Life Lately {February 2014}

Okay, well February sure flew by, huh? Here’s an update on what’s been going on in my life lately.

Life Lately

Exciting news…

I would say that one of most exciting things this month happened on the last day of the month. I was approved for the FitFluential Ambassador program!

fitfluential

“FitFluential is a nationwide network of highly influential fitness enthusiasts sharing their journey both online and offline through multiple social media platforms. Founded in April of 2011 by Kelly Olexa, FitFluential was designed to connect health and wellness brands with their ideal target market through customized, long-term experiential and contextual marketing campaigns.”

I’ve followed the FitFluential blog and have seen the FitFluential hashtag all over social media from other Fitfluential ambassadors for a while now. After looking into FitFluential a bit more, I decided to apply back in the fall. I think that this will be a great opportunity to not only get my name out there and hopefully get some new brand opportunities, but also to expand my networks and inspire some new followers and audiences. I’m excited to see where it leads me!

Ankle update…

My sprained ankle is recovering quite nicely. Luckily, this injury hasn’t been that bad. I haven’t been running or doing TOO much jumping, but I have still been lifting and doing cardio in other ways. I’ve seen the most improvement with my ankle over the last two weeks. I no longer feel a dull pain throughout the entire day, and it’s definitely not even close to being as sore as it was after workouts when I first sprained it. I started adding in jumping again, but only two feet jumping (hops in place, jacks, squat jumps, etc.). Nothing that requires alternating feet just yet. I’ve also weaned off the amount of Aleve and ice I need, and I’m back to wearing real shoes at work again (darn). Whenever I’ve felt down about the injury, I just look at this picture of my past trips to the orthopedic and remember that I always bounce back!

Medical History

I snapped this while waiting for my orthopedic to come in the room. Kind of ridiculous, right? 🙂

Exciting Goodies/New Things

A fun-filled bag of goodies from Whole Foods in Arlington. More to come on what’s inside, stay tuned!

Whole Foods Arlington Gift Bag

New fitness toys (unpictured = my new bosu)

Jump Sport trampoline

New standing desk (surprise gift from Tim). I’m loving the option to stand at work for at least parts of my day.

Standing Desk

February Nature Box delivery. The rice sticks and pretzels were to die for.

Nature Box February 2014

Weekend Activities

Because my weeks have been crazy busy (working extra and subbing extra classes), I’ve tried to slow down on my weekend activities down a bit. I feel a little lame that nothing makes me more excited than having nothing to do on the weekends anymore. Don’t worry, I haven’t turned into a complete homebody (yet).

MMA Fighter Fit certification

MMA Fighter Fit Cert - agility ladders

Body Worlds Vital exhibit in Faneuil Hall

Body Worlds Vital

Snowy night in Boston with Tim for Valentine’s Day weekend

Valentine's Day 2014: Snowy Seaport

Korean BBQ date night. We used a Groupon to Koreana. While I enjoyed the night for a different type of experience, I don’t think I’d go back to this particular restaurant. Nothing wowed me enough?

Koreana

My good friend Erin’s 30th birthday party at Kings. My friend Meghan was also up from Washington D.C., and it was great to catch up! So fun.

Erins 30th Birthday

Brunch with my girlfriends from home. Of course I only snapped pictures of the food and my beverage. You can kind of see Tracy in the background. That counts, right?

Mimosa

Pink party with my gym friends

Gym Friends Pink Party

Unpictured:

  • Super Bowl get together at Cate and Joe’s
  • Dinner date with my uncles
  • Margaritas at The Painted Burro with Slesh and Will

–Let’s chat–
What are some of your highlights from February? What are you looking forward to in March?

A Sunday at SOWA Open Market

One of the things on my summer bucket list has been to check out the SOWA Open Market in the South End.  The market includes three main sections: a food truck market with trucks galore, a farmer’s market with tons of fresh produce and foodie items, and a vendor’s market with local folks selling their crafts, jewelry, and more.  Since it was my turn to plan a date day for Tim and I, I decided it was time for us to go.  Tim is seriously OBSESSED with food trucks so I knew he would love it.  This Sunday we hopped on the red line and headed over to the Broadway area to check it out!

SoWa Sundays

On our train ride there we talked about wanting to try as many food trucks as possible.  We came up with a strategy so we wouldn’t get too full too soon.  We decided our plan of attack would be as follows:

  • Get something small to start at the food trucks
  • Then check out the farmer’s market
  • Then go back to the food trucks for something else
  • Then check out the vintage market
  • Then go back to the food trucks for dessert

Totally genius, if I do say so myself.  You can’t stuff up from the get go!  Planned digestion time is the key.

Anyways, like I said, the food trucks were up first.

SoWa Open Market

After browsing through all the trucks (and reading every single menu), we decided to get fish tacos from the Baja Taco Truck first.  We were definitely impressed with how fresh the pico de gallo was and happy with our first food truck choice.

SOWA Open Market After we finished our tacos, we browsed through the farmer’s market.  There were so many things to look at, from fresh produce to unique foodie items.

SOWA Farmer's Market

It was really hard not to buy everything in sight, but we did decide to stock up on some plums and nectarines for the week.  We tried a new kind of plum too, mango tango!  We also decided to buy the funky looking squash you can see in the pictures.  We learned that it’s called pattypan squash, but I decided to call it alien squash instead.  How could we NOT buy some for a fun dinner this week?

SOWA Farmer's Market

Again, it was really hard to not buy everything in sight, but we limited ourselves to two other foodie purchases.  Grilled peach and basil ravioli pasta from Valicenti Organico, and some spicy (wasn’t too spicy for me!) summer mango chutney from a company called Wozz.  Can’t wait to enjoy both of these!

SOWA Farmer's Market

After the farmer’s market, we went back to the food trucks!  For our second round, Tim opted for the caprese sandwich from The Dining Car, and I got the magical kale salad (kale with a poached egg) from the Mei Mei Street Kitchen.

The Dining Car

Mei Mei Street Kitchen

Totally normal to eat our lunch on the ground, right?!

Next up were all the vendors.  We had fun strolling through, but we didn’t buy anything.

Sowa Vintage Market

Finally, we finished our time at SOWA back at the food trucks for dessert.  Originally I wanted a huge ice cream sandwich (they have trucks now where you can pick your cookie flavor AND ice cream flavor), but I was hot and thirsty so I ended up getting lemon sorbet instead.

Lemon sorbet at SOWA

Tim, however, still went with his original ice cream sandwich craving from The Cookie Monstah truck.  M&M cookies with peanut butter chocolate chunk ice cream in the middle.  I swear he’s not a five-year old?

cookie monstah truck

At this point, we were full and had seen everything so we headed out.  Little did I know that my friend Bridget and my friend Mary were both there at the very same time we were!  So sad.  We took the red line back to Harvard and once we realized our bus wasn’t coming for a bit, we decided that we could make room for roof deck drinks.

Roofdeck Daedalus

A mojito for Tim, and red sangria for me!  We enjoyed these on the roof deck of Daedalus, a hidden gem in Harvard Square.

daedalus

It was a perfect Sunday!  SOWA is open every Sunday from 10-4 starting in May and ending in October, which means you can still get a trip in this fall!  I just might even go again.

Local readers, have you ever been to SOWA before?  Anyone else have something like this where you live?

Happy Friday, friends!

Portland, Maine: Eats & Drinks

Tonight I finally got around to uploading all my vacation pictures from Portland.  And then I got sad because I want to be back there.  Wah.  Anyways, here’s a recap of all the yummy food and drinks we had during our week away!

Portland Eats & Drinks

Before leaving for Maine, we reached out to everyone we knew for restaurant recommendations.  We got so many recommendations that we didn’t know what to do with all of them!  We tried our best to make it to all the big ones, but we’ll just have to go back to get to them all.

Duckfat
One of the places that almost everyone said we had to stop at for a casual meal was Duckfat, a small little sandwich place right down the street from our hotel.  When we arrived on Monday it was pretty chilly and cloudy out, so we figured this would be a great place to grab our first lunch of the week.  It was a small restaurant, with some parties even sharing tables, but it definitely made for a unique experience!  I ordered the duck confit panini and Tim ordered a pork belly panini.  Both were delicious!  We also split fries.  I normally do not like French fries, as potatoes don’t really do anything for me, but I figured I at least had to try the infamous fries in duck fat.  And I did like these.  We also had our first beers to kick off the week!  They came in mason jars, which I loved.

Duckfat

The Garden Cafe at the Regency
After walking around the downtown Portland shops for a few hours on Monday, we stumbled across a cute little garden restaurant called The Garden Cafe.  This restaurant/bar is associated with the Regency Hotel, but it was the perfect place to hang out and get a drink.  So pretty!  I ordered a glass of wine and finished that up with the most delicious strawberry vodka lemonade.  I highly recommend this place for a drink on a nice day.

The Garden Cafe

Sonny’s
On Monday night before dinner, we stopped at Sonny’s for a pre-dinner drink.  My friend Cristin recommended this place for its cocktails, and I enjoyed a glass of their house made white sangria.  We wanted to go again another time during the week, but we unfortunately never made it back.

Sonny's Restaurant & Bar

The Grill Room
Dinner on Monday was at The Grill Room & Bar, which was recommended to us by the bartender at the Garden Cafe earlier in the day.  After taking a while deciding whether to each get one big entrée or to go for several smaller dishes, we decided to just a few  smaller options.  First up were the oyster shooters, then wood oven baked brie, then two scallops, and last up was lobster pizza.  We both agreed that the brie was the best of the bunch.  I also think my stomach regretted ordering so much bread the next day!

The Grill Room & Bar

Gorgeous Gelato
On Tuesday we spent the day at Scarborough Beach State Park, so of course gelato sounded perfect after a day in the sun.  My co-worker Mike recommended Gorgeous Gelato, and it did not disappoint.  This place is owned by a family right from Italy, so you just knew the gelato was going to be good.  I ordered raspberry.  Yum!

Gorgeous Gelato

Gilbert’s Chowder House
Tuesday night after the beach, all we wanted to eat was chowder!  We headed to Gilbert’s Chowder House, which we heard had some of the best chowder in the city.  We both got pretty big cups of seafood chowder, so that’s all we needed for dinner that night.  Went pretty nicely with a Shipyard Summer Ale.  I liked this place because it was casual and right on the water.  We ate on the back patio before heading next door to the Portland Lobster Company for some live music and more beers.

Gilbert's Chowder House

Spread
Spread was our last stop on Tuesday night.  We had passed it on Monday and thought it looked neat.  The restaurant itself seemed a little big and upscale, but their interesting drinks were enough to catch our attention.  My drink of choice was gin with muddled strawberries, bail, fresh lemon sour, and a balsamic vinegar reduction.  And Tim got some crazy blood orange tequila drink with jalapeno.

Spread

Federal Jacks
One of my favorite stops of the week was Federal Jacks Restaurant & Brewpub.  On Wednesday we took a day trip to Kennebunkport, and while we really wanted to check out Earth, we just weren’t appropriately dressed for something like that.  We loved “Feds” because it had the prettiest view, the most amazing beer EVERRRR (Shipyard Sunfish Wheat), and really good food.  I ordered the blackened haddock tacos after splitting mussels with Tim.  Apparently this place turns into a dance scene with a DJ, but we headed out before it got like that.

Federal Jack'sFederal Jack's

Peak’s Island House
On Thursday we took the ferry over to Peak’s Island, and after walking around we stopped at Peak’s Island House to eat.  This restaurant had a beautiful view of Portland from across Casco Bay, and I had a yummy lobster salad for lunch.  Aside from the lobster salad, I was surprised at the lack of seafood options on the menu.

Peaks Island House

Fore Street
Our dinner at Fore Street was by far our favorite meal of the week, which didn’t surprise me because six different people recommended it to us.  It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but don’t let that fool you!  We loved that the menu changes every single day there.  I ordered flounder with greens over a tomato and mushroom sauce.  Tim ordered roasted duck with risotto.  And we split a side of heirloom tomatoes.  Everything tasted so fresh!  This was a top-notch dining experience.

Fore Street

The North Point
Another week favorite of ours was the bar we went to after Fore Street on Thursday, The North Point.  Although we had really good cocktails at Sonny’s and at Spread as I mentioned above, this was my favorite cocktail place of the three.  It was smaller and cozier inside, and the staff were super friendly.  I think it still had an “upscale” feel, but without seeming “la dee da” like at Spread.  They had a pretty big wine list and ten beers on tap, but I went a little martini crazy this night.  Cucumber and peach martinis for me!

Cucumber Martini

The Front Room
When we woke Friday morning, it was raining and I had a headache from my martinis the night before, so our Greek yogurt wasn’t going to cut it for breakfast that day.  We met a couple earlier in the week who recommended The Front Room (sister restaurant to The Grill Room) for its brunch menu, so we decided to check it out.  We had to wait a long time, but that didn’t matter much to us.  I ordered three items off the sides menu – a fruit bowl, whole wheat toast, and 2 eggs over easy.  Tim’s breakfast was eggs benedict, but instead of over an English muffin it was over gnocchi, and instead of ham it had thick cut bacon.  His was more exciting than mine, but at the time, mine was exactly what I wanted.

The Front Room Restaurant & Bar

DiMillo’s
While I definitely don’t recommend DiMillo’s for food (we had eaten there a few years ago for my birthday and were not wowed), Dimillo’s is a Portland experience because it’s a big floating restaurant in the middle of the seaport.  On Friday we went there for a drink to enjoy the weather before lobstering.

DiMillo's

Portland Lobster Company
Another really fun dinner we had was after our lobstering excursion on Friday evening.  After lobstering for a couple of hours in Casco Bay, you could buy the lobsters for $5 each and carry them over to the Portland Lobster Company where they would cook them (and offer with corn, salad, etc.) for just an extra $10.  We thought this was so fun and so cool!  We hung out at Portland Lobster Company a couple of times during the week because they had live music, fun local beers, and were also located right on the water.

Lobsters after lobstering Portland Lobster Company

Novare Res Bier Cafe
I keep saying every restaurant was our favorite, and bloggers saying everything is their favorite is a pet peeve of mine), but Novare Res was honestly another favorite!  So I’m saying it!  This place was somewhat hidden, but has a HUGE back patio with tons of outdoor seating, cornhole and outdoor darts games, and over 100 beers to choose from.  Beer lovers, a must visit if you are in Portland!

Novare Res

Billy’s Chowder House
For our last day, we headed to Wells Beach, so before heading home we were on the hunt for one last seafood meal.  We thought we picked a decent choice with Billy’s Chowder House, but unfortunately, this was my least favorite meal of the week.  The chowder was very good (thinner than most chowder I usually eat, but the chunks of clam in there were unreal), but my scallops were so disappointing.  Which is ironic since the menu told me they would not disappoint.  They were under-seasoned and my fresh veggie side was a bowl of super buttery corn.  Totally not the way I wanted to end our trip, but I guess one food disappointment isn’t too shabby.

Billy's Chowder House

Although it probably seems like going out to bars and restaurants was all we did, it’s not!  We had a ton of other fun day trip activities that I’ll recap soon, and we did come prepared with other food as well.  We had most of our breakfasts packed and several options for lunch on the days we didn’t go out to lunch.  We brought along cold cuts and bread for beach sandwiches, and I also brought along a big batch of my favorite cucumber salad.  Half the reason we love the Residence Inn so much is for the full kitchen in the room.  Other things we brought along ahead of time included almond flour chocolate chip cookies, almond flour banana muffins, carrots and hummus, Clif bars, cashews, peanuts, crackers, and lots of fruit – bananas, strawberries, plums, and nectarines.  Doing this helped us stay on track when we weren’t splurging, but it also saved us some money!

Packed Food

Unpictured in this post are Gritty’s Brewpub (Tim’s favorite!) and Sebago Brewing Company.  Gritty’s for beers and live music after Kennebunkport, and Sebago for late night food on our last night.  Whoops!

Have you been to any of the restaurants I mentioned above?  What Maine favorites did I miss that I’ll have to check out next time?

Hope everyone’s Sunday is winding down nicely!