Thursday, October 9, 2014

Happy Birthday to.....ME!!!! :-D

I just had one of THE BEST birthdays I've ever had...this year (instead of having a party or dinner) I decided to do a 'pay-it-forward' party where people did nice things for strangers and then told me about it. There were people all over the world who let me know fun stuff they did and it was AWESOME!!!!!! As documentation:

You can click on this image to make it bigger and read the description of my birthday event :)

I woke up and came downstairs for my breakfast and saw this *awesome* birthday sign made for me by my roommates!

A close-up - they know me so well...

Even 'Juliette' said happy birthday!

At this point I want to tell you about all the great things people did for my "Un-Birthday Party." This picture was sent to me by Simon, a friend in London - he bought a meal for a stranger and explained why (LOVE that I got a picture of it!)

  • Christie - fed some expiring meters (shh! don't tell the meter maids) and gave a Whole Foods gift card to a homeless man
  • Shaniece - got soup for a sick Harvard student who sat next to her in the student lounge
  • Brianna - baked cookies for her coworkers (and they looked delicious!)
  • Jennifer - volunteered at Rosie's Place to help feed homeless women dinner
  • Lacey - made promotional materials for a charity she's helping start up in Yancey County 
  • Jenny - made soup and homemade bread and shared it with a father and son who no longer had a shelter to stay in
  • Obehi - prayed for a woman who needed it
  • Sheba - did fundraising for Leukemia 
  • Sung Yun - gave up her seat on a crowded train to an elderly woman
  • Ms. Christi - helped a student clean up (literal) spilled milk
  • Jessica - gave a piece of birthday cake to the worker at Amsterdam Falafel
  • Alex - got a job at Bullhorn!!!! (not really related, but it happened on my birthday and we've been waiting for this for weeks so I was super excited!!!!)
  • Others - I'm sure there are some I'm forgetting or that weren't relayed to me but I know they happened!

After work I headed out to Sam's at Louis for a quick drink with a coworker

Isn't the view gorgeous???

I <3 Boston

Tagged the wall with a bday wish to me! :) 


I have *THE BEST ROOMMATES* on the planet!!!!! Little did I know they had a surprise party planned for me when I got home, but I decided to stop and grab a bite to eat at Amsterdam Falafel and was taking too long to get they brought they party to me!!! I was *thoroughly* surprised, joyful, and thankful!!!

My awesome roomies <3

They even had the apartment decorated for me! I still got to enjoy it when we all got home haha...

Birthday present from my sister Madeline - how awesome are these bookends???

And the birthday mom and brother flew into Boston the day after my birthday so I woke up and got even more goodies!!! Presents and homemade chocolate chip cookies from my Daddio :-D

~Seriously this is by far one of the most memorable and happiest birthdays I've ever had - I felt so incredibly loved and cared for!!! Thank you to everyone who made my day so so special, whether it was from a silly voicemail (looking at you Sheila), a gift certificate for yummy crepes from my fellow French-girl Chessa, calls from friends and family, emails, posts on Facebook, or text messages...I felt so so sooooooooo special!!!!~

Transitioning into non-birthday pictures...I got to babysit this sweet girl a couple of weeks ago!

Love her to pieces!!!

One Saturday Nasry and I went to a free cooking class put on by the Boston Natural Areas Network on making dips, dressings, and vinaigrettes at the Future Chef's office in downtown Boston  

Ready, set, MAKE!

Great teaching kitchen with tons of space and tools

Ready to try what we made!

Finished products

Oh my goodness it was all so good! My favorite was the honey-kissed cilantro vinaigrette 

Aletheia had our annual Kids Team picnic after church a couple Sundays ago...

...the 3-legged race was a success!

First *official* house dinner at the apartment - Nasry and Abigail made this amaaaaaaaaaaazing Latin fare

Homemade chips and everything!!

Fall is here!!! (It's my favorite season)

..and with it comes colds and/or the flu. Home remedy? A hot toddy (mmmmmm)

Walking to the train station after a work event last week - Boston = Beautiful.

I was craving Outback's Chocolate Thunder dessert so badly last week, but there are none within a 50 mile radius of me (that I'm aware of), so I decided to make my own. Betty Crocker's Fudge Brownie Mix was a given...but the gamechanger here was the Hood Golden Vanilla ice cream. SO. GOOD.

On Saturday morning I met up with my friend (and former colleague) Robyn, creator of A Modest Life blog, for some design tips and general life advice (she's good for that!) at Fuel America in Brighton. It was great to catch up and I learned a lot of useful info, so get ready to see some updates to the blog soon!

Afterwards I decided to explore the food scene a bit in Brighton (since I'm hardly ever down there) and came across this gem: The Proper Slice.

The search for the perfect slice of pizza is OVER - you *must* get the potato bacon slice. The crust has just the right amount of chew. The flavors are there. The sour cream drizzle and scallions are spot on. Pure Pizza Heaven - yours for the low price of $4.

And later that night, my friend Hope took me out to dinner at Jose's in Cambridge. I felt like I was home! There was a *legit* parking lot (only fellow Bostonians will understand the rarity that is a *free* parking lot) and the food was cheap AND delicious - just as Mexican should be.

Chimichanga FTW

This past Sunday Gloria decided she wanted to come see my new apartment and do arts & crafts (her favorite).

She got a kick out of my roommates (J-Ho made her laugh)

And she made beautiful Halloween pumpkins! 

It's official - baby brother is in town!!! (He's a goober!)

Also official: FALL. My *favorite* season. Just looking at this picture makes me incredibly happy.

And there you have it! A KILLER birthday and so much fun and good times with kids, friends, and family. I am *LOVING* 27, being in Boston, having Aletheia as my home church, working at Bullhorn, and having family in town - it really can't get much better than this!!! :-D

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Life is good...

Too much goodness going on...the pictures will say it all :)

Last affogato of the season...sad day

Marin turned 2! I got to hang with her and the other littles at her party at the park...

...and I got to help her swing in the big-kid swing for the first time!

All the kiddos swinging away

Time for presents!

Love me some babies :) Photo cred on this and the next 2 to Ashley Bennett

Melanie and I got a photo opp with the birthday girl

Happy Birthday Marin!!!

The whole packing and moving process was soooooooooooo arduous...I hadn't moved in 3 years and accumulated quite a lot. I randomly posted a lament to Facebook about how I wanted a caramel coffee and they don't deliver, but Christie found a way to get one to me! It made me SO. FREAKIN. HAPPY.

Moving...note the crucial 'hold onto the mattress with my arm out the window' move by Tom. #classic

Immediately set up my reading nook...I love it!

Rainbow in Boston after a brief, but massive, downpour

Last community group at Hope's called for colorful dinnerware and yummy options

On my walk to work :)

At the Aletheia leader's meeting - good stuff!

So. Many. Babies.

Gloria just had her 9th birthday - so crazy! She chose to go roller skating for her activity (her favorite thing to do) and we celebrated together

One year matched!

My breakfast for the past few weeks - I've been *loving* this crockpot oatmeal recipe

Another thing I get to see on my walk to work - my 2nd favorite flowers, morning glories :)

A couple weeks ago I caught the bug going around the office...and even though I had only lived there a week, my roommates were already taking care of me! Abigail barged into my room and demanded I drink this 'magic potion' of ginger, lemon, cinnamon, honey, and hot water...sooooooo good...

J-Ho brought home chicken soup for me and put it on my shelf in the sweet are my roomies???

Another reading nook shot :)

Found a new bakery the other day - Quebrada Baking Co. is delicious!

The reason I had my last community group at Hope' because I'm co-leading my own with Ashley!!! We've had a couple of groups already and it's going really well - a little nerve-wracking but so exciting as well to be starting this next chapter!

Vanessa is getting married!!!! And I'm a bridesmaid!!!! Had a lovely time at her engagement party

She even had an artist come in to do a sketch of the full bridal party!

<3 her

(finished product)

On my walk to the T...I know I've lived here for over 3 years, but I still can't get over how gorgeous this city is and how much I enjoy living here!

Side dish for lunch last week - green bean salad with a light dressing

Finally back to a morning routine - I definitely missed it

New desk at the office! Super awesome window seat with lots of natural light

Amsterdam Falafel is one of my favorite spots in Davis Square - I can have dinner for under $5!

New art installation going up in Dewey Square...

We have a gym! At the office!

They just finished it a few weeks ago and pretty much immediately I started using it - I go over lunch for a quick workout.

Oh. My goodness. Had some awesome churros at Zocalo in Back Bay for Jenn's bday

Happy Birthday Jenn!

Friday morning treat last week...Davis Square is awesome

Got to babysit these awesome kiddos last week - aren't they adorable???

We hosted a housewarming BBQ last Saturday and it was a *wild* success! I think we had over 50 people come!

Fun times with friends :)

<3 these ladies

J-Ho and I manned the grills - I was rockin' a pretty mean burger if I do say so myself

Beautiful housewarming gift from Sher

Gloria and I had our 1-Year Match party at the Big Sister office this past Sunday! We got to decorate cupcakes...

...and make friendship bracelets...

...and make cards for each other...

...and get our picture taken! She's grown up so much over this past year!

Nasry just celebrated his birthday (so many birthdays!) and we surprised him with a cake after our house meeting last Sunday (tee-hee!) 

On my walk to work...

How cool is this plating??? You can see more on bekarevi's Instagram

I got hamburger to make spaghetti for lunch this week...and then couldn't find my jar of spaghetti sauce from home due to the move (I'm sure it's in a box in the basement somewhere). I ~refuse~ to get store-bought sauce when I know I have some home-goodness somewhere in the house, so I made myself a hamburger...and boy was it good! I poured stout in the meat with mince garlic to make patties, added caramelized onions on top, gorgonzola, and fig jam. It was probably one of the best burgers I've ever had.

And to cap it all off - an awesome way to start my Monday morning!!! A letter from Benjamin was waiting on my desk when I got into the office. Love him so much!!!

It's been an awesome month of September and fall is in the air...I really can't wait for next month though! It's my birthday month, I have a hiking trip in New Hampshire planned, and...Mom and Benjamin are coming to visit!!!!!! I seriously can't wait!!!

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