Life Lately: November 2014

Time for a life post! I have to bring you guys up to speed on the last two months, but since December was chock full of holiday fun, I’m only giving you November for now. This way you don’t have to scroll and scroll and scroll.

Life Lately

Tim and I kicked off November with dinner out at Brio Tuscan Grille in Chestnut Hill. The occasion? Our parents had never met before! Can you guys even believe that? All went well, and our food was great. We wanted to have them meet before the holidays and before our wedding planning picks up next month.

Brio Tuscan Grille

Then we both traveled for work during the first week of November. I went to Minnesota to do a couple of Stress Less seminars for our staff out there and to be there for the MN health fair. Everything went really smoothly, I got to lead a plank contest and a stretch session during the event, and the wellness champions out there organized an after work 5k race. I just love our Minnesota staff members. Everyone is so active and engaged with the wellness program, which makes for a nice change of pace.

Minnesota Health Fair 2014

Minnesota Health Fair 2014

Tim and I both had a long day of travel home on Friday at the end of the week. I landed around noon, caught a cab home from the airport, went through emails while eating lunch, and then I had to shower and get ready to go back to the airport to get Tim and head to Worcester for wedding #7 of 2014. It took us three hours to get from Boston to Worcester, and we were both exhausted, but we rallied and somehow managed to find the energy to celebrate Pete and Andrea’s special night!

Pete and Andrea's Wedding Pete and Andrea's Wedding

The rest of that weekend we pretty much did nothing! We finally got to spend some fall time outside with each other on a long walk, and it was nice to just relax and rejuvenate.

Tim and Me on a Fall HikeThe Best Yes

The following week, I hosted a girls night for my friends Allison, Shannon, and Tracy from home on Thursday. We spent it drinking wine and catching up over a good meal. I made a gnocchi and squash casserole with greens (hard to please a vegetarian AND two picky eaters!), Allison brought a salad, Shannon the wine and cheese and crackers, and Tracy brownies. It was perfect!

Butternut Squash with Gnocchi and KaleThe following night I headed over to Slesh’s apartment to hang out while we waited for our friend Erica to arrive. Erica was in town for one of the three parties that Tim and I were triple booked for on Saturday, and since I knew I probably wasn’t going to be able to make it to the one Erica was here for, I wanted to make sure I got some quality time in with her! Slesh and I hung out and drank wine (seems to be a theme, huh?), got dinner ready, and talked about some wedding related things before Erica got there. The rest of the night was spent catching up with both friends, and I felt lucky having two really great girls nights in a row. Slesh also made the most delicious chocolate chip cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

On Saturday, our friends Ashley and Bret had a housewarming party, so we went over there for party #1. We brought the cranberry avocado salsa that I posted the other day, and we spent a lot of time chatting with my gym friend Jess and her fiancé Chris. Both Chris and Tim are foodies, so we knew they would hit it off!

Cranberry Avocado Salsa

Ashley and Bret's Housewarming

After a couple of hours spent at Ashley and Bret’s house, we headed out to party #2. Our friends Cate and Joe were hosting people at their house for Cate’s 30th birthday before heading out to celebrate with drinks at Howl at the Moon in Patriots Place. We had a ton of fun, but unfortunately we didn’t make it to party #3 which was a goodbye party for other friends of ours who are moving to LA. It was just too much to do in one night.

Cate's 30th Bday

Finally, I wrapped up that weekend with brunch at Johnny D’s in Somerville with Slesh, Erica, and Bridget! I was happy to see Erica one last time before she headed back to New York. This is awkwardly the only picture I have from that morning, via Bridget’s snap chat. We are weird. Sorry, Slesh.

Snapchat

The next week was the Massachusetts health fair week, so work was very stressful, but like Minnesota, the event went really well. We opened the day with a big presentation in our auditorium, we had multiple ed sessions throughout the day, my friend Dawn won the plank contest, and we did yoga. I was so relieved when the day was over (in a good way). Planning a big event like that for hundreds of people is not easy!

MA Health Fair 2014

Note Tim awkwardly getting fitted for orthodics. Haha! After the health fair, Tim and I went out for a celebratory dinner and much-needed margaritas at El Centro, a new Mexican place that opened in Belmont center. Loved!

El Centro in Belmont

The rest of the weekend was exactly what I needed after the health fair craziness. On Friday, I worked from home and met up with Dawn for a Whole Foods lunch date, and then Tim and I stayed put on our couch that night.

Whole Foods Salad Bar

I was supposed to teach another Athleta class on Saturday morning, but unfortunately it got canceled. Instead, I went on a morning hike and out to breakfast with some of my gym friends.

Gym Friends Hike

Since we met before 8am, we were done with our workout and breakfast by 11ish. I loved having the rest of the day to run some errands, prepare for Friendsgiving on Sunday, and relax!

Thanksgiving 2014

Sunday was Friendsgiving at Slesh’s, which you guys already read about in my Thanksgiving post a couple of weeks ago.

Thanksgiving 2014

That week at work was a short week. On Thanksgiving Day itself, Tim and I did a quick workout before splitting the holiday between both of our families.

Thanksgiving 2014

The rest of the weekend was spent teaching a post Thanksgiving class, grabbing another breakfast out with the gym girls, and hanging in on Friday night. On Saturday, I got all the details for my Holiday Hustle Challenge ready, we went out to lunch with our friends who were in town, and we saw Tim’s sister and her boyfriend for margaritas back at El Centro at night. Finally, I wrapped up the weekend and month at my friend Nicole’s baby shower.

Nicole's Baby Shower

And that was my November! December and holiday update coming soon.

–Let’s chat–
I would normally ask how your Novembers were, but that seems like ages ago now. Instead, tell me what you guys have going on for New Year’s Eve tonight. Going out? Staying in?

Tim and I are going out to dinner at Solea on Moody Street, and then we are stopping by Hopsters to see what their Happy Brew Year shindig is all about. We wanted to keep it low-key without staying in. Whatever you guys are doing, have fun tonight! Be safe!

Scenes From Thanksgiving 2014

Time for a photo dump! I figure since it’s almost halfway into December and Tim and I got our Christmas tree last night, I should probably share some scenes from Thanksgiving.

Our Thanksgiving actually started the weekend before Thanksgiving because Slesh and Will hosted our annual Friendsgiving that Sunday. Tim and I spent a good part of our Saturday in the kitchen with music and red wine as we prepared lots of delicious food to bring over.

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

We made his and her stuffed mushrooms because we couldn’t agree on what kind to make. I made a Mediterranean version with quinoa, feta, walnuts, and sun-dried tomatoes, and Tim made a reinvented version of the bacon and blue cheese ones I posted eons ago. We also prepared a winter kale salad with homemade cranberry vinaigrette and this homemade cranberry sauce. It was fun having a day together in the kitchen, although I guess we do spend a lot of time in there anyways!

Quinoa & Feta Stuffed Mushrooms

Bacon and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Winter Kale Salad

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Slesh and Will’s was really fun. It was full of friends, laughing, lots of food, festive accessories (from Bridget of course!), game playing, face timing with Erica, drinks, and more. I left feeling grateful for the friends in my life!

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

On Thanksgiving morning, Tim and I woke up early for a little workout action. We did a quick metabolic resistance workout that consisted of 10 deadlifts, 10 pushups, 10 weighted step ups, 10 single arm rows, and 10 kettlebell swings, AMRAP in 25 minutes. I posted this status on Facebook after our workout which pretty much sums it up!

Body Gratitude

Thanksgiving Workout

After our sweat sesh, it was time for family and food! We started at Tim’s aunts for the earlier part of the day and finished up at my aunt’s with my family. We brought more stuffed mushrooms to Tim’s aunts (we doubled the batch we brought to Slesh and Will’s so it would be one less thing to make the day before Thanksgiving), and I made brownies to bring to my aunt’s. My aunt has a nut allergy, and my uncle has a coconut allergy, and I never realized how hard it is to healthify a dessert without any nuts or coconut. My solution was black beans! They came out pretty good. I also tried to make a gingerbread pumpkin bar, but those didn’t come out as great.

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Black Bean Brownies

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

This was the first year that the timing worked out for us to get to see both families on the same day, so we were definitely grateful for that. The wine was flowing all day, and I got excited talking about wedding stuff with my cousin who is a bridesmaid in my wedding party. Of course it’s always fun to see my god-daughter who is getting so big.

The rest of my Thanksgiving weekend was a nice combination of friend time and Tim time. Liz and I taught back to back classes on Black Friday, and we grabbed breakfast with the gym crowd afterwards. Tim and I hung in together on Friday night, I got all the details for my Holiday Hustle Challenge ready, we went out to lunch with our friends who were in town on Saturday, and we saw Tim’s sister and her boyfriend for margaritas on Saturday night. Sunday I went to a baby shower and spent the rest of the day relaxing. It was definitely a much-needed break from the grind.

–Let’s chat–
How were your Thanksgivings and long weekends this year? Even though I’m a bit late with this, I want to hear about them!

I’m off to my monthly massage appointment tonight! Fits right in with today’s challenge theme of stressing less. Also, don’t forget about my giveaway for a free week of meals to your doorstep from Just Add Cooking. Not many people are commenting, so you definitely have a good chance of winning. Have a great night, you guys!

2013 Friendsgiving Dinner

Last week our friends Slesh and Will hosted Friendsgiving 2013 at their apartment for Tim and me, Katrina and Geoff, Bridget and Dave, and Mastro and Steve.

Friendsgiving 2013

This was a tradition we started before the girls all parted ways, and I love that we continue our tradition despite not living together anymore and all having such busy schedules.

We had a huge food lineup. Tim and I were in charge of bringing an appetizer, so we threw together one of our holiday favorites, cranberry avocado salsa with pita chips.

Cranberry Avocado Salsa

Katrina and Geoff brought a salad. They’re hard to spot, but there are pomegranates in there. I am LOVING pomegranates lately. The end of pumpkin season isn’t as depressing when pomegranate season is right around the corner.

Friendsgiving Salad

Will slaved over the oven all day to cook us a real turkey. Gold star for Will!

Friendsgiving 2013 Turkey

My favorite side dish was Bridget’s roasted veggie mix because it had so many of my other favorite seasonal flavors in there like Brussels sprouts, cranberry, and butternut squash.

Friendsgiving Roasted Vegetables

Slesh and Will also made stuffing and roasted potatoes.

Friendsgiving 2013 Stuffing

Friendsgiving Potatoes and Onions

Tim brought along his famous mashed sweet potato dish.

Friendsgiving Mashed Sweet Potatoes

And of course there was dessert. I didn’t have time to bake anything last week, but I picked up some fun treats from Whole Foods on the way over.

Friendsgiving Whole Foods Dessert

Trina also brought a pumpkin pie that I didn’t snap a picture of, and Bridget brought “Mimi cookies” (the cookies her grandmother always made for us in college). Love!

Friendsgiving Cookies

We had a fun night catching up, eating, and enjoying a few adult bevvies too. We also facetimed Erica and Chris into our celebration because we missed having them there in person.

A big thanks to Slesh and Will for hosting a fun night!

Do you and your friends have a Friendsgiving celebration?

I’m off to my kitchen to put together the appetizers and desserts I’m bringing to my grandfather’s house tomorrow, and then Tim and I are going to enjoy a low-key night in together. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow and get to enjoy the day with your loved ones.