Tag Archives: beach

Weekend Getaway in Cape Cod

Back toward the end of last year, I spotted a Gilt City deal for the Ocean Edge Resort in Brewster, MA – on Cape Cod. I thought an off-season getaway with my boyfriend Jeff would be a great way to break up the long winter and booked a room using the deal for this past Saturday (February 20th). During booking, I wondered if we’d end up with a snowy and frigid weekend. Certainly the opposite happened – the weekend was sunny and the temperatures mild. We really lucked out!

Our favorite part of any hotel is a nice fuzzy bathrobe!

Unfortunately we did not luck out in the realm of resort patrons…and timing with February school break! The Ocean Edge was CRAWLING with kids. It didn’t seem we could escape them; visits to the restaurant on-site at both 5:30PM and 9PM proved that there was no ideal time to dine, as at both hours almost every table had a child sitting at it. I love my friends’ kids, but other than that I am not a kid person. So after a quick dinner, we ended up hiding in our room for most of the night, aside from a quick dip in the hot tub. But it’s OK – we had bathrobes, lots of channels to watch, and plenty of bubbles. Plus the room was really nice! I just don’t think I’ll be staying at the Ocean Edge again, or recommending it to anyone unless they have kids.

Continue reading

A Marvelous Weekend Recap

Ah, what a marvelous weekend, and I am continuing to live life on the slightly-more-low-key side. But, I’m still having a great time! I’m doing a pretty good job of listening to my body and mind, instead of FOMO. Unfortunately I went back to my once-a-week blogging last week, with only one recipe post. Who knows what this week will bring? I’m not too worried about it – I’ll blog when I have time – but at least with this post I know I have one down!

Link up with Katie if you are sharing your marvelous today!

Marvelous is…a rest day on Friday. Some lessons need to be re-learned and on Friday, I re-learned that if I don’t work out in the morning, it just is not going to happen. In CT I often worked out on Fridays between work and my evening plans, but there’s something about a Friday late afternoon in Boston that makes me just want to get the weekend started as soon as I leave work. When I left for the day I decided to grocery shop, then put away my laundry, then get my nails done…all to put off going to the gym. So then I decided (with help from a text-pep-talk from a friend) to just take the day off. And I felt much better after making that decision and sticking with it.

Continue reading

Resting Up For A Plank Challenge!

Oh what a weekend! Summer 2013 continued to deliver with fun activities like…

  • …taking my parents out for an epic night of cocktails and pizza at Krust in Middletown on Friday night (we’re already planning our next trip back)
  • …visiting the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of liquor stores in MA (Yankee Spirits) on the day they happened to be having a wine tasting gala
  • …attending the Glastonbury Rotary Club Lobster Fest yet again (blog post to come!)
  • …destroying a Saturday morning Group Power class
  • …my first beach trip of the summer!

Continue reading

Fashion Friday Misses Warm Weather

I hope you guys caught my talented foodie/chef friend Devan’s guest post recipes yesterday! And don’t forget today is the last day to enter my Country Crock Thanksgiving Kit giveaway!

Wait…Winter Storm Athena? Who are you and why were you here when we are not yet in the single-digit dates of November? I hate winter, I hate cold, and I swear this is my last winter in New England. That is my goal – please hold me to it. Yell at me if next November, I am saying the same thing.

This meal was just what the doctor ordered when I got home from driving in the blizzard on Wednesday night – swordfish, veggie pizza, roasted Brussels, and cheap red wine.

I’m not going to complain any longer though, because I was lucky enough to come home safely last night to a warm home, while so many are still without power and facing devastation from Superstorm Sandy (or as Christy called her – I LOLed at this – SuperBitch Sandy).

We only lost power at my house for an hour during Sandy, but when it happened my dad and brother were certainly prepared.

Instead of complaining, let’s cheer up with some nostalgia. I realized I had a bunch of fashion photos I hadn’t shared yet of myself in outfits I wore back in August and September when the weather was warmer. So let’s forget about the recent hurricane/blizzard and celebrate lovely warmth!

Before a pool day back in August!

Top: Urban Outfitters

Bathing Suit Top: H&M

Shorts: Hollister

Sandals: Francesca’s

Watch: Fossil

Before a Boston booze cruise in August!

Top: Urban Outfitters

Shorts: Hollister

Watch: Fossil

Shoes: PacSun

Beachin it Labor Day weekend!

Sunglasses: Forever 21

Cover-Up: H&M

Bathing Suit Top: FCUK

Shorts: Hollister (clearly a standard huh?)

Before a Labor Day Weekend dinner in New Haven!

Dress: Sister’s (I believe it’s Forever 21)

Bracelets, Shoes: Francesca’s

Have a good weekend folks and hopefully Monday I’ll be able to provide a tummy update. You may have been able to tell already but other than a few waves of nausea that have passed fairly quickly, I have been doing a lot better still! And am continuing to not bother trying to determine “what” has made me feel better, just enjoy.

Which look is your favorite?

What’s your favorite outfit to wear when the weather is warm?

Do you prefer warm or cold weather fashion?

Foodies Take RI – Part Two

If you missed part one of my RI foodie trip, which consists entirely of time spent in Newport, you can check it out here! I took this trip 8/10-8/12 and, true to Caitlin form, and just now getting around to recapping it. I hope you all had a good Labor Day weekend!


I awoke and was shocked to find that Jeff and I had slept TEN HOURS! AKA I’d slept til 8AM – which felt strange, yet appropriate, since the day before I’d slept until only 6:30AM. I felt full of energy and had the desire to expend some of that on a quick run. I didn’t feel like I had to run – I wanted to! So I laced up my Reebok ZigNano Fly 2 sneakers and headed out on a 26 minute jog. It got kinda ruined by side stitches at the end, and I was going for 30 minutes, but I decided I was done and headed back to the room. I don’t even know how far I went, but a spontaneous run of a random length and unknown distance was just what I needed to start my day on a chill, stress-free note.


Any Carrots n Cake readers will recognize the place I am posing in front of in the photo above – a Mary Lou’s Iced Coffee!!! I spotted one in, of all places, a Shell station near our hotel. And Tina isn’t lying when she says this place has the best iced coffee ever. THEY DO! The flavor doesn’t come from syrups, but right from the bean! I had to get a photo in front of the counter!

Jeff got Banana Nut Creme, and I got Hawaiian Chocolate Nut – we both asked for our iced coffee to be served black, of course! Jeff’s flavor was the winner, but mine, with its coconut-chocolate flavor combo, still was heaven on ice. We drove into Newport’s town center to enjoy our beverages.

Jeff had no sunglasses and was having squinting issues, so I lent him a hand. Or a pair of sunglasses.

It was so nice to once again spend our morning chatting, caffeinating, and looking at the water! The people watching scene in Newport is great too – I could just sit for hours and be content. Not easy for me to say, since I am so often in go-go-go mode.

Third time the place remains a charm!

Of course we got hungry for breakfast soon and after much unsuccessful searching for a brunch spot, ended up back at Diego’s. Fine by us!

Haitian Swizzle – Jalapeno-Infused Haitian Rum Barbacourt, Velvet Falernum, Tiki Bitters, Fresh Lime

We also continued our drinks-before-noon trend. #sorrynotsorry How could I pass up a drink off this gem of a cocktail menu?!

The Beano – Bloody Mary with Black Bean Puree!

Jeff certainly went for a special beverage that I wish I’d ordered! By far the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever tasted – and I don’t usually like Bloodies!

Diego’s Huevos – White Corn Tortillas, Black Beans, 2 Sunny-Side Eggs, Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa, Ripe Avocado, Diced Veg, Baja Aioli

I made a stellar brunch choice, if I do say so myself! Not only was the above dish filled with all of my favorite things – runny eggs, black beans, avocado, salsa, aioli, veggies, carbs… 😉 – but it was ordered off the $5 portion of the menu!

These kinds of pics are becoming a Cait Plus Ate standard.

After our amazing brunch, we said a final goodbye to Diego’s (no we, didn’t go back a fourth time) and did some more Newport exploring!

Ohhhh lover, lover…

What is up with this giant T-shirted bear?


Clearly he’s less experienced with goofy pics.

These sea creatures have human legs!

I knew I wanted to visit another Tina recommendation, The Lawn at Castle Hill. The Castle Hill Inn is a beautiful hotel tucked away from the busy center of Newport. To get there, one has to drive (or bike!) through rural, scenic roads – but it’s worth the slightly out-of-the-way trip. And guess who I got to experience it with?!

That’s the Castle Hill Inn in the background!

My CT blend (and practically neighbor) Bethany, of More Fruit Please, was visiting Newport with her now-fiance, Farhan. Thankfully, the fates aligned and Jeff and I were able to meet up with them for our visit to the Lawn! Bethany and I have been trying to get together since we went to the CT Veg Fest and Wesleyan Foodstock together, and it was such a treat to not only do so, but to do so in such a gorgeous setting!

The Lawn at Castle Hill’s cute Adirondack chairs – and their breathtaking view – are open to the public. Of course, classy and refreshing cocktails are available!

Cucumber Collins – New Amsterdam Gin, Cuke Puree, Lemon Juice, Seltzer Water

I could actually see the cucumber seeds floating about in the puree at the bottom of my drink. It didn’t taste as strong as I usually like, but was perfectly refreshing for such a warm day and I appreciated its simplicity.

Jeff’s choice, the Rum Swizzle (I think), was definitely sweeter.

Of course Bethany and I put our blogging hats on, and were taking photos with our iPhones and cameras!

Caught mid-tweet, I’m sure.

I’m sure Bethany’s big, fancy cam got some amazing shots!

I’m so very happy that I got to see Bethany and Farhan again, as well as introduce them to Jeff!

After dropping the two of them near their car, Jeff and I headed to Narragansett for the destination that started our plans for the entire weekend – Crazy BurgerA reader, Tom, had recommended the vegan hotspot for me on my blog’s Facebook page, and one look at the menu told me this place was meant to be visited by me. Funny enough, after Jeff and I had planned out our weekend, Heather even blogged about Crazy Burger, adding to the torture of waiting so long to finally try the place!

Jeff and I took a quick walk by the Narragansett shore, but we were disappointed when we didn’t find many – or shall I say any – little shops to visit! Oh well…I was hungry for dinner already, so we decided to go ahead and get Crazy.

Instagramming like a fiend.

Obsessed with the back of that Urban Outfitters shirt. Got it on sale in Baltimore.

As Jeff and I walked into Crazy Burger’s outdoor seating area, I literally gasped.

Could I have asked for a more serene place to conclude my weekend of trying to BE a serene foodie? I don’t think so.

The mis-matched cloth napkins were a cute touch.

We brought a bottle of red wine I’d gotten from a lovely Groupon deal from Radford Dale – AKA “The Winery of Good Hope” 🙂

Impossible decisions…

Even after beginning to sip on my glass of red, I still wasn’t feeling any less anxiety over making the impossible decision of what to order for dinner! I went back and forth between MANY options, and finally decided on a vegan burger with a curry flair, because I have been LOVING curry lately.

Chana Masala: Celery, tomato, mushroom, onion, ginger, chickpeas slowly stewed in curry, garam masala, allspice, then bound in rice. Served on grilled naan!

I cannot tell you how wonderful my Chana Masala sandwich, housemade pickles, and slaw were. So I’ll show you.

Lucky for me, Jeff isn’t a ketchup fan, so I stole his homemade ketchup to add to my burger! He actually chose a vegan burger that I’d been contemplating getting.

Birdie Mae: Grilled tempeh, purple sticky rice, sweet tater, roasted sunflower seeds, rosemary-pumpkin pesto grilled in a tomato tortilla.

The Birdie Mae was certainly an option I know I would have enjoyed if I’d ordered it – Jeff let me have a bite, and also some of his sweet potato fries. They were super yummy – but no ION 😉

After having no dessert Friday OR Saturday night, when I really kind of wanted it, I was not about to let this chance to not only have dessert, but have VEGAN dessert paired with red wine, pass me by. Dessert and red wine is my favorite food and wine pairing ever.


It was kind of a no-brainer. I love carrot cake. So when I saw a vegan version on the menu, I had to have a taste!

…and dessert.

I was sure to not let a bite pass my lips without the company of a sip of red wine. Jeff and I shared the slice above and it was pure bliss. I finished the meal and felt perfectly satisfied…so glad I’d had room for dessert!

However, though I did revel in my eats, sips, and time with my friends as they happened on Sunday, I had trouble reveling after the fact. Almost the entire way home, my mind was consumed with thoughts that started with, “You shouldn’t have.” How could I have had several drinks each day for the last few days? How could I have topped it off with a dessert? I shouldn’t have done such a SHORT run that day. I shouldn’t have skipped working out the day before. In the last ten minutes of the ride home, I really felt like I was on the verge of tears.

The floodgates opened the second I walked through my front door. I know I’m 23 and I should be hating the fact that I still live at home, but I really don’t. And one of the many reasons I don’t is because when I come home and I’m stressed and scared and I need my mom – she’s usually right there for me. I let it all out to her, I just shared with her exactly why I felt guilty and like I’d done a whole lot of things I shouldn’t have done.

And then I followed that up with exactly why those things are OK, and how proud of myself I was (and still am) for experiencing Newport the way it’s meant to be experienced, and for having that fabulous meal at Crazy Burger, and for recognizing that a weekend away is just that – a weekend AWAY – and you always come BACK to your routine. The fact that I planned this trip in the first place was huge because I knew these thoughts would “attack” me and intrude at some point, but I was ready for it. I was ready to fight and to say, fuck this, I’m not going to let fear hold me back from going to one of my favorite places in the world!

Complete with my Max Fish Tiki Dinner lei 🙂

So I hung up those little wooden flip-flops my parents bought me on Saturday night at one of my favorite Newport shops, Frazzleberries, outside my cubicle at work. And every time I walk by them, even now almost a month later, I’m reminded of my courage and of my fun experience, and I can smile knowing that I have no regrets about missing out.

Have you ever felt guilty for taking a break from your normal, “safe” routine?

Have you ever been to a vegan cafe like Crazy Burger?

Foodies Take RI – Part One

Another better-late-than-never recap of one of the weekend trips I took this summer to one of my favorite places in the country – Newport, RI – as well as Narragansett, RI! As usual I’m Wordy Wendy and this will be long so I am splitting it into two posts!

Outdoor seating area of the Barking Crab at night.

The second weekend in August, my always fun and always ready to chow/drink foodie friend Jeff and I hit the road for Newport, RI. My mission? To let go and enjoy myself in one of my favorite places ever – and show him the magic of Newport! My family has been going to Newport once a year for as long as we have lived in CT, and when we didn’t make plans to go this year, I took matters into my own hands and planned this trip. I’d never been to Newport as a super-adventurous foodie blogger either, so I was ready to eat and drink what I wanted to as part of my mini-vacation, and get away from the guilt.

No room for guilt with this view!


The trip started out on a stressful note for me because my town was hit with a REALLY bad thunderstorm right when we were scheduled to depart, so not only were we delayed, but we encountered tons of down trees on the way to the highway. That drive from my house took two or three times as long as it usually does, but once we got on the highway it was smooth sailing and we didn’t even hit any more traffic. I think fate was throwing me a challenge to see how I’d handle stress on the trip, and while I kiiiinda failed, I think it all turned out OK in the end.

If only we could have sat outside! The restaurant’s outdoor seating area wasn’t open up due to the rain.

We scored free parking outside my first restaurant pick, Perro Salado. If you’ve ever been to Newport before, you know this free parking thing is a huge deal. I couldn’t stop talking about how amazing it was, but Jeff just didn’t get it. So I reveled in my savings solo.

Finally made it – and in possession of beverages!

I started with a spicy cucumber margarita!

I was starved when we sat down, and when I found out they didn’t bring out chips and salsa unless they were asked (and paid) for, I made the decision to, well, ask and pay for them. It was hard to let myself be OK with going for it and ordering the chips, but I did it, and enjoyed every bite of the spicy red salsa and mild, slightly sweet and thick tomatillo salsa they came with. The latter was some of the best I’ve ever had. I was happy when Jeff gave me props for ordering the chips because I wanted them!

The entrees were so AMAZING! Jeff had the agave & chipotle-glazed pork belly with pinto beans and pickled veggies. I tried a bit and I can seriously tell you that the pork belly melted the moment it hit my tongue.

When I saw the rare yellowfin tuna special, I knew it would be the best choice for me. I love rare tuna, but when it’s on special, you KNOW it’s at its freshest! On the side I had some fantastic local farmers’ market veggies and black bean/corn salsa.

Plate bigger than my head FTW.

We were too full for dessert, and I have to admit that later on in the evening I was craving one, but I just couldn’t let myself do it. I felt like I was going to be indulging all weekend and that I should give myself a “safety padding” of no dessert that night. I know…it sounds silly right now as I type it. In fact later that evening as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I kept thinking about the regret I felt over not enjoying a Newport ice cream cone, and was kicking myself. I tried to take that regret to heart and use the desire to avoid it as motivation to enjoy myself for the rest of the trip.


And Jeff and I did have so much fun walking around the center of town after dinner! The rain had long since passed, it was a warm summer evening, and I babbled on and on about my favorite Newport spots, pointing out one place after another.

What is this head on a stick? What is this pirate thing?

Turns out that walking through little shops and boutiques is way fun when you’ve got a little marg buzz on 😛

New skirt – or is it a purse?

You fancy huh?

Bring in the dancin’ lobstas.

This cracked me up to no end.

Long live Lennon.

Jeff was a history major, hence me making him pose like this in front of this sign.

And we were sure to get a photo in front of a classic Newport landmark, the feet-disappearing-into-the-wave statue!


Our hotel of choice (due to being cheap) was a gem called the Pineapple Inn. Yes, the name is covered in cheese. But we embraced our motel accommodations, complete with shower drain that didn’t really work and the most strange shower faucet of all time, with smiles and silly Hawaiian shirt photos.

Jeff used to wear Hawaiian shirts like it was his job, so I asked him to bring some of his best.

The sign’s letters are even falling off…it’s too perfect.

But to be fair, the AC worked well, my bed was comfortable, and there was shampoo (though not conditioner) provided. All we wanted was a place to sleep, and that’s what we got. The price was right!

Coffee Grinder at Bowen’s Wharf

You know I scouted out a cute cafe for our morning Newport coffee!!!

Yes, those signs were on each outdoor table!

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to sit at this cafe every morning and drink my coffee while looking out at the ocean.

Love how they served Jeff’s iced coffee in a glass.

We sat in comfortable silence while admiring the water, chatted with some silly kids who for some reason thought we were really interesting, and just soaked in the Newport atmosphere.

Coffee Grinder is located in one of my favorite area’s of Newport’s center, Bannister’s Wharf.

Our stomachs started to rumble and we set off in search of a yummy brunch, and didn’t have to look far.

Outside of Diego’s, which serves breakfast every Saturday/Sunday starting at 10AM.

Diego’s wasn’t on my pre-prepared Newport dining list that I’d made, with the help of Yelp. However, it had everything I look for in a restaurant! Outdoor seating…

Creative decor…

Ceiling of the bar!

Affordable prices…

…and of course, a killer cocktail menu.

My kind of place! Check out the “disclaimer” on the bottom in red.

My Sazerac – chilled Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof Whiskey, Peychaud bitters, simple syrup, served neat in chilled absinthe-coated glass. SO me.

Don’t even get me started on the food. Every bite was interrupted with an “oh my God” or a “mmmm”. I ordered the smoked salmon quesadilla with a scallion cream cheese, grilled tomato, and zesty red onion & caper salsa. I asked for a wheat tortilla and a lighter amount of cream cheese; the dish turned out perfectly.


Jeff and I exchanged bites and sips as always, and we gave each other’s dishes two thumbs up.

Jeff’s choice from the $5 menu, the Breakfast Torta – 2 fried eggs on Portuguese bolos (a bread) with ripe avocado, black beans, oaxaca cheese, spicy baja aioli.

During the meal I noted to Jeff that I hadn’t worked out that morning, and didn’t plan to that day, since we’d be walking so much. Saying it out loud kind of cemented it in my head as a goal for the day – no workout, Caitlin. Just stroll through this beautiful place and enjoy yourself, guilt-free.

I stumbled upon some sunflowers!

And that’s really what I did the rest of the day!

I love the Newport Cliff Walk!

A classic goofy Caitlin photo.

This isn’t staged, I swear…

My #fitblognyc Birkenstocks held up so well even with all my walking!

A snack fit for kings from The Black Pearl‘s Waterside Patio: Country Pate!

Adorable colorful director’s chairs in an outdoor seating area!

In the evening, my family joined in the fun! Thankfully they were up for tagging along to whatever restaurants I’d picked out. I’ve gained a rep as an expert 😉 the Perro Salado bartender had even commented the night before that “he could tell what I was doing” when I was sharing with him places I was interested in visiting. Props from a local? Oh, NBD!

First stop – Fluke Wine Bar, home to a menu containing carefully crafted cocktails and super interesting food.

My amazing “man drink”, the Hanky Panky: Plymouth Gin, Carpano Antica Vermouth, Fernet Branca. It was so perfect.

Don’t worry Jeff, your pink Firedancer drink tasted pretty manly! Sauza Hornitos Tequila, Agavero Tequila Liqueur, Scorpion Mezcal, Lime & Pom Juices

The orange peel perched atop Jeff’s drink was set on FIRE at the “finale” of its creation!

This was my dad’s initial reaction to the octopus small plate Jeff and I chose, but after he took a bite, the sea creature got two thumbs up!

We also ordered Rabbit Pate. Freakin’ amazing! My first rabbit experience.

Sis and I! This is the Urban Outfitters dress I got in Baltimore. Her dress is J. Crew.

Was so proud of my sis for venturing out of her comfort zone and ordering the above Chick Pea, Roasted Red Pepper, Black Olive Crostini! And lucky for me she wasn’t the hugest fan so I got one.

After we were pre-dinner-imbibed and fed, it was time to head to the actual dinner – at Diego’s again! After all my raving, the fam just HAD to try their food, and I was all about getting to sample dishes off the lunch/dinner menu – and more off the amazing cocktail menu!

Mom with her Upgrade Margarita (Milagro Silver Tequila, Agave Nectar, Lime, OJ Splash) and me with my Corpse Reviver (Lillet Lanc, Plymouth Gin – yes again, Cointreau, Fresh Lemon, Pernod Absinthe).

Showing off my side of black beans and my Spicy Catch Pan-Seared Tuna Salad: over mixed greens with julienne veggies, tomato, fruit salsa, pomegranate-chipotle vinaigrette.

A photo meant to send Meg into a food coma.

I’m so thankful that I got to spend time not only with a good friend in Newport, but with my wonderful family (minus the little bro) as well. I have to admit that as I was walking back to the car with Jeff later that evening, I still felt panicky. The day’s eats and drinks seemed to be piling up in my mind and also seemed to be destined to never end in the future. My mind asked me, what if this becomes the norm? What if you do this EVERY WEEKEND? What will happen? Thankfully the combination of a busy day and my beverages made me super sleepy, so these thoughts did not keep me up late at all. Quite the opposite actually – I was passed out by 10pm.

The family, minus Michael, at our traditional pic spot.

Next up – a recap of finishing up in Newport and dinner in Narragansett on Sunday!

Have you ever been to Newport? If so, been to any of these spots?

Do you have a special vacation spot you visit each year with friends and/or family?

Which dish and/or drink in this post do you think you would’ve liked most?

How to Save a Weekend + CT GIVEAWAY!

If you have a moment, head on over to the fashion company Free Endearment’s blog, which today is listing out bikini-ready tips for summer. The last one is from yours truly! And while you’re at it, check out my darling friend Jenny’s new blog, Tofu Swag. The fabulous title clues you in to what you can expect – vegan food porn and sassy commentary. Need I say more?

My weekend started out kind of crappy. I was feeling really, really down ever since Wednesday, and despite the fact that I had plenty of fun planned for Friday through Sunday, I was not feeling good. Blame my usual issues. However, I managed to slowly salvage the weekend – and my mood – thanks to family, friends, and the power of positive thinking.

Jenny, me, and Heather – three blonde triplets!

So without further ado, I give you – how to save a weekend:

1. Wear a new shirt that makes you feel fabulous. Express surprise when your best blend wears a brightly colored shirt with an interesting back as well. Proceed to bring sexy back.

2. Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself. Otherwise photographic gems like these wouldn’t exist.

Oh HEY cardboard fox!

3. Go with your gut. If your first instinct drink order is a cucumber martini and the ginormous Greek dip platter is calling your name…do it. If you’re dreaming of a Wildflour vegan scone…order it.

Greek dips and Effen Good cucumber martini at Bar Louie in Foxborough, MA.

Still dreaming of this mushroom and spinach scone.

4. Drink wine. Preferably with family friends, your parents, and your best friend by your side. And preferably local wine.

Lidia and I at the gorgeous Chamard Vineyards in Clinton, CT.


5. Don’t be afraid to ask your mom for a hug if you’re feeling down. Cry on her shoulder. It doesn’t help anyone to feel guilty for putting your worries on her or to hold your sadness inside. Just let it out so you can get to the smiling.

Height diff much?

6. Wear a flowy dress. Spin around. Jump. Channel your inner flower child.

7. Have the best dad in the world. Need I say more?

8. Drink tequila out of a wine glass at the vineyard. It looks like white wine – they’ll never know!

That is NOT Pinot Grigio.

Classy pairing.

9. Go to the beach. Yeah, that’s it. Just go.

I’ve fallen…and I can’t get up!

10. When selecting a restaurant for a Sunday dinner, look no further than the local spot where your sister is a waitress. She’ll pour you LOTS of red wine, give you slow service because she knows she can, and make sure you leave smiling (and not just due to the wine).

Sis and I at Giovanni’s, her place of work, in Glastonbury, CT.

This is NOT one glass.

I ended my weekend feeling WAY better than I had going in. I think I can give credit to every part of the ten steps above for how much better I felt, and am continuing to feel. Oh, and I don’t have work tomorrow. YAY.

And now it’s time for a giveaway for my Connecticut readers. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is sponsoring an excellent outdoor summer concert series at the Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows. This Friday, July 6, receive a free dance lesson at Dancing Under the Stars. Or next Friday, July 13, listen to Music of Elton John at Rocket Man. Finally, on Friday July 20, get your fill of Big Country. Lawn tickets are only $20 in advance, and table tickets are just $40 (both prices go up $5 if you purchase at the door). Child lawn tickets are always $5!

But you have the chance to go for free by entering a giveaway for two lawn tickets for one lucky winner! The tickets work for any of the 3 shows in July mentioned above. To enter, just comment telling me which show you’d most want to attend (mandatory). Entries close this Thursday 7/5 at 12PM EST!

For extra entries (leave a comment for each) you can:

  1. Follow me on Twitter
  2. Follow Hartford Symphony Orchestra on Twitter
  3. Follow me on Pinterest

Good luck to all who enter!

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Fun Edition

You’ve probably noticed my tendency to write very long, wordy blog posts. I can ramble on and on for hours about fun, food, fitness, and fashion. But today, let’s cut out the words, and let me just show you some photos of what my summer (yes I’m calling it summer right now) has looked like so far. And captions don’t count as words.

Beaching it at Hammonassett with my friends! I win the color prize.

Greg and I hanging out at a baby picnic table at The Burger Co in Glastonbury. I clearly had come from the gym (see my ZigTechs?)

Ladies loving the BYOB with no corkage fee!

Family seeing my little brother off to junior prom! Where’d my face go?

Hey it looks like he kinda likes me!

Siblings <3

Trying to be cool with my sis and her friends.

Isn’t his date so beautiful?

My wonderful dad and I at dinner after we saw my brother off.

Before dinner at Puerto Vallarta, with my sister!

Mom came too 🙂

Skinny margarita!

Kicking of the CT Wine Trail 2012 passport at Chamard Vineyards in Clinton, CT.

Gorgeous day for the vineyard, I love Chamard’s scenery. And it’s conveniently on the way home from Hammonassett!

My first trip to the WeHa Reservoir, thanks for showing me around, Jenny!

At Tullycross Tavern to use a SaveNowCT deal!

My amazing meal from that night, a butternut squash flatbread with arugula, grilled chicken, and goat cheese. Paired with Jacob’s Creek Shiraz.

Just read that and you’ll understand why I’m making that face.

View from my table at Besito’s, after work on a Wednesday.

Margarita angel?

Fellow drinker and judger, Rachel, AKA namer of this blog.

The flower vases were actually empty Patron bottles! 😉

My roasted salmon with fried bananas, black beans, sauteed greens, plantain chips, pineapple salsa, and mole sauce was FANTASTIC.

Rachel’s steak tacos – I liked the steak a lot! She didn’t haha

Ben’s chicken enchiladas. Chicken was average, sauce was amazing.


Triple fisting Onyx Moonshine at Art After Hours!

Best picture ever, taken by tipsy Hartford corporate men.

Balloons make us happy!

They make wine glasses for camping? Maybe I could handle roughing it…

Art After Hours Block Party at Wadsworth in Hartford.

Blood Orange Marg at Barcelona in WeHa!

And of course I ordered a wine flight.

Tapas!!! Olives, bok choy, swiss chard.

The outdoor-but-not-outdoor seating area is beautiful!

AHHH! It was really hard not to write words here. I wanted to go on and on about all the fun I had during each photo. But I also don’t have enough TIME to share all these photos with you guys if I want to write about them too…so I’m choosing the visuals 😀

If you’re a CT local, have you ever been to any of these spots?

Do any of my summertime festivities look similar to yours? Tell me more!

How I Spent My 23rd Birthday!

Yesterday was my 23rd birthday! I ended up having a great day (so great that I didn’t have time to blog :-P) and want to thank all of you that wished me happy birthday on Twitter and/or Facebook! So how did I spend my special day? Haven’t had time to upload cam pics yet, but I was tweeting a play-by-play of life, as per usual.

The day got off to a great start when I woke up to this. I love my mom!

My co-workers continued to make the day fabulous. My friend Steve got me these gorgeous tulips. The bow matches my St. Patty’s Day nails!

The fellow ladies of our sales row (of cubicles, ha) know me well. They gave me a bottle of local CT red wine from Sharpe Hill Vineyards! I haven’t had their wine yet and am super excited to try it.

Holy moly, look at this gem! It’s from Jim, a co-worker who has access to a pretty awesome bakery (he got another co-worker an equally awesome cupcake for her birthday last month). That chocolate-cake looking part is actually ALL icing. I am an icing freak. So let’s just say I’m gonna enjoy this. Saving it for tonight after dinner maybe!

I’m a lucky girl!

My boss was kind enough to give me a half day on my birthday, and good thing, because it was about 80 degrees without a cloud in the sky yesterday. Is this the new CT March? I’ll TAKE IT!

Obsessed with Vera towels.

No, this is not a summer ’11 photo, this is YESTERDAY. Amazing! I chilled with my best friend Lidia as we drank iced beverages (coffee for me, green tea for her), read magazines/books, and chatted. She was also kind enough to use my Goodreads to-read list to pick out a couple of new books for me as a gift – it used to be we were gifting each other off our Forever 21 wish lists, and now it’s Goodreads! Oh, how adult we are!

Now I can see what all that hype is about!

A classic that I’ve been curious about.

Call me weird, but I wanted to go to the gym despite the fact that it was my birthday. I completed 4.08 miles on the StepMill, Level 16, speed intervals AKA some kick-butt HIIT. Felt FABULOUS after! Read the issue of SHAPE with Kate Walsh on the cover. She is one amazing lady.

I wrapped things up with the below workout created by the amazing Heather of For the Love of Kale (who gave me a birthday shoutout yesterday, THANKS LOVE). I’m not doing any upper body today so wanted to get some in yesterday. Quick and effective!

After showering my sweaty self off, I went to meet my friend Colin (of Taste of New Haven) at Mustard Seed Cafe, a cute local breakfast-and-lunch place, for a French Wine Tasting Class event put on by my favorite liquor store EVER, Sonoma Wines & Spirits. Apps were served to start and I put together a little tasting plate, but kept it light because I wanted to go out to a late dinner afterward.

Went back for seconds on the veg (obviously).

For a wine lover like myself, this was definitely an informative event, in terms of both tasting wine and its origins. I have to admit I found myself drifting a bit during the historical parts of the presentation, but I think that was because I was so excited to get-to-sippin…

Flight #1 (three total).

The most fascinating part for me was learning how to both properly smell and taste wine. Did you know that you’re supposed to cover the glass with your hand, swirl the wine around, and then just take a slight sniff from under your hand when smelling a wine? The whole swirl and stick my nose in the glass thing that I’ve had going on is NOT correct. Too bad I put on hand lotion right before the event!

The proper method of tasting wine is really cool and made a HUGE difference. I’m having no luck finding a video or series of photos on Google (I know, what?) demonstrating the method, but it involves taking a sip, tilting your head forward and letting the wine rest in the front of your “palate”, and then tilting your head back (it reminded me of taking a shot…) and letting the wine slide over the middle and back parts of your tongue before swallowing (or spitting, something I am not fond of, and I know, that’s what she said). The taste was SO much more intense. I kinda loved it.

My favorite flight obviously – three reds, how can you go wrong?

I had a few favorites, which I marked with stars on our info/ordering sheets, and ended up decided to purchase the Chateau Picque Caillou Graves Pessac-Leognan. I know – what?? Just know that it tasted sooo oak-y and fabulous. I also received a $25 credit with my admission, and the bottle was $30.59. How often do I have a chance to buy a $30 bottle of wine for $5?! Answer: never, so I leapt at it. I’m going to save this bottle for something very special!

After the tasting wrapped up, Colin and I headed out to get some FOOD. It was almost 9pm, so we hit up the late night happy hour at Max Fish! I love going to these kinds of happy hours at nice restaurants because I get the chance to order and sample food that would normally be out of my price range.

Recycled image from my last visit but obviously I had to get the cheese plate again.

Colin offers a useful hand-size comparison for this ahi tuna with jasmine rice and lemongrass sauce.

Frozen not fresh (as our waitress honestly told us when we asked), but still so good.

Does anyone else dip fries into their ice cream and/or milkshakes? Colin thought I was a weirdo for that one!

I’m asking about ice cream because Colin not-so-secretly (I noticed immediately…) approached our waitress and asked her to send over a birthday dessert for me. I was still surprised because I had no clue what it’d be! I wish this picture hadn’t come out so blurry:


SO DELICIOUS. I realized it had been too long since I last had ice cream. And it had been way WAY too long since I’d made that an ice cream SUNDAE. The caramelized bananas and slightly-salty nuts on that whipped cream made it extra special.

Fabulous, fabulous birthday. And it doesn’t stop there – off to J. Gilbert’s with my family tonight!

How did you celebrate your last birthday? Do you have any go-to traditions?

Struggling to Rest and Johnny Longboat’s

Make sure you read my preview of the Mohegan SunWine Fest, an epic event that I’ll be attending this Sunday!

TGIF, friends! I finally get to do some cardio after work today a-la Group Step, and I can’t wait. Haven’t done cardio since Step on Sunday and I’m feeling pretty restless. Vent time…

This is me, needing to vent. And sorry about this pic, Lidia.

Already I’m having trouble with my classes starting back up for the semester. I go from work to class on Tuesdays/Thursdays and it’s a very long day, so I’ve taken those two days as rest days this week. I’m honestly not used to that – it’s been a struggle for me the last couple of years to take the rest days  I should. Since my last semester ended I’ve honestly been doing SOMETHING (even if it’s just yoga) every single day, so now I’m breaking out of that trend and it’s feeling uncomfortable. I’m going to try to focus on my goals and tell myself that rest does a body good, but any words of wisdom or advice on getting used to a less intense workout schedule would be great! I could wake up at 5AM to hit the gym or be there until 8:30 or 9PM on Tuesday/Thursdays…but I honestly don’t want to. I’d rather hang with a friend after class, and I usually feel like crap working out before 7AM. I know that I could probably get used to it, but I don’t want to force anything – I’ve done that for too long in the past and I really think I should focus on the fitness that I find fun. So, what do you guys think? Any tips or mantras for me to keep in mind on days I don’t have time to work out?

Let’s get back to the food, shall we? I still haven’t finished recapping the restaurants I went to last month in Florida, and I don’t want you guys to miss out on the photos in this post, so without further ado…

Last month while on vacation in Florida, my dad, sister, grandma, and I enjoyed several tasty restaurants on the beach at lunchtime. One of those was Johnny Longboat’s, a place I’d been to before during spring break of my senior year, with my best friend Lidia.

Lidia and I at Johnny Longboat's last year, along with our sunburns.

Our meals were delicious then (I had mahi mahi with black beans and plantains, and Lidia had clams), so I suggested to my dad and sister, who hadn’t tried the place yet, that we should go there for lunch instead of another trip to Two Drunken Goats. I like to experience as much variety as I can while on vacation!

Lidia's clams, and a strawberry daiquiri, which she said made it a "grown-up lunch". Also, this is clearly before my camera upgrade.

Most of the restaurant is “open air”, except if you sit in the back. We sat in a nice portion that wasn’t quite on the deck, but pretty much made us feel like we were outside.

Dad and Hannah hanging out.

The decor was so fun and beachy. It reminded me a bit of Margaritaville, only more authentic.

I noticed this hilarious take on what my grandma likes to call “the rip-off machine” (AKA the claw machines – was anyone else completely obsessed with playing those as a kid?). This machine dispensed LOBSTERS instead of stuffed animals! And then they’d cook your hand-caught lobster! Seeing this tank reminded me of being little and going with my mom to Publix, back when we lived in Florida. I have many memories of grocery store trips, including trips to the bakery for my free kid’s cookie (another reason why Publix is the very best grocery store in the world).

Oops, went off on a bit of a tangent there, but that’s what Publix will do to you. Bethany knows what I’m talking about.

I decided to keep up with my salad-and-seafood lunch trend and get a Greek spinach salad. This time, my seafood topper of choice was the scallop, or shall I say, scallopS. They were grilled and EXCELLENT. This salad was even better than the one I had at Two Drunken Goats with the crabmeat. Crab is good and all, but once seafood gets grilled, it’s a whole other ball game in my opinion.


Grannan kept it classy and had some chardonnay and oysters. I don’t think it’s ever really possible for oysters to have a pretty presentation, because I think ice is ugly. Is that weird?

My dad was so torn over what to order, but opted for the hot dog, which should have been labeled the foot-long hot dog. Holy! This was NOT your typical “8-inch-footlong-hotdog”.

My dad also said it was the best hot dog he’d ever had! And this is coming from a man who’d eaten one a week before on the streets of NYC!

Caught in the act.

No photo, but my sister got a spinach salad with steak and strawberries. It looked excellent, but she said it had way too many greens. She ate all the good stuff (AKA steak and fruit) and some spinach, but left a little pile behind. I on the other hand housed my salad.

Overall we really liked Johnny Longboat’s. In fact, I don’t think we’re sure which we liked more, that or Two Drunken Goats! Good thing we can always go to both 🙂

Did anyone else have a fascination with the “rip-off” machine aka the claw machine?

Does anyone else think ice is ugly?

Have you ever struggled with taking rest days?