A Kind 26th Birthday

I’m glad you guys seem to be enjoying my cruise recap! I neglected to mention the super-cool way I got to the airport – via a new-to-me car service called Blacklane! They approached me asking if I’d be interested in trying them out and sharing my experience (so full disclosure, yes it was free). For what would have been $50-something, a black Mercedes came to pick me up super-early Friday morning to take me to Logan. The driver was polite, on-time (early, in fact), and kind enough to offer me travel snacks! The car was pretty baller, and extremely clean. I don’t think Blacklane is for me if I want to just get somewhere for something everyday (or night). But if I was trying to show up somewhere in style, it would be a great affordable alternative to your typical towncar service!

If you're interested in trying it out, use code KS5HMBGQ for $10 off your first ride.

If you’re interested in trying it out, use my code KS5HMBGQ for $10 off your first ride. Look at those snacks! :-D

So I would consider my 26th birthday celebrations to have begun on Saturday 3/21, the day before my actual birthday on the 22nd. I was supposed to come back to Florida on Friday the 20th, but I woke up that morning knowing I wasn’t ready quiiiite yet to go back to the still-frigid Boston temps. So I got my flight switched to the next day, and ended up travelling back on Saturday.

I mean, would you have wanted to leave this?

I mean, would you have wanted to leave this?

Some of you may have read my post about something I’ve been practicing – using my kind voice. I’m pleased to report that I used my kind voice during all of my birthday celebrations, and had a wonderful, no-regrets birthday because of it! I first started using it on the plane ride back, when I made a few decisions. Firstly, I decided not to have a drink on the plane, NOT because of the calories in the drink, but because I knew it’d make me drowsy for the big night out I had planned. And secondly, I decided to snack on the peanut M&Ms from the Blacklane car on the plane, because I was hungry and snacking on an airplane is just so satisfying.

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My flight was delayed so I got ready at epic speed. I decided I wanted to feel fabulous on my birthday, which meant a breezy dress and heels. Since the temps were so low, I treated myself to Ubers and cabs all night. Another kind decision, and one that enabled me to wear an outfit that made me feel confident all night.

That crown was the cherry on top of the fab outfit, even if I found it on a random table.

That crown was the cherry on top of the fab outfit, even if I found it on a random table.

I started the night at Citizen for one of my favorite cocktails in Boston, the Ideal Manhattan (Marker’s Mark, St. Germain, Cinzano Rosso, Angostura Bitters, Grapefruit Bitters). Plus some one-on-one time with my great friend Emily. I also got to see Laura, one of the best bartenders I know (and also a friend/blogger!), and tell her about my trip!

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Then we went to Eastern Standard to join the rest of a big group for dinner. I’m sure it’s a surprise to no one that I selected that spot! My kind voice stepped in and squashed any hesitation I had about ordering the calamari. I had been craving it for a couple of weeks, and the one time I ordered calamari on the cruise I have to say it was god-awful, so I ordered that calamari and I barely shared it with anyone. No regrets.

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Plus another favorite cocktail in Boston – Eastern Standard’s Prospect Park.

Some other kind decisions I made at dinner…only ordering one drink, because two Manhattan-style cocktails will make any girl feel a bit woozy and I had a long night ahead. Ordering salmon because I love it, but not finishing it all because I was totally satisfied. Enjoying a bite of bread pudding, but no more than that because again I was satisfied, and knew that if I ate any sugar, I’d get too full and I’d crash and never be able to make it out to continue that aforementioned long night. Plus I’d rather eat late night food than dessert any night (which is exactly what I did later).

Molly looks so relieved to be my friend.

Molly looks so relieved to be my friend.

Jeannie also made me feel super special by calling ahead to the restaurant and ordering a glass of bubbly for the table! The waiter greeted us with it when we arrived, and then we all had a birthday toast. That’s just the kind of thing that is SO fun on a birthday and I truly appreciated the gesture from Jeannie!

Service at Eastern Standard was awesome per usual, right down to the kind staff member willing to take this truly ridiculous photo.

Some of the group took an Uber to a place I’ve really been enjoying lately, Highball Lounge. The last time I went there on a Saturday night the vibe was so alive (as cheesy as that sounds) and I wanted to experience that again!

My favorite Twitter couple Amy and Ratty came out to celebrate with me! Sorry for "flashing" you, Amy!

My favorite Twitter couple Amy and Ratty came out to celebrate with me! Sorry for “flashing” you, Amy! Also, their Backyard Punch cocktails were so tasty and pretty.

My friends and I played board games (a little), sipped Rose (a fair amount), and laughed (a ton). It was a great night out! And I didn’t even drink as much as I do on other nights I go out, not because I was holding back, but because I just was having fun playing games and chatting and taking photos with my friends.

Hungry Hungry Hippos! Highball’s “thing” is board games.

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Their thing is also rubber ducks.

I slept fairly well, woke up on my actual birthday, and decided to lay around in bed longer than I usually do (and catch up on Revenge).  Then came time to decide – to gym or not to gym? I wasn’t hungover, and decided that I’d enjoy the rest of my day a whole lot more if I went for even half an hour. So that’s what I did, and I left totally satisfied. I did have some more productive things I had to do – laundry and grocery shopping – but I did them because I knew how much easier my week ahead would be if I did! And then at 4PM, the fun began.

A delicious Brooklyn, at Drink!

A delicious Brooklyn, at Drink!

Allie texted and invited me to do something fun for my birthday so I suggested we meet up at Drink for a cool cocktail since I hadn’t been there since before I lived in Boston. It didn’t disappoint!

Oops, faded flash tats from the night prior!

Then we decided to go across the street and have dinner at Pastoral. The food was to die for, as was my Negroni! We feasted on Brussels sprouts, roasted cauliflower, and a life-changing sausage and ricotta stuffed roll. I also had some tasty octopus and beans.

This was my second time at Pastoral and I would gladly return. Great food and beverages!

This was my second time at Pastoral and I would gladly return.

And THEN we decided to keep the night going, because I wasn’t ready to be done with my birthday despite having work the next day. So the kind decision was to allow myself to not be done, and go to our next stop, the cigar bar!

We sipped Malbec (Cigar Box, how fitting), had a great heart to heart, and accepted free drinks from various cigar bar patrons. An hour before we ended up leaving, I made the kind decision to decline offers for more free drinks, and switch to all water. And that’s probably why when I woke up the next morning, I felt well rested thanks to good sleep, and not hungover either, despite being out from 4-11PM!

Overall it was a great and kind birthday that left me feeling happy, relaxed, and thankful for the people in my life here in Boston that made the weekend so fun for me. I’m happy that I let myself eat and drink exactly what I wanted, work out exactly how much I wanted, and most importantly just do what I wanted without worrying too much about…what I was doing!

What did you do to celebrate your last birthday?

Do you ever allow yourself to stay out late on a work night?

#CruisingWithTheCroswells

I’m back, and I don’t just mean back to this blog (sorry about that inadvertent hiatus, guys!), but also back from an amazing vacation with my family. I’m lucky to have parents that love going on fun trips; we went to Mexico last year during my brother’s and sister’s spring breaks (which thankfully fall on the same week). This year we went to Mexico again, but also to Belize, and also to sea…we took our first family cruise!

How did it go? Well, spoiler alert…

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Five Foodie Finds Friday

Before I get into today’s post, I’d like to announce the winner of my Redpack Tomatoes prize pack giveaway! The randomly generated winning entry number is entry #12, from Lisa! Congrats, lady – I’ll be reaching out to you about claiming your prize!

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Hello hello, it’s time for Five Things Friday. I am taking a half day at work today so that I can beat traffic when driving home to Connecticut. I can’t wait for an evening of friends, family, and my good friend the J. Gilbert’s barrel-aged Manhattan. He’s just so dependable. Anyway, this Five Things post ended up unintentionally becoming a post about foodie products and dishes that I’ve enjoyed as of late. So I figured I’d theme it around just that! Let’s get down to it.

Link up with Clare if you’re sharing five things today too!

1. It’s been a week of recipe wins! First that fantastic chickpea salad, and then Running with Spoons pumpkin chili Mexican scramble. This tasted great freshly made as well as leftover last night.

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Trading into March

Remember to enter my Redpack Tomatoes prize pack giveaway – it ends tonight at 11:59PM EST!

I can hardly believe it’s March. It sure doesn’t feel like it! I can only hope that once I get back from the cruise my family and I are going on in a couple of weeks (my first cruise!), spring will have arrived in Boston. For now there is no sign of the weather warming up, which I’d certainly trade. But there are also a few things I wouldn’t trade, so I’m here to update you guys on life via Trade Em Up Tuesday.

I would not trade…a baller spin class last night. Just had to mention that one straight off. It felt great. Thank you Danielle Dee for starting my week off with a kick-ass workout.

I would trade…my free week at CorePower Yoga ending. I got in four classes – three Sculpt (heated with weights) and one Hot Power Fusion. I decided to purchase a Groupon for a month of unlimited classes, and am going to activate it once I’m back from the cruise. I seriously am so excited about how much I have enjoyed these classes. It’s been awhile since I found a workout that left me undoubtedly satisfied once completed. No question about whether or not I did enough, no consideration of going to the gym to do more. I just walk out feeling refreshed and strong. I can’t wait until I’ve returned to Boston for a full month so that I can get back to the mat!

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You Say Tomato, I Say Giveaway!

I received Redpack Tomato products for use in this review/giveaway. This is not a sponsored post.

I know some of you don’t think my “product posts” are authentic, but I can assure you, I only accept products that I actually use. Perfect example – canned tomato products. This is my third post about my using – and also giving away – those very kitchen staples. And I could never run out of recipes in which to use them! Redpack asked me if I wanted to do yet another giveaway for one of their canned tomato product kits. Who doesn’t love free stuff? I said yes, jumping at the chance to a) get some dinner ingredients and b) give my readers another chance to win the same ingredients.

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NEDAwareness Week 2015: I Had No Idea

Tomorrow is the last day of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and I didn’t want the week to end without acknowledging it on this blog. Especially since I have been having SUCH a hard time lately accepting myself as I am now – my body, my lifestyle, my values. I’m so thankful to be a part of a community of friends who encourage and support me every day. I’m so happy to have family members who have never stopped encouraging me to recover, even when I’m a jerk to them when I’m having a bad day (sorry, Mom). And I’m glad that organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) exist to bring awareness to these awful diseases, which so often get brushed off, go undiagnosed, and are underestimated.

I had no idea…that fats were essential to live. That is, until my skin was constantly itchy and my hair became brittle.

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Weekend Trades

I haven’t been up for doing much writing lately, so I’ve been fairly absent recently – my bad. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that forcing myself to write is a whole lot more frustrating than letting this blog go post-less for a week or so. Good has been happening lately, but a whole lot of bad on the emotional front as well. Sounds like a prime time for Trade Em Up Tuesday.

Seems I'm not alone!

Seems I’m not alone!

I would not trade…trying out a tasty new-to-me restaurant. Friday night I selected Marliave for a girls night with Jeannie and Allie. The menu looked super promising and I’m always down for starting my weekend with a good meal out. Despite some iffy service, we all really enjoyed our food and drinks! French restaurants do damn good French fries.

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Very Thoughtful Thursday

I’m coming off of a rough few weeks as some of you may know, and also a very productive therapy session, so I have some reflections that I want to share on this Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

Link up with Amanda today no matter how deep your thoughts!

I seem to re-learn this lesson time and time again, but I think having strict rules has been backfiring on me. I decided after I got back from Florida that I was going to cut down on drinking by not having any wine on nights I stayed in – even on nights I wanted to. I also decided to really focus on keeping my eats at home “cleaner”. Well, this has not worked very well, because now on nights I am out I have found myself really overdoing it. And that’s been resulting in mental consequences far greater than any I’d be having if I was enjoying a glass of wine or two at home when I wanted to. Perfect example – Monday night I was snowed in and really wanted a glass of red. I couldn’t stop thinking about it! But I texted some friends, made plans to go out to eat the next night, and told myself THEN I could have a drink.

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I Would Trade WINTER.

I’m blogging two days in a row thanks to working from home. I refuse to thank the thing responsible for me working from home…snow. Winter. Freezing temps. Huge messes. That’s because I would rather work EXTRA than have winter stick around and keep acting the way it has. So I’ll start Trade Em Up Tuesday with that - I would absolutely trade winter.

I would not trade…this incredible tempeh and black bean casserole I had for dinner last night. There was not a lot leftover, despite my plans for it to last me 2-3 dinners this week. I’m so glad I chose to use corn tortillas instead of flour. So much more satisfying!

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Marvelous Visitors!

This past Saturday, two very special visitors touched down in Boston to stay the night – my good friend Rachel and her husband Steve! She got her wedding dress on Newbury Street, so thankfully for me, each fitting involves a visit to moi. (Rachel and Steve got married in a family-only church ceremony on New Year’s Day, but are having a big ceremony/party in Mexico in June, hence why Rachel the wife still needs a dress fitting.) And once the fitting was done (of course Steve didn’t accompany us to that portion), I had plenty of marvelous activities planned for the three of us.

Link up with Katie if you’re sharing a marvelous post today too!

Marvelous is…retail therapy. Before reuniting with Steve, we took advantage of girl time and headed to the Pru for some shopping, which I actually haven’t done since moving here. LOFT was having a great sale so I got a couple of tops for just $36, and a very helpful Sephora associate helped me pick out my first bronzer and eyebrow pencil. I’m really growing up!

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