Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Recap: What We've Been Up to

Well, hasn't life just been flying by lately?!

I figured I'd post a little recap of what we've/I've been up to! Here's 10 things:

1. In the beginning of November I went to a wine tasting event with a great group of girls. College friends, their friends from home, and sister-in-laws.

I make a great desk. Gotta keep track of our vino! These are the ladies I lived with out of college before J proposed. As much as I love living with my hubs, man did we have a great time together!
 The reason I haven't posted about this outing yet? Well, right after this picture was taken by a complete stranger who we asked to snap the pic, she dropped my camera! Who does that?! Onto a brick floor too. So ya, my camera broke. But the people at Canon are awesome and fixed her up in a flash. #thankgodforoneyearwarranties

2. This puppy dog is so spoiled these days I can't even stand it. I'm creating a monster.

3. My sister-in-law talked me into a Thanksgiving 5k this year. Yes, we gave up our traditional Bloody Mary's for breakfast to run. This level of maturity means one thing, we are getting old. It's ok though, drinks followed the race. 

4. The day after Thanksgiving, I had to work....womp, womp. First time I have ever worked this day. But, a) the market closed at 1 and b) I had an amazing concert to look forward to! The night J proposed, he played this song for me earlier that day- this new guy he wanted me to hear. I half listened, told him it was great and went on with whatever I was doing. Later that night, after he totally caught me off guard and proposed, the song played again! That song became our first dance at our wedding and we have loved this man ever since. Ray LaMontagne has this sultry, smokey voice that is unbelievable live. This was our third year going to his concert and this year was the best. An acoustic set. An acoustic "Your are the Best Thing"? Ya, it was awesome.

5. Oh man, I am having a major jewelry issue. This is my embarrassing! But don't worry, I have something in the works already.

6. Christmas decorations are out! Gotta get us tree next week. Can't wait!

7. Bootcamp is going strong! One thing I'm really loving is the ability to do the strength workouts at home. This cold weather in Boston does not have me wanting to trek to the gym! That sweaty face is after rounds of burpees, pushups, squats, one-legged squats, calf raises, etc. Tough stuff. Burpees kick my @$$!

8. Ahhh, time to organize. As much as I use google calendar, I need something more tangible. I need to see what my whole week looks like each weekend and plan out Tucker's walks, dinners, what needs to be mailed out, etc. My mind has been so cluttered lately. I'm hoping this helps!

9. J & I just booked our Spring trip to Florida!! 5 days, 4 nights in the sun. Tina has another bootcamp starting the first week of January. I will definitely be doing that for 8 weeks! Gotta get into beach shape!

10. Lastly, J & I are on our way to Charlotte today! Spending a weekend with J & A, as well as my college roommate and her boyfriend who moved down there this summer. I am SO excited to explore a new city, see both couples' new places, and just relax in much warmer weather than Boston. Mid - 60's whaaat! :)

Have a great weekend friends!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Winter Beef Stew

First off - a very happy birthday to my second mama! The best mother-in-law in all the land! Muah!!

It's about time I gave you another recipe! And what better winter meal than beef stew? Seriously, unless you're a vegetarian, this stew is amazing! There are so many layers of flavor.

This recipe comes from mi madre. I don't know where she got it, but it's the best. I've made my husband a happy man with this recipe!

What you need: 

  • 3 lbs stew meat
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup mix
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cans of beef broth
  • 1 can of red wine
  • 1 can of water
  • 5 or 6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 5 or 6 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • black pepper to taste

All you need to do is combine these ingredients in a 5 quart Dutch oven, cover, and bake at 325 for at least 2 hours.

Ok - so one little side step I take (and mom does too), is to brown the meat. Dust with flour, heat oil in a saute pan, brown the edges of the stew meat. Don't cook it all the way through! Just give it some warmth on the edges.

Mix the ingredients as directed above, cover and bake. 

Lastly, enjoy with a glass of the red wine you already opened, a slice of crusty bread & great company.

Tell me that doesn't look hearty & delicious?!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

DIY Table: Spraypainting

So remember that table & chair set I showed you Monday? Well, let's start at the beginning, shall we? First things first, I had to figure out how in the world I was going to pick up a table and six chairs. After emailing back and forth with the seller, we realized that the white van currently in my parents' possession would fit the table with room to spare. Flip the table over and rest the chairs on it, perfect!

Once back at my parents, it was time to clean up the chairs. First things first we sanded them down. There was a bit of a sheen to the chairs so we weren't sure what the finish was. After a quick wash down,  we sanded first with a medium grit, then fine grit.

In the picture below on the left, you can see the broken chair caning that was left in the chair. This stuff was gnarly and sharp. On Day 1, I didn't think we'd actually recane the chairs. So instead we took a utility knife to the broken pieces and then used caulking to fill the holes. (This was a VERY bad idea when we then changed our minds and wanted to recane the chairs....)

 Once cleaned up, it was time to prime and spray paint!

My original idea was to use a deep plum on these chairs. I envisioned it looking so rich next to an off-white bench. But we couldn't find the right purple for my vision. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that something lighter would look much better against our gorgeous cherry floors. So I let my mom talk me into a light aqua instead. And I am SO glad she did! Blue Ocean Breeze to be exact.

DIY rookie mistake...not buying enough spray paint! Oh my....we went through a lot of spray paint. I was trying SO hard to do light even layers that I probably sprayed a little too far away. Paired with the wind that day, I'm pretty sure half of each can ended up on the lawn, woods, in the air. Oh, and apparently we chose a very popular color! Took us 3 different Michaels stores (and 4 different trips) to get enough spray paint.

But once we saw the spray painted caning (one chair had the caning intact), we knew it had to be. And I ordered the caning supplies online that night.

Monday, November 26, 2012

DIY: New Kitchen Table

It's time to share with you our new kitchen table & chairs. There is one more thing I'd like to add in the future, but I can't wait any longer to show you what we did.

We've had J's college bar height table and stools since we moved here. And we had it in our apartment before. And I had it at my apartment out of school with girlfriends. It is a great table that we certainly loved, but I've wanted something different since we moved here. Time to replace the final college furnishing! But I never wanted to spend a ton of money on something that may not fit in our next home.

Well when I saw this inspiration photo, I had to figure something out. Fast too! Enter Craigslist. My new best friend.

$75 for a "let's see what happens" DIY project, yes please! And thank you Mom for taking me to pick this gem up. We looked pretty awesome in our van. Ha.

Day 1 included cleaning, priming, and spray painting the chairs. I plan to share more details later this week as to exactly what we did but here's a quick highlight.

This project was trying, very trying. And it definitely made us think outside the box at times. Like, how the heck do you recane a chair?! Oh ya, we figured it out. Probably not the "right" way but that is totally fine with me!

After many weekends of working on this project, it is so nice to say it's done. Looking pretty different than before huh? I am so proud of our first DIY project! 
We purchased the bench from Ballard Designs - the Coventry Bench - and LOVE it. It is my go-to seat in our kitchen now. So comfortable. Great place to blog from too. :) The pillow is pulled in from the living room for now, but I have my eye out for something new.

It was definitely strange at first to see a chair height table in our place after so many years with a high table. But it didn't take long to get used to it. The chairs swivel and are so comfortable to sit back in, with your feet actually touching the floor! 

In time, most likely after the holidays, I'd like to order a glass top for the table to protect it. And also because I think the glossy top will look great.

And lastly, at some point, probably Spring, we plan to paint this room. I knew even before we put the off-white bench in that it would look great against a gray or white wall, not the minty-green our place came painted as. The one room we haven't touched yet. There is A LOT to paint....but it must be done.

Stay tuned for more details of our process for re-vamping these chairs! It was definitely a learning experience. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you're all surrounded with family and friends today, eating a delicious meal, and enjoying great conversation and quality time.

J & I are spending Thanksgiving with his family this year. And, really not so small world, my parents are coming! Yep. My mom was gracious enough to hold her own Thanksgiving this past Sunday so that J & I are able to celebrate with both families. Of course, J's mom was there Sunday so really we get to celebrate with both sets of parents twice. No complaints here!

What's your favorite food at Thanksgiving? I think mine would have to be the stuffing. It is just so flavorful.

But before we eat, we'll be running a thanksgiving 5k this morning with siblings and friends. Going to work up a big appetite!

I am so thankful for two wonderful families to go home to every holiday. I am thankful for my sweet husband who's put up with me for more than 10 years. I am thankful that my sister & brother-in-law are now only a 2 hour flight away and we're going to see them next weekend!! I'm thankful for the set of siblings I've gained since marrying in to J's family. I'm thankful for the amazing set of friends J & I have. And I'm thankful for this little slice of the web that lets me share my thoughts with you.

If you're going shopping tomorrow, good luck!! I'll be working. Blah. BUT, J & I are going to see Ray LaMontagne tomorrow night and I can't wait!! Our first dance at our wedding was by him and his smokey, sultry voice is amazing live. Three years married, and 3 Ray concerts later, still love him.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! And enjoy the extra long weekend if you have Friday off!

Birchbox: November

What a surprise, I owe you a Birchbox review!

My November birchbox actually came early. I was so surprised by this. And then I didn't allow myself to enjoy it until I captured photos of it soo....ya those photos just happened. Sorry!

One of the things I love about this Birchbox is the give box. If you can't read it, it says "Instructions: Choose someone special. Empty pouch. Load it back up with something that will make that special someone smile." How sweet!

So, what did I get?

  • Lulu Organics Lavendar + Clary Sage Hair Powder
  • ModelCo Fibre Lashxtend Lengthening Mascara
  • Mox Botanicals Pomegranate & Fig Lip Butter
  • One Love Organics Aroma Body Serum
  • John Varvatos Artisan cologne. The postcard actually says to Give this sample to a lucky guy. 

I haven't actually used anything yet...but the cologne smells great! J will be trying that one out. I'm personally excited about the hair powder. I've been keeping to a routine of washing my hair everything other day and rely on dry shampoo for the in between days. At least this one should smell great!

The body serum smells a bit too baby powder-y for me but I'll certainly give it a chance. And lastly, I'm excited about the lip butter! I can always use a good lip protectant come winter in Boston.

If you receive Birchbox, did you get something different?

I currently have a 6-month membership that will be up after December. That went quick! I think I may have to keep this going.

Anyone have today off? Or are getting out early? If you do, enjoy! I'll be in the office all day and then catching the train to J's parents to avoid traffic. Blah. But hey, I'm looking forward to getting 45 minutes of me time to catch up on a book. It's been way too long!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Week Recap

1. Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I have a confession to make....I am obsessed with Homeland! Seriously, so good. Everyone told me how good it was and that I had to watch it, so I've finally done so. It's addicting! I've watched 8 of the first season's episodes this week. More TV than I've ever watched in a week for sure. But I can't help it! So good.

2. What else is going on over here? Well, I kept up with the Best Body Bootcamp as much as possible. This week was tough for me. Not exactly physically, more mentally. I had the HARDEST time getting out of bed early for workouts. With the colder weather, all I wanted to do was stay curled up under the covers for an extra hour. I have got to get over that, night workouts just don't happen that often for me.

Like I mentioned last week, I am loving the longer cardio intervals. It certainly makes me feel like I'm back in shape. And I've done more pushups in the past 4 weeks than I probably did the rest of this year. I am going to be JACKED by Christmas. Just kidding. :) But seriously, these arms better be real toned. Tina tweeted recently about burpees next week. Ugh, I'm going to die. Is it sick that I'm kind of looking forward to that exhausting feeling after a great workout? It's just so satisfying.

3. The biggest purchase of our new dining set is getting delivered today. I can't wait to see it!!! Thank goodness J works from home when needed because they gave us a 4 hour window. Seriously?! Originally they were supposed to come Monday but J has been traveling quite a bit so I asked him to make Friday an office day. You know they're going to come at the end of the 4 hours too.....when do they not? I'll share details next week!

4. Because this post is otherwise picture less, here's one of my baby boy. He's back into neighborhood watch mode. It's hilarious. I catch him up there all the time now, even first thing in the morning. When J's out of town for the night I just love this. I tell myself Tucker is keeping me safe. Such a sweet boy!

Do you like my faux Roman shade? I have one more to make....made this one a year ago (oops). So maybe someday I'll share my method with you.

Ok fine, twist my's 2 more pictures of Tuck. Sorry if you're not a fan of dogs. This little guy is my spoiled rotten child, and will be for the next year or two. He hates the vacuum so he moved to the kitchen while J vacuumed the living room. But then J took too long, and Tuck had to get back to napping so the hardwood floor in the kitchen had to do. #whatafreak. #beabull_love

Sorry if I just waisted 5 minutes of your day filling you in on a whole lot of nothing. This week seemed to fly by!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Work Holiday Parties

My first few years in public accounting, the firm I worked for threw an extravagant winter holiday party. And I LOVED it. It was held on a Saturday night, everyone got dressed up, enjoyed the open bar, and hit the dance floor.

Well, then the economy crashed...and the holiday party turned into an afterwork affair, significant others not included. This was fine too. But, you know I love a reason to get dolled up. So when I found out that the company I now work for goes all out, well I've been thinking about what I'm going to wear for months now!

One thing I love about the company I now work for is they certainly play by the "work hard, play hard" rules. And so after a long year of working hard, expanding, hitting numbers, etc, it's time to play. Our holiday party is a 3-day long event and co-workers across the globe are flown in to Boston. I've been forewarned about this party since I started, close to a year ago now.

So what do I wear?! I have one dress in mind that I already own. And if that doesn't work, I'm thinking about using Rent The Runway. Have you heard of this site? I've used it once before and loved it.

I used it back on my 25th birthday when we headed to the casino (and yes bowled at the casino ha)

The concept of RTR? Rent a designer dress for a fraction of the cost. Amazing right?! Here are a few I'd considered for a work holiday party.

rent the runway

1- Bagdley Mischka 2- Sachin + Babi  3 - Lily Pulitzer

So the middle one would probably wash me out this time of year but it was just too gorgeous to pass up for this post. Does your company throw a holiday party? Do you get to dress up?

Time to try on the dress I own to see if it'll work. Or if I'll just haaave to rent one of these beauties.

Monday, November 12, 2012

west elm holiday

Ummm, guess who I got to meet last Wednesday??? YHL!! I went to my first ever book signing. The bloggers/masterminds behind the blog Young House Love were in Boston to sign copies of their new book.

This book is pure genius. So many great ideas that are easy & affordable. Now I just need a house to attempt these projects on.... YHL is the first blog I started following daily close to 2 years ago now, crazytown. I've hooked some friends and family on it too - it's just that good.

So there was no doubt in my mind I'd be going to their book signing. Even if that meant waiting in a very long line....And when that very long line snakes its way through West Elm, it's really not a bad wait. I was also lucky to have a great friend there with me so we were able to chat/catch up for the 2+ hour wait. Ya, we're hardcore. But it was worth it to meet these two gems!

Oh, and did I mention it was SNOWING in Boston on Wednesday?! Also crazytown. But again, no way were weren't going!

So what were some of the items at West Elm that caught my eye while waiting you ask? Here are a just a few accessories I saw Wednesday that I wouldn't mind having in me casa.

west elm holiday

1 - Industrial Pendant - I can't help but love mercury glass. 

2 - St. Jude Ceramic Owls - $5 of each purchased goes to St. Judes. How amazing is that?

3 - Cozy Throw - omg, this throw looked amazing. Comfy, cozy just like the name. I really liked the Slate colored one and could totally picture it in our home.

4 - Snow Globes - these were perfect. Simple yet so fun. I don't know what it is about snow globes but they always make you smile. I may need to add one to our winter decor over here.

5 - Owl Mugs - owls are huge right now. They're everywhere. These are just fun. I like the white ones best.

6 - Kamal Snow Dots Dinnerware - absolutely loved these. Great holiday mugs without being too in your face christmas-y or winter-y. Though I definitely have a pair of reindeer mugs I bring out each year!

Happy shopping!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sneak Peak

Happy Friday! Any plans for the weekend?

J & I are heading to the ski & snowboard expo in Boston tonight to possibly buy J new snowboard bindings. Remember back in August when I bought J a new snowboard for his birthday? Ya, well the snowboard cost me enough $$ so I skipped the bindings ha. I figured we'd have plenty of time until ski season to pick those up. And somehow it's already November. Yikes!

And tomorrow I'm heading to a wine festival with a group of girlfriends. I.can't.wait. Seriously. An afternoon of girl time, plenty of wine, and then dinner reservations to follow. Sounds like the perfect Saturday to me!

Oh, and if you live in the Boston area, you may have seen a deal for BBQ on Living Social this week. Well I jumped at that deal, and so didn't this lovely couple. BBQ and Patriots on Sunday afternoon? Yup, another great day.

And this my friends is why I have to do bootcamp! I would rather eat good food, drink good wine, and exercise daily than to skimp on food to exercise less. It's just my thing.

Anywho - why is this post labeled sneak peak? Well because I'm about to show you a couple peaks at some changes over here.

I am dying to show you our new dining set but it's just not ready yet. The final piece should be here in a week or so. Let's hope! Especially since it was ordered in September. But here's a sneak peak at the chairs we refinished. We as in not only J & I, but also my parents. They are saints and were a huge help! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Aqua & poppy for the win.

And another sneak peak...while in Morocco. J & I decided to treat ourselves to a Moroccan rug. I wasn't sure if we'd use it in the condo or not. I didn't buy it for the condo specifically but knew it would be a great piece to have for years to come. It was one of the first rugs we looked at and just kept going back to it. It was meant to be. (And it's not stained, that just my shadow taking the picture.)

I've was never a huge fan of red decor but apparently that has changed! The key is adding just the right amount of color without over doing it. We'll see if I can master that!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Best Body Bootcamp: Week 3

I am still loving this bootcamp! Yes, there have been a few times that I've had a really hard time getting my booty out of bed in the morning but instead I've gone to the gym at night twice this week. That may be a record.

Word of advice - going to the gym while the election polls are running is a great idea. Hardly anyone there and you can distract yourself by watching the results! I'm so smart.

Tuesdays workout was one of my favorites so far. Instead of 40 minutes of steady cardio, this week's cardio days incorporate intervals. But instead of doing quick one minute or 30 second intervals, this one had you working at an intensity of 8 (out of 10) for 5 minutes, then recover, 7 minutes, recover, and finally 10 minutes. I would have never thought about taking small recovery breaks on the treadmill before. And it made a huge difference in my workout. I pushed myself harder during the running intervals knowing I had a 3 minutes of recovery coming up. Recovery intervals were at an intensity of 6. My workout looked a little something like this:

  • 5 minute warm up - walking at a 5.0 incline at 4.0 mph
  • 5 minute run at 7.0
  • 3 minute recovery at 6.5
  • 7 minute run at 7.0
  • 3 minute recovery at 6.5
  • 10 minute run ladder starting at 6.8 increase every minute up to 7.2 and then back down
  • cool down starting at 6.8 decreasing by .2 every minute until stopping at 6.2 and 4 miles total
I really think if I had just jumped on the treadmill and attempted 4 miles I wouldn't have made it. I felt GREAT after this workout.

My workout today will look very similar. And since I'm writing this Wednesday night....hopefully by the time you read this my workout will be finished!

And I'll look like this. A sweaty mess.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday: IRS Town Meeting

A few weeks ago I was able to attend an IRS Town Meeting at my alma mater, Bentley University. I know, most of you are thinking, total snoozefest, but I have to say, it was rather interesting! I not only went to Bentley for undergrad but also for my Masters in Tax so it's always nice to be back on campus. And it is just so freakin gorgeous there in the fall.

The meeting itself was made up of a handful of discussions throughout the day with a lead speaker and several guests. It was really interesting to listen to my former tax professor interact with public accounting partners as well as representatives from the IRS. It certainly brought back memories from my public accounting days!

So, how do you dress for something like this?! I had a feeling I was going to be on the younger side of the audience members. And knowing it was being held in an auditorium, I feared being cold. So the obvious decision? Layers. And lots of them.

Tank top under button down under sweater vest under velvet blazer. And this was a great choice because I was never too warm. 

Button Down: Ann Taylor
Sweater Vest: Banana Republic outlet (very old)
Velvet Blazer: J.Crew
Work pants: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Bandolino (via DSW)
Watch: Michael Kors
Glasses: Kate Spade

This outfit will certainly be making a debut again in the office. Although I was afraid of feeling a little restricted with so many layers, it was actually really comfortable. There's nothing worse than being cold in the office! 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips