forced me to do this!

IMG_6570

Side note: don’t wear skinny jeans when getting a pedicure… I never learn.

Saturday night, I headed to the city for dinner. I curled my hair with my straightener on my own for the very first time and I have to say, I was pretty impressed! It was almost faster than just straightening it, so I know once I get better at it, it will definitely be faster. What do you think??

IMG_6579

Apparently everyone else had the idea to go into the city on Saturday night… our night started a little rocky since we couldn’t get in anywhere!

-We tried to go to this new restaurant on Congress Street in the Seaport, but the wait was over 2 hours for a table!!! I was bummed since it looked like an amazing restaurant and I loved the décor, but hopefully we’ll make it back there.

-We then tried to go to Drink to have a drink while we figured out where to do dinner, but there was a line out the door there, too. Mind you, it was like, 7pm, so it wasn’t even late!

-Finally, we landed at Lucky’s, which was actually really fun! I bumped into my friend, Liz, so it was nice to chat with her.

-Dinner at Lucky’s wasn’t really what we were looking for, so after our drink at Lucky’s, we decided to head to Lincoln for dinner since there was an Open Table reservation available. I’ve wanted to go there for ages, so I was excited! We shared the Ahi Tuna tacos (I’m on a serious taco kick. Literally can’t get enough of them), a salad and a steak meal… random, but everything was delicious!

Sunday

I woke up on Sunday morning thankful that we opted out of having a drink after dinner. I had plans to take a class at Barry’s Bootcamp and really didn’t want to be hungover for it (when a class is $28/class, you want to be in tip top shape!). I was super nervous for the class as I’ve heard it’s insanely hard, but I am happy to say I survived and I loved it!!! I went with my friend Lindsay and some of her other friends from Recycle Studio and had a blast. Ok, maybe not a blast, because crazy hard workouts aren’t really THAT fun, but I did love it.

IMG_6580

We started with 12 minutes on the treadmill. You may be thinking “meh, not bad”, but try starting that out with a run at 15% incline… yeah, that hurt! Luckily, though, we started at the top of the hill and worked our way down, but as we decreased the incline, we upped the speed, so it never got any easier. My sprints were at 10mph which was crazy fast for me!

After the treadmill, we did some floor strength stuff: walking lunges, push-ups, bicep curls, deadlifts, core, and then we jumped BACK on the treadmills for 12 more minutes. It was at that time when I was like “oh hell no. this sucks,” but I pushed through it and ended strong… we ran backwards which scared the crap out of me, but I am happy to say I didn’t trip and/or fall off! #winning

We finished the class with 1 more floor set and by the end, I was beat, in the best way. I really loved how Emily pushed us to run fast and up the incline because I certainly wouldn’t do that on my own. The strength sets weren’t anything crazy hard or fancy, but I did learn some new moves that I am going to copy and new formatting, so I’m happy about that.

I can’t wait for the next time because I know I can push myself harder!

IMG_6593

I went to my friend Jessi’s boyfriends house for the Super Bowl on Sunday night. He had a little get together with a LOT of food. I certainly did not follow all of my tips, but I did drink water between beers, kept it to 2 beers and had it easy since the food was kept in the kitchen rather than on the coffee table. That helped a lot!

IMG_6584 IMG_6585 IMG_6586

Ummm these are mini meatloafs- how freaking cute are they?! Jessi made these and I’m obsessed and can’t wait to make them myself!

IMG_6587 IMG_6589 IMG_6591 IMG_6592

And! I won $20 (it was $10 to play), which was just icing on the cake. I left after the halftime show since I was exhausted, but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the halftime show. I could’ve done without the Red Hot Chili Pepper part because I thought that was a little weird, but I thought Bruno Mars absolutely killed it!! Anyone else?

Sorry about the super long weekend recap, but I really wanted to tell you about the restaurants I visited and about Barry’s Bootcamp, so if you made it here, thank you for sticking with me!

Questions for you: Have you eaten at any of the restaurants I went to over the weekend? When’s the last time you pampered yourself? Have you been to Barry’s Bootcamp?

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the Gagnon’s

Hi there! Anyone else enjoying an extra day off today? I wasn’t planning on taking today off, but I am so happy I did since I’m home in Maine with my family who is also not working.

As I’ve mentioned before, I took the train home on Tuesday, which is always fun. I don’t mind the drive, but since my sister was driving home later on Tuesday due to a work party and will drive me back to Boston tomorrow, it made sense for me to just take the train. I thought about reading, but ended up blogging and napping which is totally ok.

IMG_6179 IMG_6181

When I arrive at the train stop, mom and dad were waiting for me. Mom was looking quite festive in her {ugly} Christmas sweater.

IMG_6183

We ran a couple of errands before coming home for lunch and baking/cooking. I snuck in a quick workout (6 rounds of this workout and 2 rounds of this workout which ended up being awesome… and taking less than 25 minutes including a quick warm up!) before making a delicious dessert and going to church.

IMG_6196

Not long after we got back from church, we popped open bubbly and waited for our friends to arrive. Per usual the night was a blast! Good food, great friends, cute babies and solid Christmas carols… can’t get much better than that;)

IMG_6197

IMG_6202 IMG_6203 IMG_6204 IMG_6205 IMG_6209

IMG_6221 IMG_6230 IMG_6238 IMG_6239 IMG_6243

Before bed, we made mom read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, as it’s a tradition for us. Anyone else love this story?

IMG_6260 IMG_6261

Christmas morning we woke up and opened stockings and our gifts. I was shocked to see that my parents got me the little moveable kitchen island that I had been wanting!! It’s going to be so perfect for my apartment as I am in DIRE need of more counter space and under the counter space. Thanks so much mom and dad!

IMG_6272 IMG_6273

My sister got me the sweetest sister bracelets AND she got each of us a pass to take a barre class at Pure Barre in the Back Bay, which I’m so excited about!! Such a thoughtful gift for a fitness lover like me!

After we finished presents, we headed to the Mahoney’s for our annual Christmas brunch, accompanied by mimosa’s, of course 😉 I mixed cranberry juice with mine instead of orange juice and it may be my new favorite!

IMG_6276 IMG_6277

We all came home for nap time (except for mom) before heading to Sara and Amy’s mom’s house for games and catching up. It’s always fun to get together with the girls and guys on Christmas night, but by 8ish I was ready to go home and go to bed! It had been a tiring couple of days and I couldn’t wait for bed 🙂

All in all, it was another fun-filled Christmas for the Gagnon’s and I am so blessed to have such fun family and friends to celebrate the holidays with! I’ll catch you up on the rest of my week in a bit, and I still owe you a workout (that I’ve created, I just haven’t written the post yet!).

Questions for you: How was your Christmas? What’s your favorite tradition? What was your favorite gift?