Life Lately: December 2014

Last week I blasted you with my November life update, and today I’m here to share scenes from December and the holidays.

Life Lately

The month kicked off with two girls nights in a row, and both were on school nights too! The first was a midweek fitness date with my gym friends Liz, Ashley, and Mary. We took a class at The Studio Empower and then treated Liz to a belated birthday dinner at Farmstead Table in Newton. It was so cute in there, and our farm to table food was perfect.

Studio EmpowerFarmstead Table

The following night, I met up with my friend Erin downtown for dinner at Rustic Kitchen before we saw The Nutcracker! <–Recap post here.

Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker

Tim and I spent the first weekend in December enjoying some quality time together. Friday night was spent at home before heading up to Portsmouth on Saturday for our annual overnight. We typically go in the fall, but this year we didn’t have a weekend to use our free Marriott night until December. It was really nice being up there at Christmas time for a change. Everything was decorated, and we were able to get a lot of Christmas shopping done during the day on Saturday.

Portsmouth NH 2014

We ate dinner out on Saturday night at Cava, and it was one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to in my life. We sat at the bar downstairs, drank a bottle of wine (oops!), and left happy and full from all the delicious small plates we sampled. Crazy new try of the night? Octopus ink! Ever had it?

Cava Tapas and Wine Bar

Finally, on Sunday we grabbed coffee and a quick breakfast at Popovers on the Square before hitting up the Kittery outlets for some more shopping. Neither one of us wanted to head back to Boston that night!

Popovers on the Square

The following week we decorated and got our Christmas tree. Every year we get it from McKay’s trees, which isn’t anything special, but it’s close by, and the people there are so nice. Our tree this year almost didn’t even fit in the house. Tim had to get his saw from the basement. I didn’t even know we owned a saw? Good to know.

Christmas Tree 2014Christmas

Despite turning down a few invites, the rest of the month was one holiday gathering after another. Luckily, since we did most of our shopping in Portsmouth, the weekdays weren’t too crazy, which made the busy weekends more manageable. The weekend of the 12-14th kicked off with Christmas dinner and a slumber party at Katrina and Geoff’s new house on Friday night. I almost had a mental breakdown in the amount of traffic we hit getting there, but once we got there and started cooking all together, drinking wine (confession: I have completely turned into a wine-o if you couldn’t tell from my life lately posts the last couple of months), and laughing, I was fine. I’m still mad I forgot my cranberry and pistachio bark though!

Wally World Christmas 2014Wally World Christmas 2014 Wally World Christmas 2014Wally World Christmas 2014

On Saturday we celebrated Christmas with my dad’s side of the family at my grandfather’s house in New Bedford. We did a Yankee swap instead of a secret Santa this year, and since it was my uncle’s birthday, we also had a cake for him.

New Bedford Christmas 2014New Bedford Christmas 2014New Bedford Christmas 2014

Finally, on Sunday after a really hard workout from all the food we ate on Friday and Saturday, we headed to my godfather’s for a holiday luncheon with all my second cousins. The following weekend we had my work Christmas party at Julia’s house on Friday night, and on Saturday night we had the 15th annual Christmas party with my home friends at Shannon’s apartment. I can’t believe she’s hosted this party for 15 years straight (or that we’ve all been friends for so long!).

Shannon's Christmas Party 2014Food for Shannon's 2014Shannon's Christmas Party 2014Shannons Christmas Party 2014

This brings us into Christmas week. On Christmas Eve Eve, I went to Liz’s last kickboxing class (end of an era!), then Tim and I met some of my home friends at Rudy’s in Somerville to celebrate Shannon’s new job and Esk getting into medical school.

Liz's last kickboxing class

This year was the first year that we had Christmas Eve off from work, and it was so nice to spend the day at home together before heading to Tim’s cousin’s house like we do every year.

Pesto Stuffed TomatoesChristmas Eve 2014

Tim and I also have two Christmas Eve traditions of our own. The first is to do a random act of kindness for someone. This year we gave a ten-dollar bill to the person working the tolls on the mass pike, and we asked him to please pay the toll for however many cars it would cover after us. We also always exchange an ornament before going to bed. My ornament was my favorite gift that I received during the entire holiday season this year. Tim had a custom one created with a picture of the lighthouse where we got engaged this summer. Love!

Christmas Eve ornament

On Christmas Day, we woke up and exchanged our other presents for each other and opened our stockings before cooking a festive breakfast (our other holiday tradition together!). We each got each other a new winter jacket and winter hat. Does that make us lame? Tim also got me a kettlebell, a couple of new workout tops, and a cozy infinity scarf, and I also got Tim tickets to a beer and cheese festival in February.

Stockings on Christmas 2014Healthy french toast casserole

The rest of the day was spent at my parents’ house with my mom’s side of the family! Seemed like it went by in a flash.

Christmas 2014 Christmas 2014Christmas 2014 Christmas 2014 Cranberry White Chocolate Bars

The weekend immediately following Christmas was our 8th and final wedding of 2014, which we have officially dubbed the year of weddings. Tim was a groomsman in this one, so we spent Friday night at the rehearsal dinner at Smith and Wollensky’s, and Saturday was the wedding itself at the Boston Public Library. Holy fancy! We had such a fun time, and I enjoyed getting to know some of these friends a little bit better.

Doug and Carolyn's Rehearsal DinnerDoug and Carolyn's Wedding Doug and Carolyn's Wedding: GirlsDoug and Carolyn's Wedding Doug and Carolyn's Wedding

Finally, we finished out our month (and year) with dinner out at Solea on Moody Street and meeting up with friends at Hopsters to count down at midnight.

NYE 2014

I have no idea how we survived the last two months, but somehow we did!

Readers, let’s chat! What was the best part of your holiday season? Tell me about your favorite traditions, the best party you went to, or your favorite relaxing day at home.

I just love sitting on the couch with Tim with our tree lit up, a cup of tea, and a Christmas candle lit! I am looking forward to more of this (sans tree) in January now that our weekends are no longer jam-packed. I know I haven’t written about my 2015 intentions yet, but one of them definitely is to create more space. I need to be more mindful of living in the moment so I’m not always thinking about the next place we have to go. This is something I struggle with! Tim and I are both social butterflies despite still turning down more things than we ever have this year.

Hope you guys are having a great week so far. ❤

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!

Life Lately {August 2014}

August was yet another crazy month.

Life Lately

I had a total of two weekends with minimal plans at the beginning of the month, so I tried to soak up as much spontaneity as I could. We kicked off that first weekend with an impromptu get together at our friend Sam’s parents’ house. Sam lives in DC and was home for the weekend, so his parents hosted a lot of friends and family. They own an organic farm in Wrentham, so it was thrilling to go to a dinner party and pile my plate like this:

Sam's Parents House

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to join my friends Liz and Alice at a btone class in Lexington.

btone fitness lexington

We took the Tone N Torch class, which was an awesome combination of cardio blasts and strength training exercises on the Megaformer machines. I used my free ClassPass trial to attend this class, but I’m sad to say that I am officially the worst ClassPass user in the entire world! This has nothing to do with ClassPass not being awesome (um, hello, it gives you access to so many AMAZING studios around the city), but for my crazy schedule this year, I really didn’t get a chance to put it to good use. Several of the studios are smack in the middle of the city, and it’s hard for me to commute into the city when I work outside of Boston. Unfortunately, this spring and summer I’ve had to choose the convenience of working out close to home over trying new fitness things in the city to maximize on time. ClassPass, I’m sorry that I can’t give you a fair review on F&F, but maybe you’ll let me try again someday!!

After my Saturday morning workout, I remember having a day to just LOUNGE, and then Tim and I had a date night in the city. We tried Merchant, and even though the food and drinks did not disappoint, the vibe was a bit slow and empty. I thought maybe it was just the night, but I went with my friends from home a couple of weeks later only to find the same thing. Meh.

Merchant

On Sunday, we headed back into the city to meet up with my friends Meghan and Erin because Meg was in town from DC! We grabbed brunch at Temazcal by the seaport, and then spent the rest of the day having a Sunday Funday at Harpoon Brewery. It was so great to catch up with these friends!

Harpoon Brewery TourHarpoon Brewery

The following week I had a really awesome Thursday night out with my old roommates. Slesh, Katrina, Bridget, and I met at Gather downtown for dinner and drinks. Highly recommend! I also asked the girls that night to be in my wedding, and you bet we caused a scene. More on that in another post, but that night was exactly what I needed.

Gather Boston

That weekend included two days of some much-needed beach and sun time along with dinner out with my friends from home at Papagayo.

Carson Beach

Then things picked right back up again! There was one weekend in August where I had a wedding, a bridal shower, and my dad’s 60th birthday party all in 24 hours.

Cristin and Andy’s wedding was so beautiful and BOSTON! Check out this view from our hotel room.

Cristin and Andy's Wedding

They got married in a church located in Cristin’s hometown, but the party was under a tent at the Hyatt Harborside. Cristin looked beautiful, and it was a fun night seeing friends I used to work with! We barely get to see each other anymore.

Cristin and Andy's Wedding

Cristin and Andy's Wedding

Cristin and Andy's Wedding

Cristin and Andy's Wedding

The next morning I woke up early to book it to my friend Patrice’s bridal shower. Unfortunately, since it was the same day as my dad’s 60th birthday party, I couldn’t make it to the luncheon part, but Patrice’s bridesmaids organized a fun little pre-shower paint party at the Paint Bar for her. I was happy to at least be able to make it to part of Patrice’s special day. We painted flowers, and the colors of the painting were chosen to match the colors for the wedding. I loved this idea so much.

Paint Bar for Patrice's Shower

After the shower I rushed home to prep a few things, then Tim and I made our way to my parents’ house for my dad’s birthday party. We had a lot of fun with family, ate and drank, danced and played games in the yard, and reminisced as my dad opened his gifts. I put together a memory book for him where each guest submitted a few of their favorite memories of my dad. I called it Sixty Plus Memories For Sixty Years of Chuck.

Dad's 60th Birthday

Dads 60th Birthday

Dads 60th BirthdayDads 60th Birthday

The following weekend brought me to New Jersey for my friend Erica’s bridal shower! On Friday night, Bridget, Erica, Kelly, and I stayed at Erica’s parents’ condo. We had a lovely meal, toasted champagne, and just caught up. The shower was held at Erica’s godmother’s beautiful home, and the weather held out for us! It was such a great day celebrating one of my best friends, and I plan to recap it more soon because I have so many awesome pictures from the day.

Erica's Bridal Shower

After the shower, Slesh and I stayed at her parents’ house in Connecticut to break up our ride home. It was another great night of just sitting back and chatting over wine. It’s funny how sometimes it takes traveling to NJ or CT to slow down, huh?

The end of August was spent in full wedding planning mode. I felt like all I did was research venues, call venues, and go to venues, but at least I had my birthday weekend to wrap up the month. I turned 29, and let me tell you that 29 is completely and utterly UNEXCITING. And I loved every second of it. It was the first year I didn’t care to celebrate much at all and wanted something really low key. Tim got me flowers and tickets to go see The Lion King in October, which I’m psyched about because I’ve never seen that show, and I’ve always wanted to go.

Birthday Weekend: 29

On Saturday, we spent the day with my parents first at a couple of venues but then at Duxbury beach for the afternoon. At night we had dinner and drinks at The Olde Salte House in Cohasset. On Sunday (my actual birthday), we headed up to Newburyport for a day trip with Slesh and Will. We got some more beach time in, and then grabbed a couple of drinks at The Black Cow on the waterfront. I loved it there, and I’m not sure how I hadn’t discovered it before!

29th Birthday in Newburyport29th Birthday in Newburyport

After our day trip, we headed home and Tim took me out to dinner at Dante. We were going to eat on their outdoor patio that overlooks the Charles, but it was pouring so we had to stay put inside. I was bummed, but we still had a great night out and enjoyed an awesome meal and a bottle of wine. After dinner, we continued our night at one of our favorite bars down the street, Mead Hall.

29th Birthday Dinner and Drinks

And that was my August!

–Let’s chat–
How did August treat you? Even though we’re well into September, what’s something great that already happened this month or what else are looking forward to?

I was happy to kick off my September with a week off from work and a long weekend getaway to Portland, one of our favorite places. We also had a free weekend last weekend and another one coming up this weekend. I’m excited that September has slowed down, but I cannot wait for Erica and Chris’s wedding festivities in NYC in less than two weeks! Eeek!