Tag Archives: tennessee

Just Say No

I’m coming off another weekend on the road, this one spent in Knoxville, Tennessee to watch my little sister Hannah graduate from the University of Tennessee! I am exhausted, and bummed that my work day doesn’t end until 9PM tonight, but am so also glad that I made the trip south to celebrate with my sister and see my family and our friends as well.

Despite the fact that I handled this Tennessee trip better than either of the last two I have taken, I still dealt with the usual anxiety over drinking more than usual, out-of-routine food, and working out less. However I also realized that I didn’t drink or eat a huge amount more than I would lately on a weekend, and the rest day I took was the one per week that I’ve gotten used to taking (and sometimes it’s two).

Manhattans and fried pickles aren’t unordinary weekend occurrences nowadays.

That in itself is perhaps a sign of progress in my journey to stop punishing myself via restriction and overexercising, but more so comes back to my concern that I’ve really been overdoing it lately and need to reel it back in.

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Thinking Out Loud: Back in Boston

I’m back in Boston after my Mexico vacation and brief birthday stint back home. Coming back from vacation to a place where I’ve only lived a month is lovely because though I miss the warmth of Cancun, I really didn’t mind returning! I’m still so excited to continue to explore Beantown and also felt anxious to get back to my job, which I’m still loving. It feels like forever since I thought out loud so I felt a link-up with Amanda was in order!

1. Getting out of the hotel gym and back to the BSC feels great! Without a Stairmaster or group fitness, it’s super hard for me to get motivated to work out. Thank goodness for Danielle Dee’s Monday night spin class! That hour was the cherry on top of my first day back in my routine. Especially when Danielle said, “Good job, sweetheart.” to me after class. Hearing that direct “go you” from a group fitness instructor makes SUCH a difference. And it made me feel motivated to follow up the class with some core work! Tuesday night I finally tried a class I’ve been meaning to check out, Burn. I’d taken Step a couple of times from the instructor and he is so funny! The class was a series of tons of different exercises – not a repeated circuit, but seriously just cardio and strength exercises that were never repeated. I liked that the material was kept fresh and though it wasn’t as cardio-heavy as spin, I still felt it was the perfect workout for what I was feeling that evening. Here’s an example of one of the moves we did – partner push-ups.

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Semi-Wordless: Tennessee Trip

I don’t really feel like writing about my long weekend in Tennessee. I wish I could write a blog post that reports great success, or at least success compared to last year’s trip, but I don’t feel like I can.

Scenes from the plane – got through the first season of Breaking Bad! And sipped on Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey.

I made it to the game this year, but not past the first quarter. I made an attempt to rally later in the game after Tennessee tied it up, and enjoyed watching the last quarter in the hotel bar with my Nana Connie.

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Friday Five: All the Topics

Thanks for the well wishes on my belated two-year blogiversary post yesterday! Your comments never fail to make me say “aw, shucks”.

I have a thousand ideas for posts bouncing around in my head and a bunch of stuff to talk about so how about I just do a Friday Five? That way I can talk about five of all the things. Killing five birds with one stone, or five topics with one blog post for the PETA-members out there.

1. The Onyx Moonshine Gatsby Ball is tonight!

I go to a lot of events and I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for one. Onyx is an awesome local company I have worked with since I started my blog and I was thrilled to be invited to their Moonshine Ball & Onyx 111 Infusion Challenge tonight at the Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill in Middletown (where Kaitlin is getting married next year!). I’ve got a flapper dress and fedora packed to change into after the gym, and am ready for some yummy eats from Wood-n-Tap. Some great restaurants (Krust and Pond House Grill for example) are participating in the infusion challenge, which uses the newer Onyx 111 proof. I and other guests will get a chance to try and vote on the infusions, and local foodie judges will make the final decision as to which restaurant will be crowned champion! I am attending with Kat and am so excited to dance the night away!


This is the dress! This pic was taken in June 2009 – I have gotten great wear out of the dress for several Halloween/costume events and many friends have borrowed it and done the same! Best thing is it cost about $20 from Forever 21.

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Losing a Battle Isn’t Losing the War

Timing can be scarily appropriate – today my guest post on Grow Soul Beautiful is just the kind of post I needed to re-read so that I could internalize my own words and the message I am trying to send my readers – and myself! Please check it out, writing it was so therapeutic to me and I hope that comes across to you all.

OK. Time to tell you about my weekend in Tennessee. I have a lot to get off my chest. But first of all, I’ll start with the good stuff.

Dinner with my family right after I landed (I took a taxi from the airport to the restaurant) at Chesapeake’s, an amazing Knoxville seafood spot.

Rare ahi tuna, sauteed spinach, ginger soy wasabi sauce.

Speedy treadmill run the next morning – thank goodness for hotel gym TVs to occupy me. Ran the first 5K in 27:51!

Felt great after…

Went to go see my sis’s apartment – big fan of this sign in her kitchen!

Her view rocks. That lamp on the right was mine in college!

I love her living room’s orange & blue color scheme!

I so wish I went to a school that was big into football. What energy!

LOL. Sorry Britt!

I suppose I started having trouble with this weekend away to visit my sister at University of Tennessee in Knoxville after I got back from our family dinner on Friday night. I’d had a few drinks, cleaned my plate, had a couple of rolls, and shared a dessert. I did not feel overly full. Heck, I didn’t even really feel that full. But I kept “adding it all up” in my head, and it seemed pretty ridiculous in my mind that I had consumed those calories after sitting on airplanes all afternoon.

Hang the Gators! Note: These were all taken down the next morning…after we’d lost.

My morning workout made me feel happy and accomplished for about…an hour. Then I started thinking about the day’s tailgating festivities. What food would be there? How much would I drink? How much SHOULD I drink? Would I be able to tell how many calories I was consuming since alcohol doesn’t give me any feelings of full-ness? What if drinking made me more apt to overeat? I quickly became mentally EXHAUSTED, and it wasn’t even noon yet.

Me and my mom with an inflatable Smokey Dawg!

I took a walk with my mom to Calhoun’s for something I was so very excited for…a meetup with my twino (twin + wino), MegWe have been blends since I started my blog almost a year ago and when we first “met”, she was in Denver going to grad school. I really never thought we’d get to hang out in person one day. My happiness and the way we seamlessly started chatting like we’d known each other for YEARS certainly temporarily distracted me from my worries.

My dad ordered me that dress last night…SO PUMPED. Isn’t she beautiful?

I met Meg’s welcoming boyfriend, as well as his parents and friends. I just love being with fellow Vols! Something that I don’t get to do often in CT. Everyone was all smiles and so spirited. Random Tennessee Vols chants were breaking out, I was sampling glazed donut vodka (yes it exists and it’s pretty good!), and taking selfies.

Meg’s boyfriend Whitt had a little brother over at the frat houses that he was anxious to meet up with, so I walked with him and Meg as far as I could until it was time for us to part ways so I could head back to my family. I hope I see Meg at another game next fall – or sooner! It’s still surreal to me that we got to hang out!

Orange solo cups, so necessary!

I felt myself come down from a whiskey buzz and an emotional high with each passing minute at my next tailgate. I snacked, and I hung out with my wonderful relatives and friends that I hadn’t seen (in some cases) for years. I could never really let go and enjoy myself though. I was smiling, but inside I was panicking.

I wore Sperrys in honor of meeting Meg!

I was honestly on the verge of bursting into tears the last half hour before it was time to walk over to Neyland Stadium to get to our seats and watch the football game. I was so excited to meet up with the amazing, strong Sloane, who has been such a huge support system for me since we first met a few months ago. Just like my meetup with Meg, I really never thought I’d get to meet Sloane since she lives in TN.

Sister and I – the girls dress so cute on game day!

It was time to go to the game, and I couldn’t take it any longer. Voices in my mind were scolding me for drinking, questioning how much I’d eaten at the tailgate, asking me if my home workout the day before had been enough, and reminding me of eating dessert at Chesapeake’s. I pulled aside my wonderful mother and finally let myself cry behind my mondo sunglasses. I told her I was going to stay in the room, and I just couldn’t do it. She completely understood – everyone did. Even Sloane. I’m so lucky to have such fantastic family and friends.

My adorable parents – I can credit my existence to UT, which is where they met!

The wallowing I partook in and shitty feelings I experienced for the remainder of the evening are not worth commenting on. I don’t want to relive them. I’m glad I had Heather there to leave me an encouraging voicemail, Sloane there to text me, and my mom there to hang out with me in the room (she decided to sell our pair of tickets for a pretty penny).

The next morning my feelings turned from fear of not being good enough to guilt over what I’d missed out on and letting the thoughts and their power over me win. I’ve been doing pretty well this summer with these weekend trips, during which I am often out of my comfort zone. But this time, the whole trip was just too quick (landing at 8PM on Friday and taking off for home at 8AM on Sunday does not make for relaxation) and badly timed (with the way my night classes have started forcing me to do lighter morning workouts instead of post-work hardcore gym sessions). And so I gave in and cowered, too mentally exhausted to fight and tell myself all the reasons why I don’t deserve to be so mean to myself.

And what happened? Well, I didn’t come away from the trip with any proof that I can use to fight disordered thoughts in the future. I love it when I put myself out of my comfort zone and come out of it with everything being OK. It makes for great ammo to use later on in this battle. Nope, I don’t have any of that now.

And I don’t think I can ever say sorry enough times to Sloane for the fact that my giving into my guilt resulted in us not meeting. We were literally less than a mile from each other, and yet I couldn’t walk that less than a mile to the football stadium to see her? Why? My legs were working and my heart was full of excitement and anticipation. Why did this struggle have to be enough to cripple those legs and why did the voice in my mind have to overpower the heart in my chest? Sloane, I am so very sorry that I didn’t fight harder. I’m so sorry that I couldn’t tell myself that I’m amazing and that I deserve to enjoy myself with a close friend who has been there for me since day one.

I have to put this behind me. I have to remember that to consider myself a failure for how I handled this past weekend would only be continuing to let the part of me that messed this up be the winner. I’m amazing. I’m fighting. I’m living this battle. I may be the underdog right now but I KNOW I will come out on top.

Have you ever dealt with regret as a result of how you handled a situation?

Do weekends out of your routine ever throw you? How do you deal with it?

Anyone else feel me on the Southern football love?

Fashion Friday Goes Au Naturale!

No you dirty-minded individuals, au naturale does NOT equate to nudity. You will see what I mean at the end of this post – but don’t scroll down! You’ll miss some cute outfits!

Ready to explore Newport!

I love the back, but it calls for a cami underneath!

Sunglasses: Forever 21

Top: Urban Outfitters (purchased in Baltimore)

Shorts: Hollister (BTW all their color jeans in store/online are $25 right now!)

Watch: Michael Kors

Shoes: Birkenstock (received at the Fitness Meet & Tweet!)

Day 2 of my foodie weekend in RI!

Sunglasses: Forever 21

Bikini: PacSun

Top: Urban Outfitters (another Baltimore find)

Shorts: Hollister

Watch: Michael Kors

Shoes: Birkenstock

Drinks & dinner in Newport!

Earrings: Forever 21

Dress: Urban Outfitters

Watch: Michael Kors

Sandals: Steve Madden

And now for the au naturale

Girls night ready!

Glasses: Dolce & Gabbana (oh you fancy huh?)

“Top”: Corona? (gifted to me on Cinco de Mayo by my fave bartender, Andres!)

Shorts: Charlotte Russe (gems, I tell you)

Shoes: invisible

😛 Thought you might appreciate a silly ending to Fashion Friday because, well, it’s Friday. Who else is gonna get sillay this weekend?!


I’ll be travelling to another state – Tennessee – to get my weekend on! My sister goes to school there and it’s also my parents’ alma mater (they met there!) I visited last fall for a football game and had a blast (my trip was even extended due to the freak Halloween Nor’easter). Football games at a Southern school…there’s NOTHING like it! I never even went to a football game as a UConn student (don’t judge me). I have remained a Tennessee fan despite being a graduate of their arch rival in womens’ basketball!

My outfit today – appropriate for my destination!

I’m so pumped for tailgating fun before the game. I’ve even got some Ripe Bar Juice packed! And a mini bottle of Riesling to sneak into the stadium in my shirt #itsfine plus it’s ESPN College Gameday on campus! We couldn’t have planned this better! I’ll be rooting against Brittany‘s Gators (sorry Britt!) alongside my parents and grandma, and get to FINALLY meet two wonderful blends, Meg and Sloane, beforehand! So yeah, expect lots of tweeting and Instagramming to be happening. And I’ll be on the lookout for scenes from your weekends, too! Enjoy it, everyone!

Which outfit is your favorite?

Are you comfortable with pictures that are taken of you with a more “natural” look? Pretty sure that’s a YES from all my fellow Fitfluential Ambassadors…sweaty #PROOF is nothin’ but natural!

Have you ever been to a college football game?

Tennessee Recap: Part Five (Grand Finale)

Morning! I’m about to head back to work for the first time in over a week thanks to Snowtober. I really can’t complain. I was fortunate enough to have power back by Wednesday, and work and class cancelled. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t be bummed about going back to work. I’ll miss cafe days and morning workouts. What I am glad to get back though, is routine. I definitely thrive on it and now my days will be much more plan-able.

I don’t event feel like I am coming off a weekend – just a long vacation! It really feels like forever since I’ve gone into the office. It also feels like forever since I started telling you all about my trip, but I finally am gonna conclude my story today, so we will be back on track to regular posts tomorrow – I already have SO much to catch you guys up on that’s happened since I returned!

Anyway, so ended the surprise-extended Tennessee vacation. Yes, I’m on the level of calling this a vacation, not a trip. There’s a difference, agreed?

Monday (Halloween!) morning, I did a workout (30 minutes incline walking, random upper body free weights) and went to meet my sister at an Einstein Bagels on campus. I was supposed to start my paper, and ended up writing a paragraph and spending the rest of the time on the blog. Oops.

UT has SO many chains on campus. I can’t believe it! At UConn we just had a few chains in our Student Union, but their University Center has a ton, and this Einstein’s wasn’t even in that building. We had UConn-branded cafes, but they have branded cafes, and I like it better.

The Einstein’s was filled with the smell of toasted asiago bagels. The menu was impressively extensive! I kept it light because I was eating an early lunch, and had one of the best fruit cups I’ve ever bought (usually they’re sucky, but this one had a ton of fresh pineapple and strawberries) and a very good coffee with steamed skim milk.

Later I got to go to my second chain-mission, Chik-fil-a, for my very favorite fast food sandwich: the Char-Grilled Chicken Sandwich. I am OBSESSED with their honey BBQ sauce and pickles. Chik-fil-a is slowly spreading up north and is in Mass now, but still not CT. COME ON UP Chik-fil-a, we are ready for you!

Headed to the airport after that and spent the first flight with my book and a nonfat chai tea misto from Starbucks.

When we landed, we had a couple of hours to kill in between our connection, and I was STARVED. We passed a Chili’s and I knew immediately what I wanted – Mexican food!

My mom got a large Stella and we shared chips and salsa to start. They really hit the spot.

I ordered the chicken fajitas, because this Chili’s was a Chili’s Too and had a limited menu and didn’t offer the shrimp tacos I usually get. Change is good though, I was just a little chickened out (ha) after this meal after having chicken earlier for lunch! This dinner was, by the way, one of my earliest ever (4pm). Takes me back to the days of waiting for the dining halls to open for dinner at 4:15.

I didn’t have any of the tortillas or guac since I had filled up on some chips, but I did pour all the salsa on top of the chicken and veggies, as well as a side of black beans. I polished off that entire thing. Yes I think that made about four servings of chicken that day – ha!

Thank you for following my recaps of my little getaway – I hope you enjoyed!

Are you a Chik-fil-a fan? What about Chili’s? How are you feeling on this Monday?

Tennessee Recap: Part Four

Thanks to daylight savings, my 9pm bedtime last night (aided by me being a grandma, and the glass of wine I had with dinner) combined with the time change had me awake at 5:30am on this lovely Sunday morning. As in, the gym was not even opening until 7am. I looked at my phone and saw 28 degrees – a run was out of the question. So I did the P90X Yoga video I have on my laptop for these very occasions. I hadn’t done this since I was without power/gym access during Hurricane Irene, and though it was tough to get through the 90 minutes (I’m more of a short and sweet workout person), it was really a good thing for me to stop myself from fast forwarding through stretches and through corpse pose at the end. The workout also had a lot of heat in terms of lower body. I really like this video – it’s all-encompassing!

The video also includes one of my favorite poses: standing shoulder pose. I actually used to do this all the time when I was little without even knowing it was a yoga pose, so I guess it’s always been my favorite!

I still have more to share with you guys about my trip to Tennessee – food and shopping, I’ve got it all!

On Sunday I woke up thinking I’d be headed back to CT that day, and ended up having a full Tennessee experience after we found out that due to the snowstorm, we wouldn’t be headed back home for another day. But before that change was made, I put on my sparkly orange hat and went to Starbucks with my sister and my Nana Connie, one of our traditions.

Looking hairless?

I had the usual, a nonfat bold misto. Hannah had the same and sprinkled cinnamon dolce powder on top of hers, looked so cozy!

The coffee came to us so hot that it was time for brunch before we were done, so I kept it classy and poured the rest of my coffee into one of the hotel restaurant’s cute mugs.

I have the spindliest fingers of all time.

I ordered a salad of baby field greens, cocktail shrimp, mango, sundried tomatoes, celery, and balsamic on the side. It was AWESOME. I love being impressed by restaurant salads, it’s always a pleasant surprise. Hannah had a Greek salad with grilled chicken salad and let me finish hers off.

Funny story: The first time I ate cocktail shrimp, I ate the hard tail part too – I didn’t know you had to remove it!

My mom had a veggie egg white omelette with home fries and an English muffin. She gave me the rest of her home fries and they were AMAZING, especially dipped in ketchup.

My dad had a sausage, green pepper, and mushroom omelette with home fries and wheat toast. The toast looked crisp and hearty.

Hannah and I took a walk to her dorm after brunch, where we decided to stay the extra day. I worked on blog stuff in her room while she showered so I brought my backpack along. Don’t I look legit?

We went shopping later and couldn’t help but buy some tasty-smelling candles at Bath & Body Works – they were having a sale AND handing out coupons!

I got these four candles – oatmeal raisin cookie, gingerbread, s’mores, and eggnog – for $20! And it’s a good thing since I headed home to a power-less house the next day.

We stopped at Wal-Mart, and I know they have some questionable corporate practices, but I am impressed by some of their grocery areas. It was clean in there, well-organized, and there was a huge variety. I have to admit that for someone on a budget, Wal-Mart is an affordable grocery option, and even has a fair amount of healthy choices at affordable prices, which I think is something our country is seriously lacking.

I love displays of Halloween treats at grocery stores too. These treats looked so good!

I loved the selection of University of Tennessee by Pink gear at Victoria’s Secret. I really wanted some of that underwear, but couldn’t let myself pay $26 for just three pairs.

I came out of this shopping trip very well stocked. A little too well stocked, I’d say. I’m putting myself on shopping sabbatical until Black Friday.

In addition to the sparkly hat…TN cap, football jersey, and boxers!

Workout gear: Old navy running capris/top, and PINK yoga pants.

Who knew Old Navy sold cute Colts gear? Buy 1, get 1 free!

We went to dinner at one of my favorite chains, Bonefish Grill. Unfortunately they aren’t chain-like enough to extend any farther north than Poughkeepsie, New York (I’ve checked…many times). Whenever we vacation anywhere south of that city, we’ve got to hit up a Bonefish. Our extra night in Tennessee gave us a chance to do just that!

Their bread is beyond amazing. It comes with olive oil, pesto, and herbs for dipping, like Bertucci’s and Carrabba’s, two more wonderful chains. I’m beginning to see a trend here.

I got the swordfish special, with broccoli and steamed veggies on the side instead of potatoes. It was so great. I had every last bite, plus my mom’s leftover fish and Hannah’s leftover broc.

So ends my last full, but not my last delicious, day in Tennessee!

Have you ever heard of Bonefish Grille?  What do you think of Wal-Mart and their grocery sections? What was your last shopping purchase?

Tennesee Recap: Part Three (Game Day!)

Thanks so much for your valuable insights on getting caught on comparison traps in yesterday’s post. It’s good to know I’m not alone in this and I appreciate everyone’s encouragement!

I come to you today live from Barnes & Noble, mooching off wi-fi while I wait for my car to get its “check-up”. Car check-ups are way more expensive than human check-ups, unfortunately. And who knows what else they are going to tell me the car needs done to it – we’ll see.

I am going to be behind on recapping my days for eons on end if I don’t keep telling you guys about my Tennessee trip so I’ll waste no more time on getting back to it.

After a Quizno’s lunch of dreams, I vegged out in our room a little until it was time to head over to tailgate with my parents’ old friends. It was great to meet them, and their setup was incredible! When we arrived a Sysco truck was there setting up bratwurst, a nacho bar, hamburgers, hot dogs, chili, and desserts. Restaurants and brands send extra food they have over to Sysco, who provides it for free at these games as a form of advertising for said restaurants and brands! Pretty sweet deal if you ask me – the only thing that costs anything was the Sysco van’s sketchy-looking bar setup, which asked for a contribution toward the booze and mixers.

I brought my own Bacardi Green Apple though, and had that on the rocks, but my parents enjoyed the beers, ready-made mojitos, and Bloody Marys!

I wasn’t very hungry at all during the tailgate so I decided to save my appetite for the buffet we’d be offered at the game (we were sitting in box seats), but that food did look GOOD.

Condiment bar for nachos, hot dogs, chili, etc.

Condiment bar for burgers, plus sides.

My sister's burger! She said it was amazing.

It was someone's birthday – though not sure who?

My beverage definitely got me pretty buzzed and I had a great time with my family. I always have a good time, but let’s just say it was a little better than usual!

Nana Connie (grandma), Hannah (sis), and I.

Showing spirit with my hat and hair ribbons!

The Vols parade to the stadium!

My mom and I have quite a height diff, no?

My mom and I started getting pretty cold when the sun began to go down (story of our lives) so the fam trekked over to our box about an hour before kickoff. I was ready for dinner at this point! I was also very grateful to not be sitting outside because I honestly don’t think I could have even made it through a quarter. Now do you see why I dream of leaving New England? I can’t even survive fall in Tennessee!

I felt pretty special to have a reserved seat in the box, but then felt very un-special when I saw they’d spelled my name wrong.

I had barely even sat in that seat for a few minutes before deciding that it was buffet time. And oh, what a buffet it was.

Corn on the cob, shrimp, and potatoes.


BBQ pulled pork…

…and so much cheese!

Got back to my seat and settled in with my plate. What a great view! Of the food, and the field 😛

I had another plate almost equivalent to that one, plus a cookie on my way out. I ended up leaving at half time because I was STILL cold in the box, despite the fact that I was inside, and Nana Connie was cold outside. She and I walked back to the hotel together and I was asleep by 11, just the way I like it.

There is still more to come in my Tennessee weekend recap – imagine how many recaps I’ll need to get through my week-long trip to FL in December, geez!

Have you ever been to a college football game? What’s the best tailgating food?

Comparison Traps and Tennessee Recap: Part Two

I wanted to get something out that’s bothering me today before I continue my recap of my Tennessee vacation. The issue of comparison traps was on my mind this morning after my trip to the gym. I got up a bit later than I’d have liked but still made it in time to catch the last 30 minutes of spin class. I worked hard and got in a great cardio workout. A couple of others came in late too, but when the class ended, they both stayed for the next class. I was all ready to go do some abs and be on my way, but it immediately bothered me that the other women were staying and I was not.

I started wondering if I was being lazy, if I should stay for the next class. I thought of all the others who were leaving when I was, but had been there the entire hour, not just 30 minutes.

Then I tried to tell myself – I did what I wanted. I sweated, I feel good, and now I can go about my day. And that’s what I did, and I’m proud of myself for that, but it’s STILL bothering me! I often get caught in a comparison trap, even though I know when it comes to working out, quality > quantity and I certainly had some quality time with that spin bike.

Does anyone else get suckered into comparison traps, and getting caught on quantity instead of quality when it comes to working out?

Enough of that – thanks for letting me vent, and now I’ll get onto my Tenneseee recap, which oddly enough starts with workout talk!

As I mentioned earlier, I did manage to get in a few workouts on this trip. Each morning I woke up and headed down to the hotel gym.

Classy mirror shot and morning eyes.

Conveniently enough, coffee was set up each morning by the elevator for those of us (aka my mom) that cannot work out without caffeine first. Luckily I can save my coffee as a post-workout reward! I prefer it that way.

The hotel gym was fairly nice and had a TV with an accessible remote – a must when I am doing cardio without a class to drive me! I had magazines just in case, but the TV was preferable for my elliptical/treadmill sessions.

I used that weights machine to do some stuff, but mostly stuck with body weight moves or the free weights.

Creepy dark corner with yoga mats and a stability ball! I did some abs over there and felt sketchy.

Our room was pretty nice too! We stayed at a Four Points Sheraton and used our Starwood rewards points to get a good deal. Not only was free coffee at the elevators and in the lobby each morning, but there was also a fresh basket of apples at the front desk 24/7!

We had a fridge, microwave, and sink in the “kitchen” area, so there was plenty of storage for snacks and (mostly) libations. My family has a Diet Coke addiction – my brother and I are the only ones that do not partake.

We had two of those TVs, one in the “living” room and one in the bed room! What was funny was if one was on, you could definitely hear it from the other room, so watching both TVs at once would prove to be difficult if we had run into that situation.

Something I liked about this place that may sound weird was the design they chose for the bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion (see above). I hate it when hotel toiletries are in those stiff bottles that are absolutely impossible to squeeze. I know, I know, first world problems. But does anyone else feel me on this?

The Four Points Sheraton does need to keep in mind though – ROOMS NEED TWO BARS OF SOAP! One for the hands and one for the bod, no? We could barely even get them to give us extra soap when we left a note and a tip for housekeeping. My Nana Connie has had the same problem there and always packs extra soap now when she stays there. Weird!

We took a nice walk around the campus on our second day (Saturday) and headed to the book store for some SHOPPING! I love Vol gear. For those of you who are confused, yes I went to UConn. Yes, I root for Tennessee. I was raised that way and it will never change! There’s nothing like SEC sports anyway (sorry Big East). And now I have not only my parents to support, but my sister the new Vol as well!

The bookstore had some pretty random stuff, but also some really cute purchases for me!

Immediately after I jokingly posed for this photo, someone legit exclaimed that they wanted to buy this?!

Unfortunately, my Nana Connie said this pasta isn't good at all.

I tried on a sparkly orange hat as a joke, but ended up realizing after we left the store that I really loved it, so we went back before the game to get it! I pretty much haven’t taken it off since.

Giving off a power-errand-runner vibe.

After cleaning out the book store, my mom and I walked to get a special treat for lunch that we can barely find in CT nowadays – QUIZNO’S!

The beloved Q! Spotted: the mom taking the pic.

I had two chains I aimed to visit on this trip – Quizno’s and Chik Fil A (that comes later). Quizno’s is my favorite sandwich chain of all time and its slightly higher prices (compared to Subway) are completely justified by the quality of its ingredients.

Any place with a pickle bar is a winner.

I knew there was plenty of food coming at the tailgating and game later that day, so I went with a small Veggie sub on wheat. It had lettuce, tomato, pickles, olives, banana peppers, sautéed onions and mushrooms, cucumbers, and guacamole. With a million pickles on the side, of course.

Beams of light shine on the holy Quizno's – behold!

What follows is my favorite food photo I’ve ever taken so far – hopefully that will happen more often once I get my new camera!

This sandwich was SO GOOD. Quizno’s never disappoints me!

Next up, I’ll recap the tailgating and the football game itself!

Do you typically drink your coffee before or after your workout (or both)? What’s your favorite sandwich chain? Who do you root for in college football?