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 Catch-Up: Babysitting, Lunch at Cafeteria, Lulu Shopping, Sushi, Beach

All last week I kept looking ahead to my weekend and felt great that it was literally wide open! However, by the time Friday rolled around, pretty much my entire weekend was booked; does this happen to anyone else? Since I am a planner, this isn’t uncommon for me, but it still made me laugh to see how quickly I turned an open, no plan weekend into a relatively busy weekend!

After I taught on Friday, I headed to Newton to babysit Trent and Lila. I met their mom, Renee, back when we used to take yoga every Monday together. I have been babysitting for them for over 3 years at this point; crazy to think it’s been that long! I always have a blast babysitting because the kids are great, it’s fun to catch up with Renee, and because they always have the best snacks and trashy mags for me to read after the kids go to bed 😉


Not a bad way to spend the night! Plus, babysitting money is my Lulu money, so you wanna know shopping was on the agenda for Saturday.

I let myself stay in bed until 9am on Saturday since I didn’t get home until 1am. I originally had plans to go to BodyPump, but realized that my body was exhausted and could use the rest. After I got up, I went to the Christmas Tree Shop and then Target to stock up on things for my trip this week. While I was at Target, I ended up getting a bathing suit for $22!! Love a good deal!

After errands, I showered and then my sister and my friend Lauren and I went into the city and had lunch at Cafeteria. Weekend lunches out require cocktails, right? And, it’s only fitting for me to have a glass of bubbly 😉


To eat, we ordered 3 sandwiches and shared amongst ourselves.

IMG_4326 IMG_4327

I got the black bean burger, but I’ll spare you the picture since it wasn’t very pretty. Everything tasted great, though!


After lunch, we walked over to the Lululemon. I went with the mission to get a colored pair of spandex shorts, but they only had black ones in my size. Boring 😦 I ended up finding a pair of HOT PINK capris (on sale!) and a bright lime green top instead. I can’t say I was disappointed about my purchases.

IMG_4345 IMG_4348

Don’t worry, I won’t wear them together 😉

In addition to my new outfit (I am SO excited to workout and wear them now- such a great motivator!), I finally got a new gym bag. I have been on a hunt for a new gym bag for MONTHS, so I’m stoked that I finally found one that I like. It’s really big so it’s perfect for my “work to gym” days (aka, every day).


I love it so much already!!

After shopping, Lauren and I got much-needed pedicures. It’s the little things!


Once we got home, I was absolutely beat and did something I NEVER do: napped! I had dinner plans at 7, but knew I had about an hour that I could allot to napping, or at the very least, resting. It felt great!!

Dinner was at Yoki, which I’ve blogged about on here once or twice before! The sushi is amazing and the Celtics roll is literally the best roll I have ever had!!


Mmmm 🙂

We were finally graced with a really sunny day on Sunday, so Lauren and Danielle and I decided to go to the beach! We went to Nahant, and it was already jam packed at 10am. Even though it was a beautiful sunny beach day, it was almost TOO hot.


Nonetheless, we lasted about 3 hours and then grabbed lunch at Tides, which is right at the start of the beach.


I got a Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Wrap on a whole wheat tortilla with a side of steamed broccoli. I loved that they had healthy, yet yummy, food options!


To counteract my healthy meal, I enjoyed a Blueberry beer!


There’s just something about an ice cold beer that quenches thirst unlike no other. Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way!

Once we got home from the beach, I did some pre-blogging for the week (have a few guest blogs for you- get excited!), cleaned up the apartment, did laundry and went to the grocery store. Since I will be away most of the week, I just grabbed some fruit and a salad to eat with the other half of my wrap that I got at Tides. Danielle and I did walk to get an ice cream. I was craving one bad! We ended up sharing one since they didn’t have kiddie sizes.

IMG_4352 IMG_4353

Phew! That was a long weekend recap; if you made it this far, thank you!

Questions for you: What’s your favorite hot weather treat? What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Ever been to Nahant beach? What is a MA beach that I have to try?

PS!! Check out the size of this summer squash that I picked from my garden!!!


what do you think I should make with it?!