Life Lately {September and October 2014}

It’s been a while since I’ve done a life update post, huh? It’s been since August, to be exact.

Life Lately

I don’t know about you, but I welcomed fall with wide open arms this year. Like I mentioned in my new newsletter that went out last week, I was happy to embrace the new season because it meant things were slowing down a bit from all the craziness that the summer brought. The first week of September was spent off from work. We spent the first half of the week celebrating my birthday, checking out potential wedding venues, and enjoying some time at home. We spent the second half of the week up north in one of our favorite places, Maine!

Maine Vacation: Cape Porpoise

When we got home from our vacation, we immediately were back into wedding mode, as we needed to make a decision within a week about our wedding venue. We were really torn between Atlantica in Cohasset for an ocean front wedding and Zorvino’s in NH for a rustic winery wedding. The second weekend in September we actually did a second visit back up to Zorvino’s just to make sure we had all our questions answered, and the return visit really clinched it for us. So that’s that! Our wedding date is set for Sunday, September 20th of next year at Zorvino’s!

Zorvino's

We are really excited about our venue, but I am just so relieved that the venue researching part of the process is over. Don’t get me wrong, I am really enjoying other parts of the planning, but the venue hunt simply wasn’t one of them. I feel guilty saying that because everyone and their mom and second cousin once removed felt the need to remind me about how AMAZING all of that should have been, but you know what? Trying to coordinate viewing a bunch of places all over the state between the hours of 8 and 4 during the week and keep it all straight actually wasn’t that amazing to me. I’m way more excited now that we have our venue and church selected and can think about more exciting things like who is going to lead the Greek dancing circles, what color I want my bridesmaids to wear, and what our signature drinks should be. Right?!

Zorvino's

Other mentionable September happenings include apple picking,

Apple Picking 2014

attending the annual WWCMA conference for work,

WWCMA 2014 Conference

going to a sweetgreen passport class called Barre & Bites with Liz,

sweetgreen barre & bites

and much more of THIS than I’ve been able to do in a really long time:

Tea on the Couch

There were also a couple of nights out to dinner with friends. I saw Allison for dinner at Seasons 52 in Burlington one night, and I met up with Bridget, Slesh, and Trina at a restaurant called Forum downtown. However, I’d say one of the main highlights of September was one of my bestie’s weddings! Holy moly, talk about an amazing fun weekend in NYC celebrating Erica and Chris. One of the best weddings I’ve ever been to, and just for the record, Tim and I figured out we’ve been to 23 in 3 years. So I think we are pretty good wedding judgers!

Erica & Chris: NYC Wedding

October was here before we even knew it, and I kicked off the month by hosting my really fun event at Athleta. Another one is in the works, so make sure to sign up for my newsletter to get early bird signup privileges and sneak peek details!

Athleta Legacy Place: Birthday Bootcamp

Tim was away for a bachelor party the first weekend of the month, so I used the time to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen a long time. I did dinner with my friend Erin at Isabella Restaurant and was able to get together spontaneously with some of the gym girls at Solea for sangria and tapas too. After we did dinner that night, I hung with Ashley at her house for awhile just catching up and drinking cider.

The week Tim got back, I was supposed to go to the October New Balance Girls Night Out event, but since we were still sharing a car at this point, it was impossible to get downtown. I was bummed to miss it, but Tim did get a new Altima, and we didn’t go broke (or start hating each other) in the process.

Other beginning of October things included a date night to see The Lion King (my birthday present, with dinner at Harvard Gardens first),

The Lion King

Tim’s godson’s christening,

Wes's Baptism

a random Tuesday night sleepover/gym friend get together at Ashley’s house when Jen was back in the states,

Jen's Visit: Tuesday Night Sleepover

and wedding dress shopping! I went first to David’s Bridal in Danvers to get a better idea of what type of style I was going for. I had no clue going into it whether I wanted satin versus lace, strapless versus not, etc. so that really helped. I brought my mom, MOH (Slesh), and bridesmaid (and seamstress!) Shannon with me, and they were all awesome throughout the whole process.

Wedding Dress Shopping

I went dress shopping again the following week, this time with my mom and Shannon again, but my Uncle Chris came along too. This trip I found the gown! I can’t wait for you guys to see it, but I suppose you’ll have to wait a year, huh?

Wedding: Gown

October’s last few weeks were spent celebrating our five year anniversary (dinner at Harvest in Harvard Square + drinks at Beat Hotel — HIGHLY recommend both),

Five Year Anniversary

spontaneously going to Harvest Fest 2014 in Somerville (SO many fun beers and food samples!),

Somerville Harvest Fest 2014

running the Oak Square OAKtoberfest 5k and post race brunching,

OAKtoberfest 5k Race & Taste: Family

Cook Restaurant

getting my monthly deep tissue massage (I signed up for a wellness package),

Massage Envy

celebrating my friend Jen’s birthday with the gym girls,

Gym Friends at Jen's

Gym Friends Food

going to Tim’s cousin’s birthday party, my friend Johnny’s housewarming party, and Patrice and Brian’s beautiful wedding!

Patrice & Brian's Wedding

We rounded up the month by heading back up to Zorvino’s for our meet the vendors night, and finally, hosting Halloween! We were lame this year and didn’t require anyone to wear a costume. What we did require was everyone bring a seasonal craft beer so we could have a little tasting. It was fun!

Halloween 2014

Lots of good stuff going on outside of work lately!

–Let’s chat–
Tell me about the highlights of September and October? What stood out to you the most? I want to know what you’ve been up to! What are you looking forward to in November?

I am looking forward to a free Saturday and Sunday next weekend after we attend wedding #7 of 8 this year on Friday night! I am also excited for Thanksgiving. Slesh is hosting Friendsgiving again this year, AND Tim and I figured out how to spend the holiday with both of our families.

Have a great day, you guys!

My Two A Day Tuesday Farewell

I already know that I’m going to be all sorts of confused about what day it is today. I started the day by teaching my first Tuesday morning class, and it will be my first week without Two A Day Tuesday classes to look forward to tonight because last week was my final Tuesday night class!

Last Two A Day Tuesday

I created a special good-bye playlist, and it was a huge hit:

Goodbye Playlist: Last Two A Day

I also told my regulars they could request whatever they wanted for the last class. I received requests for circuits, typical “Athena-esque” cardio blasts, partner moves, my favorite exercises, and as many awkward exercises as I could think of. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to squeeze all of this into only an hour, but somehow I did. After our warmup, I taught two mini circuits that consisted of some of my favorite moves to teach in a group exercise setting:

Circuit 1

  • Chest press with leg lifts (12)
  • Squats with halos (12 total)
  • Straight leg dumbbell crunch to toes (15)

Circuit 2

  • Wide grip bent over rows (3 pulses + 1 row = 1 rep, 12 times)
  • Lying stability ball hamstring curls (15)
  • Weighted standing windmills (10 each side)

We did three sets of these, and I put two minutes of fast feet, jumping jacks, and jump rope in between. If you are looking for a 30 minute workout, this took us right to our halfway point and may be a good one to try.

I then moved on to some partner work:

Last Two A Day Tuesday

One of my favorite ways to incorporate partner work in classes is to have one partner squat while holding an exercise band around their partner’s waist. The partner with the band around them then does moves like jabs, hook punches, upper cuts, high knees, and burpees for a designated amount of time, working against the resistance of the band. I also had the members do high five pushups together. You didn’t think I’d teach my last class without any burpees or pushups, did you?!

After the partner work, we had about 15 minutes left, so we busted through my ten favorite awkward exercises that I’ve dubbed “awk move of the night” in past classes. Everyone was laughing a LOT during this part of class, so we got an extra ab workout! I plan to dedicate a whole separate post to these awk moves, so you’ll have to stay tuned until my next Awk Spot post. Any guesses on what the awkward exercises were?!

I ended class with a plank hold, obviously.

Last Two A Day Tuesday

The best part of the night was after class though. I said my last good-bye, thanked everyone, and put my weights away, only to turn back and find a setup of presents just sitting in my spot. I was very surprised to see a giant pinata in the shape of a two (for Two A Day), a thank you balloon, and two bottles of wine waiting for me. My gym friends sure are quick and sneaky!

Last Two A Day

How amazing is it that the two was accidentally backwards? Makes it even more fantastic. My friends also had as many class members as they could pull aside sign a goodbye/thank you card for me before class started. I couldn’t read this in person without getting sappy, but I felt so happy and appreciated after reading these notes at home.

Last Two A Day

These class members are so AWESOME AND NICE. Things like this are why I teach and do what I do.

Last Two A Day Tuesday

When I got home, I posted the following Facebook status:

Last Two A Day

And I really meant every word of it! Two A Day is where¬† I met all my gym friends, and I couldn’t be more thankful for them.

Last Two A Day

Liz, who has taught Kickboxing before my Interval class for years, brought me a separate goodbye gift that consisted of TWO to do lists (because we are both neurotic and Type A), TWO pieces of fruit, an iTunes gift card for new class music, and the playlist that she created especially for me that night in Kickboxing. So sweet!

Last Two A Day

Last Two A Day

Thank you to everyone who made my last class so special! I feel so loved. You’re all awesome.

–Let’s chat–
When’s the last time someone or a group of people did something really nice for you?

I’m off to work! Today is an exciting day because it’s our first farm share delivery. I can’t wait to see what produce gets delivered right to my desk. Have a good one!

Chicago Adventures

At the beginning of April, I went on a work trip to Minneapolis. The best part about that work trip was that I got to tack on personal travel to Chicago for a girls weekend with my gym friends, Jen (the one who lives in Canada) and Ashley.

Here’s my weekend recap, which you may have already read about weeks ago in Jen’s recap posts here and here. Also, a lot of picture credit for the photos in this post go to both Jen and Ashley. My phone was uncooperative at many points during the weekend, so I made them send me pictures I could steal and use for F&F. Thanks ladies!

Chicago Adventures

I landed around 3pm on Friday and found Jen at the Starbucks at the “base of the Y” at my terminal. Get it? We decided to meet at the base of the Y in the airport because in real life we met in the basement of the Y. Yup, we’re cool. I was so excited to see Jen after not seeing her since her wedding that we had several elevator and train and even walking mishaps on the way to the hotel, but it didn’t even matter because the street smelled like brownie sundaes and we were all yayy and chatty and reunited. Don’t ask.

Once we found Ashley (who had already taken care of check in and the most important job of buying SNACKS), we walked down Michigan Ave to the Signature Room in the John Hancock building to start our weekend off right. By that I mean ordering pink cocktails with a view.

Chicago: Signature Room

Chicago Signature Room

Chicago: Signature Room Ashley and Me

For dinner we went to a Mexican restaurant called Mercadito, where I had one of the most delicious margaritas I’ve ever had in my life.

Chicago: Mercadito Margaritas

We were psyched to snag patio seating, even if limited to only 90 minutes. We ordered chips and guac (duh) and three different kinds of tacos to share. They didn’t disappoint.

Chicago: Mercadito TacosI think the best part of the weekend was just hanging out, relaxing, and talking over good food!

Chicago Margaritas at Mercadito

After dinner, we continued on to a piano bar called The Redhead. This place made me think of my friend Bridget because she’s a ginger.

Chicago: The Readhead

We were hoping for a slightly different scene (aka more dancing, less old people), but we hung out for a bit while sipping really strong (too strong) martinis. Then we laughed about being old women drinking martinis at a piano bar. Shoot. Finally, our last stop was back at our hotel bar. This place had every possible chair, sofa, loveseat, and ottoman combination you can think of, all set up in different places, so naturally we had a little fun with that.

On Saturday we woke up and grabbed bagels before going on our bike tour! Since we were doing the Bikes, Bites, and Brews tour, we probably didn’t need to carb up before carb loading all day, but what fun is vacation without extra carbs?

Chicago: Bobby's Bike Hike
Backing up for a minute: when Jen and Ashley said they wanted to do a bike tour, I was REALLY nervous. Like really, really nervous. I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was fifteen years old, and I was honestly having a bit of anxiety about navigating through the streets of Chicago. I gave myself a pep talk though, and made myself follow my own advice about getting out of my comfort zone. This is silly to admit, but to prepare I went over to Slesh’s apartment and had her watch me ride her bike in the parking lot down the street. Yup. It was like I was a six-year-old child learning to ride a two-wheeler for the first time. I guess you can only ask your best friend for help with something like that.

Text

But just for the record, the saying really is true. It’s like… riding a bike. You don’t forget how. Our lesson lasted about five minutes, and I was fine, but I’m glad I did that to ease my nerves before gracefully cycling through city streets.

Here are some scenes from our bike adventures:

Chicago: Bike Tour

Jen got to wear the reflective vest because she volunteered to be safety patrol and bring up the rear of our tour! She’s so responsible.

Chicago Bike Tour

Our tour had three scheduled food stops along the way. The first was at Gino’s East for deep dish pizza. Deep dish pizza with corn bread crust, might I add.

Chicago Bike Tour: Ginos East

The second was for dessert at an awesome cupcakery called Swirlz. The cupcakes were to die for.

Chicago Swirlz Cupcakes

And the third food stop was for a Chicago style hot dog at a place called Murphy’s Red Hots. No ketchup, lots of toppings.

Chicago: Hot Dogs at Murphys

Aside from the food, we stopped a couple of times along the way for some photo ops. I do wish the tour guide gave us a little more background on Chicago history or fun facts about the neighborhoods as we biked through, but I think the other tours are better suited for that!

Chicago Bike Tour2

The end of the tour included two stops for beers. The first was in the Wrigley Field area. I was so excited for this part because my Yiayia grew up in Chicago and was always a fan of the Cubs!

Chicago: Wrigley Field

Chicago Wrigley Field

The first bar stop was at Murphy’s Bleachers, where I tried the Three Floyd’s Gumballhead. Wheat beer + citrus = yes.

Chicago: Murphys Bleachers

The second beer stop was at a restaurant called RJ Grunts. This place apparently invented the salad bar? I wish we could have stayed longer there, and I also wish we got more than just an itty bitty pour of beer.

Chicago: RJ Grunts
Finally, our last stop of the bike tour was along the water. Pretty views!

Chicago along the water

After our bike tour, we headed back to our hotel to drink prosecco, eat snacks, and jam out relax, clean up, and get changed for the night.

Chicago: Snacking

For dinner we ate at Gene and Georgetti, a really old school steakhouse that Ashley’s family has connections with. We continued our day of eating with big salads, (huge) steaks, asparagus, and a bottle of red wine.

Chicago: Gene and Georgetti

Chicago: Gene and Georgetti's

After dinner, we continued on for more wine at a more modern steakhouse and bar, Chicago Cut. Loved the vibe here, and we could browse the menu on an iPad. Fancy shmancy.

Chicago DrinksFinally, we finished our night at a Second City comedy show (no pictures!). Since all three of us are trying to save money, we opted to go to the hour long post show for free at 1am after the main showtime, but I really really wish we had just splurged on tickets to the real thing because we were laughing so hard.

The next morning we woke up and headed to a place called Rockit for brunch. Mimosas were a must, and I ordered a California omelette (WHY are omelettes with guacamole the best?) and one of the best side fruit salads I’ve ordered. A side fruit salad is solid in my book when it has more than just honeydew melon in it. Amiright?

Chicago: Rockit

We only had a couple of hours left to walk around the city before we had to catch our flights, so we did a little tourist action at Millenium Park and at the bean.

Chicago: Millenium Park

Chicago: The BeanChicago: The Bean

Chicago: Touring

We did a little more walking around and finished our day at Ghirardelli’s for some chocolate in beverage form.

Chicago: Ghirardellis

It was such an awesome weekend, but as expected, it FLEW by. I felt like the second we got there it was time to leave! I was really sad to have to part ways with the girls on Sunday (especially my sad hug goodbye with Jen in the airport), but after being away from Tim and home for a whole week, I was happy to be home. I love traveling and getting away, but there’s just nothing like that feeling of landing back in Beantown.

–Let’s chat–
Have you ever been to Chicago? What’s your favorite part of the city, restaurant, or thing to do? When’s the last time you rode a bike? Also, when can I go back to Chicago?!

I think I could live there!