Five on Friday {4.1.16}

Good morning! And happy April and Happy Birthday month to my fellow April birthday friends 🙂 I could’ve gotten you guys so bad with an April Fools joke (quitting the blog, canceling the wedding, being pregnant, etc.), but I’ll spare you that and just get right to the Five on Friday topics for today!

  • Mary’s Gone Crackers– We are always on the hunt for healthier chip/cracker varietals, so when I saw these on sale at Whole Foods, I had to try them out. The verdict? I am a big fan! RM likes them, but still prefers the Almond Thins we usually have on hand. I like the Mary’s crackers because they are full of seeds and the ingredient list is pretty clean.

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  • Signs of Spring- There may be snow in the weekend forecast, but for now I’m focusing on little signs of spring around our apartment, including these pretty flowers!
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  • Wedding Registry Gifts- With the wedding shower in just about a month, the gifts have started coming in and it’s so exciting. I joked that every day is like Christmas these days! I know we technically know and picked out everything we’ve been getting, but it’s still exciting to see and feel the gifts. I was especially excited to get 2 sets of the “fancy” place settings I registered for since I had only seen them on line. I love them even more in person!!

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  • Book Club- Tuesday night was book club night, which is always a fun time. Our friend Lauren hosted it in her absolutely adorable Charlestown apartment and the theme was “all the dips”, meaning everyone brought a different “dip” to enjoy. Since most people brought appetizer dips, I offered to bring a dessert dip, which was a big hit- we joked it was like we were eating grown up Dunkeroo’s (remember those things?!). I found it here, and chose it because it was SO easy… and because it was called “Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake” dip and that sounded heavenly. I highly suggest throwing a dip party at some point in your life!

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  • Dresses for Wedding Festivities- I hit up Assembly for some shopping before book club because between my shower, bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner, I am in need of some dresses. I found one at the Express Outlet that I liked, but then when I went to Off Saks, I ended up finding this baby that I liked even more. Best part? It was priced at $220, but I got it for $48! What do you think?

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And that does it! This weekend should be much more relaxed than the past handful of weekends. I’m teaching tomorrow and then hopefully going to a deadlift/hinge mini group training at Foster Fitness and that’s it for set plans. I hope to knock out a bunch more of the Box FIIT Certification, have a date night, meal prep and go to church- whatever you have on the agenda for the weekend I hope you enjoy yourselves!

Questions for you: What’s your favorite snack chip/cracker? What’s your favorite dip? Do you have any suggestions for where I can find a white romper or two piece outfit for my bachelorette party? What’s on the agenda this weekend? Get any good sweats in this week?

 

 

 

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Weekend Eats & Drinks

Good morning! Our weekend was relatively low-key, but it was filled with some good eats, drinks and restaurant visits so I figured that was worth sharing- enjoy!

Friday

My company always does pizza lunches before big sport games, so last Friday was no exception. I haven’t been in the office to reap the benefits of any of the recent pizza luncheons so it was a nice treat for me this past Friday! I always take a whole plate of salad (if available) and start with that because it ensures I get in some veggies and it helps to subside most of my initial hunger before inhaling 3 pieces of pizza and then feeling sick from stuffing my face with too much pizza!

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I had some gift cards to use at Hopsters so we went there for pizza, salad and drinks for dinner… you know it’s a good day when you have pizza for lunch AND dinner! We got the sausage and arugula pizza and the beet and goat cheese salad- both were fantastic!

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Saturday

After an incredibly hard yoga sculpt class at CorePower (no seriously, it was so hard!!), I met up with my sister and friend Jessi at Loco in Southie for lunch to chat about my bachelorette party. While the margaritas were awesome, I picked the wrong food entrée. The waitress suggested the burrito so I took her suggestion, but it had too many big potatoes and not enough meat… not to mention it was served WITH potatoes. Thankfully my sister shared some of her burger with me which was really good. We ran into one of my friends from work which was such a fun addition to the lunch!

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For dinner, we decided to make some quesadillas. I kept it basic with just peppers and onions and leftover coconut crusted chicken. They were SO good and successfully kicked my Mexican craving that was not satisfied at lunch.

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Oh, and bubbly. Snowy nights most definitely call for bubbly… but then again, I’m not sure what nights DON’T call for bubbly 😉

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Side Note: We finally started to watch Breaking Bad- have any of you watched that show? So far it’s a little intense for my liking, but I’m giving it a shot! We are only 4 episodes in.

Sunday

In traditional Sunday morning fashion, I whipped us up some healthy pancakes first thing. It was another great batch and we think it’s almost time for me to perfect the recipe and share it with all of you! I added raspberries to some of mine and it was a very tasty addition.

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We ended up having RM’s brother and sister-in-law over for the game so I set out some healthy-ish snack food while we waited for the wings to cook. We made two kinds: baked buffalo and then slow cooker honey garlic and I have to say, the buffalo stole the show for most of us! I also made some chocolate chip banana bread bars which were a big hit.

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And that about does it! I hope you all have a great week- and be on the lookout for some exciting news that I’m sharing on Friday!

Questions for you: Where is your favorite pizza place? Did you go out to eat at all this weekend? Where do you go for Mexican food? What did you do for the game?

Family Road Trip: Recap {Day 1- Boston to Buffalo}

Hi, friends! Phew, does anyone else feel like after a long, indulgent weekend, it’s harder to get up and get going on Tuesday than it is on Monday? My 1/2 mile walk to the T in crisp, morning air definitely helps to wake me up, though 🙂

As most of you know, last week/weekend I went on a mini road trip with my parents to Michigan for my cousin, Mary’s, wedding. I took Thursday and Friday off from work since we planned to do the trip in 2 days (so happy we did- 16 hours in the car in one day would have literally caused me to go even more crazy than I already am!).  Mom and dad picked me up around 8:30 on Thursday and we wasted no time hitting the road!

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I drove the first and last legs of the trip, dad drove in the middle and mom didn’t drive. No shocker there! The trip actually went incredibly smooth, except I quickly realized that I forgot my freshly charged iPad at my apartment. I was so mad because I had just downloaded Gone Girl the night before. Womp, womp.

Traveling with my parents is great because we take lots of bathroom stops and there is never a shortage of treats 😉

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Day 1 went incredibly well and fast! We stopped for a picnic lunch around 1 and made it to the hotel around 4:30. I had been waiting for lunch ever since my dad told me all the things he bought. I was absolutely blown away with how thoughtful his food shopping was! Seriously, when he saw the snacks that I packed for myself, he said I didn’t need any of them because he had already gotten them all… and more! Trail mix, granola bars (4 different boxes), crackers, deli meat, chopped veggies, dips, sandwich thins and every type of fruit you could imagine. What an amazing dad, right?!

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In typical Monique fashion, I think I had a bit of everything 😉 The weather was gorgeous, wine tasted delicious and it was a great little break from driving!

The second big leg of the trip wasn’t bad at all, and before we knew it, we were at the hotel! Since my sister travels so much, she has lots of points at various hotel chains. She set us up at an awesome Residence Inn in Buffalo, NY. I asked if there were any upgrades available and lucky for us, they did! This place was seriously like an apartment (what I would do to live in an apartment like this hotel suite!).

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Downstairs there was a mini kitchen, living room (with a real fire place), dining room area, bathroom and a Murphy Bed (which was surprisingly SO comfortable). Upstairs was a loft-ish bedroom and another bathroom, so this was a perfect suite to share with my parents since we had entirely separate sleeping areas.

Not long after we arrived, mom gave me my “special” bottle of wine (Estancia Chardonnay- right up there with J. Lohr for me!) and we headed out to the pool to relax and soak up the last of the sun for the day.

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As I mentioned yesterday, I instructed my mom through a water aerobics workout which was a blast!

Once the sun went down, it started to get a little chilly so we meandered over to the hotel’s complimentary cocktail hour.

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Boy do we have fun together! After the happy hour ended, we decided to order in since no one felt like getting back in the car. We went with Greek, but unfortunately, it took forever for the food to get there and by the time it eventually got to us, it wasn’t very warm or fresh. Womp, womp. Overall, though, it was a solid first day and we had lots of laughs and good conversations.

Since this post is already quite lengthy, I’ll share the rest of the trip in another post.

Questions for you: What’s the longest road trip you’ve ever been on? Nicest hotel you’ve ever stayed at? For us, it is Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City- Ahhhh mazing hotel!

Hot in the City. Literally.

Hey everyone! How are you?? I am back from a wonderful little getaway at a work conference in Stowe, VT from Tuesday-Friday. The conference was held during a great week; being in VT and in a hotel during this crazy heat spell was amazing! Even if the temp was as high there as it is back in Boston (which, it wasn’t), there’s something about being surrounded by beautiful mountains that makes tolerating the heat a little more bearable. I’ll get to a full recap of my trip next week, but for now I just wanted to pop in, say hello and make sure that you checked out the two awesome guest blog posts from a couple of my friends:

Guest Post: It’s Not About Having Time, It’s About Making Time

Guest Post: Summer Favorites from The Truth About Vinyl and Bikini Tops

Big, big thanks to Athena and Rachel for helping me keep you all entertained while I was away!

Anyway! On Monday I had a long day at work trying to get everything ready for my week away. Doesn’t it always seem like work gets so much busier when you’re about to be out of the office for any amount of time?? By the time I left work, I knew I was in need of a solid workout. I knew I would workout while in VT, but I wasn’t sure how long or strong or intense they would be, so I wanted to make sure I got in at least one good workout during the week! And good workout it was! I hopped on the elliptical to warm up and then I created a circuit that I did 4 times through:

  • 500M row
  • 60 seconds ropes (If you’re not familiar, check out this video. killer!)
  • 60 seconds kettlebell swings
  • 1-legged push-ups up and down the ladder (a ladder is painted on the turf)
  • 60 seconds plank pikes with feet in TRX straps

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I did a few more ab exercises and a few shoulder exercises before calling it a day. I was SPENT! My knees were irritated from the turf, my hands were getting calluses. I call that a good day at the gym 😉

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Post gym, I came home, watered my garden really well and then made myself the easiest dinner alive:

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English Muffin Pizza’s. Doesn’t get much better than that, right?! Brings me back to my childhood big time!

I got up early Tuesday to A. work out and B. try to beat the heat for my workout. I was feeling pretty sore from my Sunday and Monday workouts, so I ended up doing a jump rope and ab circuit which was perfect!

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After my workout, I showered and worked from home until it was time to pick my coworker, Tim, up at the airport. To ensure that we had healthy snacks for the road, I went shopping over the weekend and stocked up.

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I also brought a few peaches and a yogurt. I don’t have a huge appetite in one sitting, but I sure do love to snack! It helps keep me from being “hangry”, which, if anyone has seen the “hangry Monique”, I think you can agree she’s someone we all would like to avoid 😉 These snacks kept both of us totally satisfied and the 3 hour and 20 minute trip almost flew by! I went to Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, VT, so the ride up 89 (both through New Hampshire and Vermont) is one I could likely do with my eyes closed. Tim had never been in that area (he lives in Florida, originally from NY), so he was totally in awe of all the mountains and trees and beautiful scenery.

Driving past the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, Cabot Cheese store and Pie In The Sky totally brought me back to my college years when my girlfriends and I would make the short-ish trip down to Stowe to (basically) eat our way through it. Ah, the good ol’ days! Anyway, it was fun reminiscing. #ilovermont 🙂

Well, that about does it for me today! I am teaching my 10am kickboxing class at the Oak Square YMCA and then babysitting for Trent and Lila again from 1-??? Pending on how I feel after that, I am going to try to make it to a BBQ at Rachel and Dan’s apartment. I hope you all have a great Saturday!!

Questions for you: Have you ever been to VT? What is your favorite New England state? What’s your favorite “healthy” road trip snack that you always make sure to pack?

Pampered Chef Party in NH, Apartment Hunting, Poolside, Lakeside

Hey there! I am currently en route to NYC for a quick work trip (I’ll be back tonight). How is your Tuesday looking?

Last Friday night, I got together with most of my St. Michael’s girls at our friend Nikia’s new house in New Hampshire. She and her boyfriend recently bought a brand new home in the country and WOW was it beautiful. Seriously, I couldn’t even believe it! I am so proud of all that they have done to make it “theirs”.

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We got together both to see the house and to attend a Pampered Chef party. Has anyone been to one of those parties? I love Pampered Chef kitchen stuff SO much. You’ve seen the stones on my blog quite often.

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The host created these delicious, healthy pepper strips that were a huge hit. They were so easy, too. She combined some ingredients, mixed them with a Pampered Chef seasoning, placed a scoop on each pepper strip and baked for 7 minutes.

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I ordered a few things, but told the host to get in contact with me in Sept/Oct so I could host a party at my new place!

It’s always a fun time getting together with my SMC girls, but we missed you Kelly and Jessi! These girls are my rock- seriously we all just “get” each other, even though we are all pretty different. That’s what makes it so fun, though!

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Thanks for an awesome party, Kia!

On Saturday, I woke up, packed up and headed out to see an apartment at 9 before teaching my 10am kickboxing class. Even though the apartment is a basement level, I really liked it! The ground goes at an angle so the back of the apartment is not underground at all and there is a door from the bedroom that leads out to a back patio. Everything has been recently renovated and the landlord is awesome. I have a few questions, but I think I might take it- eeek!!

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After my class, I headed north and met mom and Danielle at the Mahoney’s pool. Pure bliss, if you ask me!

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Mom had a whole cooler full of goodies, which I quickly dug into when I got there since I was starving!

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Shortly after we finished, the other Jean and Colleen and Emma showed up! Look how stinkin’ cute she is in her little bathing suit!

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We even brought her in the pool. She was loving the water and splashing her hands around!

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We left there around 4 so we could head over to Sara’s house on the lake to get some Zeke snuggle time. Boy are we lucky to have so many friends with access to water!

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Zeke gets cuter and cuter every time I see him!!! And he is so GOOD. Literally just sleeps and eats… barely ever cries.

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Sara looks phenomenal. Seriously. A beaming mom for sure! I got my mommy multitasking practice in

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Haha. It’s easier than you may think 😉

We took the boat out for a nice stroll before heading home.

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Dad had hamburgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob ready for us upon our arrival. How’s that for fantastic service? Per usual, we had a blast laughing and joking and drinking wine!

Questions for you: Ever been to a Pampered Chef party? What’s your favorite kitchen tool? Do you prefer a pool or the lake?