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.


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!

Eats from the Past Week

Let’s talk food, yes?

Last Sunday, I met up with my friend Erin for lunch at Seasons 52 in Burlington. We spent a few hours catching up on life while enjoying a delicious lunch. We started by splitting a plum tomato flatbread, which is always a go-to of mine at this restaurant.

Seasons 52 Flatbread

We each had a glass of wine, but I ordered the lemongrass salmon salad while Erin ordered the chicken caprese sandwich.

Seasons 52 Salmon Salad

Seasons 52: Chicken Caprese

We finished our lunch off with dessert. One of my favorite things about Seasons 52 is their “mini indulgence” concept. Sometimes all I want is a couple of bites of dessert, not a ginormous dish of it. I ordered the pumpkin pie, and Erin got chocolate and peanut butter. Yum!

Seasons 52: Mini Indulgences

Since Erin and I were at lunch for a while, and I stopped by Tim’s sister’s apartment on the way home (which included some cheese and crackers), I felt too full to eat dinner.

On Monday my lunch was a throw together salad. It consisted of grilled chicken, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, green peppers, and some crumbled feta over spinach. I was pretty much trying to use up leftovers.

Throw Together Salad

Then dinner was a tried and true favorite, white bean and chard gnocchi.

White Bean Swiss Chard Gnocchi

On Monday Tim also spent a lot of time in the kitchen making his own chicken broth for the first time. He broke down chicken backs and everything to make a big chicken and veggie soup. This was my lunch on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Thanks, boyfriend!

Chicken and Veggie Soup

Dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday was meatless, as we made chickpea burgers and topped them with melted cheese and some greens.

Chickpea Burgers

On Thursday I barely ate any lunch because I was running around all day for the health fair at work. I had a banana in the morning and a Kind bar later on. After the fair ended around 3:30, I scarfed down a half sandwich provided by our company’s catering staff. And then I indulged at night, which I felt I deserved after such a successful event! Tim and I got dinner at Bonefish Grill in Burlington, and everything was just great. I will be doing a restaurant review post on our experience soon, but I have nothing but rave reviews for the seafood!

Bonefish Grill

And the wine. 😉

Bonefish Grill

My meals were a little random over the weekend since I was at Mania for most of it. On Friday and Saturday I grabbed a quick Starbucks wrap at the hotel, on Friday night I had some jicama and shrimp salad, and on Saturday night I stopped in at my parents’ house on the way home from the convention and ate a burger and a side salad.

Last week I also made a batch of Lindsay’s pumpkin pie balls, and they turned out great! Perfect grab and go healthy snack, even if a few people on my Instagram thought they looked like meatballs!

Pumpkin Pie Balls

On this week’s meal plan? Grilled chicken salads with avocado and pomegranate, quinoa with cranberries and walnuts, turkey loaf with roasted vegetables, spaghetti squash casserole, roasted red pepper chili, and Friends-Giving on Thursday at Slesh’s.

Readers, let’s chat. Tell me about some recent eats or something on your plate this week. Anyone trying any new recipes?

The Awk Spot: The Time I Tripped and Dropped the Wine

Some of you may have noticed my Facebook post last week that insinuated I found myself in an awkward situation.

Awk Spot

Moi!?  In an awkward sitch?


Last Thursday night I hosted a wine and cheese night at my apartment with my old roomies.  That night I ended up staying at work a little later than anticipated, so I was running a little behind on my errands.  When I left work I still had to go to the grocery store to pick up some snacks and ingredients for homemade pizzas and salads, and I also wanted to pick up an extra bottle of red wine.  I definitely had enough wine at home in my new little wine corner, but I only had one bottle of red and wanted to make sure I had enough in case the girls were craving red.

Wine Corner

Isn’t my wine corner so cute?  Jen featured it yesterday in her Winesday Wednesday post!

ANYWAYS.  I decided to go to the Stop & Shop right near my office.  I remember thinking to myself as I was rushing in, “Athena, you should probably change into your flats instead of charging through the store in your heels.”

But I didn’t. 

I got all my groceries, and on the way out realized that there was a liquor store right next to Stop & Shop.  Perfect!  I also remember thinking to myself, “Athena, you should probably put these two bags of groceries in the car before you go picking out your wine.”

But I didn’t.

I barged into the liquor store to pick out my ONE bottle of wine, but because I’m a complete sucker for a sale, got distracted by the 3 bottles for $25 sign hanging above the Cupcake section.  I decided I would just stock up despite the fact I was already stocked up at home.  At this point, I couldn’t pick out my three bottles while still holding my two grocery bags and purse, so I asked the guys behind the register if I could put my grocery bags down on the counter for a hot second.  They agreed, so I did just that and picked out my three bottles.

After checking out, I thought I was all set.  I was carrying out my grocery bags in my left hand, with my purse over my left shoulder, and I did one “smooth” swoop of the wine bottles in the paper bag so that I was holding it underneath my right arm.  I went on my way, heels clicking along, and left the guys behind the counter to probably shake their heads and laugh at the hot mess bag lady.

hot mess

Hot mess?  Also an understatement.

So because I’m all for extra steps throughout the day and parked about a mile away from the entrance (or so it felt), I had ways to go from the entrance of the liquor store to my car.  I made it there – ALMOST – when the back of my right pant leg caught on my heel.  And I pitched forward.  And my precious cargo (“NOT the 3 for $25, NOT the 3 for $25!”) went FLYING.  And then it fell to the ground.  And then it broke.  Everywhere.

Three bottles of wine, broken.  Lots of glass.  A huge puddle.

At this point, any passerby definitely changed their perception of me from hot mess bag lady to alcoholic Tourette’s girl.  Because I was literally swearing, MOTHER EFFER EFF SH*T EFF MOTHER EFF SH*T, as I just stood there staring at my mess.  I’m not really sure how the bag fell at the angle it did, but I guess it pitched forward just as I did.  It looked like I could have thrown the bag a few feet in front of me.  I am very lucky, looking back at it now, that I didn’t get hurt with the glass OR ruin my dress pants with that stupid bottle of red wine.  Also, if any of my readers just happen to be the parents of the children who may or may not be introducing F bombs into their vocabulary this week after seeing/hearing my episode, please accept my dearest apologies.

So what do you do after this happens?  And after you make a huge scene?  You barge right back into the liquor store blubbering, that’s what!  I asked for someone to clean up the mess because I didn’t want anyone to get hurt or drive over the glass, and then I had the nerve to say, “I know this wasn’t your fault… I mean, YOU weren’t the one who tripped… but… is there any way I can get three more bottles?”

<insert cutest possible face here>

Note – not cute at all.  I was blubbering, remember?

Now the three guys are looking at each other like, wtf do we do.  Their manager wasn’t there, so they couldn’t give me free bottles as much as they felt bad for me.  But I was on a mission.  I bought three more.  I wasn’t leaving without them!

Yep, I said I bought three more.  So for those of you still reading (thank you) and paying attention (thank you) and doing the math, I spent FIFTY stupid dollars on wine when all I wanted to get was one bottle of red.

So you know what?  The girls and I drank that wine and pretended it was the fanciest, classiest wine we’ve ever drank.  And we had a wonderful night full of food, wine, and catching up.

Girls Night

Moral of the story?

  1. Take off your heels when grocery shopping.
  2. Put grocery bags away after grocery shopping / before next errand.
  3. Stop being such a sucker for a sale.

Oh, and one more thing.  Sometimes the blubbering face works.  The liquor store called me the next morning (because yes, I left my name and number), and said that while they couldn’t replace all three bottles for me since my little “accident” happened in the parking lot and not in the store, they did say that next time I come in they will be happy to give me one bottle for free.

…but I might be too embarrassed to ever go back there again.

Tell me about an awkward moment you’ve had lately!  Anything involving a graceful and dainty trip or fall?

For more of my awkward life, check out these past Awk Spot posts: