A Durham Weekend

Time for a weekend round up!

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This weekend we traveled to Durham, North Carolina to visit our friend Randy for his birthday. We landed at RDU around 8:20, and by 9:00 we were at a fun BBQ spot called The Pit. It was hot out but we couldn’t say no to this pretty outdoor seating and opportunity for people-watching. Erin joined from Boston! We ordered some beers & plates for sharing.
Durham1On Saturday morning I ventured out for a run. I love exploring new places on foot and got way too excited when I ran past a raspberry bush. You’re aren’t in NYC anymore, Dorothy!
Durham3 Saturday we spent the day out on the boat cruising around Falls Lake.Durham4 Durham5 We found a little cove and spent some time floating around, bird watching, relaxing, and catching up. The weather was gorgeous. The view from our cove:Durham6That night we birthday partied. Erin made homemade mojitos.
Durham7 We threw together a few salads and D was in charge of the grill. Durham8 Durham9 These shrimp! The marinade was something like: siracha, lime juice, and honey? Amaze. Durham10We made a funfetti cake and downloaded a candle app on our phones because we forgot to buy real ones (whoops!) Happy Birthday Rand!Durham11 Next morning we all hung out and watched my fav: CBS Sunday Morning. I loved this story about a real life treasure hunt. I also loved this cold brew coffee that we discovered at Sheetz:Durham12 We were having trouble finding plain old black iced coffee and then I spotted this in the refrigerated section. Chameleon Cold-Brew for the win! The plain black coffee hit the spot, and this vanilla flavor pictured here was surprisingly good — just the right amount of very light sweetness. Satisfying substitute for the fresh stuff.

Day 2 we were back out on the lake for skiing (for some) and tubing (for me). It was actually my first time on a tube. Growing up you would have found me below deck reading a book. No water sports for little G! Maybe next time I’ll go crazy and try the skis.Durham13 Durham14 Durham15Ended the weekend with a Hell or High Watermelon toast and flew back in just in time to see the sun start to set over NYC.Durham16Thank you Randy for being born and for having a boat :) If you are playing along, we crossed 3 of our Summer To Do List goals off our list. Pretty productive weekend. And now, it’s back to the grind. Tell me, how was your weekend? x

Summer To Do List 2015

This past weekend, D and I had an awesome time in New England celebrating the 4th of July (my favorite holiday!) with friends and family. It was really nice to get out of the city for a few days. We had fun road trippin’, hung out in Boston, ran a 5K, cooked out with my family, and got lots of Reagan time.

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On Sunday evening we were on our way back into the city and started to get a bit weepy when we realized just how fast the summer is flying by. We only have a handful of weeks before D goes back to school and has to spend his evenings and weekends studying. In an effort to cheer ourselves up, we decided to made a summer to do list of all the fun things we wanted to make sure to squeeze in before time gets the best of us.

(If I knew how, this is where I would create a really cute graphic that would be “pinnable.” For today, you get a bulleted list!)

Summer To Do List 2015

  • Spend a day at the beach
  • Eat shrimp cocktail and lobster rolls at The Parker House (one of our favorite summer spots!)
  • Bake a pie
  • Read in a park
  • Go to a Yankee Game
  • Eat ice cream in a waffle cone from a legit ice cream stand
  • Go on a boat
  • Listen to live music outside
  • Cookout in NH (G’s fam)
  • Cookout in NJ (D’s fam)
  • Shakespeare in the Park
  • Go on a hike
  • Make homemade mojitos
  • Visit our friend Randy in Raleigh
  • Dance our faces off at Meg’s wedding
  • Wear whale shorts to a party (this is for D)

What did we miss? What’s on your summer list? The countdown to the weekend is on, and I have a feeling we will get to cross a few of these off the list very soon…

It’s Been A While

There is no easy way to begin this post. I guess I should just say — it’s been a while!

It has been almost an entire year since my last blog post (!!!) If I had any regular readers, I am sure they would be asking: “Gillian, what have you been up to and why are you back now?” Well, phantom readers, let me fill you in:

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NEW JOB. Back in January I started a new job at a major non-profit institution in NYC. It was a bit insane going through another job transition so soon (I had only been in my previous job for a year). Needless to say, I have been a bit off the radar. I am very lucky for the opportunity, and am loving the new gig, so it is all worth it :)

NEW RING. On December 6, 2014 D dropped down on one knee next to the Christmas tree and proposed! We are having fun being engaged and are planning The Party of the Century (what D calls it) or The Wedding (what I call it) for next May.

NEW BROTHER (IN LAW). My sister Meg and her fiancé Ben are getting married NEXT month, so there has been lots of planning and celebrating as we get ready to travel up to Jay Peak, VT for a summer ski town wedding in the mountains. I can’t wait!

…and probably so many other things that that I am not thinking of at the moment. Lots of life.

So, THE BIG QUESTION. Why am I resurfacing now?

Honestly, I think that what it boils down to is that I am attempting to find some BALANCE. I recently read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It had been on my list for a while and I swear, just reading the book made me significantly happier! In the book, Gretchen stresses the importance of making time to incorporate regular activities into your life that bring you joy, and using the activities that you enjoyed as a child as inspiration.

This bit of advice made me think of a few major things that have brought me joy over the years, but that I don’t always pay attention to on a day to day basis, including the following:

  • My love of reading.
  • My passion for healthy foods and healthy eating.
  • The joy that sharing bits and pieces of my life and things I love on this blog has brought me.
  • My attempt at using this blog as a way to hold myself accountable to an exercise routine (and my love for running in the mornings!)

So, here I am. Not sure how often I will be here, but at least this first post is a start. Thank you readers and friends for sticking around and being part of my sporadic, but genuine, blogging journey. x

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July Stitch Fix & Why Stitch Fix Works For Me

Time to share what arrived in my Stitch Fix box this month!

To see my first post on Stitch Fix, with more details about this fun service, click here.

This is my eighth fix, but only the second fix I’ve blogged about. After last month’s fix (which was such a bummer I didn’t share), I logged onto the website and gave the stylist some specific notes about what I was hoping for in my next fix:

  • a dress
  • a capri or cropped pant I could wear to work
  • a cross body bag for travel/walking around the city

Here is what was delivered to me:

1. Alan Cowl Neck Asymmetrical Cardigan by Market and Spruce – $58

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^Here is what it was supposed to look like

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^Here is what it looked like on me. No matter how much I arranged and unzipped and re-zipped and pulled and prodded, I could not get the front to look droopy like it did in the example photo. Maybe it was too small? Maybe I did something wrong? Anyways, super awkward. RETURN.

2. Bessie Crochet Overlay Striped Tank by Mystree – $58

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^This tank was sort of cute, but felt a bit juvenile for me. The place where the overlay stopped was sort of weird and made me a bit self conscious of my not-perfectly-flat tummy. Also:

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^The tank arrived with a small tear in it. RETURN.

3. Patrick Cropped Chino Pant by Level 99 – $108

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^I absolutely loved these pants. I think the color is fun and summery and the material was so soft, stretchy and comfortable. These were exactly what I was looking for! Unfortunately, the $108 price tag was a bit high for me right now. RETURN (sad about it, though).

4. Cotille Vegan Leather Zip Satchel by Emperia – $68

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^I did think this bag was cute, but I had asked for a cross-body bag, which in my mind meant something a bit smaller with a long strap. The zippers were also hard to function and sharp and kept getting a stuck. RETURN.

5. Jacinta Flutter Sleeve Belted Dress by Skies are Blue – $74

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We have a winner! I absolutely love this dress. It fits me well and it perfect for work and weekend. The price point is reasonable. It is light and flowy and I love feel of the material. I’ve already worn it twice since I received it last week. KEEP.

After last month’s bummer fix, I thought about canceling my subscription all together, but this month reminded me that even if I receive one item that I fall in love with, it is worth it to me.

Speaking of worth it – did anyone see this article? To sum it up, in what seems to be plain old sloppiness on someone’s part (Stitch Fix? a vendor?), a woman discovered pants in her fix were marked up from the discounted $25 that Stitch Fix purchased them for to a retail price of $68. She then talks about how she is immediately unsubscribing because the mark up is ridiculous and she can just go to Nordstrom Rack herself.

I can see how this would bother some people, but for some reason, this oversight does not particularly bother me. Sure, we could all travel to Nordstrom Rack and push and shove other ladies while digging through the sweaty sale racks where they may or may not have your size. And if you enjoy this sport (like lots of the women in my family) – more power to you! I wish I had your patience.

For me, bargain shopping is like my own personal hell. I am 100% happy to  pay a premium to have someone else do this leg work for me and then deliver these items to my door for free. Completely worth it in my book. It’s not about laziness, it’s more about what I am interested in and how I choose to spend my time and money.

… and this is why I will continue to enjoy and support Stitch Fix :)

The links in this post are referral links, which means I will get a small credit if you sign up.  I am not affiliated with Stitch Fix, I purchased this service on my own and just love it so much that I wanted to post about it.

A Weekend of Little Ladies + Time to Get Sweaty

This weekend I traveled up to New England to escape the city and celebrate all the little ladies in my life.

First up: lunch with the family at the Boston Legal Sea Foods for Erin’s birthday — she turns 23 on Wednesday!

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^Birthday girl on the right
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^Yummy crab meat roll with coleslaw and friesIMG_4477

^We all split some strawberry shortcake (x2) for dessertIMG_4486

^I got to spend lots of time with this little family. Reagan is getting so big! I love seeing all her new faces and expressions – she is even cute when she cries. I just love her so much.
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^I also got to meet my new cousin Scarlett, who is about a month younger than Reagan. She was so sweet and serious and slept in my arms for about an hour. There are so many babies in my life right now! You would think I would get getting some major baby fever, but I am still a bit scarred from my sister’s labor/delivery experience. No babies for me in the near future!IMG_4485^Saturday evening included big plates of pasta and catching up on life with Nana.

Somehow my parents didn’t end of up in any of these photos, but I had a lot of fun with them as well — driving around and getting coffees with my dad and catching up with my mum.

Sunday I got back to the city pretty early (I wanted to drive in the daylight) and was able to unpack and get organized for the week.

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Time To Get Sweaty

Now that I have been moved back to NYC and working at my new job for about 7 months the time has come to focus on getting back into a good workout routine (really, this is overdue!). I am really good about healthy eating on weekdays, although clearly on weekends, I let myself enjoy. The thing that is missing for me is physical workout part of things. Lately I have been feeling sluggish and just a bit blah. The whole reason I originally started this blog was to focus on living a healthy lifestyle (these are my favorite blogs to read as well) and I would love to get back to that.

Getting back into a routine for me is all about baby steps and small goals. I’d love to kick off each week with announcing a few simple goals and following up towards the end of the week. Let’s give it a shot!

Here are my *simple* goals for this week ending August 10:

  • walk/run at least three days
  • take at least two yoga classes

That is doable, yes? We’ll see. Happy Monday!

NYC Weekend Round Up

Where did the weekend go???

This weekend was jam-packed with “stuff,” all located right here in NYC. Lately we have been doing so much weekend traveling — what a treat to stay put for a weekend!

My parents were in town for a few days. Isn’t the view from their hotel incredible?

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The weather on Friday was gorgeous. I got out of work at 2pm (yay summer fridays!) and met them for a stroll on the High Line.
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They had never been to the High Line, so it was fun to introduce them to a new NYC activity. Typically we see Broadway shows and hang out in the theater district, which is always awesome, but it was fun to mix it up and doing something different.
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The nice weather brought out crowds — the High Line was packed! I saw someone walk by with the the most amazing looking ice cream sandwich cookie creation and I knew I needed one.

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The stand was called Melt — apparently they have a few locations around the city. I got the cinnamon ice cream sammiched between two snickerdoodle cookies. So yummy! Mum went for the chocolate crackle. Dad snuck bites of both.
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When D got out of work we met up at one of our favorite NYC pizza spots: Keste. Or as we like to call it “sexy pizza” … yep, it’s that good.

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We all started by splitting the Rustica Salad – spring mix, prosciutto di parma, artichokes, gaeta olives, lemon, extra virgin olive oil:

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and I chose a nice belgian white beer (surprisingly brewed in Italy!):

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We ordered three pizzas to share. My favorite was the Pistacchio e Salsiccia –
fresh pistachio pesto, sausage, homemade mozzarella, pecorino romano, basil, extra virgin olive oil. SO GOOD:IMG_4385

We also got the Burrata Roberto – homemade burrata, grape tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil:

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and a gluten free, dairy free for Mum, The Marinara –
tomato sauce, oregano, garlic, basil, extra virgin olive oil:

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Amazing food, wonderful company.
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Post dinner cocktails at La Lanterna di Vittorio. I got my favorite, french martini:

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Saturday D’s parents came into the city and met us at our apartment to take the train up to Yankee Stadium for a Yankee game! To clarify: I am not, and never will be a Yankee fan. I am mostly indifferent, but technically I am New England born and bred — it would be sacrilegious to root for the Yankees! That being said, it is so fun to go to Yankee Stadium and see a game. Also — the crowd goes wild anytime Derek Jeter so much as walks a few steps or touches his hair. Ridiculous!

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After the game we all grabbed dinner at Patsy’s down the street from our apartment and then D and I finished Season 2 of Homeland. I am so hooked on this show – it’s a problem! I haven’t binged watched something like this since Lost. I will be waiting eagerly for Season 3 to come out on Netflix.
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Sunday was spent celebrating our friends Jeff & Tim’s 25 year anniversary at Pier 115 Bar & Grill in Edgewater, NJ. Jeff and Tim

Jeff was my boss at my first job after college (where D & I met!) and it was so great to reconnect and reminisce with former coworkers. The couple got married last fall at City Hall and D was one of their witnesses! It was really great to finally get to celebrate with them.

Now time to tackle the week. I can’t believe it is already Tuesday and almost August. Time flies when you’re having fun.

What I Ate Wednesday: Stone Harbor Edition

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We just returned from a few relaxing days away in Stone Harbor, NJ, thanks to this guy:

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^Our friend Nick who you may remember from the Vermont Schoolhouse trips. Here he is with his first pair of Ray Bans which we convinced him to purchase (muahaha). Doesn’t he look slick?

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He has the most awesome family ever and sometimes they let us crash their schoolhouse; other times, they let us crash their beach house. After being sick for a few weeks and finally finishing out my work festival, D & I were definitely up for some R&R.

IMG_4345IMG_4339Since it is WIAW, I thought I would share some of my eats while I was away!

As always, thank you to Jenn for hosting!

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^ACAI BOWL. I may have gotten one of these for every day we were in Stone Harbor: topped with strawberries, banana and granola. YUM. There is this adorable little coffee shop called Coffee Talk — and within the coffee shop is an oatmeal station on the left and a juice bar called Juice Girl on the right. Basically my heaven in one room! Fun fact: Taylor Swift used to play here back before she was a big deal.

IMG_4330^The most delicious hummus & veggie pita I’ve ever tasted from Green Cuisine, with fruit and chips on the side. Note to self: this is what I should be making for work lunches, if I can get my act together!

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^On our final night in Stone Harbor, we were invited to Family Crab Night. 11 dozen crabs were ordered for about 40 people, along with clams and bread — I’ve never seen anything like it! Such a fun tradition.IMG_4356

^No one told me a white shirt was a bad idea. #amateur!IMG_4353

^The aftermath

IMG_4325It was a fun weekend with great friends. We were sad to leave — but D had to get back to work on Wednesday, so we kept our trip short and sweet.

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Thank you Nicholas and family — we had an amazing time. See you next year, Stone Harbor!