A Few Valentine’s Day Thoughts

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! I know this holiday is generally split into two sides:

Those who love it

and

Those who hate it

I can understand both sides, but me being me, I definitely love it more than hate it 🙂 But even if you are not a fan, I think it’s a good day to dial in and see where you can add a little more love to your life. And no, love doesn’t mean searching through every dating app there is to try and find “love”. What it means is looking around and finding love and appreciation in your current lives and day-to-day tasks.

Instead of looking in the mirror and pointing out everything you don’t like, take a minute to appreciate what you have and what you like. It makes for a much more enjoyable experience.

Rather than thinking about everything you can’t do (yet!), focus, embrace & appreciate what you CAN do.

Instead of getting upset at traffic on your way to work, find your favorite song and jam out.

Instead of dreading your workout because of X, Y, & Z, show your body some love for all it can do- and the mere fact that you CAN workout. Because that’s an amazing thing.

If you’re holding on to a grudge about something (work, argument, etc.), try letting it go and moving on. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing (for all parties involved!).

Rather than dwelling on what’s bothering your or what you’re stressed about, try and shift your focus to things that are in your control. It’s energy much better spent.

And, lastly, show yourself some love- treat yourself with kind words and thoughts, grab your favorite coffee at the store in the morning, treat yourself to lunch, a pedicure, a bubble bath, your favorite workout…

If you’re looking for a workout, here are a few fun themed workouts I’ve created over the years:

V-Sits and Leg Lifts & Planks, Oh My!
The Love Your Body

 Hope you all have a LOVELY day 😉

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Weekending: Keeping Warm!

Good morning! I had yesterday off which was such a nice treat, especially after drinking vino all afternoon at the Boston Wine Expo on Sunday 😉 Our weekend was filled with lots of good eats, tasty drinks and plenty of love to keep us warm- let’s recap!

  • A free sweetgreen lunch on Friday was a nice treat 🙂 If you come to my 5:30 sweat-KICK class at Foster Fitness, you can also get a voucher for a free meal at sweetgreens;)

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  • After work drinks at Tony C’s at Assembly Square with some college girlfriends was a fun treat, but coming home to surprise early Valentine’s Day flowers and a delicious spaghetti with clams dinner was even better!

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  • I thought my kickboxing class on Saturday would be quiet because of the weather, long weekend and holiday, but there were still about 40 people who showed up to sweat with me- they killed it!
  • I did a huge grocery haul at Whole Foods after class so we didn’t have to leave for the rest of the day… which must’ve been everyone else’s plan because it was SO BUSY!

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  • I started my Box FIIT certification later that afternoon. I can’t believe how much time and energy George Foreman III put into this certification- it’s so impressive and I can’t wait to be part of the team!

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  • Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies- enough said!

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  • I slow cooked chicken all day to make pulled chicken for taco night… or what was supposed to be taco night! I was prepping the last bits of the meal when we lost power in half of the apartment, including the stove, which meant no tacos for us 😦 While the pizza we ordered was delicious, I was REALLY looking forward to pulled chicken tacos!

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  • Sunday morning we still didn’t have power in half of the apartment so we headed over to RM’s mothers to have our pancakes there. I had all intentions of making cute heart shaped ‘cakes, but these still did the trick!

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  • We bundled up and headed into the city on Sunday afternoon for the Boston Wine Expo. It was such an awesome way to spend a frigidly cold Valentine’s Day!

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  • We also ran into our friends from Tre Olive which was a fun surprise. I’ve posted about them a few times (here and here) so it was great to get to see them. Every time we went to their booth they were slammed, but I did manage to get a photo with them and they were gracious enough to give us quite the goodie bag. Seriously- look at all of the oils they gave us and the fig balsamic which is literally drinkable it’s so tasty. If you’re looking for an interesting gift to give your boss, client, parents, friends who are getting married, etc., Tre Olive has everything you’d need! Their packages make the best gifts.

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  • After the wine expo, we weren’t quite ready to stop having fun so we popped in at Rosa Mexicano for a drink and a snack. So tasty!

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  • For dinner, I was able to make the pulled chicken tacos that I couldn’t make on Saturday. I apparently forgot to take a picture, but they were fantastic!  I sautéed some broccoli slaw and bok choy for the base, topped that with pulled chicken and homemade pineapple salsa and avocado. We had plenty of leftovers so I made us a quesadilla last night- just as good!

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  • I had Monday off so I spent time in the morning filming some cardio kickboxing combinations before heading over to Gymit in Watertown to checkout the new Everybody Fights addition. George has been teaching a bunch of intro classes and luckily I had time in my schedule to take one. It was such a great class- very challenging and let’s face it- you feel like a total badass punching the big bags 😉

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  • And finally, the rest of the day was spent doing more of the certification and doing lots of meal prep! Love starting the week out with lots of healthy food options right at our fingertips.

Did you make it this far? I had more to share than I thought I did! I hope you all have a great week- soak up this warmer weather while you can 🙂

Questions for you: How was your weekend? Did you do any good workouts? Did you do anything for Valentine’s Day? How did you keep warm? Do you prefer quesadilla’s or tacos?

Five on Friday {2.12.16}

Good morning! TGIF 🙂 Have you guys had a good week? Mine has been great- between teaching and a get together with my girlfriends it’s flown right by. Let’s get to some of my favorite things right now.

Five on Friday

1. GALentine’s Book Club Night- Our friend Amy hosted book club this time and in true Amy fashion when it comes to anything holiday/party related, she knocked it out of the park with her decorations and overall festive feel. She and her roommate cooked up a terrific dinner of chicken parm and we had a blast talking about the book (and other random topics) over wine. AND Amy made us all hand-made valentines consisting of a card and a “De-Stress Coconut Oil Body Lotion” which she described as “this tranquil blend of chamomile, lavender and frankincense can help relieve discomforts associated with stress and anxiety”… anyone want to place an order for some? 😉

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2. Cuckoo’s Calling– Speaking of book club, this was the book we read this past time and while it took me a bit to get into it, I ended up really getting hooked. I read the last 150 or so pages in just a few hours! We are reading her sequel next: Silkworm- I can’t wait! We are also reading 5 Love Languages since we’ve got a little extra time until the next meeting. Have any of you read either of these?

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3. Wine Expo– RM and I were trying to decide what to do for V-Day and when my friend mentioned the Wine Expo, I thought that was a great idea. I searched through some old emails and found a promo code which took $10 off the admission price, which was just icing on the cake (VALDAY16 is the code if you’re interested- there is still availability for Sunday). I’ve been to the seminars a few times, but never the full expo so I can’t wait!
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Weekending: A Valentine’s Day Blizzard

Good morning, friends! I am so happy that I have today off, and I hope all of you do, too! My plan today is a workout and then going up to Kittery to meet my parents for lunch since I won’t be around this weekend when they come to help my sister move. I wanted to go spend a few nights up there, but with the snow and parking, I just couldn’t make it work 😦

I’m sure you’re probably so sick of me (and a lot of other Boston bloggers) venting/complaining about the snow- I get it. It’s totally annoying, but somehow talking about it makes me feel a little better. Misery loves company, right? Anyway, with the way this winter has been over the past 3 weeks, it’s really no surprise that another blizzard would hit the city over Valentine’s Day weekend. I honestly felt so bad for all the restaurants because it’s no doubt they all suffered from people cancelling their reservations. I’d love to say we were different, but once we heard about the storm, we opted to stay local and just bar hop by foot (in boots!) rather than get dolled up for a fancy dinner. It ended up being perfect.

Friday night, I had plans on heading to the gym after work, but I did something I rarely do: skipped it. My bag was packed and it was in my plans, but as the day wore on, I realized I was really sore from Thursday and just wasn’t feeling it. I’m so happy I skipped it because traffic was insane and it took me over an hour to get home from work as it was. I was picturing a hungry, tired, post workout Monique in that situation and it just wasn’t pretty 😉

Roberto picked me up and we ended up throwing together a really great, simple dinner: gluten free panko coated fish, sautéed veggies and millet . Everything about it, especially paired with a few glasses of wine and some good catch-up convos with RM, was perfect!

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And, just when we thought it couldn’t get better, it did! I came across this post from Athena’s Friday Favorites and knew I needed to make it for RM. As you know, we try to eat *mostly* paleo, so this seemed like a great addition to our Valentine’s Day weekend. While they were good on their own, I decided they needed (yes, needed) frosting, so I made a simple one of unsweetened bakers chocolate, water, peanut butter, vanilla and confectionary sugar that made the dessert!

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Burpees to Bubbly Turns 1! {which is worthy of a giveaway…)

Before I get to my anniversary post, I want to wish each of you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!! I love this holiday, whether I have a boyfriend or not. I just think it’s fun to celebrate love! I opted to hang out with the girls tonight instead of the guy (no offense to him!), so I’m really excited for them to all get here after work. We’re going to putz around to a few different bars/restaurants in Eastie. I have a big day of fitness tomorrow, so I can’t get crazy, but I’m looking forward to laughs and cocktails.

If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day themed workout to warm you up, try this workout (can’t believe I posted that a year ago… fitting, considering I had my 1 year anniversary earlier this week!).

Anyway! Let’s get to my post… you’ll want to read since there’s an awesome giveaway at the end!

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Wow. You guys. I cannot believe this little blog turned ONE earlier this week. I know I have a long way to go in terms of really “finding my voice” and getting to a point where I don’t look back on old posts and cringe (it hurts a little to read my first post!), BUT if the next year is even half as fun, I’m in for a real treat. Blogging, although it is a lot of work and can be an extra thing on my “to do” list, has helped me learn about myself and make connections more than I thought it could.

I was afraid of starting the blog because I was worried that it would turn into a chore and I would get obsessive about posting X amount of times a week and would stress out if I didn’t. While I can’t say this hasn’t happened a few times, I’ve really surprised myself with how I’ve approached blogging. I used to be obsessed with checking stats and trying to get more followers, but since I relaxed about that and focused on blogging about things that interested me, it’s been a much better experience! I’ve also learned to let go of the stress that used to come when I missed a post. I bet you guys don’t even notice, right?! 😉

Bottom line, is I blog because I love it. I love sharing my workouts with you. I love sharing my recipes with you. I love sharing things that go on in my life and making connections with you. I love being able to look back and see what I’ve been up to. I love hearing from you when you can relate to something or you try a workout or make a recipe… those things make me SO happy. So, thank you, for following along as I write about my life!

Rather than listing out the highlights of my blog over the past year (I just did something similar for New Years post), let’s just do the giveaway, ok? I think that’s probably what brought most of you here anyway 😉

The giveaway is…. TWO $20 gift cards to… my favorite… Life Alive Café! I’m actually jealous about this 🙂 This is my little thank you gift to you guys for your continue support, encouragement and advice. You really have no idea how much it means to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Here’s how to enter (lots of ways!):

1. Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you’d like to see more of and/or less of next year (workouts? recipes? wines? restaurant reviews? something else?).

2. “Liking” me on Facebook. Leave a comment saying you’ve done this.

3. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter– just leave a comment saying you’ve done so.

4. Tweet the giveaway or share on Facebook! Again, leave an extra comment saying you’ve done this.

You have until Thursday, February 20th at 9Pm EST to enter the giveaway. I will post the two winners on Friday, February 21st. Good luck!

There you have it! Again, thanks for reading! I can’t wait to see what you want to see more of or less of.