Friday Link Love

Happy Friday everyone!

Work has been busy, busy, busy and blogging has taken a back seat over the last 24 hours – so today, I leave you a couple of links that I’m loving/have come across lately for your Friday enjoyment.

1. This weekend I’m FINALLY going out! It’s my roommate’s birthday, so we’re getting gussied up and hitting the bars. It’s the first time I’ve gone out like this since January (?) and I can’t wait.

I hope it involves a lot of arm raises like this:

This gif from #whatshouldwecallme sums it up.

“When I start getting ready to go out”

2. Did you know Titanic is out in theaters in 3D?!

Did you know Titanic had an alternate ending?!?!?! WHAT?!?!

I’m so glad James Cameron didn’t use this. Talk about a horrible way to end the movie! Bernie and I always catch Titanic on TBS every now and again, and he always says, “I hate Rose! I can’t believe she threw the diamond in the water. It’s the worst movie ending ever.” But after showing this to him, I’m pretty sure he thinks the real ending is the best ending ever. Yikes – so bad.

3. Speaking of Titanic, check out this hilarious writer from Jezebel who summarizes the movie for you – so you don’t have to see it.

Happy weekend! Any fun plans for the weekend?

Date Night at Redbones

Happy Monday everyone! Is it just me, or did this time change totally screw your body clock more than the last time change?

After weighing the pros and cons of working out with a head cold on Saturday I decided to just go for it. I went to the gym and ran an easy two miles, and then hopped over to the free weights to make myself big and strong. “Not a good idea when you’re sick, Sarah” you say…well, I actually felt so much better afterward. I probably went through about 10 tissues on the treadmill alone, but my sinuses cleared up and my energy was back up. Score!

Saturday night, Bernie and I decided to go out for date night! We’ve talked about how we need to incorporate this weekly tradition into our schedule more often. It’s nice to get to go do something together without having our focus be on 10million other things we have to get done. This week, we hit up Redbones, a BBQ joint across the river in Somerville.

Bernie introduced me to Redbones last year on another date night. I immediately fell in love. Their indoor decor is so unique and funky. They have a ton of awesome beers on tap, which are constantly changing. And the food – finger licking good!

We got there with an hour-long wait for a table (this place is always packed) so I started off the night with a Paulaner Hefe-Weizen. Oh my goodness. DELICIOUS! Probably the best tasting Hefe-Weizen I’ve had in a long time. If you like this type of beer, I suggest you find it now. Bernie was jealous of my selection – he wasn’t such a fan of his choice.

Once we sat down, we ordered my favorite appetizer: fried pickles. Snooki would approve.

We also tried the catfish bites. I had never had catfish before, and they were really good.

For dinner, Bernie got the usual – The Belt, which is a mix of Texas style, Arkansas style, and Memphis style ribs and some beef brisket. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich.

One of the thing I like about Redbones, is that they offer 4 different types of sauces: a sweet sauce, mild sauce, a hot sauce, and a vinegar-based sauce. I like that you can choose, since everyone likes their bbq different.

We were stuffed after this meal! Successful date night!

 

Readers: What was one highlight from your weekend? Do any other couples out there do weekly date-nights? Any ideas for creative dates?

Travel Tuesday: Madrid to Boston

This week on Travel Tuesday, the final day in Europe!

After coming back from Toledeo, we had about 5 hours to kill until our final dinner in Madrid. We thought about going downtown to explore Madrid on our own, but after an early morning tour of the royal palace, a trip to Toledo, and a long bus ride back, we were ready for some r&r. We sat our asses right down next to the pool – this hotel was the only one with a pool area. One of our Contiki friends got a couple 6-packs of cervezas, so we reclined and relaxed. It was the first time in a few days that we had a chance to just unwind. The hardest part of the trip, and especially during the final week, was trying feeling guilty for choosing to relax during free hours instead of pushing ourselves to explore everything. At some point, something had to give. We didn’t have enough time in Madrid to truly tour it and explore the best part of the city, so we opted to just rest. We had a long day of travel back to Boston the next day.

A few hours later, we met up with the entire group for our last dinner of the trip. We went to the famous Plaza Mayor to have dinner outside. While there we saw some pretty interesting street performers.

We dined on fried calamari, fish, and various tapas. Bernie also got something he had been DYING for all trip – milk! Watching him ask the waiter for milk was hilarious. Not exactly the high class drinks everyone else was asking for.

After dinner, we took pictures with some friends we made along the way. Bernie was pretty bummed to be saying goodbye to some of them. I think there were some budding bromances going on.

Then the whole group went out one final time for some drinks and dancing. Goodbyes were said, and everyone started going their own ways. I was pretty bummed out that it was all ending so fast. The two weeks completely flew by.

The next morning, Bernie and I dragged our ragged, tired bodies to breakfast. After a very fast meal, we ran off to catch a cab and head to the airport. We ended up waiting a LONG time for our flight. I was so burned out at that point and was ready to just get on the plane and head home. 8 hours later, we were back in Boston. We were HOME!

Next week: Overall thoughts on our Contiki experience.

Happy Tuesday!

Readers: What was the best vacation you’ve ever been on? Have you ever had “vacation guilt” aka: felt like you weren’t taking full advantage of the place you’re vacationing?

 

Travel Tuesday: Donde estan mis pantalones?

Guess what today is?!

Tuesday? Travel Tuesday? The last day of January?

Yes, Yes, and Yes. But it is also my BIRTHDAY! I turn 24 years young today! I can’t believe how quickly another year has gone by. I feel like I was just celebrating my 23rd birthday. I was in my final semester of college and I was chomping at the bit to graduate. Now I’m over 6 months post-college and in the working world. I’m dealing with tight budgets, renting an apartment with 3 other girls, and balancing time between friends, family, and the boy.

According to Bernie, the “mid-twenties” start at 24 years of age. According to me, it’s 25. I don’t know about you, but I’m in no hurry to grow up and assign a title to my age. I’m still in my “early twenties” in my eyes – one more year! He can be in his “mid-twenties” all he wants. 😉

So back to the Tuesday tradition over here at Blonde Bostonian. This week I will be covering mine and Bernie’s adventures in Barcelona, Spain.

We were pretty excited to head to Spain. After a not-so-wonderful experience in France, we were ready for something new. The bus ride from Avignon to Barcelona was long. Very, very, very long. After maybe 8 hours or so, we finally arrived! I think the coolest thing about Barcelona was the nice mix between the modern metropolis and historical architecture. The buildings were gorgeous and varied everywhere you looked. Our first stop was Sagrada Familia.

I was in awe of the whole building. Every side was different. I didn’t realize that Gaudi died in the middle of it being built, so there are sections of the church that are still being worked on. He never left any blueprints or designs, so they are literally working on the unfinished pieces by copying the parts he already did. We didn’t get a chance to go inside, but it was worth it on the outside.

We then went and saw the Olympic stadium where the ’92 games were held. It seemed much smaller than it should be in person.

After sight seeing for a bit, we finally got to our hotel. We all went out as a group for dinner and then headed to the waterfront for a drink or two. We all quickly realized how tired we were, especially from all the travel, and headed to bed.

The next morning, we got up and Giuseppe took us on a short walking tour of Barcelona. We saw the old castle and a wall where firing squads used to line up people to  assassinate. You could see the hundreds of bullet holes in walls – pretty moving stuff.

Once we were set free, Bernie and I had a pretty good idea of where we wanted to go – Casa Batllo. My roommate in college was an architecture student, and I remember her telling me all about Antoni Gaudi and his crazy buildings. Once we found it, I realized she wasn’t kidding. It felt like we were in a Dr. Seuss house – it’s the only way I could describe it. Everything in the house was curved; door frames, staircases, windows, walls, furniture. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience to walk through and marvel at all the amazing architecture. He thought of everything – including the colors of the tile in the middle courtyard of the house and how they should transition from a lighter shade to a darker in order to capture the most light.

After we finished exploring, we went for a shopping adventure. We once again found out that Bernie does not fit into European sizes. It was definitely a challenge, but we found some things that finally fit, after being told that he was “too strong (make the stereotypical flexing of the muscles move)” for his shirts.

After a quick shower and change at the hotel, we ventured out again for a flamenco show. This was one of the more expensive excursions of the trip, so we were somewhat reluctant to spend the money on it. We were not disappointed. It was incredible. The passion that was exuding out of the dancers was infectious. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of some of them.

It was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. After the dinner and the show, we headed to the waterfront for a night out on the town, which is where I leave you for now.

Happy travels! 🙂

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!

Travel Tuesday – Nice is Nice

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed their New Year celebrations. 2012 is already off to a good start!

This week in Travel Tuesday, Bernie and I head to Nice, France and discover that there is such a thing as a sand-less beach.

After leaving La Spezia, we headed to our next country, France. Our first stop was 2 days and 2 nights in Nice, France along the French Rivera. After checking into our hotel, Bernie and I decided to go walk around and see some of the sights of Nice. First, we stopped in a modern art museum. Modern art is not really our favorite, but we decided to check it out anyway. It was pretty empty and small, but there were some cool sculptures.

Then we headed to the Natural History Museum, which was really should have been called the National History Room. This place was TINY! We walked past it about 4 times before we finally stumbled upon a nondescript door. Once we walked in, a man at the front desk starting speaking French to Bernie. Bernie then replied (in French) that he only spoke in English. That was weird, we thought. Then we realized that Bernie was wearing a Chateau t-shirt, a Boston area restaurant that his parents’ neighbor owns. Oops. He must have thought that Bernie spoke French because he was wearing a t-shirt with French on it.

The museum had a lot of stuffed animals and objects in clear boxes. We enjoyed looking at all the weird stuff. There was also animatronic men. Very odd museum.

After walking around museums, we were ready to go outside and explore. We ended up climbing Colline du Chateau (Castle Hill). It was a hot day, and climbing wasn’t fun, but once we got to the top, the views were spectacular.

Once we climbed down, we decided to get some food. Before traveling to France, we always heard from people that the French in general don’t like American tourists. Since we had such positive experiences in Italy with the locals, we didn’t think twice about the same thing happening in France. Overall, however, I would say that the French in Nice were not quite as friendly. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they hate American tourists, but we didn’t always get the best service and had to ask twice or three times for things. This wasn’t the norm everywhere we went, but at this particular lunch it was. We sat down at a cafe and ordered our food. There was a misunderstanding about what I ordered (the waitress didn’t understand my english) and I got a salad I didn’t order. When I told her that this wasn’t what I wanted, she threw her hands in the air and started speaking French, really really fast. I decided to just let it slide and had the first food fail of the trip. The salad was really generic and something that you would get at a bad American fast food restaurant. Fail.

After our food fail, we walked around and shopped a little bit. Nice had a ton of shops! I didn’t end up getting anything, but Bernie ended up getting some clothes. Clothes shopping in Europe tended to be a challenge for Bernie. His muscles are too big for all the shirts – he would end up having to get xl or xxl sizes just so that his arms would fit in them.

Later that night, the whole tour group met up for a big dinner. It was one of our fellow traveler’s birthday so we were all ready to celebrate. The highlight of the dinner was ordering “big beers” – yes, this is how they were described on the menu. These mugs were massive.

All the ladies!

The guys!

Then we headed to Ma Nolan’s – an Irish pub for Jon’s birthday. The bar reminded me of an Irish pub in Boston – live music, good drinks, and lots of beer. I felt very much at home – I am Irish afterall. They also had Kilkenny beer – one of my ancester’s home town brew.

We had such a good time and it was a great way to unwind after a long day walking around and exploring.

The next day we had a whole free day to ourselves, so Bernie and I headed toward the beach. On the way, we stumbled upon a weekend market. There was everything from fresh seafood and fruits and veggies, to homemade crafts and soaps.

Once we got to the beach, we discovered that Giuseppe wasn’t kidding when he said the beach was rocky. It was all rocks! Not a drop of sand to be seen. With a little maneuvering, it was pretty easy to make yourself a bed to lie on with the rock. We never went into the water, but it was beautiful.

After napping for a good couple of hours on the beach, we stopped for some yummy seafood. Finally – some good French service and French fries!

After resting at the hotel and taking a shower, we met everyone in the lobby for a special trip to a certain famous casino in the second smallest country in the world, second to the Vatican.

Until next time!

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.