Have you entered my Mohegan Sun BrewFest giveaway yet? Don’t forget – you could win two passes to this weekend’s beer bonanza! Giveaway closes tomorrow (Wednesday 10/3) at 12PM EST.
Geez, so far fall has been extremely busy in terms of my full-time job!By the time I got home last night from my post-work gym session all I wanted to do was sit on the couch with my mom and watch the season premiere of Grey’s on the DVR with dinner. And wine. So that’s what I did – no blog post.
My setup at Art With a Twist in New Haven, CT!
But now I’m ready to blog about this past Saturday. As I mentioned in Sunday’s brief giveaway post, I have a lot to say! The day started out in typical Caitlin fashion – spin class and #plankaday, a few hours of much-needed study time at Daybreak. Then I hit the road for New Haven to have a date with Maria of Pappa Don’t Preach! We’ve never been able to do a good one-on-one hangout before, but we are two peas in a pod and I’m so grateful to have met her through blogging. She drove all the way from Stamford to meet me at Art With a Twist for a BYOB painting class! We used a Groupon🙂 of course.
Maria listening to our instructor, the fabulous Bella Zadore.
Maria did a great job sharing more photos of Art With a Twist’s lovely location, and info about the business itself, in her recap! We decided to go sweet on the booze and shared Riesling and champagne. Thanks Maria for introducing me to Asti! It was delicious.
Everyone painted the same illustration, but then everyone’s came out looking different. My water turned out a bit sickly looking, and Maria pointed out that I was just trying to paint the Long Island Sound. Truth.
Pondering the sounds of the Sound…champagne in hand.
I also must’ve still had BlogHer on the brain because my palm trees looked like Lorax mustaches.
Lorax #2. He’s unimpressed. Source
I was doing a little too much hating on my painting, so Bella sprinkled me with confetti as “punishment”. Okay okay, I complained on purpose so that I could get showered in confetti. Who doesn’t love that?!
There’s a 30% chance it’s already raining.
I had a great time chatting with Maria about our gym sessions that morning (of course) and also taught her how to take silly photos. She deemed me a silly photo queen. I am honored!
Help me take silly photos, Caitlin!
Don’t mind if I do!
How amazing are the “men/women” signs for the bathrooms?! Bella is so creative! She decorated everything in Art With a Twist herself.
Blogger in action.
Despite the fact that my painting did not look like Bella’s, I’m gonna refrain from saying that it wasn’t as good as Bella’s. After all, she wasn’t painting the Long Island Sound!
Stealing this from Maria’s post…BYO-Blend!
You are what you…paint?
After class we hit up 116 Crown for a pre-dinner cocktail. Because when you’ve been drinking since 2:30PM, why stop?
I ordered the Negroni!
Unfortunately before I could even get to the point of ordering, I had to wait outside with Maria for 15 minutes because we arrived at 4:45PM and they weren’t open yet. It’s fine, another opportunity to practice her silly photo taking!
Let me at the cocktails!
Why am I not drinking a cocktail right now?!
Once we were seated and with drinks in hand, our kind bartender (and very patient I might add, we had SO many drink ingredient questions) took some awesome above-view photos of us 😀
I love the modern “pod” seating!
It was my second time at 116 Crown in September (and ever). I’ll definitely be back! It’d take me eons to work through that drink menu.
Falafel, hummus, cucumber yogurt sauce, pita.
By the time we got to the ultimate dinner destination, Red Lentil, I was staaarving! I’ve been pumped to try the place because it offers unique vegan/vegetarian dishes and had gotten a rave review from Heather. Maria and I started with the appetizer special, the above falafel platter. Be still my heart! It was excellent. I also had the beet-sweet potato-apple latkes. The picture looks totally ugly but they tasted the opposite of ugly.
They may or may not have been equated to “bad weed” in an Instagram comment.
After dinner, I hit the road…but I didn’t head back home like I thought I’d be doing when I woke up that morning. Instead, I responded to a spontaneous text I received during the paint class, inviting me to the Full Moon Onyx Moonshine Party at Taqueria Tavern in West Hartford.
Onyx is an awesome local CT company. I love local, I love booze, and I love unique marketing. Onyx Moonshine has all three of those on its side! You may remember that I worked with them at the Farm to Shaker Bartender Challenge as a cocktail competition judge!
The party included many delicious Onyx drink specials (I had a cinnamon infused Onyx on the rocks that was to die for) and a super-spicy wing eating contest. The photo above includes the two Onyx founders Pete and Adam, and between them is the winner of the wing-eating contest, Judson!
Judson and his winnings!
Judson is a champ. He decided to enter the contest THAT day! He also happens to be the boyfriend of my friend Jennifer! They’re an adorable couple.
Jennifer and I!
I took a bite of one of the wings (DUMB) and my mouth was on fire for almost an hour afterward! I don’t know how these champs did it! JD of Ripe Bar Juice (also from the Cocktail Competition at the Coventry Farmer’s Market) ordered me up a Kahlua drink made with Onyx, and it certainly coated my mouth with some cooling dairy and helped stop the burn.
JD is fearing the wing!
I’m realizing right now that this post is really long and I am only just now getting to the part of it that I have been wanting to write for the last couple of days. This was a long day. I was drinking from 2:30PM to about 10:30PM. I definitely did some chip nomming at the Mexican restaurant. That Kahlua drink most definitely had whole milk in it. I didn’t get home until 11:30PM. The day may have started out Caitlin-style, but it didn’t end that way.
And as fate would have it, the beautiful Becki has started an October challenge that I decided today to join, because it fits with what I want to say today and what I want to DO for myself for the rest of the month and beyond. You can read the details here, but it entails 10 minutes a day of meditating on why you are AMAZING.
I woke up in the middle of the night on Saturday after having gone to that party in a panic. I was about to go get my mother out of bed and pour out my heart. I felt worthless. I felt guilty. I felt like I didn’t deserve to have the fun Saturday I’d just had.
But instead of going to get my mom, I took a deep breath. I lay in my bed in corpse pose and tried a calming tactic that has worked for me before. I breathed in and out, and after each breath I said out loud something from my #AmazingMe list. In, out. “I worked out yesterday.” In, out. “I had a wonderful time.” In, out. “I did something I knew would put me out of my comfort zone.” In, out, until I fell back asleep.
After all, only #AmazingMe could have made this painting!
I woke up on Sunday morning still feeling, to put it bluntly, like a piece of shit. I was proud of myself for having worked through my mid-night anxiety on my own, but was still being bombarded by the most hateful, mean thoughts. I went to the gym – yes, partially because I felt like I wanted to get in a workout to “make up” for the previous night. But also because I wanted to be powerful, feel strong, and do something that I enjoyed. I even putzed around the house for a bit before hitting the gym instead of dashing there like I usually do on weekend mornings, because I just wanted to wait it out and go to the Sunday morning spin class, which always leaves me feeling refreshed and has the BEST music. I did a lot of singing-and-spinning that morning.
I took a little social media vacation. I went on Instagram for a second, and realized the last thing I wanted to see was peoples’ food and workouts. Sometimes I’m okay with that stuff, but sometimes it triggers me like crazy. I tweeted that I was going to spend the day doing nothing except what makes me feel good. Then I stayed away from Twitter for most of the day.
After the gym, I took a long, slow, hot shower. I had a date to study with Jenny at J. Rene Coffee Roasters in West Hartford, and was still going because seeing Jenny and drinking coffee in a unique cafe does NOTHING but make me feel good, but I decided to take it slow. I decided not to be go-go-go to the next appointment on my “agenda”. I closed my eyes and sang in the shower, because that felt great. And while I was getting ready to go, Avril Lavigne “With You” came on my playlist and I suddenly got the urge to just dance around my room like a half ballerina, half hip-hop queen. I felt like it’d make me feel good. So, that’s what I did.
Even right now as I write this I am overwhelmed with pride over how much self love I practiced this past Sunday. Almost every activity I did, every action I took, I stopped and asked myself, “Is this what I want to do?” If it wasn’t, I didn’t do it. I still felt the hateful thoughts coming at me from every direction. But I was on a mission to medicate and heal their damage with something other than restricting, than over-exercising. I didn’t want to lose another battle.
At the end of Sunday evening as I lay in bed listening to an inspiring NPR interview recommended to me by Jenny, coloring with my Sharpies, inhaling my Pumpkin Buttercream Yankee Candle, I felt at peace. Again, I still had mean thoughts popping up in my head. I still felt a bit miserable. But getting past this is going to come in increments, and any little peace I can give myself means the world to me and makes me feel proud.
An evening of serenity.
What this all comes down to (I felt a bit word vomit-y as I wrote this but I just kinda let it flow), is the following: Yes, I was beating myself up all Sunday for having a spontaneous Saturday night. BUT I did not curl up in a ball and hide. I did not obsess over how I’d “make up” for what I had “done wrong”. I did not try to punish myself by letting my mind just sit back and take the negative thoughts. Instead I tried to HEAL myself from their damage by practicing self love and doing things that soothed me and taking it easy. I took it easy on myself, and as a result, felt like a fighter. I still feel like one! I didn’t feel that way a couple weekends ago in Tennessee, but this time I feel like I have come out successful in this battle. You lose some, you win some. And hopefully this is the start of continuing to win some!
Have you ever been to a unique BYOB activity or partaken in a crazy food contest?
What do you think about Becki’s Leaf Your Negativity Behind challenge? Who’s with me?!
Tell me a way you recently practiced self love!