MCM Weekend 2013

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This past spring my husband decided to start training for his first marathon. The lucky marathon chosen was the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. He had heard from so many people that it was a great first marathon to run. I also learned that there was a 10K the same day of the marathon. Being that I had resolved to take running more seriously in 2013, I thought that was an attainable goal. Along for the ride I decided to convince my sister-in-law Jo-Anne and one of my oldest and good friend Maureen to do the 10K with me. This race also worked for my husband and I, because it was in DC where I grew up and my parents still live there. So the weekend would be easy peasy, no airplanes, no hotel rooms, no worrying about a sitter for the boys.

Once we all started training the 3 of us ladies would keep tabs on one another via text when we ran. This helped me keep motivated throughout the year especially through the hot summer. During the boys summer vacation I would actually get my babysitter (thank God she is an early riser) to come at 7am while the boys were still asleep so I could log in my miles. Once fall came and the boys were back in school and the days got cooler, running was more pleasant.  As I have written before, running has always been a challenge for me and way outside my comfort zone. Slowly but surely I was starting to enjoy it a bit.

Race day rolled around pretty quickly Sunday, October 27th, 2013. The best thing about the race is that I ran it with fun people. My fondest memories of that day will be more of us during pre and post race shenanigans.  We were the crazy ladies hollering at people coming on the metro at 5:30 am, from their night out on the town (in costume no less).

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If you are a runner and haven’t run in either the marathon or 10K, I urge you to put it on your bucket list. Nothing can describe the energy that this race has. There is so much support on the streets from Marines to loved ones looking for their people. It really is energizing. The 10K is the last 6.2 miles of the marathon. You start by the National History Museum on the National Mall and end up at Iwo Jima (that assent which is the .2 miles is steep, just a FYI). It is a very scenic course and also rather flat. We were very lucky that our friend Maria got a bib in the week leading up to the race and ran with us. She was our pace keeper. Normally runs can be very mentally challenging for me, but this race was so much fun, all the mental fighting I do on runs wasn’t there that day.  After we finished my sister-in-law was dead set on finding a handsome Marine to take a picture with us and of course she did!

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After we finished and rehydrated and got some food. We went back to see my husband finish. Let me tell you that is an experience. It is so humbling to see runners that are approaching the end of 26.2 miles.

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Seeing your runner approach the finish line is a marvelous experience. I cannot really explain it, but know that a few tears were shed by a very proud wife and a big sister.

Thank you Marine Corps for putting on a top-notch race. We can’t wait to see you all next year!

My Fav Things July 8-14

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I received a sample of Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft Curls gel in my Birchbox last month. Over the past few years I have grown to embrace my curls, letting them loose more often (especially during the summer). Everyone’s curls are different and I normally don’t go the gel route; my curls are light and gel usually made them heavy and crunchy. Miss Jessie has changed that for me. This gel will leave your curls so light and shapely. I love it! To learn more about this product click here.

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The other day my husband brought these home from the grocery. I was at first skeptical. I love their other products (hot dogs and cold cuts), but every time I have bought a healthier version of chicken nuggets they don’t taste good, prompting a regrettable return  to the Yummy brand dino-shaped nuggets. I thought the Yummy brand was a healthier choice over Tysons and Perdue, but after reading this report, I am so glad I found the Applegate nuggets. The kids loved them! They are very tasty and have a lot of chicken meat. They really taste homemade. I have made homemade nuggets, but those have always been met with negative review from my boys.  During the summer, I feel like I am always in the kitchen making food. Weekday lunches have to be fast and easy, but somewhat nutritional. I urge you to change your home nuggets if you are buying the other crap (lets face it, its crap). If you aren’t making your own nuggets, give these a try. They are fantastic!

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Thank you to Vanessa for suggesting this show to us. During the summer, my hubby and I like to watch shows we didn’t discover in the regular season. I heard through the grape-vine that this show was great, so I am glad we have finally started to watch it. House of Cards is a political drama based off a BBC miniseries of the same name. Both are based off a novel by Michael Dobbs. House of Cards is set in modern-day Washington D.C. and follows the revenge path of scorned Congressman Frank Underwood, sublimely played by Kevin Spacey.  Along the way we meet his wife, Claire, played by Robin Penn Wright  who runs a non-profit; a young ambitious journalist Zoe, played by Kate Mara; and a down-on- his-luck Congressman Peter Russo, played by Corey Stoll. The acting is phenomenal. I encourage all of you who like political dramas to give this one a shot. You will not be surprised if you over stay your welcome in the House of Cards; you will leave wanting more! It is a Netflix original series, but I believe now you can get it on DVD. If you have Netflix streaming, you can access it with ease.

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I just love when you step out of your car when getting to the beach and getting that first whiff of sea salt air. I wish I could bottle that scent. This past Sunday my family spent a glorious day at Kure Beach in North Carolina. I would like to thank my friends (well, really they are like family) Vanessa and Matt and their families for opening up their beach house to us. There is nothing better than spending a day on the beach with loved ones, good food, drinks, and laughs.

This past week was a little hectic, so I am sorry I wasn’t able to post it on Friday. I hope you all have a great week! What some of your favorite things you have discovered recently?

My Boston Culinary and Spirits Adventure

This past weekend I went to visit my good friend Kris. I was looking for a low-key fun weekend, away from mommy hood. Kris was a fabulous host because she delivered what I asked for. I honestly just wanted to spend quality time with a good friend. If we could add some yummy food and drinks to that I would be completely satisfied.

I arrived on Friday just in time for dinner and drinks. We went to The Border Cafe (after we had shared some Skinnygirl margaritas at home) in Cambridge for a delicious dinner. We started off with their yummo classic frozen margaritas. What I loved is that they were not that sweet. It was the perfect combination of tart and sweet. For dinner I ordered the chimichurri steak with a side of delicious black beans and rice. The steak was cooked perfectly. You all know much I love chimichurri. Their traditional chimichurri is very bold.  It was so delicious I ate the entire little bowl they gave me. My advice for you on this dish is that a little chimichurri goes a long way. If you eat too much it will stay with you longer than you wish.

After dinner we walked a few blocks up to Cuchi Cuchi. It is a bar and small plates restaurant.  When you step into the door you are taken back in time to the roaring 20s. The decor is amazing. All the staff is also dressed from that era, which is a very nice touch.

They are known for their large and unique cocktail menu. All their drinks are made with fresh muddled fruit. I decided to order Kris’ favorite drink, which is a mango mojito. It is probably one of the freshest and strongest drink I have had in a long time. Cuchi Cuchi definitely has a heavy hand. It is a popular spot because, the bar and dinning area was full.

We spent the next morning piddling around Kris’ apartment and recovering from our margarita and mango mojito haze. Later in the afternoon we went to The Phantom Gourmet Wine Festival. For those of you that don’t know The Phantom Gourmet is big deal for foodies in the Boston area. It is a show that showcases local restaurants and food shops.

The Wine Phest was in the South End of the Boston at the Boston Center for the Arts (Cyclorama). 30 different wines from all over the world were showcased and 10 of the Phantom’s favorite foods. My favorite food was the chowder from the Cabby Shack.  There were a lot of good wines. I found myself returning to the Barefoot wines. I have always been a fan of their wines. They are not only good but VERY affordable. I apologize that I didn’t take any pictures. We were always holding a wine glass :)!

After the Wine Phest, Kris and I walked around the South End and found ourselves at probably my favorite restaurant of all time Giacomo’s. On all my previous visits we had gone to the North End location.

There was a good 1 hour wait so we found ourselves at this cute bar next door called Anchovies. We enjoyed yet another glass of wine and chatted away. The atmosphere was very relaxed. I saw a lot of delicious looking food come out of the kitchen. I can see myself returning on another visit.  When it was finally time to sit and eat at Giacomo’s we were so excited to be seated at the bar and watch the chefs cook. We started out with a small plate of fried calamari. Holy deliciousness, there are no words to really describe how good it is. Go and try yourselves. After much decision-making (all the specials sounded divine) I decided on the fruitti di mare with fra diavolo sauce over linguine. Kris decided on a salmon.

We had plans on going out to a piano bar after, but after this meal I could barely move. My gracious host agreed to my request to go back home and watch TV on the couch. I definitely can not hang like I used to in my younger days.

Coming home after dinner was the best decision we could have made because our Sunday ended up being very productive. We got out the door earlier than the previous day. We went to the gym for a quick workout and then headed (We walked. Having never lived in an urban environment I didn’t realize how much walking is involved. It was great though and so much healthier for you!) to downtown Boston for lunch and some shopping.

Here are some pictures from our walk

I was in the mood for a burger so Kris suggested we try 5 Napkin Burger. I had the Bacon Cheeseburger with sweet potato fries and a pumpkin ale. It really hit the spot. The burger was cooked perfectly. It was the perfect size too.  You really do need 5 napkins, because it is such a juicy burger. The sweet potato fries were nice and thick and were not greasy. They went well with my pumpkin ale.

After a couple of hours of shopping we decided to take a break and have a pitcher of margaritas at Cactus Club. We had mojito margaritas on the rocks. What I loved is that they were not sweet at all. They were very refreshing and a perfect way to end the afternoon.  We also snacked on chips and salsa. They have some amazing pico de gallo.

After a cab ride back to Brookline we decided to have dinner at Otto Pizza. We had a bit of a wait, but we enjoyed some good beer while we waited.  We decided on their chicken pizza with basil. What I liked about this pizza is that the crust is on the thinner side and all the ingredients were very fresh. I  also had a very delicious house salad.  This was a perfect ending to a wonderful weekend away. I cannot wait until I visit again! Thank you Kris and Brian for you lovely hospitality!

Pete the Cat the Grooviest Feline Around

For our 10 year wedding anniversary a couple years ago, my husband and I took a kid free trip to New Orleans.  We stayed in the French Quarter near Jackson Square. On our walk to and from our hotel we would pass by the Robin’s Gallery in the window they had these vibrant colorful paintings of a blue cat. They also had some really cool looking kids books about this so-called Pete the Cat.

Unfortunately, the day we set aside to pop in and look around and buy a kids book for our youngest son, they were closed. When we came home I frantically searched the internet to find out more about this feline named Pete.

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An artist named James Dean saved a black cat from the shelter. He named him Pete. He would sit on his lap while he painted. He sometimes drank James’ coffee when he wasn’t looking.  His first sketch of Pete was him drinking coffee. He decided to paint him blue, because he thought black was bad luck. If you click here you can explore all the Pete the Cat art. We have two Pete print’s in our home. My favorite are Pete with the masters series.

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We really got to know Pete through his children’s books. James Dean collaborated with writer Eric Litwin and the Pete the Cat books were born. My little guy just loves Pete the Cat. He has all 3 books mesmerized. What is great is that they are so interactive,colorful and fun. Pete also has such a great out look on life. Whatever happens to him he just, “Keeps walking along singing his song, because it is all good!” The books are geared toward more of the younger ages I would say 2-6. Click here to get a copy of your own. Now that school is coming back in session I highly recommend this one.

 

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Here are some fun sing along Pete songs that you can jam around the house with your kids or even by yourself I won’t judge. I hope you all enjoy  your Wednesday! xoxo

Trains and Carolina BBQ

This weekend we decided to venture out to the North Carolina Transportation Museum. It promised to be a day full of planes, trains, and automobiles. Our two boys have been quite the train enthusiasts. My oldest has mostly grown out of the phase, but my younger one is still mesmerized.Thomas the Tank Engine has long been the source of their obsession.  Who can deny the intrigue that the Island of Sodor and their very useful engines bring?  They have brought much happiness (and sometimes confusion and delay) to our household for number of years now. Our Thomas the Train wooden railway set and the many trains we have accumulated are the things toys we will keep long after they’ve grown. Maybe their kids can play with it when they come to visit us…  :).

This was a lovely museum. The entrance fee includes a 30 min train ride on an old fashioned diesel engine.

That day we saw classic car exhibits, the warehouse where they refurbish vehicles, the roundhouse, and the airplane exhibit boasting a Wright brothers’ plane replica. My little guy’s favorite exhibit was by far the roundhouse. I think they had about 8 trains on exhibit that day. They sat in their respective spots so majestically. It was hard not to be giddy. After we exploring the exhibits for over an hour, it was time for our train ride!

Our crew was very friendly and informative. Our conductor was especially nice. He told us how the particular car we were on was used in the movie Leatherheads. There is a slight chance I could have sat in Mr. George Clooney’s seat.  They shot the movie for 2 days on the museum grounds.  The train ride was 25 min. It was nice and scenic. We went through the grounds of the museum and they explained a little bit more of the history of the yards and buildings. It was interesting.

What are some of your favorite museums? Are there any that hold a special place in your heart from when you were a child?

After the museum we decided to get some BBQ for lunch. We were only about 20 minutes away from one of the best BBQ joints in the entire state. How could we ever pass that up?  I have to say Carolina BBQ is by far my favorite kind of BBQ, especially the chopped pork.   Lexington BBQ #1 in Lexington, North Carolina has been run by the same family for years. It is definitely a no frills place, but the staff couldn’t be any nicer, and their food speaks for itself.

As soon as you find a parking space (and the lot was really full) you are greeted by these lovelies and the wonderful smell of hickory and sweet slow-cooking pork.

For 2:30 pm it was busy. We had to wait in a line that was outside the doors. Luckily things moved like a well oiled machine. We were seated in about 10 minutes and eating in about 20 minutes.

I ordered the chopped pork sandwich. It is topped with this coleslaw that is heaven sent. It is vinegar based and it’s tangy and a little spicy at the same time. Such deliciousness!!!

I will be dreaming about this meal for a while. The baked beans were to share. They were also very tasty. I couldn’t finish all of that. This was a wonderful meal and I am so happy we were able to stop by on our way home.

What are some of your favorite BBQ joints?

The Sound of Music Fashion

Last night my friend and I took our oldest sons to see The Sound of Music at our local artsy theatre. Sure, I have seen this movie countless times ( I even own one of the anniversary editions on DVD) , but never had I seen it in its full theatrical cut on the big screen.

I love this movie. Ever since I was a little girl. It is a staple of my childhood. I know every song by heart (to the embarrassment of my son this past week). I was lucky to take the Salzburg Sound of Music Tour not once, but twice when we lived in Europe. The one thing that stood out this time I watched it, was the fashion. I guess I had never taken notice, but the Baroness fabulously played by Eleanor Parker wears some spectacular pieces in the film. Below are three of my favorites

Let’s face it even though our beloved Maria is the heroine of the movie, her wardrobe just isn’t in same category as the Baroness. Although, Maria’s wedding dress is just perfect. It fit’s the era and her style.

I did a little digging and found out that Dorothy Jeakins designed all the costumes for the movie. Looking at her filmography it seems like she was the go to person for costume design for a lot of the memorable movies of the 1960s. I commend her for thinking of making curtains into play clothes.

What are some of your favorite fashion moments from the film? xoxo