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Newport Crawfish Boiling Fun


ImageThis past weekend I was invited to a crawfish boil.  I’ve never been to a crawfish boil before, nor have I ever eaten crawfish, but I like shrimp and lobster, so I assumed I’d also like crawfish because they seem to be the mid-ground between the two.  My friend’s husband (<– still getting used to saying that) was the boiler.  From what I understand, you get the crawfish while they are still alive and have to take out any that are already dead.  Then you put the live crawfish into a pot with corn, potatoes, and bunch of spices and let the magic happen.  Once they are done, you just dump the whole pot onto a big table and digs in.  Take a look at the pics below to get a better idea of what happens here:

The Crawfish in their final moments of life.  Also known as “crawdads” or “mudbugs”.

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What it looks like on the table – SO DELICIOUS!!

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Mike with Lupe

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Friends hanging out:

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How you eat crawfish:  1. pinch 2. pull off “butt” 3. suck out delicousness…or if you are me, you can (very messily) take the meat out with your fingers and eat.

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Our cook, Doug, and his attack dog:

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Our host, Bryan – the Birthday Boy

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Just a bunch of UConn Alum watching our team win!  GO HUSKIES!!

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The aftermath:

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MarathonGs – Doin the Most!


This past weekend I got a more-than-healthy helping of all my favorite things in life:  Running, Fresh Air, Beautiful Scenery, Comradery, and Competition, and got to do it with an amazing group.  And now I’m back…Reality Bites. I was lucky enough to be asked to be part of an amazing group called The Marathongs to compete in a crazy race called Reach The Beach.  Reach The Beach is unique because it’s the LONGEST (in distance) relay race in the whole entire country. Holler!!

The longest relay race in the nation?  Yep! 204 miles through the White Mountains in NH, starting at Cannon Mountain in Franconia, NH, and ending at New England’s Jersey Shore:  Hampton Beach.  The goal is to complete the 204 miles within 24 hours among your team of 2 – 12 people.  Our team, The Marathongs, came in 87th out of 480 teams, averaging about an 8 minute pace.  Each team member has three legs along the way, giving a little bit of rest in between, but little to no sleep.  Everyone on the team ran somewhere between 15 – 24 miles over their three legs. Basically, it was awesome!

Our team comes from all over:  West Haven, Ellington, Vernon, and Glastonbury CT, Buffalo, NY, New York City, Boston, MA, and Newport, RI.  There were some (super boring) super serious teams, but many dressed up.  Our major competition was “The Kilts”, “The Lumberjacks”, who, by the way, ran in jorts – no kidding, and “The Cropdusters”.  Most of the teams had really great names.  It was really an awesome experience as all the teams were supportive of each other – all with the same crazy goal of running 204 miles and “reaching the beach”.

I think from here, the best way to show our journey is through pictures and videos.

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Austin, Carrie, and Lanham at Heavenly Donuts while we were waiting for our ride. This was a great idea…not only did we get donut holes, but we got a whole bag of them for a mere $2.68. Whatta steal!

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As we continued to wait for Bryan and Mykle at the rest stop, we indulged in a couple brews and played this awesome game on Austin’s phone, which is an interactive game similar tot Taboo, Pictonary, and Charades

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Yayy!! Bryan and Mykle make it! We are now on our way to meet up with the other half of the team for dinner!

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Finally made it to our own little Italy: The Olive Garden. The boys all took full advantage of their “endless pasta bowls”.

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Nom Nom Nom…

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The boys’ van didn’t really have much light on the dash board, so Bryan had to wear his head lamp to check out the speedometer…sounds safe (enough) to me!

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A view of our amazing suite – 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and this lovely bed that folded out from the wall.

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A panoramic view of our living room/kitchen. Doug (aka best host ever) made everyone coffee and breakfast sandwiches, while the rest of us basically just sat around and did nothing. Thanks Doug!

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Loading up the van. Though I dont think we ever came to a true consensus on the names of the vans, we did have a good amount of names to choose from. The boys were Blue Lace, aka Dong Caravan.  The girls were Red Velvet, aka the Lactation Station.  Another suggestion, which I was particularly fond of was “Sisqo”, but it didn’t really catch on. haha

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The MarathonGs!!!
We are SOOOOOO good looking

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The girls van, lookin good in our thongs, of course!
Tracy, Austin, Erin, Mykle, Lanham, Carrie

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The MarathonGs run on Dunkin! No seriously, we did…I can’t even tell you how many dunkin donuts we stopped at along the way. Thank god we ran this race on the east coast, I have no idea how we would have survived without it!! haha

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Just got to Cannon Mountain to register and it’s pouring rain…PERFECT!! We couldn’t wait to run in the monsoon…not! We had about 3 hours before the race was to start and hoped that it would clear up in time.

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Just hanging out after we registered, waiting for the rain to stop / our safety course. Please note that poor Austin (far right) does not actually look like that in real life!! haha

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This is what Austin actually looks like…lookin good sista!

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This is such a good look for them. I would say “I’m glad the boys were such good sports about the thongs”, but to be honest, I really think they enjoyed it more than the girls did! haha

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Erin, ready to run!

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Sitting the the safety course. We now know that the people of NH are EXTREMELY disturbed by this race going on, even though its only 24 hours out of the whole entire year. Sounds reasonable.

Goofing around before the race, getting our wiggle on!

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The calm before the storm. No really, it was. The rain was subsiding, and we were all just waiting around for the race to start, eating, drinking, and peeing 4 million times.

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Our handy dandy Reach The Beach slap bracelet, which besides obvious fashion purposes acted as our baton throughout the relay course.

The MarathonG boys’ dance.  Get it boys!!

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Erin – first runner! Ready to go!!! Of course it started downpouring as soon as the race started…8.15 miles in the rain, GREAT!

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Some of the girls at a transition waiting for Mykle. Gorgeous View, even with the clouds and fog!!
Erin, Carrie, Austin, Tracy, Lanham

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One of our rivals: The Lumberjacks! We were all thoroughly impressed that she ran her leg in jorts. “Hey make sure you meet me at mile 2 to take my beard hat!” haha

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The Girls Van! Red Velvet aka The Lactation Station

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A back view of the girls van

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At a transition – vans vans everywhere. Thank god we had a small red van and not a big white one…We’d never be able to find it!!

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Learnin the Wobble!

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Carrie joined in!

Who says white girls can’t dance??

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The girls on their first leg.
Starting at the top left, going clockwise: Erin, Carrie, Mykle, Austin, Lanham, Tracy

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We got banana’ed! We found this banana on our antenna and left it there throughout the duration of our trip…surprisingly it held up pretty good. Oooh Oooh, Aaah Aaah!
Next year other teams can fully expect to be “thong’ed”!!

Second Leg

The Girls after their second leg!
From top left going clockwise: no one, carrie, mykle, austin, tracy, lanham

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Erin after finishing her third leg!! Wild Card transition area! Whoop! To the beach we go!!

Last Leg

Carrie feeling (and looking, obviously) GREAT on her last leg!! Get it girl!

Thong

Mykle and her thong, thong, thong, thong, thong….(think sisqo)

Air Freshener

Our saving grace – our New Balance Air Freshener. I mean not really because our van was still pretty ripe, but at least we were all smelly together. On the bright side, I’m sure it smelled 10x better in our van than the boys’ van!

Mykle's Last Leg

Waiting for Mykle to finish her final and longest leg!
Carrie, Tracy, Austin, Erin, and Lanham
“Guys something deep in my soul just really want to pull out that weed”…

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Austin is ready and rearing to go for her last leg! Look at those colors! Ow Ow!!

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Bryan!! Whatta trooper! After spraining his ankle on his first leg, he’s back in the game to finish up the race strong. I think the thought of not being able to wear that awesome thong made his ankle heal up astonishingly fast. OMG!!

Third Leg

Girls finishing up their third and final leg!!
From top left clockwise: Erin, Carrie, Mykle, Austin, Lanham, Tracy

The Marathongs!

The Marathongs!!! WE HAVE REACHED THE BEACH!!!
Top: Mike, Sean, Matt, Jeff, Doug, Bryan
Bottom: Mykle, Tracy, Erin, Lanham, Carrie, Austin

It was the longest 24 hours of my life…but surprisingly to most, I’m saying that in the best way possible.  Things that happened on Friday afternoon seemed like they happened 2 weeks ago by Saturday night.  I dont know if it was the lack of sleep, the overexertion, or the amount of things that happened, but it was truly an experience I will never forget and I’m already counting down the days until the MarathonGs run Reach the Beach in 2014.

Jonathan Edwards Wine Festival


About a month ago a few friends and I made our way to the Jonathan Edwards Wine Festival, which was of course at Jonathan Edwards Winery. The wine festival was so much fun!! For $20 you get a glass and a tasting ticket which was good for a variety of different wines.  At the festival there was live music, a wine-themed arts and crafts fair, and tons of great food.  We walked around for a while, saw the sights, got delicious caprese sandwiches from the food truck, had lots of wine, and finished off our day with some fresh oysters from the Behan Family Farm.  Though it was a HOT HOT day, it was lovely inside the tent.  The live music was fantastic and we had a wonderful time relaxing!

Address: 74 Chester Main Rd  North Stonington, CT 06359

Cost For Tasting: I’m not sure how expensive the tasting is, but the Wine Festival was $20, which included live music, and the tasting.  food was extra, but it was delicious, and I found it quite worth it.

Ranking:  8 –  I feel like I’d really have to go back for just a tasting to get a feel for the vineyard in a more laid back setting.  The festival was awesome, and I enjoyed the wine but I wasn’t able to get a feed for the inside of the winery.  I’d definitely like to go back again!

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Friends, Wine, and a REALLY Great Time


NemoHere in Connecticut we were predicted a blizzard.  We were declared in a “state of emergency” and I worked from home.  I was pretty much pumping myself up to watch the lat 5 episodes of Nashville that I had DVR”d and make some beaded necklaces (seriously, thats what I was going to do), but instead had a surprise visitor!  My friend Petow, who also braved Irene with me a couple years ago, showed up with storm snacks.  At that point, I knew my night was about to get a lot more interesting.

Before there was too much snow on the ground, and while it was still somewhat light we wanted to play outside for a while.  So, we played KanJam!  Normally a summer game, we discovered that it is actually an AMAZING game to play when it’s cold out.  There’s enough moving going on that you stay pretty warm.

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Later, after it got dark we decided we should go sledding.  We just had one problem-we didn’t have a sled.  So we decided we should MAKE a sled.  We looked around my apartment to see what we could use, and then headed over to my storage unit to check out what goods we could come up with in there.  We ended up using a tupperware top, a slab of wood, and a buttload of duck tape.  And voila!  We’re ready to go sledding.

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Its about 9:30AM here now and it’s still snowing…in fact, my car is buried under s snow drift, but I have a feeling today will bring some excitement as well

before and after

In this pic, you can see my car yesterday morning, and then this morning it’s basically buried under a snow drift – the car next to mine is completely covered!

Walks and Wines


This weekend has been absolutely GORGEOUS!  This is unusual for me to say in the middle of January, since it’s cold and I’m a huge wimp when it comes to anything under 50 degrees, but I was definitely able to see the bright side this weekend as I did lots of walks, hikes, and wine tastes!  Yesterday was an all-out adventure day for me and Taz and we had a fabulous time!  We decided to knock of some Bucket List tasks, and I thought I could use some alone time.  With the holidays, traveling and working a ton I don’t get too much of it.  Trust me, I’m not complaining in the least – I LOVE being around people, but sometimes it’s nice to have a day for yourself!

Mount Tom:

We started out at Mount Tom, in New Preston, CT.  This is, obviously, one of the hikes in my “50 Hikes in Connecticut” book, and I haven’t been there yet mainly because it’s about an hour and a half from where I live.  I got there, and was shocked that I was the only one there (come on people!  get off your couch and enjoy the wilderness!)!  The trails were covered in snow and there wasn’t great markings on the trees, so after taking one trail to a dead ends, I decided to roll the dice and follow the path that had footsteps on it in the snow, hoping that it would lead to the famous tower at the top of the mountain.  Though this hike was very short (just over a mile long) I thought it was great because  of the 35 ft tower at the top that is open for people to climb and see amazing views of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York!  As can you can (kind of ) see from my picture below, the wooden steps inside the tower are narrow and extremely steep.  Taz, who was not on a leash hung out at the bottom while I climbed to the top to snap a few pics, but got impatient quickly and climbed his way to the top as well…big mistake.  Once he got to the top, he was terrified to try to go back down, and I can’t really say I blame him.  I’m afraid of heights and wasn’t crazy about the idea myself.  The top 4 steps are exposed and in addition to being very steep, they were also covered with about an inch of packed down snow and ice.  After about 15 minutes of a pep talk, he finally agreed to carefully make his way down the steps.  He was very brave.  In addition to the actual hike, there is also a pond on the premise, Mt Tom Pond, where there was an ice fishing derby going on!  I’m not an avid ice fisher or anything, but I have been ice fishing a couple times with my bestie Stef and her crew in VT and I got excited seeing this derby because I know just how fun ice fishing can be!

Mount Tom Tower, and Me and Taz at the top with the view!

Mount Tom Tower, and Me and Taz at the top with the view!

 

see how steep the stairs are?  And also Taz was thirsty after the hike so indulged in some snowballs!

see how steep the stairs are? And also Taz was thirsty after the hike so indulged in some snowballs!

Hopkins Vineyard Winery:

From Mount Tom, our next stop was Hopkins Vineyard Winery.  This was a predetermined stop because both this winery and Mount Tom are close to each other, but not near anything else…literally.  I figured, while I’m out in the boonies I mineaswell kill two birds with one stone, right?

Address:  25 Hopkins Road  Warren, CT 06777 (860) 868-7954

Cost for a tasting:  $7.50 for a regular tasting of 7 wines (6 are already chosen, and you get to choose you’re 7th), then for an additional $2.50, you can sample their “ice wine”. (this also includes their signature glass).

Ranking:  8 (in addition to the tasting room, there is also outdoor seating and an “wine bar” upstairs from the vineyard!  Awesome!

I really enjoyed this vineyard.  The inside is very nice, and the staff was extremely nice and knowledgable.  Most of their wines are “Estate Bottled” which means that the grapes are grown on the premise and the entire wine making process happens there!  The one wine that I loved was “Peach Wine”.  The wine itself was made from fermented peaches, whereas most wines are made from grapes.  I thought this was really interesting…and even more delicious!  And, at $13.50, I thought it was only right to buy a bottle for a later date!  As far as my tasting, of course I had upgraded to the “ice wine”.  I’ve never had it before, and since this specific ice wine has won multiple international medals, including the “Finger Lakes International Wine Competition” (the Finger Lakes area has a HUGE wine country, so this is a big deal), I thought I better cover my bases and try it.  My wine connoisseur also had me try a sip of their “Night Owl Dessert Wine”.  It was probably because he was bored because no one else was there, but hey, I’ll take it.  While we were talking, he mentioned to me the Litchfield Hills Winter Wine Trail.  Its similar to the Wine Passport Program, but there is only 6 vineyards on it and it has to be completed between December 1 – April 1.  Cool, I’m sold on the idea!  After the tasting, Taz and I took a nice long walk around the vineyard.  It was a gorgeous day, and the vineyard was beautiful, so we walked around their 38 acres for about and hour and took in the fresh air and magnificent views.

Hopkinds Vinyard2

Hopkinds Vinyard1

Haight-Brown Vineyard:

After Hopkins, we were on our way home, when I saw a blue “CT Wine Trail” sign.  I thought to myself…I would be stupid NOT to stop.  Afterall, it was only about 3:30PM and I had no immediate plans to tend to!  So I followed the sign, not knowing where it would take me, and before I knew it I landed at Haight-Brown Vineyard.

Address:  29 Chestnut Hill Rd  Litchfield, CT 06759 (860) 567-4045

Cost for a tasting:  $9, which includes 9 wines and a signature glass.

Ranking:  6.5 (this vineyard was overly crowded and does not allow outside food to come in.)

I walked into the vineyard and was initally turned off.  To be honest, I almost walked right back out.  It was very pretty insides, but it was so packed you couldn’t even more. In fact, I had to put my name on the waiting list!!  Since I was alone, they were able to squeeze me in at the counter pretty quickly, but sheesh!  Once the tasting started, my wine connoisseur was telling me about the wines and about the vineyard itself.  Haight-Brown, founded in 1976 is actually the first vineyard/winery in Connecticut, and the ONLY one that has stools to sit on while you do the tasting.  The reason for this is that they got grandfathered in with the stools.  Other wineries cannot have them because it changes the winery from a “wine tasting” to a “bar”…details, details.  As I started observing my surroundings, I noticed something that caught my eye, the “Honey Nut Apple” wine.  Over the summer one of my best friends went to the vineyard and brought this bottle home and we drank it together as a regular white wine, where it really should be drank in small quantities as a dessert wine…whoops! haha.  I enjoyed the wine here, but more than that I enjoyed the people I met!  Carol and David, who found this winery the same way I did, were from New York and were probably in their late 50’s.  They were super nice and we chatted for about an hour, until I was ready to go.    Again after this vineyard, Taz and I took a walk around their beautiful property (which included plenty of outdoor seating for the warmer wether, and enjoyed the last bit of daylight before our trek home.

Haight Brown Vineyard

I guess all in all you can say it was a successful day!  Not only did I cross THREE items off my bucket list, but I also spent a beautiful day outside enjoying the nice weather, with my dog, and got to try some amazing wine while I was at it!    I’m pretty sure Taz had a great time too, minus the heart attack at the top of the Mount Tom Tower, because when I was ready to leave my parent’s house last night, he was sitting outside in the dark cold next to my car hoping I’d bring him home with me! 🙂

 

 

Awesome Austin: Part 3 – Things To Do


Last Austin post…so sad!  So while in Austin, while we weren’t eating, we made our way around town and made the most of my short trip!  With all the things I did and saw I feel like I was in Austin for much longer than 3 days, which is awesome, but it also makes me wish I was able to stay for much longer because everything was so amazing!  Here’s all the cool stuff we were able to cram in!

Central Park:  Right when I got to Austin, Carrie took me on a nice walk through Central Park which is about a block from where they live.  The park had a very nice walking/running trail, which Carrie runs on frequently, and also a playscape and empty grass areas where trainers run outdoor boot camps!  Awesome!  I love bootcamp classes and thinking of doing one out in a park like they do in Bridesmaids sounds awesome!!  We passed by this HUGE oak, which apparently was Austin’s Tree of the Year, 2008!  While in Central Park, we grabbed lunch at Central Market, and it was delicious!

Austin Tree of the Year 2008

Austin Tree of the Year 2008

Tree Plaque and Lupe at Central Park!

Tree Plaque and Lupe at Central Park!

The one thing that is very odd, yet kind of spectacular, about Central Park is the bird…there are these black birds (HEB Birds) that reside there that look like miniature crows, but also have “spider-like” qualities.  Apparently at night, there is one that sits in the middle of the pond on a rock and all the others swarm around it and eventually land in the nearby trees…creepy!  I wasn’t there at dusk to see it, however, I think Carrie’s description is enough for me! Below is a quick video that I found on YouTube…Carrie is right!  Their sound does kind of make you feel like you’re in a bad horror flick!

Hops and Grain:  Also on my first day, Doug and Carrie brought me to Hops and Grain where we met up with Carrie’s brother, Dan, and their friend, Austin!  Hops and Grain is a World Beer Cup Gold Medal winning craft brewery and they do brewery tours and tastings!  You go in and you get get either an oversized shot glass for $5, or a “beer-can-shaped” glass for $10, and you can keep the glass.  With the glass, you actually also get more beer in each sample…so if you like beer, and I do, the glass is the way to go!  They had a lot of interesting brews!  I tried one called the “Funky” something…I can’t remember the actual name, and I can’t find it online, but it tasted like a sour apple and beer mixed together.  It wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but then again it was beer, not tea, so I drank it anyways!  Don’t get me wrong, though, there was a ton of other beers that were amazing!  The brewery itself had a great feel.  The tasting room was pretty small…maybe 13×15, but then there was a large concrete corridor where people, and their dogs, were able to hang out and stand/sit and chat!  It was a great way to spend the afternoon!

Hops and Grain!

Hops and Grain!

West Austin Park:  We headed down to to West Austin Park mainly because they had a fenced in dog park and we wanted to bring Lupe to get some exercise and socialization time with “his kind”.  Let me tell you.  He was a STUD.  There wasn’t a dog in the park that wasn’t intrigued by his sweet alligator elegance!  Being a new experience for him, the 2 times we brought him there he faded after about 15 – 20 minutes, but he seemed to really enjoy himself!  I guess it’s easy to have a great time when you’re the most popular guy around!!

West Austin Park - Dog Park!

West Austin Park – Dog Park! As you can see, Lupe is no where to be seen because he’s way to busy being popular!

Barton Springs:  Barton Springs Pool is a spring-fed swimming hole in Zilker Park which was voted the “Best Swimming Hole in Texas”.  I could easily see why.  There was two different parts to the springs:  the “free part”, which is cool because you can bring your dog and have them swim with you, and the “pay part”, which is pet free, and apparently pretty difficult to get into.  No surprise there!  Seeing how Austin thermometers frequently top the charts over 100 degrees, people without pools would certainly be looking for clean cool-off spot!  It wasn’t exactly warm enough for me to jump in, unfortunately, but if it was, I would have been in the water in a heartbeat!

Barton Springs

Barton Springs.  In the top pic, the majority of the picture is the “free part” the “pay part” is on the right.  You can see a little bit of it in this picture.

Shopping:  Carrie and I were able to sneak away for a little while and do our “Girl Thanngg” for a while getting down and dirty with the shops around her apartment!  We started out with the Buffalo Exchange, which I was SUPER EXCITED for!  One of my blogger friends, Erika Tapia Schrieber of The Fab and Frugal, blogged about the Buffalo Exchange months ago, and ever since I have been dying to check it out!   The Buffalo Exchange has all vintage and used clothing, and essentially is a well maintained, upscale thrift store!  Honestly, I could have spent about 6 hours in there, but really, who has the time for that?!  So I picked out a cute on-trend aztec patterned sweater for $14 and called it a day!  She also showed me to this cute boutique, Strut, where I was able to get an awesome statement necklace for half off!

On our second day of shopping we went to an Austin staple, Tyler’s, where you can find all the awesome and loud Austin gear you can handle!  This is where I learned the importance of “Keep Austin Weird!”  We also hit up Urban Outfitters, where we surprisingly found some awesome deals, and finally Francesca’s!  We have a Francesca’s here in CT, however, since I’ve never been there before it was a first time for me!  Amahhhzing!  I will definitely become a regular at out Francesca’s asap!

Just out and about shopping our pants off!

Just out and about shopping our pants off!

The past three posts are only the tip of the iceburg as far as Austin goes!  There is SO much more to see and to do, however in the short 3 days I was there, that was all I was able to fit in!  I’m happy with it, though!  It was a healthy mix of spending money, trying new things, and sight seeing!

I hope you enjoyed my TX posts as much as I enjoyed being there! xo

Make Your Own Labels for Home Brews or Store Bought Beverages!!


This post is SOOOO late, but you know what the say, “better late than never”! Over a year ago one of my best friends got engaged, and about a year later this resulted in an amahhhzing batchelorette party, and eventually an absolutely goegeous wedding. Today I want to talk about something I did for the batchelorette party that was a great hits. I got each guest’s favorite wine, and got personalized labels made that were within the theme of the wedding. It was super easy and the girls loved it. Since the holiday season is coming on quick I wanted to share with you this easy process. Seriously, it’s so simple, and it is a great gift idea for holiday gifts for co-workers or friends or even a great thing to bring to holiday parties!

So, where to start….

Step 1: Visit The Studio Pub and choose the label of your choice and go buck wild personalizing it. The Studio Pub is an amahhhzing website that allows regular folks like you and me create customized labels for store bought beer snd soda bottles, wine bottles, and especially home brewed beers! I think those doing the home brews (or even homemade wine) can definitely agree that having some personal labels is the way to go!!
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When you’re on The Studio Pub, remember that there are different size labels. Some are for beer bottles, others are for wine. I ended up choosing a nautically themed wine label because that was the basic theme of the wedding, and I knew the bride would appreciate the anchors!

Step 2: Purchase your beverage of choice. Whether its beer, bottled soda, wine or champagne, whatever you choose will taste even better with your awesome personalized labels. Word from the wise (aka me), if you’re planning on purchasing wine, make sure you ask the package store about a discount. Most local package stores will offer a discount if you purchase a case or more, even if you are choosing all different wines! This is a lesser known fact, and often times not advertised or offered if you, as the customer, don’t ask, but in my personal experience, I’ve never been turned down when I’ve asked for this special treatment.

Step 3: Make sure you have the means to remove the labels off each of the bottles you purchased. **Make sure that you add a post-it or piece of tape to each bottle before removing the label because merlot and cabernet look exactly the same once there are no distinguisting labels…trust me.

I recommend getting goof off or goo gone. Nail polish can also be useful and a butter knife can help with some of the stubborn labels. I’ve found that each bottle can be different. Some labels peel right off, and others have to soak in warm water and goo gone before there is any chance of getting them off. The nail polish remover helps with any residual stickiness that is left on the bottle after the label is history.

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Step 4: Wash and dry each of the bottles. You want to make sure to get each bottle lean and dry before adding on the new label. you don’t need to wash them with anything special, just rince with water.

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Step 5: place the labels onto the bottle. From personal experience I recommend that you do not remove the label completely from the backing before placing it on the bottle. A best practice would be to peel just one side, left or right, and stick it to the bottle and then roll the rest of the label on while simultaneously peeling off the backing. This will be the best way to make sure that you don’t end up with any bubbles.

Step 6: Gift away! all your family and friends will certainly be impressed with your craftiness and to make things even better, in my case at least, you can enjoy some delicious wine! Hooray!

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Remember to contact Ben Quinn at ben@thestudiopub.com or checkout the website HERE!!

Mountain Biking Massacre


A couple of days ago in Cape Cod, Ben and I decided to go mountain biking.  We drove about a half hour to Hyannis to the  Cape Cod Pathways.  We started the ride, and for some reason I was feeling a bit more adventurous than normal.  I even recall actually saying to Ben “I’m really keeping up with you a lot better than I was before”.  This was my first mistake…overconfidence.  I was feeling really good, actually riding on the downhill parts and pedaling through the sandy parts…basically feeling pretty comfortable throughout the whole experience.

It all seemed too good to be true.  Probably because it was.  I officially counted my eggs before they were hatched.  We were on our way back and I decide to go down this hill a little more (ok, a lot more) steep than normally I would.  This was my second, and nearly fatal mistake.  I thought that since it was a small hill I could totally handle it.  I was wrong (shocker, I know).  Anyways, so I get half way down the hill, and my left foot and petal catch a rock, causing my handlebars to flip around and ultimately resulting in my bike flipping over my left shoulder bringing me with it.  Cool.  Luckily, I didn’t break any bones, especially because I have a very important wedding to be at in a couple days, but I do have one badass bruise to show for it…ouch!

Decide. Commit. Succeed. One Girl’s Story of p90x Determination.


Growing up I was always skinny.  I never really had to worry about “eating right” or dieting, and to be honest a diet for me never really lasted longer than about 2 hours.  But really, they would have lasted longer, but then I would get hungry and eat whatever was in my fridge or pantry.  I’ve always been really active so, being lucky, I never really had to worry about my weight.  Then about a year ago, I really started to get self conscious.  Since I had been out of college for a couple years and most of my day was spent sitting, instead of playing sports, or walking across UConn’s enormous campus I was noticing that had put on a few (ok maybe more than a few) extra, unneeded, lbs!  My clothes started not fitting right, and it was at that time that I vowed:  I will NOT buy bigger clothes to make myself feel comfortable.  I WILL change my life to feel comfortable in the clothing I own.  After all, isn’t that how people get fat?  They eat too much, get uncomfortable in their tight clothes, buy bigger clothes that have some spare room, and repeat cycle.  It all starts innocently enough, but before you know it you’re not allowed on amusement park rides and are buying two plane tickets for yourself.  And that, my friends, is no way to life.

Anyways, back to my story:  About a year ago, I really started to notice changes in myself and I didn’t like it, but since I had always been active and never really dieted (my idea of a diet was having only 4 slices of pizza instead of 7), things didn’t really start out so well for me on the weight loss front.  I tried exercising in the form of running, but I’ve been an avid runner since the age of 11 so that didn’t do anything for me.  No seriously, I trained diligently, and rain a full marathon (26.2 miles) and was literally the exact same weight after.  I also tried every “diet” out there:  Atkins, South Beach, Veggie Cleanse, Smoothies, Juice Diets, Slim Quick, Fasting…They would work for a short period of time, and then OF COURSE because they are only a “quick fix” I’d be right back to where I started…sometimes even worse off!  Turns out the only REAL way to lose weight is diet and exercise, muscle confusion to be exact…who would have ever guessed!

So, thanks to my patient boyfriend’s encouragement, I decided to try p90x.  I had already been through months of boot camp classes, and not for nothing, because they were amazing, but I really needed more.  More intensity, more times a week, and unfortunately I really couldn’t afford more than 2 times a week at boot camp.  May 6 was my day.  Decide. Commit.  Succeed.  The initial plan was to go from Adele to Jillian Michaels (*see bottom)  in 90 days…needless to say, that didn’t happen, but I’m proud to say that I for the past 13 weeks I have done every single main workout (60-90 minutes) and all but 2 of the ab workouts (16 minutes) in addition to running, biking, and hiking.  I’ve also tried my best to stay on track with the p90x nutrition guide.  Of course I’ve failed many times, but I’m only human, and I can only learn from these experiences.  I’m not perfect, and I’m no super model, but I’m definitely much stronger both mentally and physically now than I was before.

It’s funny because as I started the 90 days, I thought to myself…wow this is so easy!  Not easy in the sense that the workouts were easy (they weren’t) but easy in the fact that I enjoyed working out and the workouts were similar to those that I have done in bootcamp and other classes at my gym so it wasn’t difficult to motivate myself to do the workouts.  It was about week 6 that I hit my first wall.  I was tired (most days I had to get up around 4:45AM to fit it all in) and to be honest I just wanted to be lazy.  But that wasn’t an option.  How could I be mad when nothing was happening to my body if I wasn’t doing anything differently!  I’ve seen that with too many people, and quite frankly I find it annoying so I chose not to let myself fall into that category.  I mean like anything, there were some days that were way easier than others, and some days that I literally hoped I would fall and break my ankle so I wouldn’t have to continue.  In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t break my ankle or any other body part for that matter, and am even more glad that I stuck with it and am on my way to reach my goal.

To say that I did it alone though would be lying, so I really have to give credit where it’s due.  Of course, thanks to my loving boy who encouraged me every single day for the past 90 days . Next, I have to thank an amazing co-worker, Andra, who was nice enough to take a look at my food log every single week not only to keep me on track, but also to give me some helpful tips and motivate me. She also helped me get on track with some great vitamins and supplements! She rocks!  Then of course some of my girlfriends, Liz, Carrie, Erica who have gotten up at ungodly hours to do workouts with me and forced me to believe that I could get through it when I was mentally or physically fried –  Especially Erica who would do extra workouts with me just to keep me company on a low day!  Additionally I found motivation through fellow bloggers, loseitbig, roundtoravishing, and theblissproject whose blogs I found motivating, inspiring, and many times entertaining! (I especially appreciated loseitbig – he’s hysterical!)  Finally I gotta thank my bestie Stef.  She’s so far away (I’m in CT and shes in CO), but since we both have the same mind set and similar goals and are both working out and eating right so we look to each other for support, and it always means a lot to me.

Feel free to read more about my exercise regimen, food log, measurements, and success on my page Eating Clean & Getting Lean!  I’d also love to hear some of your own personal success stories or challenges!  cheers!

Sebago Lakehere we come!!


After a week of work, we are ready for our next adventure:  Sebago Lake!  One of my very good friends is moving to Austin, TX from CT in about a month and since her family has a cabin on  Sebago Lake she is having her last big hurrah up there this weekend!   There is going to be about 20 of us up there enjoying the lake and good times to come. The group of people going is a mishmash of her and her boyfriends friends from home (NH and CT), college friends, and new friends like me!  I’ve met a lot of the people who are gong to be there, but not everyone…I have heard a lot about everyone though so I can’t wait to meet them all.  Oh, and I’ve never been to Sebago Lake, so I’m SUPER PUMPED to experience it for the first time!

I’m also excited to spend some QT with my friend before the big move! We haven’t been friends all that long, only about a year, but in that time we have spent a lot of time together working, coaching, running, working out, and OF COURSE eating pizza!  Who is ever going to fill these shoes!?  At least the move is only supposed to be 11 months (by the way, she originally told me 10…probably to lighten the blow, but its definitely 11…wah!). 

From what I hear there will be a lot of eating and drinking, swimming and tubing, game playing (including board games) and I’m sure a lot more that I don’t even know about yet…So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’d have to try really really hard to have a bad time.  Though I’m sad to see them go, of course I wish her and her boy nothing but the best, and that being said…lets get this par-tay starrrteddd!!!

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