Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fun Fact Thursday

Where to begin today.....well, let's start with this - It's my BIRTHDAY!! Whoo.

In anticipation of some birthday celebrations after work tonight, I'm leaving you with a fun fact Thursday.

1. As I mentioned here, it's also Vince Vaughn, Julia Stiles, and Lady Gaga's birthday. And you may not know them but it's also the following old friends birthdays: Caitlin, Christina, Pat. What an amazing birthday to have. Happy Birthday!

2. I don't really feel old this year. Turning 27 means I'm now in my "late" twenties, but my brother-in-law turned 30 this past Tuesday and knowing I have 3 more years til 30 feels good (sorry Dan!). I love the idea of 30 before 30 but where I have SO much time until then, I'm thinking maybe a 101 in 1001 days might be better. #gogetter

3. What color should I get for my birthday manicure tomorrow morning? We're heading to Foxwoods for the night for Dan's birthday celebration so I'm treating myself to some fresh nails. Though the bowling is probably going to ruin my nails....what can ya do!

Here's J & I bowling at Foxwoods for my 25th Birthday.

4. I actually watched both nights of Dancing With the Stars this week which was both weird and totally awesome. I don't know the last time I saw it but I think this season is going to be good. Andy Dick is hilarious! He better not get voted off anytime soon.

5. I'm starting to get real antsy/ready to get my crafting on. I need a project. Even though I don't want to do anything to our condo while looking for a new home, it just might need to happen. Think it will still be rentable or sellable if I add some stripes or chalkboard paint? I need to do SOMETHING! And soon.

6. I may have already opened my gift from J.... here's a sneak peak of the better part of it -
Eeek so excited! And omg surprised. 

7. 26 was a really good year for me. Most of its documented here on this blog so it's fun to look back:
What will 27 bring??

Have a great weekend! Happy Easter!

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WIWW: Birthday Dinner

It's What I Wore Wednesday time!

Sunday night we had the privilege of enjoying a birthday dinner with our parents. Like I mentioned earlier, it's currently Boston Restaurant Week. Since it runs the last two weeks of March annually, I usually get to enjoy one or two birthday dinners out. Fine dining and good wine is totally up my alley.

Well, my father-in-law's birthday happens to be the day before mine! And the parents have been looking for a reason to get into the city and try out restaurant week. Lucky us! 

We headed to Morton's in the Seaport for an amazing meal. I tend to go for the nice, but casual look when I know the restaurant isn't overly dressy. I'd rather give the vibe that, oh I go here all the time, than wow this place is super-duper fancy and I'm over dressed. I'm crazy. What can I say? Once and a while, it is fun to dress up though.

So here's what I decided to wear:

Top: Ann Taylor (gift!)
Pants: Toothpick Jeans (J.Crew)
Shoes: Dana Buchman for Kohls

Can I just point that out once more. Those awesome loafers are from Kohls! We visited friends who recently purchased a beautiful home and Lauren and I decided to do a little shopping nearby. These flats are incredibly comfortable, actually have a little support in them, and were so reasonable. I'll be checking out Kohls more often.

Have you found any great deals lately? I also scored this blouse last weekend during a sale at Ann Taylor. It will be worn this weekend either at my brother-in-laws 30th birthday party at the casino, or Easter. (Yes, 3 family birthdays, 3 days in a row...wahoo!)

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Flowers

Since Spring has decided not to grace us with its presence just yet, I've decided to bring it to me. What's better than fresh flowers?

Last week, I grabbed two dozen tulips and spread them throughout our condo. I love using the small bud vases we received as a wedding shower gift.

This week, we went with daffodils and ranunculus. We loved the white tulips last week so decided to go with one bunch of white again. And I love the contrast against the deep plum flowers.

Spring has sprung up in here. Now let's just hope we start seeing some buds blooming outside very soon!

What's your favorite flower to bring indoors? I'm not so sure I have a favorite, I like mixing it up. Or letting J choose...hint hint. ;)

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Liebstar Awards

Well look at that, a weekend post! I was originally planning on addressing this Friday, but then I went out with old roommates Thursday night, and we ordered 3 bottles of wine....It's restaurant week here in Boston so you just have to get out and try some new restaurants with girlfriends! Heading to Morton's tonight with our parents!

Last week, Jackie awarded me a Liebster Award. Thank you! How sweet of you. Copying this word for word from her blog, "The origins of the Liebster Blog award are somewhat unclear but the general consensus is that it originated in Germany, Liebster meaning favorite or dearest, to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Upon accepting the award, the recipient must then pass it on to five more blogs of note."

So, here we go. Here are the rules;

1. Share 11 things about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you
3. Choose 11 fellow bloggers to nominate (or however many you'd like). The nominees must have under 200 followers. Tell them in a comment in their blog.
4. Think of 11 questions to ask the bloggers you have decided to nominate.
5. Thank the person that nominated you and link back to their blog.

Let's start with 11 things about myself - 

  1. My favorite color is purple, but I don't often choose it for clothes. 
  2. I'm totally freaked out by spiders. If I notice one is because it moves, I cannot help the blood curdling scream that leaves my body. If I notice one on my own, without it moving, I'm usually ok and just avoid it.
  3. I get really restless when we don't have any travel plans in the future, even if they're 6+ months away. I like having something planned and booked. 
  4. I never ever thought I'd own a dog other than a labrador retriever. And until recently I thought for sure it would be our second dog. Tucker has really changed my view on doggies.
  5. I'd really like to train for another half-marathon within the next year.
  6. I don't want to say that I need coffee in the morning, but I really enjoy it. I've accepted the fact that caffeine is part of my morning routine, and I'm ok with that.
  7. I don't know if it's my metabolism, my Italian heritage, or what, but I am always hungry. Always. I could snack all day.
  8. I hate doing laundry, so I taught my husband how to do it. :)
  9. I love boats and being out on the water but get terribly seasick. 
  10. I think I know how to do so many house projects thanks to HGTV, DIY network, and blog reading.
  11. I share my birthday (Thursday!) with Vince Vaughn, Julia Stiles, and Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga and I were born on the same day....she clearly stole all the musical talent. 

And here are Jackie's questions for me:

  1. What unexpected thing have you learned from blogging? This one's tough! That people enjoy hearing what I have to say. Seriously though, it's been really surprising (and so exciting) to hear from old friends from high school and college, old co-workers, etc who read my blog. Not gonna lie, I LOVE hearing it. And I love when girlfriends tell me "this better be on the blog" when we're out together. :)
  2. What is your favorite food and drink? Currently, red wine and mac n cheese. (Not together, that's gross).
  3. Dogs or cats? Dogs
  4. What is your most successful DIY project? Toss up between my skinny gallery wall and refinished kitchen chairs.
  5. What is your favorite accessory? Wedding rings for sure. And my gold Michael Kors watch.
  6. Favorite band when you were 15 and favorite band now? Easy, Mariah Carey then, probably Jack Johnson now. Both are amazing live performers. 
  7. What is your dream job? Raising my future family. Not that I don't see myself working, but some things will change. 
  8. The farthest destination you've travelled? Hawaii's further than Morocco right?
  9. Favorite recipe you've made recently? Turkey meatloaf
  10. Which actor/actress would you like to play you in a movie about your life? Sofia Vergara. She probably has the closest shape to mine. ;)
  11. What is your worst habit or guilty pleasure? Justifying purchases because they're on sale. Justifying calories because I just worked out. So so bad about it! 
And who I'll be nominating for this award:
Some of these girls are my BIGGEST supporters, and these are all awesome blogs you should read.

Amelia at It's a Colorful Life (she just started blogging and I'm loving her writing!)

Angela at Diary of a Chair

I'm excited to see what you ladies have to say about the following 11 questions:

  1. Where would you plan your ideal vacation to?
  2. What is your favorite thing to go shopping for?
  3. Favorite nail polish color?
  4. What is your go-to meal to cook for yourself, or when entertaining?
  5. What is your ideal date night?
  6. If you could choose one season to live in, which would it be?
  7. What's the one piece of make-up (chapstick included) you can't live without?
  8. Actor you crushed on during your teenage years?
  9. Favorite TV show on right now?
  10. First blog you read everyday, or when you check blogs?
  11. Favorite sport or way you get exercise in? 

Thank you again Jackie!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Ladies, start thinking about your responses. :)

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fitness: Back to Basics

It's no secret that I was in way better shape last year. I was more motivated, I was eating healthier, and I really enjoyed working out on a regular basis. But this year is just different. We had close to zero snow in Boston last year and were able to run outside well into December and pick right back up by March. Right now? There's a layer of ice on the sidewalks, a layer of frozen snow on my car, and it's close to freezing outside. Talk about no motivation!

So, what am I getting at? Ah, yes. I need to get my act together. And man is the treadmill brutal right now! So I need to slow down and take it little by little. One exercise I really enjoyed back during Best Body Bootcamp was treadmill intervals. I had honestly never attempted intervals before then! So when I got on the treadmill last night, I knew exactly what I needed to do if I wanted to keep myself going for 30 minutes. Intervals. And this particular interval set gives me comfort that my ability to run a 5k road race is not out of the realm of possibility.

I've intentionally left speed off of this interval because it's totally up to you. I try to push myself during the run to an 8-9 out of 10, and take the jog down to a 5-6 out of 10 in difficulty. Bringing my fitness back to basics, I ran these intervals at a slower pace than I was running a few months ago. But I didn't let myself get frustrated, just happy I actually made it to the gym!

Praying this snow in Boston ends soon though so I can get outside for a run. You just can't beat running outside.

How about you, how do you stay motivated to workout in the winter?

Knowing we'll be on the beach next month has certainly made me motivated recently!

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Birchbox: March & Favorites to Date

Birchbox, you've done well this month. Very well.

  • Miss Jessie's Original - Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo
  • Miss Jessie's Original - Creme de la Creme Conditions
  • Sumita - Color Intense Pencil
  • Whish - Shave Crave Shaving Cream
  • Vasanti - Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvinator
  • Madewell for Birchbox - Emery Board

Way back in August, I received Miss Jessie's Quick Curls from Birchbox and I absolutely love it. It gives my hair soft, relaxed curls. So I am really excited to test out their shampoo and conditioner. The color pencil sure is's blue. I can't say I've had the opportunity to test out a blue eyeliner on my brown eyes yet....really Birchbox?

Moving on, the Brighten Up! face cleanser is awesome. I originally thought it would work really well with my Clarasonic Mia, but do not do that! The cleanser has micro crystals in it to gently exfoliate the skin, and let me tell you, I love it. It's definitely grittier than most gentle exfoliants so I can see how it might brighten up my dull winter skin. Lastly, the shave cream is super soothing. Not a huge fan of the blueberry scent, but the shea butter, green tea, coconut oil, and jojoba seed oil it contains is awesome. I'm planning to save some for our upcoming trip to the beach.

Birchbox reminded me that I've been a customer for 9-months, and clearly wants me to spend a little cash as they've offered me 20% off this month. Sweet! So I thought I'd share with you my Birchbox favorites to date. 

Birchbox Favorites

Want to check out my past reviews?  

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Travel: Countdown to Florida

The weather here in Boston has taken a turn back towards winter. I don't get it. Tomorrow is the first day of Spring. Whyyy is it snowing today?!

I saw this photo on pinterest and thought most of us in the Northeast are definitely feeling this way right about now.

image source unknown

The weather was so nice here a couple of weeks ago, and it just seemed like winter had ended. Not so much though. Boo.

Last week, when I finally made it to the gym one morning, I realized that our trip to Florida is coming up quick! Thank god. Start the lunges, squats, push ups and planks. What I would give to be on a beach right now. But 4 weeks really will fly by so I can't complain. This is how I feel right now -

image source unknown

I'm in need of something calming. And a day at the beach sounds splendid. How about you? What's your ideal way to relax? I keep telling myself to get to a hot yoga class because I know I will feel incredibly relaxed after that. Just need to fit it into my schedule these days.

Anyone know of a yoga studio in Boston you'd recommend? I haven't been in far too long.

I've been following FitFluential on Twitter for quite some time now, and the CEO Kelly Olexa started following me on Instagram (@talkative_tlc) yesterday after my exercise photo! Ah! Guess I should use that as motivation to get moving!

Current countdown to FL: 30 days!

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Monday, March 18, 2013

DIY: Chalkboard Paint

Happy Monday! (said no one ever). Not gonna lie, today's tough. I may not be irish but celebrating St. Patrick's Day is always a great time here in Boston. Especially when you live in the irish area of the city, and your condo is only one block off the parade route. Thank goodness my boss is out today on vacation time. Probably won't be my most productive work day today...

On to what I really want to talk about. Chalkboard paint!

Monday's home decor post brings you a few ideas on how to incorporate chalkboard paint into your home. This is something I'd really like to work into our next home and I've been brainstorming unique ways to do so. I'm a list maker and a planner. So a place to quickly write down what we need from the grocery store, or what I need to get done that week would be great.

When I thought we had found our next home, there were two different spaces I was pondering chalkboard paint. The open floor plan of the home had the laundry visible in a small hallway near the garage. How about chalkboard paint on the laundry cabinets? I saw this post on Bryn Alexandra's blog and loved it. What a great idea. Loving a spot for the House To-Do list too!

Another idea I was considering, chalkboard paint in an entertaining space. The open layout of the house I thought we'd be buying had a great space near where we'd be placing a large rustic dining table for a sideboard or buffet. How about painting the wall above it with chalkboard paint?

How awesome is this entertaining space? I was completely sold. Built-in wine fridge? Yes please!

And lastly, how about a cloffice? Oh, you haven't heard of a closet turned office before? Genius idea. I stumbled upon Christina's blog when I participated in a blogger link up last week and loved it. Like I've mentioned, I really don't need an office in our next place. Just a space for a decent sized desk to work from home at times, blog, and take care of personal emails and bills.

Chalkboard paint in an office area would be quite productive for me. I make a to-do list every morning at work, and find satisfaction in crossing things off the list as they get completed. I think I'd really enjoy a wall dedicated to my daily tasks. Truth - sometimes I write things on my to-do list after they've been completed, just so I can cross them out. Weirdo? Or completely normal?

And what about the lighting in the last two chalkboard paint options? I've never been a big fan of sconces, but in both the bar space and Christina's office, I absolutely love the lighting. This has definitely changed my opinion of wall lighting!

Anyways, enough rambling for a Monday. I've told myself its time to cut down these posts a bit each day. Here's a riddle for do you tell Talkative*TLC to write less?....

What do you think about chalkboard paint? Think you'd use it in your home? Or have you used it already and where?

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meal Planning: How'd We Do?

Our first week of meal planning is going very well! Want to see?

Here's our original plan. Not surprisingly, we've made a few tweaks. Such is life.

Why oh why did we wait so long to make a batch of overnight oatmeal. This stuff is so good. And incredibly filling.

I've loved having leftover for lunch most days. I don't know about you, but I'm definitely fan of a warm meal over a sandwich that's been sitting in the fridge since 8 am.

And dinner? Let's see.

Sunday - Pulled chicken sliders. Although the original plan was veggie burgers, we had friends over Saturday night for tacos and apparently I have no idea how to guesstimate the amount of food I need. We had enough chicken to feed another 10 people....whoops! But it sure made Sunday dinner and Monday lunch easy!

Monday - Whole wheat pasta, spinach, shallots, apple chicken sausage (our absolute fav chicken sausage flavor)

Tuesday - Turkey meatloaf with sundried tomatoes, spinach, & feta.

Wednesday - Thai Chicken Quinoa bowl. This was fantastic! Thanks Cait for instagramming a photo of this! I then stalked Cait's pinterest page and found the recipe. The joys of social media. :)

And because it was so pretty to photograph.....
love my camera

So far so good. J will be having leftovers tonight while I'm out with friends. And tomorrow night will be another home cooked meal. Soo looking forward to it.

Oh - and is it bad that home cooked meals tend to include a glass of red wine? Nightly.... good for the heart, right?

If you have any new recipes you think I should add to our weekly meal plan, please send them my way! Looking forward to some more home cooking.

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Working with What You Have: Storage

Warning - this post is a lengthy one!

I absolutely love J & my condo in Boston. It may not be much, but its ours. And for the past 3 years, we've done our best to take advantage of our city location.  Yes, I've been very open about my desire to head to the suburbs soon and gain more square footage, but I can't really complain about our current living space. Can I complain about the parking, the bus schedule, the lack of grass for Tucker? Sure. But if I had to chose a 1 bedroom condo in the city again, I'd like to think I'd still pick ours.

So what's this post about? Working with what you have. In our case, it would be what you don't have. With 700 square feet of living space, storage is a premium. We have a total of 2 closets in our place. Our bedroom closet, and a coat closet by the entrance. That's it. So when Emily invited us to link up with how we work with what we have, I thought this was the perfect time to go through how we make it work.


One word: Baskets! (well, and shelves...)

A quick mental count; we have 3 baskets in our living room, 4 in the kitchen, 4 in the bathroom, 4 in our bedroom. Wouldn't you rather look at a pretty, simple basket than clutter? Because we sure do have plenty of clutter too!

Oh, and have I mentioned that J works from home? So somewhere in our 3 room condo, we needed to make room for an office. Or quasi-office in this case. We happen to have about 30 sq feet near the entrance to our place which ended up being the perfect spot for J's desk. Don't ask J if he'd call it perfect....because I'm sure I could guess his answer. Don't worry dear, a home office is at the top of the must-have list in the next place!

Storage Solution #1: Best use of space
Storage Solution #2: Shelving

 I don't interfere with the man's work, or gym resistance bands. This is his little piece of our condo...if he wants to tape job reference material to the wall, I'll cringe and look the other way....In addition to his desk area, the shelves above house more work needs, personal laptops, printer paper, books, etc.

Storage Solution #3: Sweater hanger turned storage space 

The closet by the entrance of our place is also right next to the kitchen, and across the hall from the bathroom. #smallspaceissues

Storage Solution #4: Storage bench

Storage benches are ideal for small spaces. We've had this one since we moved in and I don't know what we'd do without it. It houses an air mattress, extra sheets, and blankets for guests. We honestly have no where else to put these items so a storage bench was a no brainer. Tucker loves using this bench to keep an eye on the neighborhood for us.
Using the extra wide window ledge as a bookshelf isn't such a bad idea either. Especially when you have such awesome books to display....along with J's extra

 Storage Solution #5: Baskets

Like I mentioned above, baskets are amazing storage solutions. They work their magic to turn clutter into fooling your guests into believing you are so organized.

Living room baskets to hide DVDs, games, cable provider paperwork

Living room basket to house Tucker's toys. Don't worry, he figured out how to take every single toy out, every day. If only he knew how to put them back.

Kitchen baskets to hide my mail and important documents, J's mail/documents, J's work mail, Tucker's mail brush, nail clippers, and  miscellaneous items that need a hidden home.

When I mentioned we have one extra closet besides our bedroom closet, that means no linen closet. Womp womp. Our solution? Open shelving and baskets for the win.

Lastly, baskets in our bedroom closet. They have been the perfect solution to organize/hide my wallets, wristlets, purses, beach bags, etc. 

Not exactly basket storage, but we happened to find a bed we loved that came with drawers underneath. The perfect place to store extra bed linens.

Storage Solution #6: Update your closet

Major selling feature of our condo? The walk-in closet. I can't believe I might be giving up closet space to gain more overall space in a future home! But, the closet had a one bar system across two of the walls. What a waste of space! So we updated the closet with a Martha Stewart closet system from Home Depot. It has worked out so well. J also installed a shoe storage area for me. What a guy!

A picture from the closet install day. Look how tiny Tucker was!

And a look at the finished closet with plenty of hanging space as well as shelving, and a unique place for shoes.

So there you have it, how to solve storage issues in a small place. Or any place for that matter!

How do you control clutter and storage? I am always looking for ways to improve/get rid of the extra clutter in our small space. 

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dream Home v2.0

First off - what do you think of the blog makeover? As much as I loved the former design, it was making it tricky for a few formatting issues so an update was much needed. And long overdue! I was horrified when the blog started loading my header in Comic Sans from time to time. Oh man, haven't used that font since the days of AIM. I hope you welcome the updates, but let me know if you have any suggestions.

We had a great weekend over here. The condo got a deep clean, we've started in our meal planning (3 trips to the grocery store this weekend), and we hosted an evening of tacos and margaritas with friends to forget the snow outside. Sunday included a long walk/jog with Tuck, blog updates, and some lounging. I'm feeling quite refreshed for the work week ahead.

So last Monday, I shared a home on the market here in MA that's pretty ideal to me. The post seemed to be a huge hit! How about another Dream Home tour?

This home is also currently on the market on the south shore of MA, and is a beauty. Not surprised to find out it was Boston Magazine's 2012 Dream Design Home...

Enough teasing, let's dive right in. This house is currently on the market for $1.9M. A steal I tell you.... It's set on over an acre of land, has 4 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, and is a sprawling 5,700 square feet. I honestly can't imagine that much living space.

You just can't go wrong with a white exterior. And add in a red door and turn around driveway, love.
 Look at those windows! There is nothing better than natural light. And I'll take a deck the length of my house any day.
 I am in love with these pendant lights. They remind me of these from Restoration Hardware that are so striking in person. 
I'm usually drawn to white kitchens, but the natural wood in this kitchen is simply stunning. It has a rustic look to it that provides an incredible amount of warmth to the room. And the new trend of two tone cabinets works well in this space.
 A bedroom with a wall of windows and french doors leading out to a private patio, yes please! The privacy from the surrounding trees is so ideal too. Wouldn't this be amazing to wake up to? I am a huge fan of chandeliers in bedrooms. 
What a gorgeous bathroom. I'm in love with the mix of rustic and modern pieces. A distressed cabinet with a marble countertop and clean, minimalist faucets. Love the mirrored storage cabinet between the sinks too. The mirrors certainly help it blend in.
More windows, more french doors. Plus a gas fireplace. This place feels like a resort!
 This is not something I need in a dream home, but found it amusing. Thank goodness there's a putting green to practice on! Ha. J would be in heaven here. 

All photos via Redfin (Home originally found on

So what do you think? Is this place more your style? Or this home? I'd take either!

Happy Monday!

Stay tuned - you'll be getting another dose of home design this week. Wednesday I'll be sharing my tips to work with what you've got in a small living space.

If you like this post please let me know by leaving a comment or liking my Facebook page. You can also follow along on TwitterPinterest, and Instagram. Let's stay in touch!

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