Category Archives: Restaurants (in Peace)

Today: Dinner at Serafina with Google Express.

On Tuesday night, I did something extra rare: I went out, wore non-workout clothes and stayed up late.  It was such a lovely time!  Google Express treated me and fellow Boston mothers to dinner at Serafina, giving us all a chance to enjoy ourselves while learning about their newly launched service that provides same-day or next-day delivery from local stores and retailers.

Photo by Briana Moore

From cocktails to valet parking, dinner to a beautifully curated gift basket and vase of flowers, Google Express really treated us.  They even had a professional photographer on hand, so I stashed my camera in my clutch (hallelujah for leaving the diaper bag at home) and just enjoyed myself.  All the gorgeous photos in this post were taken by the talented Briana Moore (thank you!).  Side note: I’m feeling motivated to step up my photography game.  Big time motivated.

Photo by Briana Moore

The whole event was beautifully designed, but you’ll probably not be surprised that I gravitated first to the flowers.  In addition to an incredible living wall featuring spring roses and orchids, our dining table was lined with centerpieces that reminded me a lot of my bridal bouquet.

Photo by Briana Moore

I hadn’t been to Serafina before, but I know we will be heading back soon.  It’s just a block from South Station (and a five minute drive from our place) and the food, atmosphere and service were fantastic.  We dined in a private space on the lower level, which I have a feeling would be perfect for a shower or rehearsal dinner.

 

Dinner itself was delicious (and looked as good as it tasted).  I was happily surprised to see the entire menu was vegetarian, and noticed Serafina was great about accommodating special diets and allergies.

Photo by Briana Moore

Photo by Briana Moore

Photo by Briana Moore

By the time dessert arrived, I could only manage a few bites, but that creme brulee was divine.

  • First course: Caprese | Imported Italian fior di latte mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, basil
  • Main course: Ravioli al tartufo nero | Homemade black truffle ravioli, touch of butter
  • Dessert: Creme brulee | With a touch of limoncello

Even better than the food was the company.  During the cocktail hour, I had a chance to catch up with my pals Tina and Alex and loved meeting and chatting with LizSanTara and Kim over dinner.  The event was hosted by Amber of Barefoot Blonde, who shared her experience with Google Express and chose a few of her favorite Google Express items for our adorable parting gift (each basket was personalized with our last names — the event was full of beautiful details like this).

Photo by Briana Moore

We also received a gift code to try Google Express for ourselves.  I’m having a hard time deciding where to start (there are quite a few retailers in the Boston area to choose from), but I’ve yet to pick up a copy of Go Set a Watchman, so that might be a good start.  I’m sure we’re also running low on diapers… and one can never have too many shades of Essie polish. Right?  Right.

Photo by Briana Moore

I’ll be sure to let you know what I ended up ordering and what the experience was like, and I’ll also have a gift code to share with you! In the meantime, I’m off to finally start reading my camera manual….  Thanks for the lovely evening, Google Express! 

Also On Tap for Today:

If you could have anything delivered to you door today, what would it be?

Today: The weekend according to Instagram X.

The theme of this weekend was finding peace in the routine.  And feeling as grateful as ever.

The weekend according to Instagram X

  1. Words fail to describe Friday in Boston and neighboring cities and towns.  I am proud of our leadership, our law enforcement, and our fellow citizens.  And I never, ever want to see another day like that.  At a loss for words, I offered a hand to hold.  
  2. With the “shelter in place” order lifted, one suspect dead and another in custody, it felt important to get out of our condo and try to restore some semblance of normalcy.  Our box, CrossFit Southie, was hosting a special Marathon Monday workout and fundraiser for the Richard family.  The WOD (with a rep scheme of 4-15-13 followed by a half mile sprint) was sent to boxes across the country.  Feeling flat out exhausted, I choked up multiple times during the workout, just trying to wrap by head around the week.
  3. We are just so lucky to be safe and sound.
  4. The three of us headed out for some fresh, ocean air.  I love this little fishing boat (it’s named Success), and living so close to the water.  Clark and I went straight for the shoreline, and he took his first dip of the season.
  5. A good workout, some fresh air… and some sparkle.  I wore these flats on my wedding day, and love breaking them out on a regular ol’ Saturday.
  6. After a week of waffling between emotional eating giant bowls of popcorn and forgetting to eat altogether, we showed up for a verrrrrrrry early dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Franklin Cafe, before they even had a chance to unlock their door.  I felt like one of those people who shows up for door buster sales.  Or a very elderly person.  I would have been embarrassed  but I was too hungry for that.
  7. If you’re wondering who the biggest goofball on the planet is, look no further.  How did I possibly manage to hit myself in the head with a loaded barbell on Sunday morning and still get a 10 lb PR on the snatch?  Sometimes I think I should be monitored by scientists, or something.
  8. After CrossFit (and a shower, obvi), I scooped up the Frenchie and headed to the hospital for pet therapy.  Clark cannot get into the car fast enough once he has that vest on.  We spent a little over an hour hanging out with the kids and when we left, my heart and head felt a million pounds lighter.  Clark, on the other hand, felt six pounds heavier.  He can’t say no to treats.
  9. We rounded out the weekend with a beautiful Mass at St. Cecilia.  As we listened to Fr. Unni’s sermon, I knew that I was hearing what I needed to hear.   We need to be gentle with ourselves, and with one another.  There will always be more light than darkness.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you looking forward to this week?

Today: The weekend according to Instagram IV.

Happy Presidents’ Day, my fellow commoners.  I am currently enjoying both a long weekend and a short glass of chocolate almond milk.  Wondering what else I’ve been up to?

The weekend according to Instagram IV

The weekend according to Instagram IV

  1. This is a picture of a picture (weird, I know) from 1982.  My older brother’s 2nd birthday happened to fall on Easter, and the world’s cutest grandpa made him a snow bunny in the backyard to celebrate.  [Meanwhile, I was five weeks old and likely crying.] Both sets of our grandparents always made the holidays so special for us.  I miss them and love seeing photos like this when I go home.
  2. While Nick was at CrossFit this weekend (no big deal, but I had to have teeny tiny surgery and am not allowed to hit up CrossFit Southie until the stitches come out… hence no WOD instagrams this weekend), I reorganized our baking/supplements cabinet.  And broke out the neon washi.  Naturally.  Normally I’d refrigerate nuts (keeps ’em fresh… and, um… fresh nuts are a good thing…), but these ones are being used early in the week.
  3. If you live in Southie, or read The New York Times from cover to cover on December 29, 2010, you know these are no ordinary jugs.  These are space savers.  When Nick, Tina, Mal and I headed out for dinner on Saturday night, I found a primo parking spot, previously cleared of snow and “saved” with two water jugs connected by blue ribbon (well done, I must say).  I know better than to move someone’s savers (let’s be serious), but someone before me tossed them to the sidewalk.  I parked at my own peril, but not before asking if I should a. try to be sneaky and move the jugs to another spot or b. write a note explaining that I did not move the jugs.  Nick’s advice?  “Don’t touch the jugs.”
  4. We hit up the Lincoln Tavern for an early dinner and lots of laughs (mostly about jugs).  The food is great, and the space itself is pretty incredible.  Especially when you consider that it used to be a Payless.  I love that they exposed the original tin ceiling and brick walls.  I ordered the chopped salad (no bacon, no eggs, no croutons… just the lettuce, bleu cheese and high maintenance) and a side of mashed potatoes.  Oh, and a glass of Prosecco.
  5. Saucony sent me a pair of their new Virrata running shoes.  They are beyond.  I can’t wait to give you the full scoop.
  6. You know that I am weather obsessed.  This time of year, I delight in finding the first sign of spring.  Just before the weekend’s snow storm, Clark and I happened upon a soon-to-be crocus, peeking out from the ground.   It’s the little things.
  7. You also know that I am Frenchie obsessed.  On a recent trip to Target, I cut through the children’s bedding aisle (at least I think that’s what that was) on my way to the Diet Coke aisle and happened upon this ceramic Frenchie bank.  We’ve been sticking our loose change in various jars and vases, but feeding a little bulldog quarters seems so much more satisfying.  And cute.
  8. I met Michelle for afternoon tea on Sunday at the Boston Harbor Hotel.  We shared a table by the water, a tower of treats, and two hours of non-stop chatter.  I chose a pot of peppermint tea and devoured a (non-gluten free… can’t win ’em all) lemon poppyseed scone and a few bites of flourless chocolate cake.  It was such a lovely way to spend a snowy afternoon.
  9. Thankful to have today off, Clark and spent the morning at the hospital, making therapy dog visits with our favorite kids.  I can think of few better ways to start the week.

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Today: A festive weekend in Boston.

With our Christmas tree up and decorated (and smelling like heaven), we celebrated quite a festive weekend in Boston.  There is so much to see and do in ye olde Cradle of Liberty this time of year; we’re lucky it’s all just a walk (or Uber ride) away.  We bundled up on Saturday night for dinner, drinks and lots of lights in Faneuil Hall with Tina and Mal.  Our first stop was dinner at Anthem, one of Nick’s favorite lunch spots.  I studied their gluten-free menu online beforehand, which made my dinner choices (a Boston Bibb salad and a side of garlic mashed potatoes) easy and stress-free.

My three dining companions started with the fondue… which for me, was a fondon’t.  Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.  Did anyone else have “fondue day” in their high school French classes?  I think I will forever associate fondue with those awkward chair/desk combinations.  We left the restaurant just in time to catch the tail end of Blink!, a three minute light show set to the music of the Boston Pops.  We ducked into Durgin Park for hard ciders while waiting for the next show to start.  If you’re passing though the area, the quick show is definitely worth checking out.  Here’s a little iPhone/YouTube preview:

If I wasn’t already high on the Christmas spirit, I certainly would have been after Blink.

[For more information about the show, click the image above.]

If you’re in the area and looking to celebrate your own festive weekend in Boston, here are few more ideas:

Because two light and sound extravaganzas are better than one, I met my brother and niece for the tree lighting aboard the U.S.S. Constitution yesterday.  I think we may have been running late (mostly because I wanted to tell the baby all about Christmas in a weird baby voice), since the tree was already lit when we arrived and guests were being ushered off the boat.  Welp, can’t win ’em all.

After walking along the Harbor Walk and admiring all the boats decked out for the holidays, I headed home to light the first candle on our Advent wreath, and whip up a few treats for the week.  My sister-in-law is hosting a cookie swap next weekend and I want to be sure my gluten-free peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies with pretzel bits and sea salt are both edible and palatable.  Hopes are high.  Expectations are slightly lower.

The highlight of my weekend had to have been Clark, wearing his little Santa hat, greeting the patients at the hospital where we do pet therapy.  Needless to say, his chapeau was a hit.  I always leave the hospital with an overflowing heart (and a very sleepy French bulldog), and can think of no better way to kick off the first week of December.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Kicking off week 3 of HBBC with new goals and solid plans
  • Taking Clark for his annual check up and shots (I mostly always almost faint, while he totally plays it cool)
  • Finishing wedding thank you notes and starting Christmas cards
What is your favorite local holiday event or tradition?

 

Today: Tuscany tasting dinner.

I once flew to Tuscany, by way of London.  I don’t remember much about the flights, mostly because I was freaking out (in a positive way) about meeting my Italian host family.  I do remember that it took a while to get there, much longer than the two-ish hour drive to Todd English’s Tuscany at Mohegan Sun.  What do both Tuscanies (hmm… that’s probably not right) have in common?  Great food, great company.

After our morning bike tour and afternoon at the spa, we met up with Michelle Williams, public relations manager for Mohegan Sun, and several other bloggers for a complimentary tasting dinner.

The best part about tasting dinners is the opportunity to try a little bit of everything, and get a real feel for the restaurant’s menu.  The worst part about tasting dinners is the high likelihood that your pants won’t fit, long before the third course arrives.  Can I get an amen for control top tights?  Right.

Despite knowing the menu would be gluten-heavy, I did my best to relax, enjoy a taste of everything… and then say my prayers (please don’t scold me… I know this is not a strategy endorsed by any medical professionals, but hey… when in Rome Tuscany…).  Fortunately, there were plenty of options on the menu, including several specially prepared (just for me, the difficult one) vegetarian options.

The service was impeccable and the food was absolutely delicious.  Each dish was paired with a wine selection, and just when I thought things could not get better, the next course would arrive.  Friends in Boston who have dined at Figs or Olives are likely not surprised.  That Todd English knows his stuff.  My favorite course was the butternut squash ravioli, which was prepared as an alternative to the non-vegetarian entrees.  It was rich and flavorful, and perfect for sharing with friends.  Speaking of friends, the only thing that could top the food and service was the company:

The conversation flowed freely, and I laughed harder than I had in ages.  We reminisced about answering machines, rollerskating parties, and calling our parents collect when we were ready to be picked up from tennis practice.  Oh, and the practicality of leg warmers.

Having overindulged during earlier courses, I passed on the dessert display in favor of a cup of mint tea.  You know me, I bring the heat.  Or whatever.  If I didn’t already feel old (what, with the tea and talk of 1-800-COLLECT), all it took was a stroll past one of Mohegan Sun’s nightclubs to feel ancient.  After a quick shop at Sephora for the necessities (Dior Show Blackout, check), the girls and I headed back to our hotel rooms for more chatting and more laughter.  In yoga pants.

I am so grateful to Michelle for setting us up with the perfect girls’ weekend at Mohegan Sun.  Believe it or not, we didn’t spend any time in the casino – there was just so much to do off the gambling floors.  From bike rentals and shopping to spa treatments and incredible restaurants and nightlife, it seems like there’s something for everyone – gamblers or not.  I returned to the city feeling relaxed, refreshed, energized and thankful for such great friends.

Also On Tap for Today:

What does your ideal girls (or guys) weekend involve?

Today: The Bachelorette.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I’ve never watched the show, but if it’s anything like this past weekend, I’ll be DVR-ing the next season.  I got to spend the last three days on the Cape with some of my absolute favorite people.  Equal parts low key and dancey, the weekend was absolutely perfect.

My sister and I picked up our cousin Katie from the train station Friday evening and made it to the Cape in record time, especially considering it was a holiday weekend.  We shared a bottle of wine and a game of Phase 10, before beginning the search for the ultimate “learn to dance like Michael Jackson” YouTube video and establishing the sole ground rule for the weekend (we only needed one):

If you say you’re going to do it, you have to do it.

I broke that rule first thing Saturday morning when I… um… forgot to wear my newly gifted clip-on veil on our run.  Colleen and Tina joined us shortly after we got back to the house, just in time for mimosas on the beach.  We enjoyed beautiful weather and perfect tides all weekend long.

Being a complete control freak person, I was anxious to know what was in store, and a bit nervous about the surprises the girls had in store.  Their thoughtfulness far surpassed anything I could have imagined.  My sister worked with Nick to create a guessing game/video, which was definitely a highlight of the weekend for me.  Not surprisingly, Nick and I had matching answers for most questions about one another, including how annoying my indecisiveness can be… and his questionable taste in music.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, though, as Nick talked about how excited he is to get married.

I am just so lucky.  For so many reasons.

Soon, our sweet ride was pulling up.  Katie connected with Jerry, owner of Cape Cod Limousine, and set up a fantastic evening for us.  Having a driver for the night was such a fun surprise.  We played with the overhead lights and music like a bunch of junior prom goers.  Our first stop was the Chatham Bars Inn for drinks by the gazebo as the sun was setting and a fabulous dinner in the tavern.

The roasted tomato soup was perfect for warming up (before donning a heavy Champagne jacket…).

After dinner, we made a quick stop at Land Ho! in Orleans.  I enjoyed a hard cider, a lap around the bar, and a quick lesson on life courtesy of the ladies room.

Jerry’s prediction that the scene at the Ho would be a bust proved true, though the band (and the band members’ hair) was quite good.  Sadly, our glow bracelets didn’t quite fit in.  And no one was dancing.  That was our cue to move on.

We took the express train limo to our old standby, the Woodshed, where we spend the rest of the night dancing, dancing, dancing, drinking and trying to avoid being danced on.  There was some aggressive elbowing taking place on that tiny dance floor.  The Boston Naturals played a great set and being surrounded by the girls had me smiling like mad.

I had to break out my flying squirrel costume (oh… doesn’t everyone have one?) before the night was over, but my attempt to sneak through the house resulted in a skinned knee.  You can’t win ’em all.  I am sure there are photos of Squirelizabeth, but I don’t have any.  Which is entirely fine by me.

Sunday morning, I slept later than I have in decades (possibly an exaggeration, but maybe not) and missed Colleen and Tina departing.  I had so much fun with them, and was glad they could both join us for part of the weekend.  Several of my friends and bridesmaids were traveling, moving, and attending weddings and though I certainly missed them, I felt their love from far away and appreciated all the texts and calls over the course of the weekend.

Katie, Andrea and I fit in another run before more time at the beach, more Phase 10, more MJ videos, and a trip to Kate’s.

Oh, and a beer can duel.  Because what’s a bachelorette party without Bud Light cans flying through the air?

I loved every minute of this weekend.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • I went away and it was August… I came back and it’s September?!
  • Just moved to Boston?
  • Grocery shopping (sort of an emergency)

If you were in a cover band, what would be on your must-play list?

Today: I miss you, garlic. {plus a Fire + Ice giveaway}

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]I’m now solidly in Week 3 of my elimination diet (no gluten, no high FODMAP foods, no fun… just kidding… sort of).  As much as I would like to assert that I felt my absolute best when living on Annie’s Shells & Cheese and Cool Ranch Doritos, the past few weeks are proving otherwise.

[Image source]

If Week 1 were a work by Victor Hugo, it would be Les Miserables.  I had a raging headache the entire week, and felt compelled to slap the Diet Coke straight from the hands of people passing by.  While I did my best to pack enough food for the day, inevitably I came home starving.  And tempted to fall into a big bowl of hummus.  I did adopt one very important habit during Week 1, though: consistently eating breakfast.

I’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but then again, I grew up being told that Pluto was a planet.  I’m a born skeptic.  Regardless, I carved out time every morning for this meal– most important or not– and have stuck to gluten free cereal, unsweetened almond milk, heaps of fresh berries, and more bananas than any person should consume.  While I’d rather spend that time getting stuff done (like working, or talking to my dog), It’s refreshing to not want to eat my keyboard during a mid-morning conference call.

Week 2 was a vast improvement over Week 1, but that’s not saying much, considering I felt like hell on wheels for the first seven days of the diet.  By the second week, my deep longing for an IV drip of caffeine had waned, and I no longer sought physical violence against people who freely sipped the Diet Coke.  Avoiding all caffeine has three major upsides:

  1. I’m sleeping better.
  2. I’ve eliminated the risk of hitting a pole at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through, resulting in a dangling side-view mirror… again.  Yes, that really happened.
  3. If I can quit caffeine, I must be unstoppable.  Maybe.

I survived a weekend away, thanks to a stash of low FODMAP foods and some careful selection at meal times.  I was captain of the nerds with my handy allowed/not allowed food list always at the ready.  More than anything, I have such a better appreciation for those dealing with allergies.

[Image source]

I gave myself a free pass (which is less cool than a fun pass) to eat a small portion of baked penne, and a bite of a brownie after my grandmother’s funeral.  Oh, and a vodka and soda, light on the vodka, which is technically not forbidden… but not encouraged, either.  I soon regretted that free pass, but hey.  This is a learning process.

While I’ve experimented with various dairy-free, lactose-free, and gluten-free packaged foods, I’ve been trying to stick to unprocessed foods whenever possible.  I’ve been packing salads, low FODMAP fruits and veggies, a bit of almond butter, sweet potatoes, precisely measured wedges of hard cheese (file this under confusing: brie is considered a hard cheese, according to my handy reference guide), and the occasional rice cracker or one of Lucy’s Cookies.  Dinner has been similar.

When it comes to snacks, I find myself starring into the fridge, making eyes at the hummus and Greek yogurt.  It’s kind of a bad scene.  I broke out the mustard and Glutino pretzels for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, though, and quite enjoyed the combination.  I think this may be a lucky snack, so they will be on the table for Game 7 tonight, for sure.  Plus, they taste good.  And grainy mustard just plain old rules.

Week 3 has been the easiest so far, which makes sense.  I tried another go at the free pass last night, when I arrived at my front door famished and exhausted.  Rather than going all out (I think the baked penne from Week 2 hit just about every category on the ‘not allowed’ list), I limited myself to one forbidden column, grains, and experienced no side effects (and sadly, no vodka….).  While I am tempted to press my luck… I am not willing to risk a whammy (…best game show of all time).  Back to safe greens today.

I am (mostly) patiently waiting for the results of my blood work to come back, and am (fully) crossing my fingers that it will be clear what foods I should be avoiding from now on.  In the meantime, though, I am feeling surprisingly better.  I am much more conscious of cravings, my hunger levels, and how I feel after eating.  I have gotten so much better at preparing food in advance, rather than leaving things to chance.  With a week and a half to go, I’m thankful for this insight…. and I’m looking forward to a normal night out (at a restaurant that serves garlic and onions, preferably) soon.

To enter, leave a comment below.  I will select a random winner tomorrow evening (Thursday, April 26) after 8 PM EST.  If you’d rather send all your good luck to the Boston Bruins, you can purchase this sweet deal until midnight tonight.

CONGRATULATIONS, Stephanie!  You were the randomly selected winner. 🙂  Stephanie writes a great personal finance blog; you should check it out!  Many thanks to Eversave Boston and all who entered.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • LET’S GO, BRUINS! 🙂
  • Popsicles in Prosecco: a match made in heaven
  • Doing damage with my new label maker (watch out!)

What one food would you have trouble living without?  (Be sure to indicate if you want to be entered to win the aforementioned giveway, ladies and gents.)

Today: Breakfast, booty shaking, beers and Bruins.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]It would seem my Saturday was brought to us by the letter B.  I got up early yesterday to host a breakfast meeting, but apparently not early enough.  I found myself rushing about the condo half-dressed, hair half-dried, and floors half-vacuumed.  Reminding myself that I am fully human, I consulted my rules for entertaining and finished things up just as the door buzzer rang.

Sure, the cranberry orange muffins were still baking when everyone was settling in, but that I meant I could don a festive mitt and pull them from the oven with a bit of flair.  Just kidding… sort of.  In addition to the muffins, I combined blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in a big bowl, and topped them with a few ribbons of basil.  I think everything should be topped with a few ribbons of basil.  A fresh pot of tea, some orange juice and a pitcher of water later, and we were good to go.  And by go, I mean sit and debate for three hours.

As the meeting was winding down, I couldn’t help but feel like a restless high schooler, constantly sneaking a glance at the clock, counting down the minutes.  (I don’t wear a watch for this reason, never have.)  I was meeting my friend Elizabeth minutes after the group left to check out The Z Spot, a new Zumba, dance, and yoga studio that just opened in the South End.  I find it’s okay to over-schedule on the weekends, as long as there’s booty dropping involved.

I haven’t taken a Zumba class in ages and sort of made up my own moves when I wasn’t quite sure was going on.  Fortunately, that seems to be a widely accepted practice.  During the hour-long class, various teachers from the studio lead high energy, fun routines.  It was a great way to showcase each teacher’s style and personality.  I had the goofiest grin on my face the entire time.  The studio space, which formerly housed O2 Yoga, is bright and airy, and just a short walk from the Broadway T stop and several bus stops (not that I know anything about T buses… I avoid them at all cost).  I can’t wait to go back for a drop in class soon.  My friend Courteney is teaching yoga there, so I definitely want to check out one of her classes, too.

After class, we headed to Amrheins for salads, beers, and the end of the Bruins game.  Elizabeth is such great company; I’m so glad our paths crossed, especially since making friends as a grown-up is no easy feat.

I haven’t been brave enough to show my face at Owl Station since my 30th birthday party, but fortunately, they deliver.  Nick and I ordered a few of our favorite sushi rolls to enjoy at home with a bright bunch of sunflower on the table.  It was the perfect way to wind down a busy day of b’s.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you prefer working out at home, or in a studio/gym?

Today: Surprise! You’re too old for this.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]Being both an amateur detective and a bit of a control freak, I am certain I am not an easy person to surprise.  Nick, with the help of my sister, somehow pulled it off, though.  He put together the perfect birthday celebration.  I was met with a table full of my favorite people last night for sushi, sake bombs, scorpion bowls and larger than life cupcakes.  I laughed harder than I’ve laughed in ages, I wore a tiara, I was over-served, I performed a daring trust fall from atop our counter height table.  It was one of the greatest nights ever.

Nick organized a fantastic dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants, Owl Station Japanese Bistro.  I devoured my favorite dishes, including steamed vegetable gyoza and vegetable dreaming maki (sweet potato, mango and avocado).  The food (and booze) just kept on coming.

Before heading back to our condo for all kinds of shenanigans, we enjoyed special sushi-inspired cupcakes from Sweet Tooth, another Southie favorite.  While I’d love to blame the sugar or adult beverages, sometimes a girl just needs to take a trust fall in her living room.  Risk taking is part of my anti-aging strategy.

It’s a good thing I have such trust-worthy friends and family members.  Thanks for helping me kick off my thirties, and protecting me from bodily harm.  Aaaaand now I think I need to crawl back into bed.

Also On Tap for Today:

Do you like being surprised?  

Today: Jingle all the way.

[tweetmeme source=”elizabethev” only_single=false]This weekend’s festivities and bone-chilling temperatures were exactly what I needed to kick my holiday spirit into high gear.  From a cheesy date movie and staying up way past my bedtime to wrap presents, to the annual Jingle Bell 5k and a pre-Christmas dinner at my parents’ house, I’m feeling like a jolly little elf.  (Elves are sometimes forgetful and leave their real cameras in the toy workshop; please forgive these pathetic iPhone photos.)

Nick, Tina, Mal and I put on our holiday finest regular running gear and took to the streets of Somerville for the annual Jingle Bell 5k.  I haven’t run much since the New York City Marathon, so I wasn’t quite sure what the morning would have in store.  Fortunately, I experienced almost no foot pain, and cruised right along.

This is always one of my favorite races of the year.  I love the friendly fans along the course, the rolling hills, the crisp winter air and the post-race festivities.  Best of all, though, are the costumes.  Every year I plan to whip out something awesome (this year’s intended outfit: a Christmas tree… clearly, that didn’t happen), but inevitably I wait until the last minute and end up digging through my drawers for something red or green.  This morning I yanked a sparkly bow off our wreath and affixed it to my Spibelt.  Coupled with a red top, it was better than nothing… but definitely not better than the avalanche, reindeer, Santas, Mrs. Clauses and other great costumes I saw.  Please remind me next year to get my act together.

Following the race, we celebrated at Sally O’Brien’s in Union Square with a few beers and a lot of laughs.  We always have so much fun with Tina and Mal.  Always.  Not surprisingly, I lost track of time and soon we were rushing to shower, change and get to my parents’ house in time for a lovely dinner with the whole family.

After enjoying a weekend like this one, it is certainly beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

Also On Tap for Today:

What was the highlight of your weekend?