Life Lately: April

Another month has gone. Another month where my blogging goals kind of fell flat. WHOOPS. We’ve had a lot of life going on though, and that is not a bad thing. I’m trying to get back into this especially since I have much to write…just not enough time. That’s always the problem though right??

Lately….

Cherry blossom 10 miler[With my MRTT pals before Cherry Blossom]

Running: I started a run streak – 35 days before my 35th birthday and I made it 30 days before I got sidelined with some terrible cramping and an evening in the ER. BUT I learned a lot during those 30 days. I shaved 5 minutes off my ten-mile time at Cherry Blossom and have been running pretty consistently in low 10’s/high 9’s (but still doing 4/1 intervals).

aerial yoga mantra fit

Fitness: If you don’t follow my Facebook page, you can’t see the awesomeness that I get to do two-three times per week with my Fit4Mom family. Seriously, I’m coming up on a year now with Body Back and I can’t even begin to tell everyone how much it’s changed my life. From the amazing community and support network to the tough workouts that have me stronger and faster.

Work life: I started a new job midmonth. That coupled with all the #runstreak-ing, and Little Man’s birthday…blogging kind of fell by the wayside. I’m super excited about the new role, plus I was proud to have negotiated my salary to where I wanted to be. It was a bummer to leave FLAVORx but a necessary one when it came to the financial benefits. You gotta do you, right?

Family life: We’ve been busy!! From all the therapies for the little man (now adding Behavioral Therapy to help with our lack of pooping) to my new job to two birthdays over the past month (little man and me). We’ve just been enjoying life. And you know, I’m okay with that.

Weight Loss: Because I hit 2 of the 3 goals I set in January at my 4th Body Back transformation (sub-2 hour ten miler, sub 30 minute 5k), I’m working on my weight loss goal because I seem to be yo-yo-ing between 156 and 154 and can’t seem to jump past that, I’m putting myself BACK on my body back planning/tracking plan that I KNOW works. I have goals to be closer to 145 than 155 by summer, and then hopefully down to 135 by the end of the year. Fingers crossed!

Fundraising: I’m chasing big scary goals this summer – I signed up for the Bike to Beach for Autism in August – a 60-mile ride from the Eastern Shore to Rehoboth Beach. I’ve been itching to do a long ride like this for a while and it’s for an amazing cause (you can read about our story here) that touches us every day, it seemed like there was no better time. While E does NOT have an official diagnosis of ASD, we’ve had him evaluated and it has not yet been ruled out. His deficiencies are largely social-language and sensory-based but still, we come across so many kiddos that do have ASD through our various therapies so I’m doing this for them. I’d love any support from any of my readers <3 (no amount is too small!)

I think that about covers all the ish that’s been going on. What’s been going on with you all friends???

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How to Affect Change in Your Workplace:

I am what many would call an “old millennial.” But millennials sometimes get a bad rap. They’re whiny, entitled, and  demand many things at work. Some of those being frivolous things others LESS frivolous. We want companies with modern benefits – meaning flexibility for our families, or to work when we best work (want to get to work at 7a? Go for it. Want to work until 8p and get in at noon? Sure.), companies that understand the needs of families not just in flexibility but are being leaders in benefits for new parents, and we want companies with defined core values. But, while many see these changes in office cultures come down from executives,  my question was how do you impact that change in the workplace if you’re not in a leadership role? How do you help create a culture of positivity if you’re not a manager?

Culture in the workplace, as many seasoned millennials know, is about more than just bean bag chairs and happy hours. Culture is created also by defined core values, feeling valued and respected by leadership in your company and through managers who are willing to coach and build leaders. I’m lucky to be in a spot where I truly enjoy my job and am passionate about the product we have.

While no job is perfect and any company you work for will likely have room for improvement, if you’re staying true to your own passions and values, that’s when I’ve found you have the biggest opportunity to become a leader and creating a work environment that keeps you getting out of bed in the morning and harbors a team environment that anyone would want to be a part of. Positivity breeds positivity from the team, so sticking it to the negative nancies in the world, is just one challenge that many companies face when creating a culture that people want to be a part of.

I had the pleasure last week of chatting about creating a culture when you’re not in a leadership role with the fine ladies of MarketHer from IMPACT Branding & Design and dealing with negativity in the workplace. You can see the whole discussion:

 

Some of my key takeaways on how to be a leader in creating a culture when you’re not necessarily in a leadership role:

  1. Be the positive example

    Seriously, no one likes a negative Nancy. Keep your attitude positive. Remind yourself of the passion YOU have for the work and be that positivity that YOU want to see. Even on the tough days, remind yourself that this too shall pass and those tough days are seasons – letting those tough days get the best of you are only going to

  2. Curb the gossip

    Negativity breeds negativity and gossip is a huge negativity monger. Stay away from the gossip and don’t feed into it. Rather than gossiping over lunch, find out what you have in common with  your colleagues and talk about things other than work.

  3. Lean on HR

    I read this Fast Company article on the flaws of Uber and their toxic culture, which many of us are well versed in given their presence in the news. When HR doesn’t respect or empower employees it’s like a pillar of any potential company culture is already flawed. Since we brought our HR Director into my company, our culture has been hugely impacted for the better. She’s done a fantastic job at really helping employees feel like they’re heard when they have concerns and she’s a great bridge between management and the rest of us.

  4. Boost morale

    I’m not talking about just happy hours and team building, but general communication, and general goal setting. This year we sat down with our managers and mine has been fantastic about supporting my goals and challenging me to be better. It’s truly empowering to feel like you’re supported by management wheras, I’ve had positions where that was not necessarily the case. On the flip side, if management sits behind closed door meetings, brushes suggestions for the company off and it’s just business as usual with the “management” versus everyone else attitude, I bet morale will be low and culture will just be a thing everyone talks about. I’ve experienced both sides of this and it’s really can’t express how important it is for management to communicate with the rest of the company. Transparency goes a long ways with improving morale and creating a positive culture.

  5. Show your team you value them

    Even if you’re not a manager, let your teammates know you value their work, their expertise, and their support during tough times. It helps to build that team morale and feeding that positivity into your team. A little team love goes long ways. If you’re not a manager, you probably don’t have much say into salary but I can tell you, feeling like your experience is valued through a fair salary goes a LONG ways to being valued in your company. Vouch for your colleagues who might be working for a promotion, support their goals and ambitions. You don’t have to be a manager to really help your team feel like they’re doing amazing things and are valued.

What do you value in a company culture?

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Gift Guide: for the working mama

I always have such a hard time figuring out what to ask for for the holidays. Most often, if I want something, I either buy it for myself or determine I don’t really NEED it and change my mind – which I’m sure many working mama’s can relate to.

So I put together a fun gift guide comprised of fun pieces that are both practical and not so practical – things I wouldn’t be likely to buy for myself but would love to have.

 

[Clockwise from top left]
Convertible tunic | Glossier phase 1 kit | Essential Oil Diffuser | Under Armour leggings | Athleta Crossover sweatshirt | Chillax key finder | Aerie flannel joggers | Bluetooth Headphones | J. Crew Pajama set | Kate Spade tumbler | Reversible Tote Bag with wristlet | The Empowered Mama: How to Reclaim Your Time and Yourself while Raising a Happy, Healthy Family

 

  1. I saw this convertible neck tunic on Audrey’s blog and have been lusting over it ever since. I love that you can wear the off the shoulder look or the cowl neck look – a great piece for weekends or work. ($54)
  2.  I don’t spend a lot of money on my skincare but I’ve heard so many amazing things about Glossier and this Phase 1 Kit would be a great gift for the mama who loves to pamper herself but doesn’t love to spend the money. ($40)
  3. I’m dying to get an Essential Oil Diffuser for my desk at work and for our living room. I’m a huge fan of them in general and think they really help with moods – plus I’ve totally gotten into making my own cleaning supplies (mainly an all-purpose cleaner with vinegar)  so consider me an Essential Oil super-fan. ($18)
  4. For a long time, I was a Lululemon evangelist when it came to my workout leggings. I still am – their running shorts are my all-time favorite and the only ones that don’t make my legs chafe. But these Under Armour leggings are my new favorites. The colors are fun (I’m a solid color legging gal) and the price doesn’t break the bank. ($35)
  5. I have this crossover sweatshirt in white and it’s one of the coziest pieces in my wardrobe. It’s a great to and from the gym pullover or to wear on the weekends with a vest/leggings and boots. ($69)
  6. How often are you late because you can’t find your keys? Too many to count? I’m dying to get one of these bluetooth key finders to prevent those frazzled mornings.
  7. I am a HUGE fan of Aerie’s pj’s – one of those things I just hate spending money on for myself but a fun, cozy pair of fleece joggers would be a great gift for mama to relax in on the weekends. ($16)
  8. Lately, I’ve found working out with my HIIT workouts at the gym has been a pain in the butt with my issued earbuds from Apple. A nice pair of wireless/bluetooth headphones to make those long runs or HIIT workouts easier would be a great stocking stuffer. ($28)
  9. Similar to the Aerie PJ’s – J. Crew makes the BEST matching PJ sets. I don’t think I know anyone who wouldn’t love a cozy set like these under the tree.
  10. I’m not a hot coffee drinker – iced coffee all the way – and every day i pour my stok’d coffee into hubs’s old tumbler. Time to upgrade. Get the iced coffee-loving mom in your life a pretty Kate Spade tumbler. ($18)
  11. This reversible tote bag with wristlet is a super winner. It doesn’t break the bank and you get like three bags in one with the included wristlet. ($25)
  12. I don’t need to preach my love about Body Back, but the founder of Fit4Mom recently came out with a book – The Empowered Mama: How to Reclaim Your Time and Yourself while Raising a Happy, Healthy Family which is like the ONLY book on my wishlist because there are some books that you just need to have in your library and this is one of them.

Anything I missed? What’s on your wishlist friends? 

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Ten Ways to Practice Gratitude this November

November is always a reflective month for me. Everyone seems to practice gratitude and share what they’re thankful for throughout the month – it’s just that season.

Happify Daily states “People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.”

When things are really tough, sometimes it’s good to really stop and be grateful for what you have and the blessings in your life and to give back. The one thing I’m struggling with is teaching little man to practice gratitude when, clearly, he’s still learning his peas and thank yous regularly without prompting.

 

Here are the ten ways I’m practicing gratitude this month (and every month because really gratitude should be a year-round thing not just a November thing) and how I’m encouraging little man to practice gratitude as a little person 🙂

  1. Journal.
    I’ve been following the gratitude prompts on The Mighty this month and it’s really helped me refocus on all the blessings in my life. I’m a day or two behind but it’s really helpful to me to write things down and reflect.
  2. Smile more often.
    Seriously, just smile. Forget a reason for it. Just try to smile and smile at others. It may seem creepy but I promise, it’ll change your mood and brighten up at least one person’s day.
  3. Practice random acts of kindness.
    A couple Christmas’s ago, my former company gave us all $50 to give back. We were traveling on Christmas, but on Christmas Eve, I paid for a random person’s lunch behind me in line at the drive-thru while Little Man and I ran errands, and then we paid for lunch for some pilots at the airport who were away from their families on Christmas Day and thanked them for their work as we traveled to CT. I still like to pay for people behind me every so often in drive-thru lines, and people have done it to me, it’s just a nice way to brighten someone’s day unexpectedly.
  4. Volunteer.
    We’ve started looking for ways to get Little Man into volunteering – hubs and I are both active in our community, me through Junior League and Hubs through the Knights of Columbus, and really value giving back. Whether it’s serving meals at a soup kitchen, or donating toys to kids at Christmas, little man is starting to learn that we give back to those who need a little more help.
  5. Commit to one day per week of not complaining.
    I complain a lot sometimes, it’s just those wahhhhh-mbulance ruts that we all get into. Whether it’s about my commute, how tired I am, how little money we have, whatever it is – but there are always people that have it worse. There are people without cars who commute to Baltimore via bus for upwards of Two hours just to put food on their family’s table. People who don’t have jobs, and people without warm beds to sleep in. Perspective people.
  6. Meditate.
    Take your gratitude list, and meditate on it. Stop for five minutes and just slow your mind down. Think about the things in your life that are going well, all the blessings you have. I like the Calm app to meditate, but there are lots of other options out there too if you need a little meditation guidance.
  7. Call a friend or family member to say you love them.
    I’m terrible at staying in touch with family, with friends. But call someone just because and thank them for being in your life.
  8. Share your gratitude.
    Share on social media, join a gratitude challenge (I’m sure there are many) and share every day something that you’re thankful for. ‘Tis the season but seriously, these can be done at any time.
  9. Thank your public servants.
    I’m pretty sure police officers, fire department members and EMT’s don’t get enough thanks for their hard work. Thank your child’s teachers for their work, teachers work long hours – long past the 8-3 that they’re in the classrooms, saying a simple thank you for everything they do, goes a long ways.
  10. Stay away from negative media and replace it with inspiring media.
    Hubs and I watch the NBC Nightly News every night – it’s our thing. But one thing I love about it is the inspiring stories they have as the last segment “Inspiring America.” There is so much negativity and Facebook is a vacuum of news – positive and negative. Try for a week to turn the negativity off and each day watch one video or read a story of something positive and inspiring. It goes a long way to remind you of everything we have to be grateful for.

I’ll share some of my journal entries throughout the month over on my Facebook Page.

I want to know what are YOUR favorite ways to practice gratitude??

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Five Tips to Practice Self Care

It’s been an insanely stressful week this week. Life has felt like it’s moving too fast, work has been chaotic, to say the least, and well, there are other things going on with Little Man that we recently learned about that is just adding to my emotionally overwhelmed state.

It was funny, last weekend a friend of mine and I were chatting while running about Body Back and she commented about the hippy-dippy meditations and how sometimes people get really emotional. I chuckled with her, thinking that I love the meditations and stretch routine we go through at the end of workouts because it’s 5 minutes for me where I can turn my mind off.

During stressful weeks especially, I keep reminding myself of the importance of self-care. Taking time to take care of oneself so that you can take care of your little one(s).

Here are five ways that I practice self-care to maintain my sanity during stressful weeks.

Meditate or Practice Mindfulness

I don’t often meditate, but when I do, it’s always a refreshing way to slow down for 5 minutes, clear your mind, relax and re-center yourself. There are dozens of apps out there to guide you, or if you’re really needing some more guidance, check out your local yoga studio for a meditation or mindfulness class – which I always enjoy because the music just makes the mood. I use the Calm app but Greatist has a great list of meditation apps for every personality.

Work-out

My workouts – whether running, body back, yoga or taking 30 minutes to do an at-home workout – are imperative for my sanity. It’s a chance for me to release aggression and recenter myself and I generally just feel better and refreshed after my workouts. Even going for a 20-minute walk in the middle of the day after lunch has an amazing effect on my mood and motivation for afternoons. This week has been tough to fit them in, but I’m realizing just how important they really are.

Get to bed early

Sleep is so important. I mean, we all know this, but it’s even more important when you’re stressed out. Nothing makes me feel refreshed like a good nights sleep. Not is it good practice in self-care but the experts say sleep helps balance everything else out. If you’re not sleeping well, chances are your stress levels will only be heightened so make sure you get your zzz’s.

Read a book

It’s a novel (see what I did there??) concept but turning off your mind from all the stresses of every day life to escape into a good novel is such a fantastic way to turn off and take time for you. Take 30 – 60 minutes, turn your phone off, get a cup of tea or your favorite beverage and curl up to read for a bit. I love reading before bed because it’s a way to reset, and clear you mind of any stresses

Treat yourself

Schedule a massage, get a pedicure, go shopping solo. Whatever you do to treat yourself, take the time to do. It’s not easy to manage stress, but it’s so important to take time to take care of yourself during stressful seasons in life. Take an afternoon to yourself – even if you, like I did the other day, leave early to go home and take a nap in peace and quiet. It’s amazing how even an hour will make you feel better. Just make sure whatever makes you feel good about yourself and happy, is something that you make time for once in a while.

It’s tough as moms – we’re juggling so many things, whether it be school aged kids with after school appointments, a kiddo (or kiddos) with special needs and multiple therapy appointments or even just multiple kids with a husband or partner who travels a lot. But taking care of ourselves makes us better moms and better partners.

practice self care

What is YOUR favorite way to practice self care? 

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August Must Have Box

I have been lusting over the must have boxes for a while. I like getting packages, I like getting fun mail and this? This was a fun surprise. I’m constantly seeing the Must Have boxes promoted so I’m so excited I received one and am able to review it for you all!

This month’s theme was Celebrate – a special box because the POPSUGAR Must Have box turns FIVE this month! Lisa Sugar and her team of editors have been curating their favorite items for five. freakin’. years. This month has some of Lisa’s favorite brand obsessions to celebrate – birthday style!

Additionally, in celebration of five fantastic years, POPSUGAR is running a different giveaway where each week a limited number of subscribers can be eligible to win products from brands like Kendra Scott, Tarte Cosmetics, and FIVE grand prize winners (!!!) that will win something from Cambridge Satchel Co and a 1 year subscription to Must Have. Yes, please.

So what was in the August  MUST HAVE box?

…All sorts of fun stuff! Check it out…

Meri Meri Gold glitter candles | Fringe Studio Free Spirit Journal (sponsored by Jeep!) | First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask | Dogeared Friendship bracelet with small open heart | Goodie Girl Chocolate Chunk Cookies (gluten free!) | Shoptiques.com gift card | Pastel Cheers Lacquered Tray ]

Seriously – this stuff is so fun. The journal will definitely come in good use for me…

popsugar must have box

As will the Shoptiques gift card. Free money? Absolutely, THANKYOUVERYMUCH.

shoptiques

While bracelets aren’t my favorite, this bracelet from Dogeared is so pretty and understated. I’m a big fan.

friendship bracelet

And little man has already tried snagging those cookies multiple times – I’m saving them for Wednesday when I’m done with this Body Back session.

gluten free cookies

Want to enjoy all these fun, celebratory goodies? Maybe you have a pal celebrating a birthday (subscription boxes make FANTASTIC gifts!)? You can get your celebratory Must Have box here – use code PARTY for $10 off! 

[Disclosure: I did receive a complimentary Must Have Box from POPSUGAR. All opinions here are my own. ]

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April Goals and Intentions

Happy April happy spring my friends!

Once upon a time, I used to set monthly goals for myself and share them on here. Recently, I  realized I really need to get back to that. Like… stat. It was a great way to hold myself accountable for all of the life things. I’m taking a couple weeks off from training before Zooma Training kicks off, so I want to try some new workouts.

Intention wise, it’s about balance. Because of the travel that hubs and I have, the family that’s coming to town, I want to make sure that we make time for the three of us, time for hubs and I and time for myself. Balancing those three things is never easy but it’s most important when we’re the busiest.

  1. Work out four times per week. I’m not training for anything just yet – my next race is a 5k in May and the Zooma 10k in June. I want 2 of those workouts to be running, 1 to be yoga and 1 to be spinning ideally. BUT I just bought Beachbody on demand for myself so on days when I can’t fit in cardio, i have strength options.
  2. Do a mobile boot camp. I’ve been tracking my phone usage – and I spend a lot of time on my phone. Mindless time mostly, but I read about an app on Ashley’s blog and I’ve been trying it out and I think I’m ready to do the boot camp.
  3. Take a design course. My designer at work is on maternity leave so I’ve had to dabble in a few edits and creating a few pieces of my own. Canva and adobe both some great training resources so I would love to take one just to expand my knowledge base.
  4. Write more. I keep setting 1 – 2x/week goals for myself. It shouldn’t be hard. But it has been. I have a little bit of free time this month despite family visiting two weeks, hubs having a 4 day trip and me spending my birthday in Texas. I really want to take advantage of some of this time to get writing in and get back to an editorial calendar. Once I get a writing schedule and an editorial calendar back in place, I’ll be back in business. 
  5. Make self-care a priority. There are two things I consider self-care – yoga and an afternoon of me-time. I’ve been reprioritizing yoga, but it’s tough to get in some solo time that’s not solely for working out. With all that we have going on (family visiting two weekends, a business trip and hubs being away for four days) I need to make sure that my introverted self doesn’t forget about self-care which is imperative for resetting myself.

What are your goals for April?

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Celebrating Heart Health

I’m lucky to be a relatively healthy 30 something, but I’m incredibly thankful that we live close to some quality health care providers in our area should the need arise. It’s one of those things that you don’t really think about, but given that Hubs is a combat medic in the National Guard, it’s something we’ve always been aware of – especially given that our families have some pretty BFD health issues on both sides.

Since Hubs finished his MBA with University of Maryland and did some National Guard training at UMD Shock Trauma center a couple of years ago, we have so much respect for the quality of providers and care that they provide and they’ve really become our center of choice if you will – not that we’ve NEEDED it, but you know, it’s in our action plan should one of us become seriously ill.

Some facts that helped us make that decision…

As an academic medical center, University of Maryland Medical Center participates in cutting-edge research and clinical trials, giving patients access to cutting-edge research and the newest treatments.

Located right in the heart of Baltimore, UMMC is the heart of the University’s downtown campus. They provide comprehensive care for not just West Baltimore but the surrounding communities as well and has more intensive care unit beds than any other hospital in Maryland – one of the big reasons that we decided UMMC would be our provider of choice for any serious issues like that.

The cardiology team at UMMC has earned the Platinum Performance Award for 2 years in a row for sustained excellence in treating heart attack patients.

University of Maryland is celebrating #heartmonth by showcasing their Vascular Center cardiologists through their “Love Your Job” series. You can see that these doctors not only offer extensive experience taking care of their patients’ hearts but that they truly love what they do as well.


One of the things – as I continue to search for the right providers for my family and I –  is wanting my doctor to not only be smart but to also love their job. I know, as a 30 something professional that I’m much better at my job when I enjoy what i do. I love that these doctors have shared that they truly love helping people and helping them live longer lives. I don’t know about you but that, and a true admiration for what they do, just garners a whole new level of respect for them and all other medical professionals who put so much heart and passion into their work every day.

[FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of the University of Maryland Medical Center, all opinions here are my own. ]

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2016 Recap & 2017 Goals Intentions

Another year, another set of goal fails.

Let’s recap 2016.

  1. Run more. I had a good run (no pun intended?) and hit a couple hundred miles but not quite the 500 I had hoped for.
  2. Eat Cleaner. I did the Whole 10. I generally eat better, but not as clean as I should.
  3. Be Present. Still a work in progress. No more cell phones at the dinner table in 2017 I think.
  4. Write more. LOLOLZ. I did write. Not necessarily more. Not necessarily less.
  5. Stress less. Yes! I did this. I did better. I got a better job. I got a better commute

2017 goals

2017 goals & intentions

Read more. I hit 30 something books in 2016, I want to shoot for 50 in 2016.

Run 10 races. I already have 5 on my schedule, two that I’m registered for. I’m not going to put a mileage goal though I’d like to see 500 miles – which is roughly 10 miles per week. Totally doable, I think given my goals. I’m not sure I’ll throw any multisport events in there but we’ll see.

Blog 2x/week. Set the bar low right? I’m looking into a redesign and I’m cleaning up my archives. I’m comfortable with what I’m writing about (style! life! healthy living!) I just need to commit, streamline posting and not get distracted by feedly.

80% paleo by April. For my thyroid’s sake. Hubs and I are doing the Whole 30 in January so hopefully this helps reset and get me on the right track.

Create a budget and stick to it. We’ve got some fun trips planned this year and we really want to pay off some debt that we’re close to paying off…creating a budget that we can stick to is going to be key to this success.

Additional:

Complete BBG 1.0 and 2.0 by December. I keep starting and stopping. I need to get my workout ADD under control. I really want to do this though – the program is fantastic and i do enjoy it.

what are your 2017 goals and resolutions? 

 

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Girls Night Out in Annapolis with the Loews Annapolis Hotel

Last week I was invited to a night at the Loews Annapolis to have a holiday night out. It was Midnight Madness in downtown Annapolis and the perfect excuse to have a fun, festive, casual night out. I’ve been to many events at the Loew’s and it’s definitely a favorite venue of mine – from the Junior League of Annapolis Galas to the Zooma Expo, they always put on a fantastic event. The staff is always super friendly and the rooms are beautiful with local-inspired decor. If you ever need a place to stay in ‘Naptown, I highly recommend.

I’ve been to many events at the Loew’s and it’s definitely a favorite venue of mine – from the Junior League of Annapolis Galas to the Zooma Expo, they always put on a fantastic event. The staff is always super friendly and the rooms are beautiful with local-inspired decor. If you ever need a place to stay in ‘Naptown, I highly recommend.

The evening/afternoon started with Glam Sessions – I got my hair curled (of which I am now obsessed with but haven’t quite figured out how to replicate it). They also had makeup (mainly eyes with some false lashes!) and nails that you could get done as well. I did my own makeup though my nails look like garbage but I replied late so was only able to score a hair appointment.

GNO with Loews Annapolis

I left shortly after my hair was done to get changed into my cozy, festive casual outfit for the evening – ready to hit the town. (As much as a 30 something working mom can and wants to hit the town…)

holiday casual outfit

{Pants | Sweater (old, similar) | Plaid Shirt | Necklace | Shoes (old, similar)}

Prior to heading out to Midnight Madness, we started with cocktails and appetizers at Baroak – Teddy Folkman’s restaurant in Annapolis – which is DELICIOUS. We had mussels, flatbread pizza and some charcuterie on the appetizer side…

Baroak annapolis cocktails

…and some (delicious) specialty cocktails – a white sangria with cranberries and a white rum punch (that I did not try but heard delicious things about!). They have an exceptional menu (mussels and frites anyone?!) and the beer menu isn’t terrible either. If you have not been, I highly recommend.

After cocktail hour, I headed downtown with Liz to check out a couple of the shops, snowflake alley and meet up with some other Naptown pals of hers. We ended up at Dry 85 and had a couple of drinks before Ubering back to the hotel because holy crap was it FRIGID to walk the four or five blocks back (even though we walked down there).

The night ended back in the Presidential suite at the Loew’s with gift wrapping. I got the couple of gifts that I picked up wrapped, I’m a good wrapper generally, but this lady was AMAZING. I’ve got enough to wrap at home, so it was nice having a couple to get wrapped fo’ freesies.

I was back in my room at a halfway decent hour and crashed watching HGTV. It was a really fun night for sure. Thanks to Loews Annapolis for hosting and for putting on such a fantastic evening.

FTC disclosure: I was provided an overnight stay, however, I was not compensated for my honest review. All opinions here are my own. 

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