Tag Archives: family

Broken Hearted

Today’s going to be a short one and it’s all dedicated to the memory of a wonderful pet, Bernie. We got Bernie in November 1997, when I was 9 years old. He was just a six month old mutt puppy born in a shelter and painfully shy. His mellow demeanor is totally what drew us to him and I was SO excited to finally have a dog. On April 29, 2013, just weeks shy of his 16th birthday and after 15 1/2 years with our family, my parents made the humane decision to put Bernie to sleep. He had a very long, active, and healthy life. He started getting weak and sick on Saturday. By Monday, it was time. This is the way I always hoped that Bernie would go… quickly and peacefully. But it doesn’t hurt any less.

So Rest in Peace Bernie… you were loved unconditionally and I sincerely hope that the dog park in the sky kicks ass.

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Pinterest is Bullying Me… and other thoughts on being a bride

Mike and I have now officially been engaged for 4 weeks. Woah, right? I actually got a new laptop this week (thanks Dad!) and Mike obviously set it up for me because I don’t know how to do it myself. He made himself a profile on the laptop too and I jokingly said, “Who do you think you are??? Setting up a profile on my computer??” and he response was, “Um… like… your future husband?” That was so cute to hear. I’m such a wedding planning novice and I’m definitely feeling pretty out of my element. We haven’t set an official date yet and have only just begun looking at venues. However, I have some feelings and thoughts on being a bride that I thought I’d share with the internets 🙂

1. Pinterest is a bully. I don’t really do the Pinterest thing but I did set up a couple secret boards to share with my friend Elsa. It’s helping me keep track of a couple things I’m finding around the internet. But other than that I’ve really been steering clear of Pinterest for wedding ideas. All it does is make me feel bad that I’m not going to spend the months leading up to the wedding making handmade needle point handkerchiefs to hand out during the ceremony or serving rosemary infused pink lemonade in mason jars wrapped in burlap and raffia during my idyllic outdoor wedding ceremony. I obviously want a beautiful wedding and honestly have so much respect for those wonderfully crafty and talented people who want to do that. But it’s not who I am, and I really don’t want to get bogged down in comparing our wedding to what it “should” be.

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2. 90% of wedding dresses are strapless. I don’t know if you’ve taken a look at me recently but I have broader shoulders than your average lady. I look like a middle linebacker for the Miami Dolphins in a strapless dress. Thanks… but no thanks. Thankfully I am noticing somewhat of a trend away from strapless and a lot of really gorgeous offerings within my budget. I have no concept of what I think will look good on my figure, so I have a lot of trying on ahead of me.

3. I think a lot of Bridezillas are just really hungry. For someone who already has body image issues, being a “bride” is an emotional minefield. When I signed up for TheKnot.com, one of the first items on my “to do” list they gave was, “Get in wedding day shape! – eat right, join a gym, or even hire a personal trainer!” (To be clear, my post about getting Lady Ripped is not b/c I want to get in “wedding day shape” I just want to stop having this knee injury flare up). Do I want to look my absolute best for my wedding day? Absolutely! But I want to look my best, not starving. Emotionally, I have been all over the map on this issue for the past 4 weeks. Immediately after we started talking about the wedding, I started feeling my dumb inner voice telling me that I’m fat and I need to lose weight. Think of all the pictures they’re going to take of you! You’re going to look like a beached whale in white! Honestly, I’m nervous about this. I’ve shared these concerns with Mike, my mom, and my MOH because I need their support in the next year. I am committed to not reverting to old, very bad habits, but I’m definitely feeling the pressure. Any words of wisdom?

4. There are only a few things that REALLY matter. I’m thrilled to be planning a wedding with Mike. I couldn’t be luckier to have such a wonderful future husband and future family. No matter what happens on our wedding day, I get to spend every day for the rest of my life with Mike, and that’s the happiest thought of all. My approach to wedding planning is: focus on the things that really matter to me, be flexible on things that don’t, ask for help (especially from my mom), enjoy the process (I’m majorly type A so planning is super fun to me… let’s keep it that way), stick to the budget, stay grounded, simplify, and don’t sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day the only things that matter in the whole world are the four Fs.

This guy (my fiance):

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These three (my family):

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Her (my best friend):

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And these two (my faithful felines):

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First Wedding Post – The Proposal

I thought I would start off by telling you guys how Mike popped the big question!

The lead up: To be clear, I was completely surprised that he asked me that day, but I knew that he was planning to ask me at some point. We had really been talking about it a lot since the summer. At that point it was more like, this might be like … it? And by the end of October, we were both certain. We talked about it and decided it was the right decision for us.

The Ring: I’ve honestly never really given much thought to my engagement ring before. I’ve thought more about the wedding, but haven’t spent time conceptualizing what kind of ring I wanted. I also felt pretty uncertain about buying a diamond. I feel pretty uncomfortable about the diamond industry worldwide and wasn’t sure I wanted to buy into it. I was just really undecided about it… which is really unusual for me. Then Mike had the perfect solution. His mom, who is potentially one of the most wonderful women I have ever known, offered him her engagement ring if he wanted to give it to me. It had belonged to Mike’s grandmother too, so I am the third generation to wear it. He showed it to my best friend for her seal of approval and she loved it. She also verified it was the right size.

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He asked my dad: I know some people don’t believe in this tradition anymore. But Mike and I had talked and he knew it was important to me that he talk to my dad before proposing to me. Unbeknownst to me, Mike asked my dad one morning over Christmas. I went out for a run and he talked to my parents while I was out. He said he wanted to ask my dad in person while he had the opportunity.

The proposal: Ok so you have all the back story. Wednesday night before my birthday (which was on Friday) Mike and I had planned to go out to a nice dinner just the two of us. We like to celebrate holidays just the two of us in some small way. Looking back, some people were acting a LITTLE weird (My best friend asked me twice what I was wearing… which was unusual haha but I didn’t think of it at the time). I met Mike at 6:30 at La Tasca in Chinatown for a glass of sangria. I immediately noticed that he was SUPER dressed up (like slacks, button down, jacket, and a pair of black dress shoes I’ve never once seen him wear). He said he just dressed up because it was my birthday, and I believed him. We went to dinner at Graffiato. Over delicious food and great bottle of wine, we had this amazingly gushy conversation about how happy we were and how much we loved each other. Then he gave me THE SHOES (and a really beautiful birthday card).

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After dinner we got frozen yogurt for dessert. I thanked Mike for an amazing birthday celebration and he said “well I have another surprise waiting for you at home”. I was totally shocked! But we took the metro home and Mike asked me to wait in the hall while he checked on his surprise. When I walked into the apartment all the lights were out and there were these awesome electronic candles on (our cats are not exactly candle friendly). There was a huge bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, and another card. I thought this was the surprise and thought it was so romantic! Then Mike told me to open the card. On the front it said “I Love You” and the inside said, “I Love Us” and Mike had just written “Forever” in the card. Then he said “I want to be with you forever. So, Christina, will you marry me?” He got down on one knee and had the ring and it was just… perfect.

My thoughts: I couldn’t be happier with how the proposal went. I had made it clear to Mike that I really didn’t want a big production. I definitely didn’t want scoreboards lighting up or skywriting or anything. Plus, Mike is adorably shy sometimes, so if I made him do a big embarrassing spectacle in public he probably would’ve died. This was perfectly us…simple, personal, and private. And the cats were there! But they were terrible celebration partners. I cried SO much after saying yes. It was like it finally hit my like a tidal wave of emotion. I couldn’t believe this moment I had thought about for so long had actually happened. I am also obsessed with my ring. I love the history of love and family that comes with it and the design is gorgeous. Very “my style”. I also love that he involved so many people in our lives. My parents knew, his parents knew, and he planned it with my best friend Sarah. Everyone came to celebrate that weekend too. It was… amazing.

Next Steps: We took a little time just to soak up the engagement moment. But we would like to get married in March of next year, so we really do need to start getting moving on finding a venue. Right now we’re making contacts, setting up appointments, and doing all of that! I am really looking forward to getting a venue. Then I feel like I will be able to start visualizing the event. I’m hopelessly lost on “colors” so I will definitely be looking to the more creative people in my life, like Mike’s mom. My mom and I are all business planner types so we’ve got that logistics on lock down 🙂

I’d love to hear other proposal stories! Please feel free to share them!!

Scenes from Saturday and (Part of) Sunday

If the past two days are any indication of the holiday ahead, I am one lucky girl 🙂 Mike and I arrived at his parents’ house outside Charlottesville late on Friday evening for an amazingly full but also relaxing weekend. Instead of writing a full recap (which would take way too long and I’ve got cookies in the oven and a fire going right now), here are some scenes from the weekend.

Saturday 8 mile run. It was windy as hell but I loved it 🙂
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Been using my new Aeropress coffee maker EVERY day. The coffee it makes is AH-mazing.

And of course, topping it off with egg nog.

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Mike’s mom spoils us with delicious veggie scrambles from their beautiful garden… and pickles!

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Decorating the Tosto family Christmas tree!

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Curled up on the couch reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Little Mac at my feet

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Attending the Rapunzel’s Christmas Party

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Where we watched Mike’s mom perform as a member of the Charlottesville Albemarle Flute Ensemble!

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Sunday afternoon watching the Charlottesville Municipal Band perform in town (Mike’s mom on the flute and his brother on the tuba!)

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Finishing up last minute Christmas shopping on the mall. And I bought this SWEET hat that is shaped like a koala bear. I am obsessed with it.

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Swung by the DoubleTree Hotel to check out the gingerbread house village. Amy, this made me think of you!

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Fig and Mike wrapped some last minute gifts.

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And now I’m enjoying a hot cup of kukicha tea and getting ready for a night in with a fire, cookies, some presents, and maybe even a movie 🙂

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Christmas Survey!

Saw this survey on Sweet Tooth Sweet Life and thought it looked like fun 🙂

I’m trying really hard to get into the holiday spirit over here! We’ve been busy and the apartment is basically like a hospital ward so it’s not SUPER festive. We did bake chocolate chip cookies this weekend AND I made a gingerbread cake roll (special post on that is happening since it takes care of one of my Winter To Do list items). I don’t know if many of our planned “Christmas” activities are happening this year (ZooLights or others) since poor Mike is so sick. Definitely not putting pressure on ourselves right now, and favoring nights at home with warm mugs of tea and the kitties 🙂

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1. Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song? I’m probably going to get stoned in the blog world for saying this because everyone like LOVES Christmas music, but I don’t get super super into it. I like traditional Christmas carols but I never really listen to pop Christmas music. The one song I specifically love though is J-i-n-g-l-e Bells by Frank Sinatra. I remember listening to this song when I was little, decorating the Christmas with my grandmother and my dad. It’s a very happy memory for me 🙂

2. Run on Christmas morning or take the day off? Run or exercise of some kind. I like getting a little sweat in before spending the rest of the day being blissfully unaware of the amount of butter I am consuming! Last Christmas my mom, dad, and I went on a family bike ride on Christmas morning which was really fun!

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3. What do you usually eat on Christmas morning? First things first… coffee! We are a huge coffee drinking family and I remember as a little kid my brother and I would be dying to get downstairs to open our presents but we had to wait for the grown ups (my mom, my dad, and my grandmother) to get their coffee first. Then after we open our Christmas presents under the tree, we stop and cook family breakfast before heading over to open our stockings (which, for my entire life, have always been filled with personal care products like deodorant… Zimmermans are practical is nothing else!). We cook a pretty standard breakfast of bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs (with cheese… but that’s a given), and toast.

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4. Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition? I used to love putting up the Christmas tree with my dad. Unfortunately, not that I don’t live at home anymore, he puts up his tree and I put up my own little tree. Right now I would say it is baking OR shopping for stocking stuffers with my dad.

5. Real tree, fake tree or no tree? When I was little we used to get a real tree. I wasn’t super into picking it out (I mean they all kinda look the same to me) but I loved that every night before bed my dad would crush up an Aspirin and my brother and I would go put it in the water under the tree. See, my dad is a chemist so most of my young life was an extended chemistry lab. Apparently, when you cut a tree’s trunk, the tree will create a seal over the exposed surface. Over time, the tree will not being able to suck up water anymore and dry up. The aspirin dissolves this cap to keep the tree healthy longer! Sweet right?

But then as we got older, we got a fake tree because the dog kept drinking the tree / aspirin water. My dad loves having a Christmas tree up. If he had his druthers the tree would be up from the day after Thanksgiving until Epiphany (which is January 6th in case you weren’t aware). I got my first tree of my own in December 2010 and I was so proud of it (it was also fake). This year we have two mini trees. We originally had one out on the balcony and one in the apartment but the cats demolished the inside tree within 5 hours so that went outside too. Here is my parents’ tree and both of ours.

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6. Christmas pajamas… yay or nay? I could see myself being into this but I’ve never had any. I normally don’t actually wear “pajamas”. Sometimes I have flannel pants but its usually just tshirt and pants or shorts.

7. Where do you spend the holidays? Well up until this year that was really a no brainer… with my family. I was, as we know, a single gal (well Mike and I were together last year but we weren’t at the spending the holidays together point yet). When we lived in New Jersey we always saw my mom’s brother’s family on Christmas eve and my dad’s side of the family of Christmas day. My grandmother always came and stayed with us for Christmas too, until she passed away when I was in 5th grade. Now that my parents live in North Carolina, I go there and spend Christmas with them. We skype with my Dad’s side of the family to exchange gifts though (we do a gift exchange where everyone buys a gift for one person). This year though Mike and I will be spending the holiday up through Christmas Eve with his family in Charlottesville and then driving down to North Carolina later on Christmas Eve to spend Christmas day and a few days after with my family.

8. Food that you always have during the holiday season? Favorite Christmas food/treat? So we are Italian… but my mom has PTSD related to her grandmother soaking a baccala (that is Italian for a giant smelly cod fish… in case you were interested) in the bathtub next to her bedroom. So we don’t do the traditional Italian meal of the seven fishes. Which is totally fine by me. We usually eat pasta on Christmas Eve (sometimes its rigatoni with vodka sauce, recently it’s been fettucini alfredo with spicy Italian sausage), and some kind of meat on Christmas day. We used to do a turkey on Christmas but we abandoned that tradition because it’s too much work! We were eating ham for many years… but I don’t actually love ham that much. In recent years it’s been steak, potatoes, and veggie dishes supplied by moi (I like to trick my family into eating brussel sprouts hehe).

Christmas is always about baking with my Dad though. I got him a pizzelle iron a couple years ago so now we make those (with vanilla extract instead of anise because I don’t like anise!). We also make traditional chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies. The sugar cookie is heavily debated every year though. My dad insists on making the “easy no-roll option” and cooking them until they are “crispy” which is dad-speak for burnt. I always want to make the kind you roll out, punch shapes, and decorate with icing. No dice though haha. I also added snickerdoodles to the rotation a couple years ago and they’re a big hit! I personally always want to make a chocolate pecan pie for dessert… I think I’m the only one who likes it though 😀

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9. Open presents all at once or take turns? Take turns! Even when I was a little kid we had to open our presents one at a time and watch when other people were opening their presents. I love that tradition. It made us savor Christmas morning so much longer. It was also nice that everyone got the attention on them when they were opening!

10. Favorite Christmas(ish) movie? A CHRISTMAS STORY! Mike and I have been discussing this a lot recently because he has… wait for it… NEVER SEEN IT. I feel like that is a complete travesty. I mean the movie is only on 12 times in a row on TBS starting at 8:00 pm on Christmas Eve. 24 hours of A Christmas Story! Mike never had cable though… so that’s probably it. His favorite Christmas movie is The Muppets Christmas Carol. My dad is a big fan of A Christmas Carol too but he likes the super old version. Every year I’d wake up on a Saturday morning to find that he had just watched it (on VHS clearly). The rest of the holiday is typically sprinkled with my dad sporadically yelling out “ARE THERE NO PRISONS??” My dad is such a hoot 🙂

My cat loves to sit on my computer

I opened my WordPress account to find a new draft post had been created. That’s weird… why is it titled “BBBBJJJffiiiihjhhhhhhhhhhhhhhdslffffffffffkddddddddddddd”? That my friends was Fig’s first official contribution to the blog. He is a master of words. But seriously, he LOVES to sit on my laptop. And apparently he is able to work a fair amount of magic with his little paws. I just pray he hasn’t sent any weird emails to people. This habit probably contributes to why my laptop is so horrible at this point.

I really need a new computer, but I’m having a really hard time committing to that purchase. I’m thrifty and I feel like… my computer functions. Not well… but it functions. I had a Mac from college and I love Macs, but do I really use it in a way the justifies buying another one? I kind of only use it for Internet, Pictures, Blogging, and some word processing. Mike has a really nice Mac but its a desktop, so it doesn’t afford me the same portability. It’s hard to blog whilst watching Hart of Dixie from the desktop computer. I’m slowly getting there… could be a laptop purchase in my future.

Regardless… I took a long break from blogging. I’m sure I’m the ONLY person who actually noticed or cared, but still I took a long break! I just needed it. This blog was started because I wanted a fun hobby. It’s not my job, it’s my fun. When it stops being fun… then we have a problem. I took a pause from blogging and mostly from social media too (still on the facebook but my twitter was pretty quiet). There are few things I find more rejuvenating than shutting off, keeping my phone on vibrate in my purse, and just being. I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking, reading, reflecting, and planning. I woke up this morning more energized than I have felt in about two months. I can’t wait to finish this book I’m reading right now and share some of my thoughts.

I have a lot of catch up on here but here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve been up to for the last week or so:

I ran the Philly Half Marathon… Mike ran the Marathon! My parents came (they so cute) and so did Mike’s… woohoo!

I took an ice bath. It was glorious. I also wore a hat during it.

 

I celebrated Thanksgiving with some of the most important people in my life. I ate what I have deemed to be a respectable amount (woohoo intuitive eating lives on!)

I walked on the beach and enjoyed being near the water. There are few things I find more calming than being near water. I don’t know why that is… but I’m rolling with it. I also spent most of the weekend in workout clothes and an ENORMOUS sweatshirt. I look like an angry bird in this picture 🙂

And perhaps most importantly… I rested. I slept 8 – 10 hours every night. Didn’t set an alarm a single day. I got my workouts in, but I also spent time in bed with a cup of coffee, a magazine… and this little guy.

Get ready to be besieged with blog posts this week 🙂

A Birthday Celebration

Last Thursday (the 20th) was my big brother’s 28th birthday!! Living in the same city as my brother is literally the best. I may be “away from home” but I’m never far from family. I am also lucky to have several close cousins living in DC too. Hence, when birthdays come around, my parents don’t hesitate to jump in the car and drive the 6.5 hours from North Carolina for a big birthday bash. My parents have taken to coming to DC to celebrate their own birthdays too. We’re really big food sharers in my family, which I love. So we always try and go to an interesting restaurant and get a great sample of the menu. This year Doug selected The Green Pig in Clarendon for his birthday dinner. His friend it the executive pastry chef there, and we had been meaning to go forever! Let’s get down to the good stuff 🙂

Beer! I had been volunteering all afternoon at Ragnar and the thought of drinking wine made my sleepy. But a cold crisp beer sounded awesome. I started with a Maui Brewing Company Bikini Blonde Lager.

Then the chef surprised us by delivering some fresh rolls and cornbread to the table. The cornbread was unbelievably moist (maybe that giant scoop of butter had something to do with it? We had a big group, so we all took half a piece of cornbread.The rolls were surprisingly good too. I normally prefer harder breads to soft rolls but the large granules of salt on the top really made these awesome.

In an effort to listen to my “hunger / satiety” cues, and learning from past experiences at huge group dinners like this, I elected not to order an appetizer. We are big sharers, so I got a bite of everyone else’s (there was PLENTY to go around). Doug got the buffalo ribs, which were delicious. We also had duck confit cavatelli, pulled pork and avocado tacos, and a delicious peanut and butternut squash soup. My favorite was the cavatelli, but the pork tacos were surprisingly good. They had some serious heat to them.

I ordered a Butternuts Moo Thunder Stout to enjoy with my dinner. Sometimes I’m just really in the mood for a dark beer 🙂

I was glad I didn’t order an appetizer because I was already starting to feel satisfied! Thankfully, I also went pretty conservative on my dinner. I ordered the heirloom tomato, watermelon, and goat cheese salad with a side of duck liver gravy poutine. Not exactly the “healthiest” dish available, but since I went light with the rest of my meal I decided I was completely fine with that! The salad was amazing. The tomatoes were slightly mushy but I still ate them all, don’t you worry. Tomatoes are pretty much out of season, so I’m not surprised they weren’t totally crisp. The watermelon / goat cheese combo was great. My cousin and I were remarking that you normally see watermelon with feta, but this was an awesome change. I ❤ goat cheese. The poutine wasn’t EXACTLY poutine (which is normally fries with gravy and cheese curd) but it was awesome no matter what you call it. The duck liver added an awesome flavor to the gravy, and I didn’t mind melted cheese over cheese curd.

In typical Zimmerman family style, I also had a bite of everyone else’s entree. Mike has the rabbit cake with mashed sweet potatoes, apple butter, and brussel sprouts. He loved it, and so did my cousin John. My favorite part was the brussel sprouts 🙂 A couple people got the bacon cheeseburger, because it actually has the bacon meat ground in with the ground beef. I’m not normally a huge burger eater, but the bite I had was DIVINE.

Doug and his friend Dan shared the Pork Shank for Two entree. It was served with collards and grits (the boys ate very little of the collards and grits though. There was so much pork there to focus on). One of my favorite items was the side of macaroni and cheese that was shared around the table. It was made with smoked Gouda cheese, and it tasted kind of like bacon in the best way possible. It was so rich though, I think we all only took a couple bites!

Now for some group shots! My cousin Karen, her husband John, my mom and my dad!! Very exciting news too… Karen and John are expecting their first child this March!! We spent the entire meal telling her to eat whatever she wanted 🙂

The birthday boy and his bff Dan took their seats of honor at the head of the table. And shared and entree 🙂

And finally my cousin Ryan, his girlfriend Amanda, Mike (rocking his glasses after Ragnar) and me!

Finally it was time for the best part of any birthday celebration… DESSERT. I knew these desserts were going to be amazing because Doug’s friend Rory is ridiculously talented. We ordered four different options to share around the table. Everyone else was feeling really full, but thanks to my conservative ordering I was ready to go! First up was the banana cake that came with chocolate sauce, peanut butter ice cream and peanut brittle. I loved this dessert. Some around the table though the peanut butter flavor came through above the banana but PB/banana is one of my favorite combos so I loved it. You can just call me Elvis. We also had the housemade doughnut with ice cream and chocolate sauce. This was surprisingly good. I’m not normally a huge doughnut eater but with the chocolate sauce and ice cream it was kind of like a profiterole, which I love.

We also had the butterscotch pudding, which had brownie at the bottom and pecans on the top. This was hands down my favorite, favorite, favorite dessert. I never order butterscotch stuff, because I don’t normally really like it. In fact, I wouldn’t have ordered this if my mom hadn’t wanted it! But it was so unbelieably good… there are no words. It was a great texture and flavor. I was only upset I had to share with everyone. We also ordered a pie of the day (apple) at the request of the birthday boy, so we got a Happy Birthday message on his plate 🙂 I’m not an apple pie lover, but I did have a bite just to be fair. My dad and brother LOVED this one.

Everyone left the dinner with a big smile, a full belly, and a desire to go immediately to sleep! All in all I was pretty pleased too with how I felt after dinner. Normally I leave gatherings like this absolutely sick to my stomach from being so full. I definitely felt full but not in a bad way. It was the perfect Saturday night with great family and friends 🙂

Happy Birthday Douggie!! Here’s to another year of you being perfectly you!

Friday Favorites

It will come as no surprise that this week’s Friday Favorites will feature all pictures from my couple days spent in Copenhagen. These are just a collection of my favorite “fun shots”. Hope you guys are enjoying the posts while I am away! I was able to sneak in one post about the trip yesterday but I’m on the cruise ship no so we’ll see how that changes! Love and hugs!!


“MySpace” style self-portrait at the top of the spire of the Church of our Savior (I was all by myself and I wanted photo evidence that I climbed all the way to the top!!)

Copenhagen is considered one of the most “bike-friendly” cities in the world… and people seem to know it! Apparently 1 in 3 people in Copenhagen travel by bike. This is a bike rack outside a metro station… ridiculous. They don’t even always lock them up either!! Obviously this is not DC.

My mom and I enjoying a delicious locally brewed Danish beer at dinner.

My dad and I tried the traditional “Shooting Star” at lunch. This dish includes boiled / breaded herring on a slice of bread with shrimp, asparagus, and caviar. It was… AWESOME.

Walking along the river one afternoon we found this weird trampolines! Obviously my mom and I wasted no time getting on them and taking many silly pictures. That Danish boy doesn’t look that pleased but we had a BLAST.

Week in Workouts: Thankfully I have been able to stay really on track and I feel great about it. My weekend got really crazy before we left on Sunday evening so by the time we landed on Monday morning I was DYING for a workout. Only complication has been all the treadmills measure km/hour and all the weights are in kilograms. I really struggle with the metric system so it’s been kind of trial and error 🙂

Friday 8/3:

  • 60 Minute Spinning Class

Saturday 8/4:

  • Rest Day

Sunday 8/5:

  • Rest Day

Monday 8/6:

  • 8K Treadmill Workout (that is approximately 4.98 miles)

Tuesday 8/7:

  • 20 Minutes Inclined Walking on Treadmill
  • 30 Minutes Total Body Strength Training w/ Weight Machines / Free Weights
  • 10 Minutes Elliptical

Wednesday 8/8:

  • Speed Workout (referenced in a post earlier this week)

Thursday 8/9:

  • 20 Minutes Inclined Walking on Treadmill
  • 30 Minutes Total Body Circuit Workout w/ high intensity cardio intervals
  • 10 Minutes Stair Master

Denmark Days

Hooray for wireless in our hotel rooms here in Copenhagen!! I was a little nervous because I COMPLETELY forgot that I would need an adapter for all my chargers while we were in Denmark (the cruise ship should be fine because it is an American cruise line). Luckily I snagged one from the concierge at the hotel and I’m writing during a little break in our day. We spent all day out and about and came back for a little rest before spending the evening / night in Tivoli Gardens.

So far all I can say about Copenhagen is WOW. Sometimes it feels like a city of opposites because on one hand our hotel is amazingly modern (you have to put your room key in a scanner to work the lights / electricity in your hotel room… hello Green), but on the other the city is packed with beautiful old architecture. I have loved just walking around and taking in all the sights (and eating the FOOD!)

We flew overnight from DC and arrived here in Copenhagen at 7:15 am local time. Everyone was pretty wrecked from not getting much sleep but for me the key to beating jet lag is not napping. So when we checked into the hotel and everyone went to lay down I used that time to grab a workout. It gave me all the energy I needed for the day ahead!

To start our sightseeing off, we bought tickets to the Hop On / Hop Off bus tour. They are embarrassing and touristy but they are a GREAT way to see the highlights of a city so haters go ahead and hate! We rode through a couple stops including a brief photo stop to see the Little Mermaid sculpture, but we hopped off the bus at Nyhavn, which is kind of a harbor front area. It is packed with outdoor dining and old fashion sailboats. Here we grabbed a bite to eat for lunch and walked around a bit before getting back on the bus.


The Little Mermaid statue / Nyhavn

We got off again at The Church of Our Savior, where I climbed all the way to the top of the spire! The views of the city were unbelievable and it was quite a workout to get up all those steps (my calves are actually kind of sore today… embarrassing). We toured around a bit more before heading back to the hotel for a pre-dinner nap. We ate dinner at the great Danish restaurant pretty close to our hotel. We learned the hard way though that the portions of certain dishes are very large. We ordered way too much food and no one could finish! We wised up going forward though.

View from the outside stairs at the top of the Church of our Savior / A massive portion of food at dinner

On our second day, I got up nice and early and got my workout in before meeting the family for breakfast. We walked over to Amelinborg Palace for the changing of the Royal Danish Guard. It was really fun and unlike the guards at Buckingham Palace some of the guards would actually smile or look at you for pictures which was fun (I saw one of them even messing with a group of tourists and then smiling… so cute!). A rain storm came through so we ducked into a little restaurant for a beer and a small lunch. I got an egg and tomato Smorrebrod, which totally hit the spot! We walked around a bunch, so much that we needed to come back and take a little rest!


Across the River from the Opera House / Changing of the Guard / Egg & Tomato Sandwich

Anyways, glad I got to share a little of my vacation so far with you! I’ll hopefully be back again soon 🙂

Sweet spire on top of the Stock Exchange (according to the recording on our hop on / hop off bus tour the design is three dragons on at the bottom with their tails intertwined, sick)

Bon Voyage!

So I alluded to this earlier in the week but today you’re getting ALL the gory details. This weekend, my family and I will be taking off for a once in a lifetime vacation through Northern Europe. Growing up, I was extremely blessed to have the chance to travel a lot with my family. We did two family trips to Europe (one to London / Paris, and another through Italy… our homeland!) and then I studied abroad in Ireland while I was in college. While studying abroad I grabbed my backpack and my roommate and traveled all over the place. Needless to say, I love Europe and feel extremely blessed to have had so many amazing travel opportunities.

Zimm Family vacation in Skagway, Alaska.

For how tight knit my immediate family is, we haven’t traveled much together in recent years. Last summer we FINALLY got out schedules to mesh for a cruise to Alaska from Vancouver (prior to this we realized that the last time we did a family vacation with all four of us was to Mexico on Christmas / New Years in 2003/2004!) We had so much fun on our cruise last summer, we were determined to do another family vacation this summer. I have long been floating the idea of a Mediterranean cruise because I really want to see the Greek Isles and Turkey, but after doing some extensive research (thank Mom… you rock!) we all went crazy over the idea of doing a Baltic Cruise. We’ve literally been planning this trip since January so I can’t believe that it’s actually ALMOST HERE!


The clan braving the “Cliff Walk” at Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, Canada.

To start our trip we’re going to fly to Copenhagen, Denmark and spend about 2 days. I’ve been doing tons of research because sightseeing will be on our own for this time. I’m really excited to go to Tivoli Gardens, climb to the top of the Round Tower, and eat plenty of open faced sandwiches (Smørrebrød in Danish).


Tivoli Gardens

After spending two nights in Copenhagen, we will board the cruise ship and set sail! First stop will be Olso, Norway where I can’t wait to pose for a picture at the Holmenkollen (world famous ski jump!). Next we will circle back to Denmark, stopping in the city of Aarhus. Here we will have a chance to see the Tollund Man, the most well-preserved prehistoric body! My dad and I are super into science (My dad is a chemist) so we are super stoked for this. Finally, we will stop in Warnemunde, Germany which is a short train ride outside Berlin! I have actually been to Berlin before (I took an impromptu trip during final exams of my semester in Ireland… I got a round trip flight for 15 euro it felt wrong NOT to go!), but I went right before Christmas so I’m excited to see how different the city looks during the summer months. Since I have been before though, my family graciously accommodated my request to visit the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp before touring the city. I wouldn’t say I am “excited” to visit this place as it will undoubtedly be a very upsetting experience, but I think it will be a very emotional and unique experience. Sadly, most of world history isn’t “feel good” history, but I think it’s still important to educate myself.

Holmenkollen

We will get a rest day at sea as we head further east. Our next stop will be Talinn, Estonia. Here I am SUPER excited to go on a day trip to Rakvere and visit a castle built by Monks! After Talinn we arrive for two days / an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia. I think this was probably THE selling point of this cruise for our whole family. With two days and an overnight we will really be able to see more of the city, but I am the most excited to see Peterhof Palace, which is sometimes referred to as “Russia’s Versailles”. I also plan to enjoy plenty of vodka, caviar, and Russian folk music! After leaving St. Petersburg we have two more port cities before returning to Copenhagen. First stop is Helsinki, Finland, where we will be heading into the country side to visit a traditional Finnish farm. I’m planning to roll up my sleeves and get dirty. Finally, we stop in Stockholm, Sweden for our final port. Here we are planning a canal cruise (was I the only one who didn’t know that Stockholm was actually a chain of small islands??) and exploring Gamla Stan (Stockholm’s “Old Town”).

St. Petersburg, Russia

Anyways… that’s my trip!! Like I said… this is once in a lifetime stuff right here and I can’t wait to simply savor every moment of it. As for the blog… fear not! I’ve been working ahead and there will be pre-scheduled new posts up every day for you to enjoy. I am HOPING that perhaps I might be able to sneak in a blog post here and there, but internet on cruise ships isn’t great and it can be expensive so no promises.

Now for the final feat before my trip… PACKING. I have 50 lbs of luggage for 14 days!!!! I am not known for packing light so this could be a real challenge. There is a laundromat facility on the ship, so I might need to do a load of workout clothes (workout clothes are the one thing I don’t re-wear… gross. You’ve seen how much I sweat!) so I can bring less with me.