Friday February Check-In

It’s been a week since I shared my two goals for February – not drinking when I stay in and blow-drying my hair once a week – and I thought I’d check in on this Friday to share how that’s going so far.

It’s…kind of going!

Monday night went well. After an hour of spin class I really wanted to reward myself with a glass or five of wine, but cooking dinner was the perfect distraction. Once Jeff and I sat down and started eating, we totally forgot about having a drink. Oh, and Courtney’s Spaghetti Pie turned out awesome, though more like a casserole since I didn’t have a pie dish to use. I highly recommend this recipe!

It also helped that we had a fun event to look for on Tuesday night – a pop-up at the fabulous Envoy Hotel in Boston’s Seaport, to raise money for the New England Center & Home for Veterans and promote the food and drink of Envoy’s restaurant, Outlook Kitchen & Bar.

The champagne was so good! I didn’t even bother with cocktails; just stuck to the bubbles.

The Boston event scene is so fun because many of my friends attend the same events as me! I could show up solo with confidence that I’d bump into someone I know. But at this particular event, I knew in advance that Jeff, Kaitlin and her husband, and Matt would all be in attendance.

Everyone had a wonderful time. I had plenty of great snacks, but my favorite was the slider. I think I need to pay a visit to Outlook to try the burger! And hopefully this summer I can get up to the Envoy’s fabulous roofdeck bar, Lookout.

On Wednesday Jeff and I were back in again, but this time he was cooking for me! As the work day went on, my dreams of red wine later in the evening intensified, and the thought of sitting on my couch and drinking water while someone made me dinner seemed sad. That’s when I started negotiating. We had plans to go out to eat on Thursday night, and we’d normally drink, but why not drink while staying in on Wednesday and NOT drink on Thursday? The drinks at Thursday’s dinner destination weren’t necessarily worth it, plus we’d save money that day. It didn’t take us long to decide that was our plan.

Jeff’s pesto, tomato, and mozz chicken bake…amazing.

And I’m so glad we made that our plan! Sipping Earthshaker Wines L’Amis Barbaresco while dinner cooked in the oven was so very relaxing, and it paired perfectly with the Italian meal.

The next night we went on a double date with our friends Jenna and Jon to Zaftig’s Deli in Brookline. I have lived in Boston for two years, quite close to this place, and yet last night was my first trip. But not the last! I didn’t take any photos but sampled plenty from the menu and loved it all, minus the cantaloupe that came with my meal, but only because I don’t believe in eating fruit after 4pm. I kind of slash definitely adopted the mentality that since I wasn’t drinking, I could eat extra – not consuming calories from alcohol and all. Pretty silly of me but it happens. Once again I was very glad I didn’t drink and woke up super well rested this morning. I even put on jeans!

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So in terms of not drinking while staying in, it’s gone semi-well. I did drink one night at home, but traded that off with a night of not drinking while dining out. Tonight Jeff and I are grabbing a drink with Kaitlin and her Jeff, and then staying in to get takeout and watch a movie. A more low-key Friday than I usually go for, but I’m still quite excited!

Oh, and the blow drying – I haven’t had a chance to get to that one. But I have plans tomorrow afternoon after my post-Cyc shower, so the blow drying will happen then. I swear!

How was your week? What are your Friday night plans?

Bike, Barre, Row

January came with the opportunity to try several new fitness adventures here in Boston, and that’s really helped me stay fairly on track when it comes to consistent workouts. Today I’m sharing my experiences at Cyc in Back Bay, Barre & Soul in Harvard Square, and Community Rowing in Brighton.

Spin at Cyc Fitness

I’d previously been hesitant to try Cyc because I heard it involved a lot of time spent out in third position, holding onto the handlebars with one hand while keeping a weight in the other. This just isn’t my kind of spin. I like songs with arm action, but nothing too out there. Still, when I was offered some classes as part of the Calories for a Cause program (hate the name, love the support for the Challenged Athletes Foundation), I decided to experience Cyc firsthand and help a good cause at the same time. (For every class I take, $1 is donated.)

Cyc offers complimentary shoe rentals, but I prefer the clips on my own pair!

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Less Boozing, More Hair Drying

I’m coming off an awesome weekend in Charlotte visiting my sister Hannah! She moved there over the summer and I jumped on tickets for a super-cheap flight a few weeks ago so I could finally check out her new home. I met her friends, saw her beautiful apartment, shopped, got a couple of workouts in, and of course ate and drank all the things.

Turkey burger on rye from Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, complete with rosemary ham, pesto, cheese, and an egg!

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On a Lark at Gilded

Long-time readers of this blog will know I have a love affair with Newport, RI and make a point of visiting at least twice a year. Last November I took my first ever off-season trip, and found it to be an ideal time to visit. Restaurants are less crowded, but still bustling enough. Hotels are WAY cheaper. And there’s something charming about a seaside town in the winter.

Like being able to use a hotel fireplace!

Like being able to use a hotel fireplace!

The November trip was my boyfriend Jeff’s first ever visit to Newport, and he loved it. So I thought returning to there during his birthday weekend was the perfect way to celebrate his special day. But instead of the usual big-chain hotel, we stayed in a more special place – Gilded Hotel, one of two Lark Hotels Newport locations.

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Girls Night in Chestnut Hill Square

I’m so glad that Kaitlin moved to Boston in time for us to celebrate her birthday together! We spent late afternoon/evening of her special day at Chestnut Hill Square in the nearby suburb of Chestnut Hill.

The outing started with a trip to Francesca’s to pick out a necklace and pair of earrings. As Kaitlin said in her recap post, having a girlfriend there for feedback made the daunting task of selecting from many options a bit easier.

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I’ve been looking for a new makeup pouch for travel purposes, and when I saw this one, I couldn’t resist scooping it up!

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From High(ball) to (Laying) Low

Usually people post weekend recaps on Mondays, but I’ll use the fact that many (not me) had yesterday off as an excuse for why I am posting a weekend recap on a Tuesday. Moving on.

This weekend was a nice mix of going out and laying low. I took Friday as a rest day and was thrilled to use my time between work and going out to lay around on the couch, color, and finally start watching Master of None. I also got to spend my lunch break at Harry’s, my favorite Friday lunch spot near my office, with Kaitlin. It’s been so nice to see more of her since she moved here! And there’s nothing better than a Corona and salad for lunch on a Friday.

Jeff and I went out for dinner and celebrations for my good friend Jenna’s birthday. We started at Stoddard’s, and had some very good food and drinks! The evening started out a bit sour thanks to a rude bartender but my Manhattans and the burger were good enough to make us forget about him. I definitely recommend the Stoddard’s burger! The fries were great too.

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2016 So Far

Oops, that was a long hiatus. I have been really busy lately with events (both blog and work related), spending time with friends and my boyfriend, gym stuff, and the hectic holiday season that anyone in the beverage industry will surely understand. I thought about recapping my favorite parts of 2015, but it’s a new year, and people seem to be looking forward instead of back. So I’ll just jump into how my 2016 has been going so far.

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Booking Beauty on the Go with Whittl

Nowadays it seems there’s an app for every service out there. Make reservations on OpenTable or Reserve. Find a ride with Uber of Lyft. And now, book beauty and health appointments with Whittl – “where to-dos get done”.

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Armed with a $50 credit, I decided to book an appointment for partial highlights. I was in dire need! It was very easy to create an account, apply my credit, and then search for salons in my area. I decided to focus on Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood since it’s easily accessible from my apartment by T.  I liked that each listing came with reviews and a 1-5 star rating. Everything I read about Will Charles Salon on Newbury Street sounded great, and the highlights were in my price range, so I booked there with Julia.

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Blogger Reunion at Seasons 52!

My friend and fellow blogger (aka blend) Kelly and I have dined at Seasons 52 together three times now. It’s almost become our default place to meet here in Boston. So the Chestnut Hill Square location was a no-brainer suggestion for dinner a couple of weeks ago, when we finally found a time that worked for both of us to get together! It was the first time I’d seen Kelly since she had a beautiful baby girl a few months ago and catching up with her on family and life was the perfect way to spend a Monday evening.

Of course we started with bubbles. Looks like the champagne paps are out!

Of course we started with bubbles. Looks like the champagne paps are out!

Since Seasons doesn’t bring out bread to start the meal, I always like to pick out one of their flatbreads, because #TeamBread. The crust is delightfully crisp, and its thinness lets the toppings shine through. We love seafood and went for the lobster & fresh mozz flatbread with roasted sweet peppers, slivered scallion, and lobster sour cream. Both of us adored this, especially given how well the lobster paired with those sweet peppers.

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#SweaterWeather and Cocktails at Foxwoods!

I always have a great time when I visit Foxwoods Resort Casino, especially when I pair together some fun activities. Last time it was dinner/drinks and a show. This time around it was shopping and lunch/drinks! That’s what’s great about a casino – I can arrive and park (for free!), and know that I have a long list of ways to have a good time that are available to me in one place.

My friend Rachel and I participated in a fabulous #SweaterWeather blogger outing centered around shopping for fall fashion at the new Tanger Outlets at Foxwoods. Boston and Connecticut bloggers were invited to partake in a little friendly competition – receive a gift card and use it to purchase as many sweaters as possible. The winner was to receive an overnight stay at Foxwoods, dining and spa credit, and more!

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