Friday Faves: Valentine’s Day Ideas

Happy Friday!  I am so ready for the weekend–especially since it’s a long weekend!  I don’t know why, but this week felt like it dragged.  On top of that, I felt like I didn’t have enough to get stuff done.  I’m ready to relax and recharge my batteries!

I’m sure you all know Valentine’s Day is this Sunday!  Brandon and I typically don’t go ‘all out’ for Valentine’s Day–it’s right after the chaos of the holidays, and his birthday is also in February, so we usually just keep it pretty low-key.  We’re actually just planning on enjoying some pizza, bubbly, and Cold Stone ice cream, which sounds amazing to me. Can’t wait!

I thought it would be fun to share some Valentine’s gift ideas I’ve either done, or thought would be cute ideas.  Hopefully you find them helpful!


1. ‘You Float My Boat’ Basket.  If your S.O. loves root beer floats, you should totally do this!  I did this for Brandon a few years ago, and I think he was pretty impressed with my craftiness.  I bought all the ingredients for a root beer float, a card, and made a sign saying ‘you float my boat’ to give him.  It’s a great budget gift idea, creative, and thoughtful!


2. Weekend Getaway.  Last year, Brandon and I went to a cabin near Shenandoah Valley and holed up for the long weekend.  We brought food to cook and never left the cabin.  It was so nice just being lazy, sitting by the fire, and enjoying some bubbly in the hot tub. Sometimes a change of scenery is just what you need!


3. Couples Massage.  We haven’t done this yet, but I love the idea of a couples massage.  I mean who doesn’t love being pampered?!  This is obviously something that’s a little pricey, but sometimes you gotta spoil yourself.  I’d love to do this while on a vacation together–ultimate relaxation!

4. Cooking Together.  One year Brandon surprised me by cooking us a dinner all on his own–filet mignon, roasted asparagus, and mashed potatoes.  I was so impressed!  While it’s nice to have someone cook for you, I actually really like the idea of cooking a meal together and enjoying a nice bottle of wine.  That way, you get to spend time together catching up in the kitchen and just have fun.  And hey, if the food turns out not so great, you’re probably already a little tipsy on the wine and then you can just order pizza and call it a night!

5. ‘Open When’ Letters.  I saw this idea on Julie’s blog and thought it was not only creative, but really sweet.  You basically just write different notes for your S.O. to read in certain situations; for example, you can write an ‘open when’ letter when they’re feeling sad, missing you, need words of encouragement, etc.


I hope you guys have a wonderful Valentine’s Day/long weekend!

Do you and your S.O. celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Favorite Valentine’s gift you’ve given/received?

What’s on your weekend agenda?

New Years & Weekend Wrap-Up

Ugh.  I am so not feeling it today.  As much as I love Christmas break and spending time with my family and friends, I find it’s so hard to coming back to work Monday and getting back into the swing of things.  I slept terribly last night, felt cranky waking up to an alarm this morning, and didn’t exactly eat well or work out for the last five days.

That said, I am looking forward to getting back to my healthier lifestyle and start training for my half marathon in March!  I’m going to hammer out the details of my plan over the next few days and hopefully share it soon!

Brandon and I had such a great time with my Little Bear and her husband over New Years.  They drove down with their two dogs, and the pups were just as happy to be reunited!


Penny is the chocolate lab and Loafer is the yellow one.  Get it, penny loafer?!

I was also so excited to see my Little Bear!


Wednesday the boys took Loafer with them to go goose hunting, and their trip was definitely a success!


While the boys were gone, Little Bear and I enjoyed a fancy girls dinner at Montmartre, my favorite local restaurant.


And had a girls lunch date the following day while waiting for the guys to get home from their hunting trip.  Hello grapefruit crushes!


So refreshing!  We had gone to Costco earlier in the day to pick up stuff for our New Years dinner–filet mignon, asparagus, and mac n cheese!  And also a pizza for the next morning (we like to be prepared).  Dinner was a huge hit!


I was glad we decided to stay in and relax at home.  After dinner, we enjoyed a game of Cards Against Humanity before waiting for the ball to drop.


I love that game!  So inappropriate and so hilarious.  Right up my alley!  As it neared closer to midnight, we poured some (ok a lot) champagne and did our countdown.


Brandon and I shared a smooch at midnight and have to give kisses to our sweet boy too.


His neck fat cracks me up!

Little Bear and her husband left D.C. Saturday morning, and while I was really really sad, I was excited for our friends Andy and Caroline to come to D.C. that evening and spend the night with us (they’re the ones who got married at the Naval Academy in September).  We went to Barrel, a local whiskey bar that also serves up some really yummy food.

Brandon and Andy were happy to be reunited!


After Andy and Caroline left Sunday, Brandon and I spent the majority of the day being incredibly lazy.  Like, I didn’t change out of my sweatpants until probably close to 4:00.  And I ain’t ashamed.  That evening, we geared up for the Packers/Vikings game and I put on my new Packers gear my dad and step-mom got me for Christmas.


Let’s just say that game did not end the way I had hoped.  And this coming Sunday should be interesting now that they will have to play the Redskins, which is Brandon’s favorite team.  A house divided!

I hope you all enjoyed your New Years, and have a great Monday!

What did you do for New Years?

Did you get off track like I did with eating/working out?

How do you beat the Sunday night blues?

I Ate Too Much

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been spending the last like 72 hours stuffing my face.


But hey, that’s what the holidays is (mostly) all about right?  Luckily I’ve been keeping up with my runs and working out, so I’m like 99.9% sure this will all balance out in the end.

Anyways, I had a wonderful Christmas spending time with all of my family!  Christmas Eve, Brandon whipped up dinner and we relaxed with some wine and Elf.


Nothing says Christmas like taco salads!  Not only did he cook, but he also did the dishes 🙂  Brownie points!

We woke up Christmas morning to find out Santa hooked us up!



Is anyone surprised Rusty had the most items in his stocking?  I guess his pretty face overrides his naughtiness.  He was super excited for all of his new toys!


Getting spoiled with so many new toys and treats takes a lot of you, apparently.


Brandon hooked me up with a new gym bag, the Pioneer Woman Holiday and a Giada cookbook, a long sleeve running shirt from my favorite local running store, some Gu energy gels, and new pairs of my favorite running socks!


*PSA: Ladies, starting a blog is an awesome way to give your significant other a heads up on gift ideas!*

Brandon’s favorite gift from me by far was the set of Nerf guns.


We had a little Nerf battle that morning, and I couldn’t stop giggling while we were running all over the house and finding places to hide.  I got the idea for the Nerf guns from my BG, so the four of us can have a Nerf war!  Here’s hoping I don’t get shot in the face.

We worked up quite the appetite after our Nerf battle (not really), so I baked us some delicious monkey bread.


If you haven’t had monkey bread before I don’t know how you’ve been living.  This stuff is so addicting.  And you can eat it with your hands without people looking at you funny (if you care about that sort of stuff).

After eating a couple bites (ok, like half) of monkey bread, we headed to my Grammy’s house in St. Michael’s.  I love spending time with them, they’re so fun!


Fun fact about my family–we cook up a crap ton of food.   I warned Brandon before he first met them to be prepared to have food shoved in his face (we like doing that to people) and to possibly have his butt grabbed (my Grammy likes to cop a feel).  Apparently my Grammy was originally going to make only one tray of Syrian meatballs for Christmas and made four.  Typical.


I stuffed my face with two plates of Syrian food.


Pictured: Deep fried turkey, Syrian meatballs, carrot souffle, roasted beets with goat cheese and walnuts, and hashweh (my favorite!).

I baked up my famous butterscotch pecan pie for Christmas dessert.


It has browned butter and bourbon in it.  This pie has made eyes roll back and people faint.  Well, just about.  It’s freaking delicious, is what I’m sayin.

I think all of the extra sugar helped me on my run the next morning!


I managed to squeeze in five miles before heading to Brandon’s parents house, and I felt great.  We spent Saturday evening with his family, and everyone was super excited for the Redskins win.

Sunday, we headed to my dad and step-mom’s house for dinner, presents, and football.  My dad gave me some sweet new Packers gear!  He fixed up some Cincinnati chili (love that stuff!) and we watched the Packers game.


That game did not end the way I wanted it to.  Luckily, my Little Bear and her husband get into town Tuesday afternoon for New Years, and that thought quickly cheered me up!  I spent the rest of my Sunday night enjoying some wine (duh) and unwinding from the holiday fun.

I hope you guys enjoy your Monday!

Share your Christmas highlights!

Thoughts on monkey bread?

Favorite holiday pie?




Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to take a quick moment to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!


Ha, I couldn’t resist!  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday filled with lots of love, laughter, and of course, delicious food and wine.  Don’t forget the wine!

I’ll be blogging here and there over the next few days, but my Little Bear and her husband (and two dogs!) are getting into town on Tuesday to spend New Years Eve with us.  I can’t wait to spend time with her–we have a fancy girls dinner planned at Montmartre on Tuesday evening while the boys head to the Eastern Shore for duck hunting.

Also, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who reads my blog.  It really means a lot, and I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for me!  Happy holidays ❤

Two Christmas Parties & I Heart Ramen

Hello & happy Monday!  Why am I so chipper you ask?  Because I only have to work Monday and Tuesday, then am off until January 4th.  BOOM!


I had such a fun weekend with friends at two back to back Christmas parties, and I can’t wait to share pics!

Saturday: I woke up at my usual 6:15 and prepped for my run.  Last weekend I wore capris and a long sleeve shirt.  This weekend, I wore all the layers–it was just below 30 degrees out (no wind though, whew!) but I quickly warmed up after my first mile.  I prepped with my usual shot of espresso along with cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread and almond butter.


After I let my breakfast settle, I headed over to the Mt. Vernon trail for 7 miles.  Even though it was cold, the sky was clear and there was very little wind, and my legs felt great!


I averaged a 9:31 pace overall and was really pleased with how I felt.  I can’t wait to start training for my half marathon in March!

I picked up a soy dirty chai latte from my favorite local coffee shop then headed home to foam roll and refuel.  I can’t stomach anything right after a run, but about an hour after I’m famished and need something in my belly before I become a hangry monster.


Seriously. I will cut you.

I typically go for a smoothie after a run, but I was chilly after I cooled down and wanted something warm and easy on my stomach.  I cooked up two over easy eggs with spinach, cherry tomatoes, and avocado.  Deeeeeeelish!


I did laundry and some house work, but got distracted by one of my favorite movies.


If you don’t know what movie that is and/or dislike it, I’m not sure we can be pals.  That movie makes me giggle every time I watch it!

I also had a hair appointment Saturday to get my hair cut and highlighted so it would be lookin fresh for the holiday parties!


Such a good look, I know.

Our first party on the agenda was an ugly Christmas sweater party at our friends Evan & Shay Shay’s place.  Evan is my friend Marisa’s (AKA my B.G.) brother, and Brandon and I love hanging out with him and Shay.  They’re so fun!  It was fun seeing a bunch of people from Josh and Marisa’s wedding in October too.  Check out my sweet sweater vest.


I got that bad boy from Walmart for like $7.  Shay’s sweater was equally as glorious.  I loved seeing everyone’s outfits!

After Evan and Shay’s party, we headed to Maryland to our friends Pablo and Julianne’s party.  I had so much fun hanging out with some of my favorite people!



I’m really fortunate that I’m so close and love all of Brandon’s friends significant others.  These girls are some of the best friends I could’ve ever asked for.



Also, I was super excited to see my friend Natty (my Wife for Life) and congratulate her and Matt on their engagement!


I can’t wait for their wedding!  I also had way too much fun with Pablo and Julianne’s dog, Dexter.  He’s so sweet and has the cutest under bite.


Pretty sure he loved me just as much as I loved him.  We had so much fun at both parties and didn’t hit the hay until close to 3:00 am.  Yikes.

Sunday: Brandon and I slept in until close to 10:00, and Josh and Marisa cooked up some breakfast, complete with eggs, turkey bacon, English muffins, avocado, and scrapple.  I love scrapple but Brandon is so grossed out by it.  I don’t get it–if you eat hot dogs, you can eat scrapple.  We hung out at their house and enjoyed a Sunday funday consisting of football, bloody Mary’s, and some delicious Italian food from Mama Roma’s.  Eggplant parm get in my belly!

Remember how I said I was saving the packet of Ramen I won from the Christmas party last weekend for a struggle bus Sunday?  Well, I ate it for dinner.  And it was GLORIOUS.


I also made some vanilla pecan baked oatmeal to take to my work Christmas breakfast.  The kitchen smelled amazing while this was cooking!


The remainder of my Sunday was spent in pj’s (no shame), laying on the sofa, and watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  And having  a glass of wine.

I hope you guys have a great Monday!

Share your weekend highlights!

Scrapple–yay or nay?

Anyone else have a short work week and want to celebrate with mimosas?!