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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Weekly Workouts: Half Marathon Peaking

I feel like I’m in a rut, but I’m not.

Something about so little progress with so much work is making me frustrated. Like…seriously frustrated. Stupid 21 Day Fix. Stupid Half Marathon Training. I’ve been feeling a bit ADD with my workouts lately so even though I’m working out I feel like the progress I’ve been making – or lack of progress – can’t be pinpointed on one specific habit or whatever. What i’m trying to say is I feel like i’m getting slower when I run (I’m nursing some tight calves), I don’t feel fit, the scale is staying stagnant and I’m just…in a rut.

Color me frustrated.

Anyhow, I got out of the habit of sharing weekly workouts…so let’s get back to that.

Monday – 3 mile run
Tuesday
Day 8 of BBM
Wednesday – Day 10 of BBM
Thursday – Day 11 of BBM/ 3 mile run
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 10 mile run
Sunday – Stand Up Paddleboard class?! mayyybeee…..

How’d I do last week? 

Monday – I started the Bikini Body Mommy Challenge with some moms in my group. So far I’m really liking it!
Tuesday – I did Day 2 of BBM in the AM because I had a board meeting later that evening so I couldn’t work out after work.
Wednesday – scheduled rest day since I had an event for Junior League
Thursday – 3 mile run
Friday – rest day
Saturday – 8 miles donezo. A sloppy, sweaty 8 mile run but 8 mile
Sunday – Pure Barre

We had the most perfect mothers Day weekend – full of wine, cuddles with my sweet boy, and love. I slogged through those 8 miles and fit in a Pure Barre class.

pure barre annapolis mothers day

 {photo via PB Annapolis}

They even had some treats for us after class including the makings for mimosas!

We spent the afternoon up at Boordy Vineyards with a picnic. Ethan worked on his standing, we shared a bottle of wine and cheered him on. It was a beautiful afternoon.

mothersday

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FINALLY – The winners of my Seventh Generation Goody Bags are Shaina A. & YB. And because I had an extra goody bag, I threw in a third winner – congrats Kaycee! Email me your addresses ladies at heidi (at) legallyheidi (dot) com and I’ll get your packages into the mail this week!

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Keep Valentines Day Cheap & Thoughtful

Valentines Day is just around the corner, and while we don’t have plans, we’ll probably order sushi, grab a bottle of Boordy and stay in with a movie off Amazon. It’s cheaper this way, our we’ve had amazing Valentine’s Dates. But now when you add in a baby sitter, you nearly double the cost.

Way back in the day, he took me to Sequoia on the Georgetown Waterfront, the next year I’m pretty sure we went to the location of our first date – Hunan Dynasty on Capitol Hill for sushi and dumplings.

We’ve done nights in, we’ve gone out. We’ve done the pre fixe meal, and the black tie parties and everything in between. Valentines Day as I see it, is another extension of New Years Eve in terms of the ability to go all out for what? Getting laid?

Thankfully, now that we’re married it’s rather low stress. Hubs and I get each other thoughtful gifts like the year when he was in Texas and got me a baseball bat after I told him I sometimes had a hard time falling asleep because I sometimes couldn’t remember if I locked the door or not. So here are my favorite ideas on how to think outside the pre-fixe and dozen roses box.

valentines day cheap and thoughtful

Order in. If one of you chooses dinner, let the other choose a movie to rent and stay in cuddling under a comfy blanket. (My date night of choice as of lately!)

Keep a price limit. Keeping a price limit on gifts makes them more thoughtful. Friends of ours once mentioned that they had a $5 limit so one of them picked up a mug from Waffle House where they went on their first date.

Don’t go out on Valentines Day. Depending on how I feel since this week has been a crapshoot as far as battling this cold and now pink eye, I said I’d love to go out for a day – maybe to our favorite vineyard or out to lunch up in Baltimore. Going out the day after or the weekend after Valentines Day makes it cheaper by nature since you’re not getting the Valentines Day price gauge.

Send a surprise to the office. This may not be cheap but it doesn’t need to be done on valentines day. Hubs sent me cupcakes when he was half way through his training in Texas which was right around Valentines Day. You don’t need to order flowers or roses but maybe just surprise your valentine with lunch ordered in on you.

Look for Online Deals. If he asks for pictures, order a photo book or a nice family picture on a canvas. You can always find deals for these types of products on LivingSocial, Amazon Local or Groupon deals for Shutterfly, Picaboo, or any sites like that. Hubs asked for pictures of me, so I made him a photo book of our first five years together – everything from dating, to our wedding and gave it to him when I went to visit him in San Antonio – that gift was most certainly a hit.

Get Crafty. Listen, I pretend to be crafty and sometimes I pull it off (witnessed here) but other times, it’s a bit of a struggle. Either way, if you have crafty skills, then use them! Skim through pinterest for ideas and get creative!

What are your favorite inexpensive ways to spend Valentines Day?

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Christmas Number One

We celebrated our family’s Christmas yesterday. We’re traveling to visit families in VT, and CT over the next ten days or so, so we decided to do our own Christmas. I mean, there’s no point in stuffing our car full of gifts for each other when we just have to cart them back home again right?

 

Ethan was completely over-stimulated by the whole event and took an hour and a half long nap before playgroup. Playgroup was more fun, and following that and the last bits of Christmas shopping for family, he napped for 2 1/2 hours. I don’t know if I’ll ever get that lucky with nap time again.

All in all, Christmas in Annapolis was a huge success. We are beyond blessed as a family.

I think the kittens were just pissed that there was nothing under the tree for them. They’re crazy enough though, they certainly don’t need any cat nip to contribute to that crazy factor.

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Since last Wednesday, I’ve been laid up. Y’all, GI issues are the worst. It started with some aches and a bad stomach ache.

Then it got okay. Then it got worse. So bad. I’m back on the upswing, but holy jebus.

So excuse for the tumbleweeds over here the past few days, I’ve been…preoccupied.

The Good: Time with friends. Festiveness all around. Snow. Kind of. But mostly friends, family and lots of holiday cheer. Finishing the Girls on the Run 5k, nay, seeing my girls finish the Girls on the Run 5k. So proud of them all. Being a coach for Girls on the Run is such an honor and a joy, I don’t talk about it much on here, because I like to keep the privacy of the girls I coach (I’d never mention names), but this was my third season and each season just keeps getting better and better.

The bad: A first birthday party, a baby shower, a race and a cookie swap later…I think I can finally let myself recover. I hadn’t fully recovered and by Saturday night, the farthest distance I was going was the 200 feet to my bathroom. At least I had the Good Wife (my latest obsession) on Hulu Plus. I considered myself lucky to slog through the GOTR 5k this AM despite the frigid temperatures. Is it sad I’ve forgotten how cold it is to run in December? I didn’t run at all last December when I was pregnant, so it’s been two years and man! Baby it’s cold outside!)

The ugly: I’ve never finished a 5k feeling as awful as I did today. I wasn’t sure which end my insides were going to come out of. Thankfully, neither happened and somehow I made it through the afternoon. Of course I’m suffering now, but it’s not nearly as debilitating as it was Saturday night. I can’t imagine how atrocious it would be to have any long term GI issues – I can barely stand 48-72 hours. Also, because I’ve been such a silly slacker, I’m no where near my 100 mile goal. I’ll be lucky to make it to 50. The cold.

For now…

I’m on the mend, but this week, I’ll be laying off the wine and cookies as I’ve certainly had more than my fair share the past two weeks and am looking to try to detox and get whatever this bug is out of my system before we travel north at the end of the week.

 

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A #fitmama’s wish list

Everyone keeps asking “what do you want for Christmas?”

Eff friends – half the time I don’t know what I’m going to eat in a day, let alone what I want for Christmas. Not to mention, I could never ask for stupidly priced workout clothes for Christmas (I’m looking at you lululemon), and I don’t really need any more yoga tops or leggings. I like multi-functional items. Leggings I can wear every day or to yoga or barre. I like socks that aren’t going to give me blisters or other practical accessories.

So here are a few of my favorites off my wish list:

Bobeau Wrap ($39, nordstrom.com) Confession: I have this in like two colors already but I wear it to and from classes, play dates. No it’s not running related (directly) but its a great comfy, good quality piece for to and fro and it’s a helluva lot cheaper than any lululemon piece deemed “go to wear.” Or whatever it is they call it these days.

Gap Fit Breathe Long Sleeve ($30, gap.com) I’ve heard fantastic things about Gap’s workout line, and I love this color. Not to mention, again, it’s half the cost of my favorite lululemon long sleeve tops. That’s a win in my book.

Medals Display Rack ($29, Etsy) I’ve needed a rack to hang my medals on for a while now – currently I just have a couple of nails in the wall. Granted they’re in a row. And look okay. But this (or something similar) would be better.

Race Bling ($60 EricaSaradesigns.com) – I’ve seen so many people post about Erica Sara jewelry. I absolutely love her race bling collection, as well as her mother’s jewelry collection. But for the runner in your life, pick up a charm in honor of their latest PR.

C9 by Champion Yoga Layering Top ($25 – Target.com) Because I’m a sucker for tops that can be multi-use like this one. And the price is right. And it looks perfectly cozy.

Mittens ($35 Newbalance.com) I do love my running gloves but mittens are way cooler and I’m ready for an upgrade. I don’t know if it’s just me that finds that my hands sweat so much more when they’re in gloves than in mittens but I hate being hot when I run, I always dress like it’s 10 degrees warmer than it is but I can’t stand too cold or too sweaty of hands.

Other great ideas: gift cards to a favorite studio (Pure Barre!), running socks (always a win – especially for stocking stuffers), or a gift card to sign them up for their next race!

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25 days of Christmas

So we’re a couple weeks into the holiday season and I’ve actually checked a lot of my 25 Days Before Christmas list.

So let’s recap:

Friday night I went to a cookie swap that one of my mama pals hosted – was lots o’ fun but not so fun driving to Severna Park in the crappy rain. I felt like I was 80 and could hardly see. Note to self: get new windshield wipers on the car before our next trip north.

We went to the Tree Lighting in Burlington after Thanksgiving – and saw the lights (Two birds. One stone.)

The whole night was awesome and added bonus – it snowed!

We decorated our tree – and I took adorable photos of Ethan in some cute Hanna Andersson PJ’s. He discovered the joy of wooden ornaments – his fascination in them is worse than the cats. They leave the tree alone. Homeboy is obsessed with fallen pine needles and any ornament within reach. Oh boy.

We got nice family pictures thanks to my lovely JLA pal Sarah Jane (she blogs over here!) – super shout out to her for being amazing. I know she’s still dabbling in photography but she’s got a knack for photos and beauty and has impeccable taste so I asked if she wouldn’t mind taking our pictures downtown. An exchange of wine for photos went down and the pictures turned out perfect.

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I also snagged Ethan’s first Holiday ornament – Adam and I both have ours (at least I think I have mine…) so now we have all three! Ethan’s is absolutely perfect and I love that I found it on Etsy – the homemade, wooden aspect is perfect for our tree!

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So far, it’s been a festive couple of weeks. We also took Ethan to see Santa at the Westfield (go early!); I had a crafty holiday date with Liz but more on that later since it’s a post for itself; my Mom’s group decided to go through the County to donate to a few needy families so I picked up a couple things to contribute – similar to Toys for Tots but much more localized; finally we bought the Elf on the Shelf but have yet to do anything with it. Please hold while I get my creative juices flowing. His name is Bernard in case you were wondering.

I should also note that it’s a record that my Christmas cards are ordered (waiting for them to come in so I can send them out before we leave) and 90% of my holiday shopping is donezo. This is a record.

What’s been your favorite part of the Holiday season so far?

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National Cookie Day

I saw on a blog that it was national cookie day. And while I was going to wait to post these until after my cookie swap Mom’s night out tonight, I changed my mind.

Correction. I’m 2 days late. Cookie day was December 4th. Super fail whale! Womp womp. Either way! Cookie ahoy! Every day should be cookie day!

If you’re nursing a sweet tooth today like the rest of us, then maybe give one of these recipes a try. In general, I have a pretty nasty sweet tooth so I try not to bake too much (or I risk gaining a gazillion pounds and EATING ALL OF THE COOKIES) but Christmas is a special time of year.

{Chocolate Chip Peppermint Pudding cookies}

I used the linked recipe, but went for chocolate chips versus chunks and used chocolate pudding because I couldn’t find devils food cake.  ZOMG. You guys, easiest cookies ever – so very, very good.

Looking for a cookie a little healthier? These are oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies that are super tasty.

These peanut butter blossom cookies are a tried and true classic. They sing holidays in my mouth and remind me of when my Nana used to spend December in a baking tizzy. They’re easy as pie and delicious as all get out.

Check out my sweet tooth board on Pinterest and see what other sweets I’m craving recently!

What’s your favorite cookie recipe? Do you cookie swap with your friends during the holidays? 

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25 Days of Christmas: Christmas Tree Lighting

We knocked off a few things of my 25 things of Christmas over the past week.

One of my favorite things during the holidays when I was growing up was going to see the lights on Church Street in Burlington – I was so excited to take Adam and Ethan this past Friday when they lit the Christmas tree and all 200,000 lights adorning the trees on Church Street.

To top off the specialness of the night – it was also snowing!

Ethan was all bundled up and was super cozy in the 20 degree weather we had. I had ordered a Bundle Me by JJ Cole for our stroller per the suggestion of  a few friends of mine. I didn’t see a snow suit as a particular necessity given our infrequent visits to the great white north, so the JJ Cole fits our needs perfectly! Also the toddler size (shown) is great to get use for a couple years (or however long he hangs out in the stroller).

Thankfully we got there right before it started and left right after it was done plus we popped into many stores just to stay warm (and obviously to do some Christmas shopping…duh.) It was still so fun though – to count down and see all the lights turn on – Church Street is a beautiful, twinkling wonderland all through December and I’m so glad I got to share the experience with hubs – and baby, even though baby doesn’t appreciate it this year.

I don’t care what anyone says – Christmas tree lightings aren’t the same if it’s not 20 degrees and snowing. Just sayin’.

Do you go to your town’s Christmas tree lighting? What are some of your favorite events in your town around the holidays?

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Giving Back

I could have gone out shopping with my sister last night. But decided not to. The principle of the matter. I used to work on Thanksgiving way back in the day and no matter what age you are, it still sucks. I am so against shopping on Thanksgiving for so many reasons.

I get the other side of the argument, but as I heard on the news which I think sums up why it’s not the best way to increase retail sales – my Christmas shopping list doesn’t grow just because stores are open up on Thanksgiving day. This doesn’t magically change how much money I’m going to spend over the next three weeks. Give people the day off, it’s one day, no one needs performance fleece or a flat screen television so bad they can’t wait another eight hours.

So while you’re out shopping for your loved ones, try to give back this holiday season.

I’ve been doing some form of community service since I was a young girl in the Girl Scouts, and later National Honor Society when I had the privilege of dropping off donated boxes filled with Thanksgiving dinner to half a dozen families in my hometown who otherwise wouldn’t have had a dinner. Talk about humbling.

Fast forward to now a days with  my work with the Junior League and as a coach for Girls on the Run.

I love giving back to my community – teaching young girls to be confident in themselves and how to always look for the best in people. I love being a part of the Junior League – an organization that has such a profound impact in our community – teaching women how to be self sufficient, and working with high school students form non-English speaking backgrounds and giving them fun opportunities they may not otherwise have.

This holiday season, give back.

Donate to a food pantry. It’s so easy – bring $15 to the grocery store and see what you can buy – that’s like skipping Starbucks for three days and you can pick up a few items (even healthy ones!) at your local trader joes to drop off.

Find a jacket drive. We recently held a coat drive at our recent Junior League GMM, one that goes to helping out a shelter provide for those who would otherwise be cold in the winter. Hubs and i hadn’t worn most of these jackets in a few years so it felt good to give something warm to someone needy while also freeing up space in our closets.

Donate to Toys for Tots. Toys for tots are everywhere around the holidays and it’s super easy to pick up an inexpensive gift for a kiddo that would otherwise not have anything. Or, find out what toys your local hospital’s children’s ward needs – I bought a lego set on sale for a Lego drive for the children at the pediatric cancer ward at Hopkins when I saw someone was collecting for them in our weekly league email blast.

Find a family. A lot of churches do angel trees where you can adopt a family and pick up gifts for them for the holidays. It’s an easy way to give back with lots of reward – especially when little kiddos are involved.

These are just a few ways – but there are so many ways. Make a meal for a local shelter. Donate blankets to the local NICU. Give money to your favorite local non-profit. There are so many ways – so many little things you can do that have such a big, big impact.

How do you give back to your local community around the holidays?  What organizations do you support?

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