The Week In Review: Birthday Celebrations, Christmas, Weekending

 

Good morning! It feels good to be back 🙂 Besides one post last week, I decided to take the week to just detach a bit- I had no desire to blog so I figured it was a sign I should take a little break. I’m back today, though, to recap the week! With RM’s bday on the 23rd, Christmas week is always a little crazy and chock full of celebrating (read: indulgent food, lots of dessert and plenty of drinks). Even though I’m off today, I’m excited about getting back on a little bit of a schedule this week… that is, until New Years Eve 😉

Monday- Last week I organized a little holiday celebration for a few of the teams at my office. We went to Kings in Lynnfield and had a blast drinking, bowling and munching on various passed apps.

Tuesday- After work on Tuesday, I went into the city to meet up with my sister and some other people at Back Deck for a drink before they went to the Nutcracker. I had wanted to go, but with it being the day before RM’s bday, it was just too much.

Wednesday- I used a floating holiday on Wednesday which was a nice way to ease into the holiday. Since it was RM’s bday, I told him I would make him whatever he wanted for breakfast. He decided on banana cinnamon French toast- how delicious does this look?! It was 2 pieces of Ezekiel bread, 2 eggs, dash of milk, plenty of cinnamon and sliced bananas that I sautéed in the pan.

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After breakfast, I left the house to let him study for his big broker exam (who schedules a big exam on their birthday?!) and hit up a class at Orangetheory. The first time I went to that studio was over the summer and the class was good, but not crazy hard. This one? Much harder! It was endurance day so we ended up starting the class on the treadmills for nearly a half hour! My base pace was 7 and my pushes were in the 8’s and then sprints in the 9’s and 10’s… I was dying by the end!! The strength session was also more challenging and I was sore the next day. Can’t wait to go back!

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I finished up with shopping and wrapping while RM headed into the city for his test. A few hours after the test started I hopped on the bus to be in the city when he finished so I could take him out to dinner. Luckily, he passed the exam so not only were we celebrating his bday, but also that! It was a very good day and Davio’s did not disappoint!

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Thursday- We took our time getting up on Thursday and eventually went into the city for birthday massages (well, birthday for him) at Exhale Spa. Per usual, the whole experience was wonderful- it’s really the best place to get massages!

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had to rick my “mistletoe & mimosas” T!

After we were finished, we hit the road to head to Maine. I went to Christmas Eve mass with my family and then we prepped for family friends to come over. It was a another successful Christmas Eve party! Good group of friends, plenty of delicious food, lots of bubbly and laughs. I did not take many pictures as I was just having too much fun being present in the night.

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Friday- We woke up later than normal on Christmas morning and found ourselves nearly rushing through presents- oops. We all got lots of great things, but I have to say that my sister’s gift to me was probably my favorite -it was so incredibly thoughtful and I loved that it was wedding themed since up until now, I hadn’t really received anything wedding-related. The ring holder is absolutely perfect, the shirt is so “me” and the book filled with all of the important things so far (“the ring”, “the Date”, “the location”, “not the dress”, “the band”…) nearly made me cry! I can’t wait to fill it up with things throughout the wedding process and then with photos from the big day.

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After presents, we packed up and headed back to MA to do Christmas with RM’s family. I didn’t take any pictures, but his mother and sister made a delicious meal, we had fantastic wine and opened more presents. I loved the sweater and necklace that his mom and sister got me- now it just needs to get cold enough to wear them 😉

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Saturday- I started out the day working on our wedding website and then hit the pavement for a 3.5 mile run, followed by some upper body strength circuits. After a rest day on Christmas and indulgent food for a few days, it felt very good to move!

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After lunch, the post holiday blues started to hit me and I had to laugh as I realized my outfit was coincidentally mirroring my mood.

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I knew I needed to get out of the house so I returned a few things, went to the library to get another book for book club and then decided to grab a glass of vino at Branch Line while waiting for RM to be done with his things for the day. I brought my book in and totally enjoyed sipping my Chardonnay while I read (even if it did seem weird to people who saw me).

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The rest of the night was spent relaxing- we ordered in, I kept reading and was in bed by 10. It was perfect 🙂

Sunday- I decided to get up and make us healthy pancakes. I changed the recipe by adding in another egg and we both agreed they may be the best batch yet!

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The rest of the day was spent being incredibly productive: 2 loads of laundry, changed the sheets on the bed, put away Christmas gifts, cleaning the entire apartment, grocery shopping, meal prepping and blogging. I did get RM to food shop with me and happened to sneak in a bouquet of flowers 😉

 

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Meal prepping isn’t always something I want to do, but once I get going- and especially once I’m done- I’m always SO happy I did it. I still have to make a meatloaf and cook the kale today (and RM has string beans and broccoli he wants to cook- we go through veggies so fast in this house), but knowing the most time consuming part is done is amazing.

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And that about does it! I know this post was long, but hopefully the pictures kept you reading. I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone, but at least we have our wedding to look forward to in the next 6 months or so!

I hope all of you had a fantastic holiday week!

Questions for you: What did you do to celebrate the holiday this year? Do you have to split holidays? Do you have any traditions? Meal prep- love it or hate it? Did you do any shopping after the holiday? Are you taking any time off this week? Any good workouts to share?

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My First Birchbox Experience

Have you guys ever heard of Birchbox (<— don’t worry, you get a referral link if you sign up, too!)? My guess is that I’m sure you have. I feel like I’ve “known” about it for years, but only through a few bloggers who would post about their monthly boxes. Lucky for me, my sister got me a 3 month subscription for Christmas. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but once the boxes started coming in, I got a better feel for it.

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The great thing about Birchbox is that you get sample sizes of various beauty products which gives you a chance to sample different brands without actually having to commit to buying a full size of something you may not actually like. How many of you have bought a new hair product or face lotion or mascara only to find out you really don’t like it that much? I’m embarrassed to admit how many barely-used things of hair gel/mousse/spray/shampoo/etc. that I have laying around. But with Birchbox, if you like something you try, they give you all the details on how you can purchase a full size version of it.

And, I mean, how fun is it to get a package like this every month??

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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”.

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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 😉

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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!

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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!

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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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?

 

My Kind of “Boxed” Wine…

I don’t think I’m surprising anyone when I say I love wine, right? Nope. Definitely not. Well, with that said, it’s safe to say that giving me a present that includes wine is never a bad idea. And when it involves multiple- 6, to be exact- bottles it’s a very good idea! Imagine my face when I opened the box and saw these beauties!

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I don’t know where this was bought, but what I love about it is that there was a sheet of paper with each type of wine’s flavors and good food pairings.

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Although I drink a lot of wine and have been to a number of wine seminars, I really don’t know that much about different varietals, food pairings, aging, etc. My fellow blogger “friend” (is it appropriate to call someone a friend if you’ve only corresponded via social media? I’m going to make it appropriate.) blogs over at The Slant where he talks about the perfect pairing of wine and running… Burpees to Bubbly, Running and Wine… I couldn’t agree more with his outlook on the two! Anyway! He writes hilariously witty posts and I’ve learned so much about wine from his blog. I’m hoping to get him to guest post for me when I’m in Dallas in a few months (hint, hint…).

So, what I’m trying to say, is I can’t provide any in depth analysis of the wines, but I can tell you that if they all taste as good as the Rafale French Merlot, I’m in for a treat!

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I like heavier/thicker red wines and this one was definitely that. It was very flavorful and was perfect for a casual Friday night.

The box came with 4 reds and 2 whites and I think I’ll try one of the whites next.

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I feel like I’ve heard of Terranoble and since I’m a Chardonnay lover (and love Chilean wines), I’m sure it will pass my taste-test approval (but, let’s be honest, what doesn’t? Well, Franzia boxed wine. Sorry mom- I just can’t do it!).

The red that I’m most looking forward to try is the Pallas, simply because I think the label is really cool (yes, I judge wine by the label).

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So, pour yourself a glass of wine and let’s chat!

Red or white? It depends for me! I really enjoy both, but tend to order white when I’m out at a bar since it doesn’t do as much damage if I get bumped and spill. Weather also plays a huge role in terms of whether I’ll drink white or red. Hot, summer day/night? Definitely an ice cold class of white wine, please. Snowy, cold, winter evening? Big ol’ glass of red always does the trick!

What type of red or white do you enjoy the most? Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc for whites and Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot for red. Lately, though, I’ve really been enjoying a good Malbec!

What’s your “go-to” wine when you’re at a busy bar and need to just order something quickly? Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc

Do you judge a wine by the label? Yes! How can you not? Unless I’m craving something in particular (usually J. Lohr or La Crema), I’ll pick something out with a neat label.

Your turn! Let me know your favorites 🙂

My Apartment is Officially Warm

I had my housewarming party this past weekend and boy was it fun! There was a great crowd (I think about 20+ people throughout the afternoon), tasty food, lots of wine and festive decorations. Although it’s always a little stressful planning and hosting a party, I really do love it. I wish I could do it more often, but that would be a very costly habit.

After work on Friday I headed to Market Basket to get things for the party. While I was there, I did my weekly grocery shopping so I didn’t have to do it on Sunday. Since MB was not busy at all (shocker- it’s always busy), it was a great choice. I also went to Kappy’s to get some wine and beer. Even though people were bringing their own, I wanted to have some at the start of the party.

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I decided I wanted to make Turkey Chili, so I based my recipe loosely off of this recipe, but I added ground turkey into the mix, too. It came out delicious and was a big hit!

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I also made some Pumpkin Pecan bars on Friday night and a mini pizza for myself. It was a very busy night!

Saturday was a little crazy in that I had to head to Brighton to teach from 10-11. It was ok, though- I love starting my day with a good sweat and after that I was amped and ready to get my apartment into party mode.

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I also went with a country/cowgirl theme, per my friends’ request!

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So fun! Not long after everything was ready, people started to show up. Everyone was so sweet and brought me awesome gifts, which I wasn’t expecting at all!

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Beautiful candle and decorative napkins (that match my color theme!), awesome knives and the best cutting board everrrrr (seriously, how often do you drop half of the veggies you’ve cut up when you’re trying to transfer them from the board to the pan. this will eliminate that!), 50 Shades of Grey game (so fun!), lots of wine, a gift card, a beautiful Orchid and the fantastic veggies and bread from my dad. I felt so spoiled! Thank you to everyone for bringing me such nice things!

I’ll let my pictures do the rest of the talking, but I will say that it was a great party. I had home friends and family, school friends, gym friends, neighbors (other people living in my building)… a great mix of people! The weather was perfect and we were able to hang out on the patio for a good portion of the day.

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I am so blessed to have so many wonderful friends in my life! Thank you so much to everyone who came- wouldn’t have been the same without you!

Questions for you: Do you like to host parties? Do you like themed parties?