Hosting our first holiday

Good morning! I realize it’s now two weeks into December and I’m just now sharing our Thanksgiving recap – oops! Between work, teaching, training and leading a challenge at work, it’s left very little time at night for blogging, but since Thanksgiving turned out so well, I wanted to pop in and share some photos and tips that helped it be relatively stress-free. I’ll preface this by saying that we don’t really have the ideal house/space to host a formal event like this, but it was something I really wanted to do so we made it work!

I’ve always loved entertaining, but I won’t lie and say that it’s not a lot of work. No matter what you’re hosting, as the host, there is always more work to do than one might think, but over the years I have figured out ways to manage all of the little details without being super stressed out. This year, the key for me to be relaxed on Thanksgiving and not running around like a chicken (err, turkey) with my head cut off was doing a lot of things in advance. That, and asking for help! Sure, I could’ve prepped all of the side dishes on my own, but if others wanted to help, who am I to take that away from them 😉 As is with most things in life, asking for help isn’t a bad thing and doesn’t mean you can’t handle it on your own. It simply means you’ve learned that asking for help makings things easier!

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I’ll be honest – the real reason I wanted to host Thanksgiving was so that I could decorate the table and use my fine china that we received for our wedding 🙂 There’s just something so great about a beautifully decorated table with matching dinnerware, glasses and a beautiful centerpiece, #amiright?! Here’s what I did to make my vision come to a reality:

  • I knew I wanted whites & golds for my color scheme, rather than traditional oranges and reds, because of my china. It’s gold and navy and so pretty 🙂 That said, I went to Whole Foods and picked up a bunch of lily’s, hydrangias, white roses and greenery. All of the flowers came to about $35 and I made 2 centerpieces so that’s a good deal. I’ve been into making my own flower arrangements so this was fun for me. I did them on Sunday and by Thursday they were bloomed and settled.

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  • While I had vases I *could’ve* used, I stumbled upon these great vases at Target as part of their new Chip and Joanna line and I’m obsessed with them! They went well with the candle holders I bought last year at Target as well
  • Since we had to have 2 tables, I needed to figure out the table cloth situation. I used the table cloth and table runner from Crate and Barrel that we received for our wedding and then I picked up a white table cloth with gold and silver in it from Target as well. I thought they worked well together!

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  • I thought about getting cute Thanksgiving-y napkin holders, but ultimately went with the gold ones I got from Crate and Barrel for our wedding. they looked so nice with the plates!

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  • Lastly, the black chairs were an impulse buy when I saw Target was having a sale. I found the exact same chairs there as I saw on Wayfair, but for $100 less. AND! They were delivered in less than 24 hours from the time I placed the order. Can you tell I’m a big Target fan these days?

IMG_2453[1]And that’s it! While we certainly didn’t use all of the dishes in the place settings and had to remove the flowers so that we could eat and see each other, the table decor outcome made me so happy!

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I never used to be into these types of things in terms of making everything look so pretty and planned, but I have to say, it’s really fun! I’ve been doing it with Christmas, too – I mean, I spent an embarrassing amount of money on Christmas/Holiday pillows, lol.

How about you guys – do you get really into the decorating aspect of parties, holidays and get togethers? Or, do you care more about the food and drinks? Do you like to entertain?

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Five on Friday {11.30.16}

Good morning and TGIF! This week seemed to go by slow, but I was in a great mood all week so I can’t complain :)I can’t believe that it’s DECEMBER- how did that happen?! But I’m excited about it- I can’t wait to get a tree, decorate the apartment, listen to Christmas music and all the other stuff that comes along with this season.

Which brings me to my first Five on Friday topic….

  • Light Up The Seaport While the commons and Southie did their tree lightings last night, the Seaport opted to wait and do it tonight. I’m so excited to be there and see the tree be lit and then get drinks after.Gather, Aceituna Grill, The Envoy Hotel, Autograph Collection, Shake Shack, Kings America, & MiniLuxe will all be offering up delicious samples while Gather will also open up a remote bar on the side of District Hall! Plus, a pop-up concert by Andrew Smith Music!  If you’re around, grab your FREE ticket and join!
  • Metabolic Meltdown My friend Lauren just launched her Metabolic Meltdown program, which is 49 workouts that can all be completed at home- and none are more than 30 minutes! What I love is that she breaks it down by bodyweight, total body with weights, lower body focused, upper body focused and core focused. The quick, but effective workouts are my jam these days, as I’ve mentioned before, so I’m totally loving it. I’ve only tried a handful, so I’m excited to try the rest of them. If you’re feeling tired with your workouts or feel like you’re not feeling/seeing changes, I’d suggest checking out her program. It’s especially perfect timing as we enter a busy season!

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  • Festive Recipes- I had bought a huge bag of fresh cranberries at Whole Foods before Thanksgiving, even though I absoutely did not need them. Sure, I was asked to make fresh cranberry sauce by my mom, but that didn’t require a 2 pound bag of cranberries 😉 This lead me to scouring the internet looking for other cranberry-based recipes. I decided on this Paleo Cranberry Bread and then this Cranberry Apple Crisp. Both came out so good!

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  • Friendsgiving & Thanksgiving- The weekend before Thanksgiving, my SMC friends hosted our 2nd annual Friendsgiving… this time with 3 little kiddos in the mix! We joked about how much times have changed since we graduated (nearly 10 years ago!!!). Per usual, we had such a great time- the food was awesome, the wine was flowing and nearly all of us were together and able to catch up. This has quickly become one of my favorite holiday events! Thanksgiving with my family was equally as nice, although a little quieter since there were fewer people! I couldn’t help but feel thankful!

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  • Francesca update- Our little girl is growing like a weed! We can’t believe how much she’s grown since we got her. She was 1.9 pounds when we first brought her home, 2.10 pounds when she had her first vet appointment a month later and we will find out how big she is tomorrow when we go for her next checkup. While she can be a bit crazy (and scratch the crap out of anything she gets her paws near), she really is the absolute cutest thing ever!

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I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and do something festive to get you into the holiday spirit if you aren’t there already 🙂

Questions for you: What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Do you have any holiday/festive plans this weekend? How was your Thanksgiving?

Pre-Thanksgiving Thoughts (+ a few themed workouts)

Hi there! With it being Thanksgiving tomorrow, I had all intentions of doing a themed workout for you, but I’ll be honest: I just didn’t have it in me. I think the intensity of work, teaching and general life has caught up to me and this week, blogging couldn’t be further from my mind. I’ve just had no desire to open up my computer after work, but today I wanted to pop in and share a few pre-Thanksgiving thoughts that I’ve had circling in my brain lately:

Rather than focusing on “earning your turkey” or “burning before the bird”, focus on being thankful that you can move. Do some sort of movement that you love, but do it because you CAN not because you feel like you have to. Spend some time thinking about everything you’re thankful for instead of thinking about all the things you wish would change. Indulge on your favorites- guilt free. You will not “undo” all of your hard work you’ve done the rest of the year- I promise you. Drink wine. Eat dessert. Laugh with family and friends. 

But most of all, be thankful. Thankful for everything you have, for everything you can do, and for everyone in your life. Because you know what? That’s the stuff that matters! And I’m so very thankful for so much in my life, especially for all of you who tune in here to see what I have to say.

And last but not least, if you’re looking for a workout to do tomorrow, I urge you to try one of these. They’re from the archives, but I promise they’re still good!

The “I’m Thankful” Workout
Turkey Day 20 Minute AMRAP

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! xoxo

Weekending: Thanksgiving & Long Weekend Edition

Good morning! I feel like I haven’t “talked” to you guys in a while… I guess an extra long weekend will do that 😉 I ended up taking Wednesday off since my company gave us a half day, so not working Wed-Sunday was a nice little treat! Although the time off was very relaxing, we did do a lot of fun things, so let’s recap! Warning- this is a long post, but there are lots of pictures so you can just skim and check those out if you want 😉

Wednesday

After sleeping in a bit, RM and I got up and had breakfast and then I hit the gym for a run and lifting session. It’s always a nice treat to be able to workout mid-morning without being on a time crunch.

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Since a few of my girlfriends also had Wednesday off, we decided to meet up at my friend Jess’s apartment in the North End since she needed to stay close to home for her daughters nap time. It worked out well because we were able to chat and hang out without feeling rushed like we might at a restaurant.

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For dinner, RM and I met up with his brother and sister in law at Charcoal Guido’s on Moody Street. One of RM’s childhood friends opened the restaurant a few years ago and since we live closer to the area now, we decided to finally check it out. The pizza and atmosphere were both great! I had never been to Moody Street but I think we will be going back soon because it’s such a fun street!

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Thursday

We woke up on Thanksgiving and lounged around while watching the parade. I wasn’t sure if I was going to workout, but ultimately decided it was something I wanted to do. I wasn’t doing it to “earn my meal” or because I wanted to feel better about possibly indulging, I did it because I felt rested and I felt thankful for the fact my body can move and that it’s strong.

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My parents ended up going to my sister’s for Thanksgiving so RM and I decided to go there for apps and a drink before doing the whole dinner thing at his mother’s house. I decided to bring a variation of the Apple Brie Appetizer Bites Athena posted last week. To change it up, I ended up using sharper, hard cheeses instead of the mild, soft Brie. They came out great and everyone loved them!

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We had a blast at my sister’s and even though it was hard leaving them, it was nice to be able to see both families. Dinner at RM’s mother’s house was- no surprise- delicious, but sadly I didn’t take a single photo! I always feel awkward taking food pictures when I’m around his family, but I think I need to suck it up and take them because everything is always very picture worthy.

Friday

Friday was a super fun day because not only did I shop for wedding dresses, I ended up buying one!!! More on that later- I have a whole post to describe that experience 😉

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I loved that my whole family- including my dad- were there for the experience. It was so special and so fun! And, might I add, there was no “Say Yes to the Dress” drama! To celebrate, we went to Buff’s Pub for lunch. My parents hadn’t been before and my sister and I thought it was a great place to take them. The verdict? They loved it!

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After my parents left, RM and I went to Lookout Farm to visit his cousin and check out their new taproom. I fell in love with everything about this place! It was originally just a farm where you could go apple, pear, peach and strawberry picking, but recently they decided to make good use of the excess apples and they started making their own hard cider. I’ve never been a huge cider person (except for when I studied abroad in England and we drank cider all the time!), but the ciders at Lookout Farm are absolutely delicious! They aren’t too fruity sweet and they’ve got great fizz to them. We started with a sampler flight of the 4 flavors they had on tap: Farmhouse Blend, Super Berry, Green with Envy (has green tea in it) and Barn Burner (which is spicy, I think with habanero peppers in it).

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Mark, RM’s cousin, brought us for a tour of the property and it was incredible to see how big it was and to see where they brew the cider.

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Once we got back to the taproom, we each ordered our own cider (Super Berry for me) and shared a charcuterie plate (3 meats, 3 cheeses & olives for $12.75 I think). They also have big, soft pretzels and various flatbreads and everything looked delicious.

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Such a fun time! If you’re ever in the South Natick/Wellesley area, this is definitely a place you need to check out!

Saturday

We got up early on Saturday and I fit in a workout before hitting the road to Ikea.

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I’ll say that I love a good dorky matchy-matchy sesh, but RM and I were even a bit much for me on Saturday. In my defense, I got dressed first! Luckily he ended up taking off the vest once we got to Ikea 😉

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We grabbed some Starbuck’s and then attacked Ikea. I was so impressed with how well the experience went. We were there early enough to avoid the crazy masses of people and we found everything we were looking for.

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To celebrate, we went to La Casa De Pedro for lunch and cocktails. Everything was fantastic!

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The rest of the night was spent putting stuff together and being totally lazy. We logged some serious couch time!

Sunday

I woke up craving pancakes so I decided to whip some healthy ones up.

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And yes, I love topping mine with syrup, homemade jam and almond butter. Don’t judge 😉

After breakfast we did a good cleaning of the apartment and then I went and got a new phone. My old one had something stuck in the headphone hole so I couldn’t really use it when I was at the gym or teaching which was annoying.

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We decided to get a new, smaller table and I love how it looks now! and the yellow chairs RM picked out are amazing!

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Later in the afternoon, RM had to cash in a bunch of quarters so I went along for the ride… mostly because he also suggested getting a drink at a local bar after 🙂

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Wine and an onion soup for me- perfect mid afternoon snack!

The rest of the night was spent doing some meal prep and lots of blogging. This is a busy week and I have lots to share with you guys so I tried to get ahead of the game by logging in some serious blogging hours. It’s actually a perfect sunday night activity since RM is usually watching football!

Questions for you: Did you take extra time off around the holiday? Where did you celebrate Thanksgiving? Did you do any good workouts over the weekend? Have you been to Ikea before? Ever been to any of the restaurants linked in this post?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to pop in quickly to wish you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving! I cannot even begin to express how so very thankful I am for each and every one of you who stops by this little ol’ blog day in and day out. You have no idea how happy and blessed it makes me to have your support, interactions and connections. I’ve “met” so many incredible people- both fellow bloggers and readers- who have taught me things, introduced me to new products or helped me find the latest and greatest “must try” restaurants. It’s truly crazy to me how much blogging has become such a happy and fun part of my life. Sure, it’s hard work and time consuming, but at the end of the day I absolutely love doing it. So, thank you for reading and giving me motivation to keep going.

I hope you have a happy and safe holiday- I’ll be back next week 🙂 xo

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