Alibi

This weekend was quite the busy one. I started it out with my long run for the week on Saturday morning. The weather here in Boston has been A-MAZ-ING! It was about 50 degrees and super sunny. I went out and tackled a 6 miler. While that’s not exactly the longest long run in the world, it’s the longest I’ve done in a very long time. I fueled up with a piece of pb toast with half a banana and off I went. Overall, I wasn’t feeling the run for the first couple of miles. I just wasn’t mentally into it. I then decided to change my music, switching from Taylor Swift to David Guetta’s new album. MUCH BETTER! His album has been my go-to lately whenever I work out. I’m going to be sad when I start to overplay it 😦

I finished in 53:39, which I was pretty happy about. I did notice something this time that I never had before – I hit the wall. At mile 6, I just couldn’t go anymore, I had 0 energy. I couldn’t wait to get home to eat and drink some water. Since it was much warmer than it normally is in January, I was drenched in sweat once I was finished. I think all the extra sweating made me dehydrated. I am going to have to start fueling during the run for any run 6 miles or higher. I have a fuel belt for water, but rarely use it. I’m going to have to start bringing the water and some fuel. I’m gonna try experimenting with Gu gel and chomps and see what happens. Do any readers have suggestions?

After the run, Bernie and I went and ran errands at Best Buy and West Elm. We went into West Elm and looked around for some condo things. I love that store! We found some really cool things and got some ideas for when it’s time to decorate some more. For now, a couple of the rooms are still in some stage of unfinished work (painting walls, hanging things, finishing the bathroom remodel) so it doesn’t make sense to buy things that will just sit in the bag until it’s time to use them. I did find these awesome recycled glass jugs and jars – I hope we get them.

Saturday night was Ladies Night!

My friend Melissa decided to throw a ladies night out. We all are so busy with work and life and rarely get a chance to all go out together without any significant others. We got all dressed up and headed out to The Liberty Hotel, an upscale hotel downtown that used to be a jail. So cool! Before we left, we sipped on some champagne and caught up. Melissa and her roommates supplied an awesome spread of fruit, cheese, and crackers.

Melissa in the middle -- the hostess with the most-est

The Liberty has a couple different bars in the hotel and we ended up in Alibi. The interior was really cool, cell bars and brick walls definitely gave off the feeling of a jail cell. After getting some drinks, we ended up making friends with a guy who had bottle service and a table. He invited us to sit down and we ended up hanging out for a while. Pretty sweet deal.

Overall, a very successful night. The Liberty has a reputation of being a place where guys go to pick up girls and girls go to meet doctors. I actually met a plastic surgeon within 5 minutes of arriving at the bar. It’s definitely that kind of atmosphere. I would definitely go back, but I would make sure not to drink quite as much as I did. Oops. I was hurting today big time. I guess that means I had fun?

 

Readers: Have you ever hit the wall during a run? What’s your fueling strategy — I need tips!

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2011: A Year in Review

Wow, 2011 has come and gone in such a flash! Things have changed quite a bit in the last 12 months. Here are some of my highlights:

NYE 2011: Spent ringing in 2011 with some of my favorite people
Late January: Celebrated my 23rd birthday at The Harp
February: ALMOST saw my beloved Northeastern Huskies beat Boston College in the Beanpot ice hockey tournament on Valentines day. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until next year.
March: Celebrated St. Patrick’s day, Boston style

April: I studied by butt off and I finished my final class of my undergraduate career!
Early May: I graduated from Northeastern!
Late May: I spent Memorial Day weekend on the Cape with my favorite people
June: We celebrated the Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup with a ridiculous parade downtown. I had the best seat in the house!

June: I PR’d in the Freihofer’s Run for Women in Albany and was in the paper!
July: Celebrated Bernie’s 24th birthday dressed like a fool for pub golf around BostonJuly/August: Bernie and I traveled for two weeks to Italy, France, and Spain

August: I packed up my college apartment that I had for two years, and Bernie’s offer on a condo gets accepted after 6 months of searching!
September: I moved! And Bernie and I celebrated our official 1 year anniversary
Late September: I ran the Northeastern Alum big dog 5k for the second year in a row.
Early October: Bernie moved into his new condo, and demolished his bathroom — he’s a proud homeowner!

October: Bernie passed his series 6 exam and he began studying for his series 63
Early November: Bernie passed his series 63 exam!
Mid November: My friend Lauren and I held our second annual She’s the First fundraiser, Boston Gives Back, and raised almost $1,700!
December: I started my blog, Blonde Bostonian

Wow, quite a year. There have been so many changes this year – from graduating college and joining the working world, Bernie becoming a homeowner at 24, and traveling the world – I cannot wait to see what 2012 has to offer. There have been some pretty rough bumps along the way, but I’m going to try to focus on the positives in 2012. I’m slowly starting to figure out this whole post-graduate thing: it’s a work in progress.

Happy New Year!

And thank you for reading and joining me on my journey so far.

Travel Tuesday: Last Days of Florence

Hello friends! I hope everyone is enjoying their Tuesday. Only one more work day is between me and visiting my hometown for Christmas! Bernie and I are leaving tomorrow after work to head to NY for a couple days. I always enjoy making the 3-hour trip with someone else; buses are NOT my favorite way to travel home for sure, so I’m definitely thankful for that. Unfortunately, he will be leaving on Christmas eve to head back to MA to visit his family, and I will be stuck with Greyhound to head back to Boston alone. Joy.

Speaking of traveling, I thought I would continue to share my summer travels with a new weekly thing I’ll be doing called Travel Tuesday. These posts will include overviews of some current and past travels. I hope you guys enjoy! Check out the first two posts about my European Trip, part 1 and part 2.

After a long day of climbing the Duomo, touring the city, and trying out the local eats, the whole tour went out to dinner at a restaurant that looked over the beautiful Florence countryside. We drove for a good twenty minutes through some rolling hills that our tour bus barely fit on and finally arrived at the restaurant. There was some sangria and finger food waiting for us and we spent a little time eating and taking photos. Everyone was dressed to impress.

Then we all went inside and sat down for dinner. As like with other group dinners, we didn’t get much choice with food, but we did get one bottle of wine for every two people. Bernie isn’t much of a wine drinker, so often during these group dinners, I had to drink for two. Normally, this wasn’t a problem, as we often had to split one bottle for like 4 people. Lets just say the drink was flowing very freely.

The dinner included a pig leg that was brought out literally on fire.

The food this dinner was not the best. The pork was super dry and not very interesting. I guess that’s the price you pay for going as a group. Some of the tour group dinners were fantastic, this one wasn’t, but the alcohol was plentiful and everyone was in good spirits.

Our tour guide and bus driver singing

Then, things got a little crazy. Giuseppe brought out this alcohol for everyone to try. I forgot what it was called but it was literally like 90% alcohol. It was yellow and looked scary as the devil, and tasted about the same. I thought I was going to choke afterward. Soon, some of the guys started doing more shots of it.

Then the whole group took the tour bus to a local club, “Space”. The club scene in Europe is insanity. The drinks are very strong, the men are very pushy, and the music is loud and fast. Overall, we had an awesome time. I highly suggest trying the club scene in Italy. Between nights out in Rome and Florence, we had a great time.

we had some pre-club fun on the bus

Next week: We leave the comforts of the Italian language and Italy and head off to France.

Has anyone else experienced the Italian nightlife? What did you think? Also been to Florence? What were some of your highlights?

Weekend in Review

This last weekend before Christmas was definitely a good one. It involved my last white elephant party of the season (finally), Christmas shopping, all the cookie baking, and a Sunday filled with football. This is also my last weekend before half-marathon training begins. I celebrated by running rolling hills on the treadmill, of course. Now I’m off to watch the Patriots kick some Tebow ass. Hoped you enjoyed your weekend!

 

 

 

She’s the First at Finale

Lauren, Tammy, and me

This past Wednesday, I had the privilege of finally getting to meet Tammy Tibbetts, the founder of She’s the First, a not-for-profit organization that helps sponsor girls’ education in third world countries. The organization raises funds to send girls to school who otherwise could not afford it. My good friend Lauren knows Tammy personally, which is how she and I got started working with She’s the First. We held a fundraiser last year for girls in Haiti (check out the STF blog post about it here) and raised over $700. This year, we held another fundraiser named “Boston Gives Back” in November to send girls to school in South Sudan. So far we’ve raised over $1,500 and counting!

Tammy was in town for a conference so we decided to meet up for dessert at Finale, a dessert restaurant downtown. We chatted about the power of social media, the future of She’s the First, and the perils of being freelancers. Tammy is just a wealth of knowledge and has much more poise than someone her age usually has.

Finally, the desserts came out! Tammy ordered the cheesecake, which looked delicious! Lauren ordered the Boston cream pie which included mini whoopie pies (so cute!). I ordered the “seasonal cornucopia” which was a raspberry and blackberry cobbler with vanilla gelato on top. It also included a caramel nut bar and apricot cherry bread pudding with an anglaise on the bottom.

Overall, my favorite was the cobbler and the nut bars. The nut bars had big pieces of pecans and almonds with caramel holding it all together. Definitely a great balance of sweet and salty. The cobbler had big pieces of fruit and was just sweet enough.

 

 

The bread pudding was much more of a cake than a true bread pudding. It was a little too dense, but the anglaise was incredible! Lauren said hers was very good, and she said the whoopie pies were super chocolatey and decedent. I really enjoyed Finale. Even though I’ve been living in Boston for over 5 years, I had never been before that night. I would definitely go back.

 

If you would like to donate to mine and Lauren’s fundraiser, Boston Gives Back, we’re taking online donations through the end of the year. Check out our causevox page where you can learn more about our campaign and donate via pay pal.

Until next time!

Summer, summer, summertime!

SIKE! I wish it was still summertime! Unfortunately, the trees have dropped their leaves and winter is almost upon us. We put the Christmas tree is up in my boyfriend’s (B) condo over the weekend, so that must mean that Christmas is REALLY coming.

"Oh Christmas tree!"

If you live in New England, you know how harsh the winters can be. Snow? Rain? Sleet? Frozen temps? We get them all, and usually within a 24 hour period.

In an attempt to not think about the impending weather, I keep thinking about summer. And when I think about this past summer, I think of the amazing trip that I took to Europe!

B and I took a 2 week trip through Italy, France, and Spain via Contiki, a tour group that caters to 18-35 year olds. It was the trip of a lifetime, and I thought I would share with you guys some highlights from our trip!

 

Rome, Italy (days 1-3):

B and I arrived to Rome, Italy after traveling for what seemed like forever. It was 11am European time and we were exhausted, but we decided that we had to go out and experience Italy before it was time to meet up with our tour group. After settling into our hotel outside of Rome, we walked – yes, walked – the 1 hour trek to the Colosseum. Aside from getting lost once and feeling a bit dehydrated from our flight, the walk wasn’t horrible. Before we knew it, we came up over a hill, and there it was!

We found it!

It was amazing! Seeing it in person got us all excited for our trip ahead of us. It was incredible to see this thing that we had read about and seen photos of, sitting right in front of us. After we walked around the Colosseum and took some pictures, we decided to go get some food. After an AMAZING meal at a small cafe nearby, we walked back to the hotel to meet up with our tour group. After some paperwork and introductions, we all ventured out into the city for the first time. Giuseppe, our tour guide, was from Milan, Italy and was super helpful when it came to describing Italian history and culture. Our first group meal was at a restaurant where they showed us how to make authentic pizza dough. They explained the differences between Roman pizza and pizzas in other parts of Italy. The restaurant was wonderfully tacky with an “under the sea” theme, complete with a boat-bar and weird bubbles around the room. There also was an old man serenading us in Italian the whole time. At one point, he pulled me up on stage and began singing to me.

Feel the emotion!

All of a sudden, I saw my boyfriend stand up and rush over to us, looking somewhat mad. I was a little confused because I had no idea what this guy was singing to me or why B was all angry. Then I figured it out — it was all for show. B then began to “sing” to me, by lip dubbing the old man’s words. He tried really hard with the italian, and it was hilarious. Definitely a highlight. After dinner, we took a walking tour of the city where we saw the Roman Forum all lit up at night, the Trevi Fountain, and had the best. gelato. ever. at Giolitti. This cafe near the Trevi Fountain was the spot that every single person that had been to Rome before told me to go. I had pistachio, Nutella, and champagne gelato. B had frutti di bosco, which he continued to have at every gelato place in Europe. Amazing. I didn’t want my cone to end.

A must-go!

The next day, we visited the Colosseum again for a guided tour. Our tour guide, Pietre, led us around and told us all about the Colosseum history, structure, and how it was used. Did you know that they used to fill the Colosseum with water to do ship battles as part of the games they would do?! How cool! B kept saying that he wanted to watch the Gladiator after we visited. After the Colosseum, we toured the Roman Forum next door. It was incredible to see our history books play out in front of us.

Incredible!

Next stop — the Vatican. We toured the Vatican museum, which literally is the most massive art museum ever. We had to basically run through it because we had so much to cover in one day, but I wish we had more time. There was a room made up of only animal statues of varying sizes and shapes. We then saw the Sistine Chapel. It was much smaller than I thought it would be, and security was TIGHT! They were kicking people out left and right for taking photos of the ceiling. It was beautiful and awesome to see another text book photo come to life.

After the Sistine Chapel, we moved on to St. Peter’s Basilica. It was MASSIVE! Everything about the architecture was incredible. The amount of detail in every single area was awe inspiring. We learned all about the Pope selection and the white smoke vs. the black smoke. I felt like I was getting an entire semester of an Italian history class in one day. By the time we were done at St. Peter’s Basilica, our feet hurt and our stomachs were growling. We walked out into St. Peter’s Square, which is also massive. I felt like a lot of things were on a much grander scale in Rome than anything I had ever seen. At the end of St. Peter’s Square, is the Vatican City/Italian lines. Vatican City is the second smallest country in the world, second to Monaco (which we also went to on our trip). So you could cross the street from St. Peter’s Square and suddenly no longer be in Vatican City.

I'm in two countries at once!

After recovering at the hotel for a bit, a group of us traveled to the Spanish Steps. They were so crowded with a mixture of locals and tourists and there was a dance group performing. Then the whole tour group went to dinner at a local spot. Then we all went out for our first night at a Roman club. We found that the drinks in Europe were overall really strong, cheap, and plentiful. Everyone in the group debriefed on their days out and everything that they saw. Our tour consisted of a lot of Americans, Canadians, Australians, Londoners, and some New Zealanders. Everyone was young (between ages 18-30) and super nice. I would highly suggest Contiki to anyone who has never traveled in Europe before and wants to do it with other young, like-minded people.

So there’s the Rome recap! I plan on doing a recap of the trip once a week so that we can all relive the warmer months together as we deal with the pain that is winter (especially those in Boston with me!).

What was your favorite vacation? Have you ever traveled to Europe before? What was your favorite vaca this past summer?