Tag Archive | weekend

In with the new

Hey there and happy weekend! Thank you all so much for your warm well-wishes for my Dad. I Face-timed with he and my Mom last night and he was LOVING his first official day of retirement. Their plans included a long walk in the morning, followed by a boat ride and a lobster dinner with friends. What a day! I’m so proud of him. 
Anyway, I did some new-to-me things this past week and got some new things too, so I thought it might be fun to share : –)

First up, New hair: After 6 months, I finally took the plunge and got my hair colored in Australia. This was a huge deal for me because I have gotten my hair cut and foiled by the same hairdresser back home since I was 16 years old. That’s an 11-year relationship right there! To say I was scared to branch out and try a new one  (especially in a new country) was an understatement. I love the end result and finally feel like “me” again. Is it just me, or does a hair appointment make anyone else feel SO much better?!
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Right after my appointment
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New hair half-up for a night-out with the girls!

New breakfast: I’m an oatmeal lover, but I was getting tired of my apple-cinnamon oats combination. I decided to mix it up with frozen blueberries (because fresh are WAY to expensive to even justify buying here), and I’ve been loving the result. With cinnamon, almonds, raisins, and brown sugar mixed in, it reminds me of blueberry muffins. Yum!
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New sneakers: At my job we’re required to wear all-black everything, including sneakers, which I didn’t have since I much prefer neon or bright-white colors over black any-day. I quickly picked up an inexpensive $10 pair at Target for my first few shifts and it was one of the worst decisions ever. At a job when you’re on your feet all day, good sneakers are so important.  Since I tend to develop chin splints quite easily, my feet, ankles, shins and knees were not happy with me for the last few weeks; I seriously felt pain all over! I quickly ordered these Nike Frees (5’s) and I’m loving the support they offer. Plus I think they’re pretty cute for black sneakers!
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New dinner: I try to keep frozen shrimp on hand for simple meal ideas, and these worked great in a stir-fry dinner last week. I combined shrimp, cabbage, peppers, broccoli and water chestnuts with teriyaki sauce, garlic and some brown sugar, and served it over a bed of pad-thai noodles. This was a winning dinner!
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New baking buddy: Brandon helps me prepare dinner quite often, but I usually bake by myself. However, this weekend  he joined me and I have to say, I really enjoyed the company! We made Funfetti cookies together (we’ve been hoarding the boxed mix from back home since Christmas…we’re slightly obsessed), and then I whipped up some homemade vanilla cupcakes, too. Such a fun weekend treat!
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I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Did you try anything new last week?
Do you tend to go to the same hairstylist over and over again?
I just love mine and feel like I’m “cheating” on her if I go elsewhere!

What’s your favorite brand of running sneakers?
Lately, I’m loving my Nike’s, but I love Asics too!

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A work and play weekend

Hey friends, how was your weekend? Since I actually ended up working and studying for most of mine, I didn’t feel like I would have too many exciting things to share  (unless you want to know all about the yummy gelato flavors we had this weekend, that is Winking smile).  However, when I looked through my pictures, I was reminded that I didn’t just work all weekend. There was some play involved too, thank goodness!

-First, I got my new Bic Bands in the mail and proceeded to wear them ALL weekend. No slip headbands that give back to charity? I.am.obsessed.

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-We decided to stay-in on Friday night, make pizza, and watch the American Idol finale: This ended up being the best decision ever. I swear, I’d choose homemade pizza over take-out pizza any day!

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-I went for a quick run on the water before my Saturday shift: It always feels good to sweat, always!
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(Wearing a Bic Band, obviously).

-I baked Sally’s Baking Addiction Chocolate Covered Pretzel Cookies for a going-away party I attended after work on Saturday: OMG is all I have to say about this recipe. Visit her amazing blog and try these immediately! (Thanks Sally!)
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-I got dressed up immediately following my shift at work for this surprise party: Although I was late
and missed the surprise (major FAIL), it was a blast. Plus, I always love dressing up!
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-I had Sunday brunch with the girls and got my favorite order: Muesli with greek yogurt and berries. Muesli is another food I’ll be shipping home to the U.S.A. when we leave Australia!
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There you have it, a weekend of some work, some play, and studying in-between. Not a bad combination if you ask me!

Do you wear Bic Bands? Homemade Pizza or take-out?

Did anyone watch the Idol finale?
I loved it, I just wish Angie had been in the top 2!

The best part of my weekend

Hey there, how was your weekend? I feel like I’m still recovering from mine, but in a good way. I’ve come to the conclusion that because I did so many different things, my weekend felt longer. Strange, but true! And longer weekends=happy Meredith!  Although I was utterly exhausted on Sunday night after a very busy Mother’s Day shift at work, Friday and Saturday were full of rest, exercise, ice-cream, good food and good friends. Can’t beat that!

Here’s a few of my favorite things from the weekend:

-A skinny Cappuccino to start Saturday off right:
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-Ice-cream in a waffle cone for lunch:
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…because sometimes you just need ice-cream for lunch! Who’s with me?
One scoop cookie dough and one scoop gold rush. I think this was the greatest lunch I’ve ever eaten. I have no regrets!

-Shopping purchases from Saturday, when Brandon bought me the greatest oven mitt EVER invented:
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Don’t worry, we didn’t buy Brandon one. He was just being a good sport and trying it on for me : – )

-Some Saturday studying, but studying is always a little easier when it’s on the ocean:IMG_2771

-Saturday night attire for dinner with the girls:
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That’s probably the most uncomfortable skirt I own, but I still love it!

-Mother’s Day 5.2K race on Sunday morning with my friend Kristy:
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It was a fun race with great energy and a lot of people, which surprised me for a Sunday! I loved that it honored all of the Mom’s out there. Plus, I got a PR so I was quite excited!
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-Part of my Sunday post-race brunch:
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Note to self, I REALLY need to start making muesli parfaits. This was delicious!

-And finally, the best part of my weekend:
I purchased my flights home for late June through July!!!!! Boston and Maine, here I come! I.am.ecstatic!
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The countdown to home begins : –)
All-in-all, a lovely weekend. I just wish I could have spent it with my Mom. Next year I hope!

What was the best part of your weekend?
Do you ever eat ice-cream for lunch?
I do it from time-to-time and it always makes me happy, so I think it’s perfectly acceptable!

A Blessed 27

Hello from beautiful Sydney, Australia! I can’t believe how quickly this past week flew by…between my parents arriving, my birthday, mid-term exams and flying to Sydney, this week was non-stop, but in a good way. I was truly so overwhelmed that I didn’t even attempt blogging once, so I apologize, this is long overdue!

My parents timed their visit just right in order to be here for my birthday and my winter-break, and since they probably won’t be coming back anytime soon, we planned a long weekend of sight-seeing in Sydney. So far, it has been a memorable weekend, and it just started! I’ll be back with more pictures next week, but in the meantime, here’s some highlights from my blessed birthday week :)

My Visitors <3

My Visitors <3

Workout clothes from B!

Workout clothes from B!

New Lulu Lemon  gym bag from my best girls :)

New Lulu Lemon gym bag from my best girls :)

Plane to Sydney!

Plane to Sydney!

Perfect day

Perfect day

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Sydney Harbour ferry :)

I must say, if my first week of being 27 is any indication of how the rest of my year will be, then bring on the late 20’s!

A cupcake and casino weekend

Hey there and happy Saturday to you! How is your weekend?  Between Brandon’s birthday celebrations and preparing for my parents arrival, it has been a busy but fun weekend around here.
Last night, a group of about 16 of us went to Ribs and Rumps (cute name for a barbeque restaurant, I think!) for Brandon’s birthday dinner. It was a great night full of laughs and great food. Check out my meal..I swear it could have fed a family of 3 with just the meat alone!

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I’ve never been the biggest “ribs” fan, but since it was the restaurant specialty, I decided was convinced to try a combination plate of both ribs and chicken. They ended up being delicious, so I’m glad I did, but it was so much food. I am thinking we may take my parents there to try it out while they’re here since my Mom loves barbeque ribs, plus I think she’ll get a kick out of the name and the portion sizes, too.
If you’re reading and you’re from Australia, have you eaten here?

Anyway, most of us went into town after dinner to have drinks, hang-out, and “play the pokies”. This is what they call the slot machines in Australia, which I think is too cute. It sounds much more fun than “playing the slots!” One of my girlfriends won $40, and I was envious! It was a really great celebration for Brandon.
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Surprise birthday dessert
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Big Winner of the night!
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Love these girls, such a fun night!
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With the birthday boy  : – )

Speaking of celebrating for Brandon…we’ve still been celebrating nightly because the Cookies and Cream Cupcakes I made on his birthday seem to be never-ending! I guess that’s the problem with making a batch of 12 cupcakes for two people; we have to eat them all! Not that I mind, these are too good to pass up.  I found this recipe over  a year ago on one of my favorite food blogs, How Sweet It Is,  and I’ve been making them ever since. However, to make these more birthday-ish, I adapted this batch to include a very special Australian ingredient:
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Basically, these are cake-batter tasting Oreos and they are out-of-this-world good! Mark my words, I will be shipping these home to America when we move back…100%, absolutely shipping them back.

Cookies ‘n Cream Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Cupcakes and frosting adapted from How Sweet It Is
makes 12 cupcakes
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (I used white flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk ( I used skim)
12 crushed 100s and 1000s Oreos (Or any type of Oreo-like cookie would work)

Directions
1) First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 176.6 degrees Celsius),and crush your oreo/oreo-like cookies in a Ziploc bag, and set aside. Now line your muffin tins with liners. (This really helps come clean-up time and makes the cupcakes extra festive. I chose blue polka-dotted liners that my friend Sarah sent me. I adore them. Thanks again, Sar!)
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2) Next, cream the butter, sugar, and eggs together in a medium-sized mixing bowl until fluffy, then add the vanilla.
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3) Next, combine the dry ingredients in another  mixing bowl and stir. Then add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing them until combined. Then add the milk.
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4) Now add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined.

5) Once mixed, add your crushed Oreos to the batter and stir them in with a large spoon or spatula.
Pour the batter into your tins evenly, and you’re good to go. Just make sure you save yourself a taste, you know, just to make sure it’s as delicious as it looks!
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6) Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until golden on the top. Let them cool, and while they cool, you can make the frosting.
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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (You’ll likely have extra, this makes a lot of frosting!)
Ingredients:
2 sticks of butter, softened
1 1/2 – 2 lbs powdered sugar (called sugar icing in Australia)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk ( I used low-fat)

Directions
Soften the butter and mix the butter and powdered sugar together, just gradually adding the powdered sugar to the mix slowly, a bit at a time. Add the vanilla, and then mix in the condensed milk, adding more if needed to reach the consistency you want. (I ended up using 2 tablespoons).

To frost these, I put the frosting in a Ziploc bag, cut a small corner-edge off, and “piped” the frosting on the cupcakes the best that I could without an official piping bag. They weren’t perfect but I think Brandon loved them and that’s all that matters to me!
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This is how I presented them, which wasn’t exactly how I envisioned it, but these blue “27” candles were the only candles I could find. At least they were blue and not pink, which is what I almost resorted to buying!
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If you try these, I hope you enjoy them!

What’s your favorite  Oreo, and what’s your favorite birthday dessert? Cupcakes? Ice-cream? Cake? Please share!

Me? I’m a Double-Stuf Oreo and an ice-cream cake kind-of-girl : – )

Work-Out Motivation Via Clothing…I’m Ready For The Weekend!

Happy-almost weekend! Does anyone else think 4-day weeks always seem longer than 5? The anticipation of a long weekend made this short week feel like an eternity to me. I could tell I was ready for the weekend when my alarm went off at 5 a.m. this morning for body pump and it took me over 8 minutes to pick out my gym clothes…8 minutes! All for something that I was just going to sweat in. Clearly, I’m ready for the weekend. I’ll admit that 8 minutes to pick out gym clothes is a bit excessive, but this outfit helped me get-up and stay-up rather than succumb to more sleep.
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Photo post work-out, please excuse the sweat!

Now seems like a fitting time to talk about my clothing/accessory/matching obsession. If I’m late for anything, it’s usually due to clothing decisions(or indecisions for that matter). I haven’t really talked about this on here , probably because normally I’m talking about food or baking, but I truly adore clothes.  In my next life, I’ll own a clothing store and be a stylist. I’ve found that my obsession is just getting worse as I’m getting older.  In fact, when moving to Australia,  my five suitcases and two carry-on items were all stuffed full of one thing…clothes.
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In the last few years, I’d say the area of my closet that has grown the most is my athletic clothing section. These clothes take up almost as many drawers in my bureau as my regular clothes!  Since I wear them everyday, I’m 100% okay with this, but please tell me I’m not alone. Who else has an overflow of gym clothes? ( I know my twin sister does!) In addition to my clothing problem, I acknowledge that I also have an accessory problem.  I almost always match my headbands with my tank-tops and sports bras, and usually my sneakers coordinate, too. This might be why it took me 8 minutes to pick something out this morning…whoops.

Here’s a few examples of my matching obsession:
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As you may be able to tell, I love my headbands and I am loving the neon trend!

I blame my increasing love of clothing on the fact that for the last four years, I had to wear a black or blue suit to work every.single.day. I had never been so bored with clothing in my life! I made it a daily goal of mine to wear a fun blouse with my suit or wear a dress-suit to mix-it up, which really helped lift my spirits at work.  Liking my outfit ALWAYS made my day a little better…and I still feel that way about clothing today. When I like what I’m wearing, I feel better about myself,  about my day, everything.  Plus, clothing can be motivating too. There have been many other occasions besides this morning when my work-out outfit is what has motivated me to get out the front door and just run!
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Besides clothing helping to motivate my work-outs, I also find that trying new running routes, taking a new exercise class,  or downloading  a new playlist on my iPod also helps motivate me.

Does your clothing ever motivate you?  What else helps motivate you when you’re not feeling like working out?

Are you ready for the weekend?
I know I am! I just purchased my first “hot cross buns” to celebrate our first Easter here in Australia, and I’m very excited to try one. I may just attempt to bake some, too! Happy Easter to all!
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Making sunday a fun-day

Hey there, how was your weekend? Mine seemed to fly by (don’t they always?), but it was still full of fun. Since being back in school, I’ve really tried making a diligent effort to complete most of my homework on Fridays, rather than leave it for the rest of the weekend. Five years ago when I was back in Bryant completing my business degree, I always left my homework for Sunday, which made me absolutely DESPISE this day of the week. So on Friday, after finding out my sister was engaged(!)I tried(key word=tried) to focus on accomplishing my big paper for my science/practical activity class. The only way I can possibly focus when doing a paper is coming here:

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Library silent zone for life!
For the amount of wedding-related ideas I had running through my brain, I have to give myself credit for what I accomplished on my paper, considering my mind was elsewhere. Honestly though, once a fan of the library, always a fan of the library. I may be a geek, but I adore the silent zone. If I’m home, I’ll do anything but study. I mean, who can possibly study when there’s a tv, computer, endless cupboards of food,  a stocked refrigerator, and usually a boyfriend to procrastinate with? Definitely not me! After I closed down the library, we toasted to my sister and her new fiancé with champagne and homemade pizza.
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Sorry for the blurry picture!

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Saturday morning started off with some cardio and a sweaty body pump class, which I loved because we learned the newest release! I <3 body pump.  I squeezed in a few more productive hours of homework in the late morning, but got in some quality beach time with Brandon later that afternoon. We came home sun-kissed and exhausted! Does anyone else always feel super tired after laying in the sun? Leftovers and Pitch Perfect rounded out Saturday night, and boy did it feel good to laugh…Rebel Wilson rules.
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Since I did the majority of my homework on Friday and Saturday…Sunday got to be just what we needed, a fun-day! Being that both of us have felt quite homesick lately, we made it a day full of things that would make us smile, consisting of:

-Face-timing our families: Here’s my cute Dad and my happy sister (look at that ring!). I made her hold it up for a good 5 minutes, I can’t stop staring at it!
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-Having lunch on the water : I went with my craving and got fish and chips. #bestdecisionever
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-Talking by the ocean & grabbing afternoon cocktails (Bahama Breeze for her, Sam Adams for him)
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-Making lightened-up comfort food for dinner consisting of my Mom’s “Light Fettuccine Alfredo” recipe,  with chicken and broccoli:  recipe coming soon!
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All in all, Sunday as a fun-day was just what I needed, and Brandon too.

What did you do this weekend?

I can’t end this post without mentioning Brandon’s Grandfather, who passed away this afternoon. We are so saddened, and wish  more than anything we could be home with his family at this difficult time. It’s truly times like these when being away from home is the absolute hardest. I’m thinking of the French family today and always. xoxo
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