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Happy last Friday of 2016! Out with the old and in with the new. . . though to be honest, the biggest new we are facing in 2017 has me sick. I am trying to be positive, but I have a feeling things will get worse before they get better.

2016 seemed to be a rough year for a lot of people, but aside from celebrity deaths and the election outcome, it was mostly a good one. It started out with a project that had dragged me along for months cutting me loose with no warning (to save money) even though they knew it was coming, but I more than made up for it with new opportunities throughout the year.

I was inspired by Molly to write my own blog post on 2016 goals (rather than resolutions), and since the year is almost over, I am finally facing the music and seeing how I did. Did you make any resolutions or set any goals for 2017 yet?

Read my 2016 travel highlights (always a favorite post to write) here!

1) Run six races in 2016.

Mission accomplished! In addition to the Chicago Marathon, I ran a local little race on One Boston Day, the BAA 5k, the Milton 10k, Lazy Lobster 5 miler, Cambridge Half Marathon, and the Halfway to Dot Day 5k. I beat my goal! I actually signed up for a few other races that I didn’t run due to injuries as well.

Chicago Marathon finish

2) Secure a new wine industry client.

This is currently in progress, and while details aren’t final, I am hopeful that 2017 will bring some exciting new clients that I will love working with.

 

3) Visit two new places.

Done! In February we found paradise a direct JetBlue flight away in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. We loved it so much that it might become our go-to getaway, though I still REALLY want to go to Panama.

Luquillo, Puerto Rico  

We also finally visited Asheville, North Carolina with a quick side trip to Lake Lure. This is definitely an area we will visit again.

Lake Lure

4) Send more cards.

Fail. We didn’t even get holiday cards out this year.

5) Take an honest look at my diet and exercise.

I looked at it. I even started the year with healthy eating at home. And then somehow it became the year of takeout and snacking and going out for apps and cocktails way.too.much. These behaviors are definitely something we need to reign in in 2017 for the sake of our health and bank account.

6) Better organize my work day, make plans, and stick to them.

Fail. I repeatedly miss things I want to do to stay at my desk a little longer, cram in calls when they can wait, and am generally available and connected 24/7. I even got a call on Christmas Day! I need a digital detox in the worst way.

7) Get paid by the scamming plumber and close that chapter of our lives.

Our next court appointment is in February. It’s pretty amazing what scam artists can get away with.

8) Move more.

Working from home makes this difficult, but I DID run a bunch of races and go on a bunch of hikes this year. I also spent every possible moment swimming in the ocean. Treading deep water actually became a pretty big cross training exercise! I was always super sore the next day. Still, on a day-to-day basis, I sit SO MUCH that it makes me sore and saps m energy. I have been building in jumping jacks while the water boils for my tea, but I need to do some serious sweating to make up for my sedentary lifestyle.

swimming in New England

I am still working on my 2017 goals. . . more to come!

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Tags: exercise, fitness, goals, health, lifestyle, resolutions, Travel

It’s been a while since I have shared a bunch of random favorite things, and I have been collecting photos for just that purpose. Look at these crazy leggings. . . they are actually one of my recent favorites, picked up on super sale at American Eagle on Martin Luther King Day weekend. They’re comfy and bright, and I love wearing them around the house with an oversized sweater and slipper booties while I work, because I can quickly go straight into workout mode if I get a break in my work day.

barre and yoga

I’ve been working with Barre & Soul yoga and barre studios, and as part of my work with them, I get to take classes. Their virtual classes are amazing; you get a Skype call right on your computer and take the class from home. The instructor can see you, and you can see her, so there’s plenty of motivation and form correcting. I love starting my day with one of their Vinyasa yoga classes, and their 11:00 am Cardio Barre on Sundays kicks my butt.

dorchester ymca

On the workout front, we’ve also joined the YMCA in Dorchester, which is a really impressive facility that is incredibly reasonable. It’s $53/month for both of us! It has a pool, classes, spinning, a great fitness facility, sauna, steam room, etc. I can’t believe I used to pay $95 a month for just myself at a downtown gym!  I want to get more into a schedule with classes at the Y, mixing in a few Barre & Soul classes in, along with a few runs per week.

hand and stone massageIn addition to the Y, we also became members at Hand and Stone Massage. A monthly payment of $49.95 includes a massage and some really great discounts. I find that massages really help me physically and mentally, and now it will be guaranteed that I go for one every month. I will definitely look forward to that day!

On the food front, we’ve been eating a lot of delicious things. Too many. I haven’t done very well on the healthy eating front. If abs are made in the kitchen, mine are made of brioche and Nutella these days.

nutella french toast

Nutella and Bacon French Toast at the Plate in Milton. . . do I need to say more?

polenta

We love The Townshend in Quincy, and on a very cold Friday night, we had a cozy date at the bar, complete with an incredible polenta and wild boar ragu. I think this would be on my top 10 comfort foods list.

fireplace dinners with wine

The Daily Table continues to be a favorite spot for finding great ingredients. The above tuna steak was perfection with veggies and a sesame/ginger marinade that I threw together. Dinners picnic-style by the fire are also my favorite; they’re cozy and romantic and turn every night into a date night.

chicken parmesan in a skillet

My chicken parm is another date night at home favorite. I love skillet meals that start out on the stovetop and then finish in the oven. This one isn’t breaded; my homemade tomato sauce smothers pan-fried chicken, and fresh mozzarella and basil top it off. Another top comfort food for the winter!

I recently also finally got to the brick-and-mortar location of Mei Mei Street Kitchen, and it was incredible. I loved the spiked Fire Cider cocktail and this charred cabbage salad, which was crunchy and cozy and tangy, delicious.

mei mei street kitchen

I can’t finish this post without a mention that this past week I lost one of my favorites of all time, our cat Smuckers. Since the day we adopted her over 11 years ago, she was a constant companion and source of laughs, a cat-dog in her behavior, loving, full of purrs, but only for me and Eric. Anyone else she would try to kill.

IMG_0027 She had a larger-than-life presence, and it was hard to watch that slip away Friday night, but we loved her so much we knew we had to let her go. Smuckers was adopted from the MSPCA, and I can’t stress enough how incredibly grateful rescue animals are to be yours. A little piece of my heart is missing these days, but I’m also just trying to be grateful that we had her in our lives.

xoxo

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Tags: Boston, Brookline, exercise, Food, Restaurants, workouts, yoga

World’s End

Hello from Ireland! I am likely back to bed as this publishes. Or working. The one thing about consulting/owning your own company, is that taking time off is awkward. Or somewhat impossible. But one of the things I am most thankful this year is work, so I will not complain! Do you have a half day today? If you are traveling, be safe!

November has been kind to us so far. I find it really hard to believe that winter is coming, yet I am certainly not naïve enough to be hopeful. Knowing that soon enough, we will be surrounded by piles of miserable white, we spent Sunday on another Massachusetts day trip. World’s End in Hingham is a spectacular place to visit by boat; each summer weekend, literally dozens of boats line up, side-by-side for partying and swimming in the sun.

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It turns out, getting to World’s End by car and spending some time on dry land is just as spectacular. After paying $5 each to enter the grounds, we did some easy walking toward the highest point on the peninsula.

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There we got to see some fabulous views of the Boston skyline.

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The hike was fairly easy but did involve some steep uphills. My Boston Marathon training legs were very happy about it. Walking the entire peninsula took about an hour, with stopping to take some photos sprinkled throughout. World’s End has lots of benches overlooking the various vistas, and we saw several groups picnicking. We just kept moving, loving being outdoors and commented several times that it would have been a waste to spend the day inside doing work or chores.  In general, since my nana passed away and we were sick before and after, I haven’t exercised at all. It felt good to get a little sweaty and to get my heart rate up. I definitely tend toward seasonal blues, so I need to remind myself how much a little sunshine and movement does to cheer me up.

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It doesn’t have to be summer to take a jog on a rocky beach, after all. Being near the water is enough to turn my mood around.

Does being outside make you as deliriously happy as it makes me? How do you get your sunshine fix when it gets cold?

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Tags: day trips, exercise, hiking, Massachusetts, Travel

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