PMS Bites: Gluten-free, Vegan, Chocolaty Snack

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I’m going to preface this post with the following disclosure to my male audience: This post is going to briefly mention PMS, so if you are a male reader who shudders at the mere thought of the word, I would highly suggest an alternative blog post OR you can read on to better understand us females or in the very least learn about a product for your wife/gf/significant other than I am sure she will appreciate.

Now to the good stuff. I recently got the opportunity to try a unique chocolaty treat that claims to help with PMS symptoms. As a female, I’ve been there: mood swings that threaten to scare my husband away and cravings so bad I’ve eaten the entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s.  So, when I heard about the Boston-Based startup, PMS Bites, providing healthy, Gluten-free, Vegan, all-natural chocolate bites to help satisfy my cravings and relieve my symptoms, I was sold! A few days later, I received my 6 perfect snack sized bites in the mail to help me satisfy my cravings WITHOUT guilt. At 70 calories per serving, I was shocked at how simple, delicious, and rich the bites were! Certainly, they are a far cry from Ben and Jerry’s, but as an RD and Personal Trainer, it is important to me to look and feel my best and I loved that these bites were simple, melt in your mouth delicious, and didn’t leave me feeling exhausted or guilty afterwards. Still decadent without all of the calories, I felt like these bites were perfect for health conscious people like myself who wanted something rich but also nutritious. The bites have roughly 7 grams of sugar and only 11 grams of carbohydrates. That’s pretty freaking amazing if you ask me!

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SO what are the bites exactly?

According to the founder, Tania Green, “Bites are comfort without guilt.” They contain a blend of herbs such as chamomile, ginseng, and dandelion root to help with bloating, cramping, and irritability. Other ingredients include dates, cocoa powder, almond butter, gluten-free oats, and pecans.

PMS Bites targets mostly women, however other products in the works include Menopause Bites, Insomnia Bites, Hangover Bites, and Diet Bites. And, I’m hoping an AllergyBites one comes out too! The bites sell for $14.99 for six or $13.49 for subscribers of http://www.pmsbites.com. They can be ordered online or they can also be found at many retail locations in and around Boston including Boston Common Coffee, Cocoanuts Chocolate Shop in the North End, Mother Juice in Cambridge, and Nourish Your Soul in Medford.

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I love that I get my chocolate/sugar fix without a ton of added sugar, processed ingredients, and calories. And as far as portion control is concerned, the bites were so rich I found myself only wanting/needing 1-2 at a time!  Now that’s what I call a health indulgence!

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Elephant Walk Review

Recently, I had the opportunity to try the new Elephant Walk, located in the South End, with my Blog & Tweet Boston friends.

The Elephant Walk is a French and Cambodian restaurant that has been family-owned and operated since 1991. It offers a broad range of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. What’s particularly unique about it is that it does not combine French AND Cambodian flavors but rather separates the two so that you are either getting a French dish or a Cambodian dish. I had been to their previous Brookline location before for dinner and absolutely fell in love with the food. Their dinner menu was full of flavor and packed with nutritious veggies. As the chef said “it’s all about good food that your body says thank you for.”

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The chefs strive to maintain healthy, nutritious and innovative menus, unfortunately though I had a difficult time finding the any of the brunch dishes healthy.

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For the first few dishes we got Rouleaux (Cambodian spring rolls) and then I also tried the B’baw Mouan (gluten free), which had chicken breast, fried garlic, fresh herbs and lime. The soup and spring rolls were both delicious. The spring rolls were nice and crunchy and my soup had a nice thick texture to it and was not overly salty.

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For the main course, I wanted the Oeufs Brouillés au Kapik Khing (Cage-free egg scrambled, PT Farm pork belly slow-cooked with Khmer spices, cucumber pickles), but they were out of it. So, instead, I got the Oeufs Brouillés, Saucisses au Sirop d’Erable (Cage-free egg scrambled, maple syrup sausages, shallot confit). However, they told us the dishes could not be made with egg-whites. My meal came out and while the potatoes were cooked well, I only ate about 1/4 of the eggs because they were so oily. I wished they hadn’t used so much oil or butter! Additionally, I felt like I was getting your basic eggs and sausage. There wasn’t much flavor or anything special about it, which was disappointing because I really wanted something new and different.

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A lot of the dishes other people ordered looked good, such as the Crêpe au Canard (crepe filled with duck braised in soy tamarind juices, portobello mushroom, crème frâiche, scallion, dressed baby greens). And fortunately, I ended the meal with dessert, which was impeccable. Dessert consisted of tart and sweet passion mousse in almond lace cups, or lemon layer cakes with lemon custard and lemon sorbet. I personally enjoyed the Gâteau Choco-Caramel, which is chocolate caramel cake with vanilla ice cream, crême Anglaise and ganache.

All in all, though it was only a mediocre experience between the bland main dish, lack of having what I wanted to order, and super slow service, I do enjoy their dinner menu and would probably go back for brunch again and try some of the other dishes that people got. Plus, I certainly didn’t mind the open windows and decor 🙂

If you have been before, let me know what you ordered and how your experience was! I would love to revisit and try something else!

I had brunch at no charge for this review and my opinions are unbiased.

Sun’s Out Soup’s Out!

The snow has finally melted, the sun is out, and it is officially marathon season! I think I have seen at least 3 different marathon postings on FB- Boston, Madrid- marathons are happening everywhere and what better way to refuel than with some hearty soup? Yes, yes we often think of pasta, gummies, goos, and sports drinks to help us tackle such a feat. But soup can be a great option too pre and post workout! I’m not saying chug soup during a run (that would be quite difficult!), but consider it as a meal around the time you exercise. One of the biggest challenges some runners face when training for a marathon is teaching their stomach to accept certain foods before, during, and after exercise.  Carbohydrate, fluid, and electrolyte balance is vital to a successful run and optimal recovery. Ideally a runner should focus on consuming foods that are high in easily digestible carbohydrate and low in fat and protein before and during runs. And post-workout, the focus should be on refueling with adequate protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Eating a high-carbohydrate snack with a modest amount of protein in the immediate post-exercise period has been shown to replace glycogen stores used during the exercise bout.

Some marathons soup examples perfect for post-workout nutrition include:
· Lima Bean and Barley Soup – protein, healthy fats, fiber and plenty of carbohydrates for sustained energy

Calories 371
Protein 19g
Carbohydrate 65g
Fat 7g; Saturated Fat 1g;
Sodium 390mg

· Greek Orzo, Lemon, and Chicken Soup – protein, carbs, citrus for an energy lift and satisfying meal. A little high on the sodium side so I would sub in low sodium chicken stock. 

Calories 298
Protein 26g
Carbohydrate 32g
Fat 7g; Saturated Fat 2g;
Sodium 729mg

· Mediterranean Chickpea, Lentil and Rice Soup – protein & fiber from rice, lentils, chickpeas 

Calories 284
Protein 16g
Carbohydrate 35g
Fat 12g; Saturated Fat 2g;
Sodium 613mg

Not running a marathon? No worries! New England Soup Factory still has you covered with nutritious seasonal selections of soups, including gluten-free soups,  lobster soups, and chilled seafood gazpacho that will leave you refreshed and not weighed down before the summer. We all KNOW how easy it is to dive into burgers, beer, and BBQ when it starts to get warm, but we also know there’s another way to hit that sweet spot and satisfy a craving in a healthy way.

The daily menu at New England Soup Factory is filled with a seasonal selection of their award winning soups, sumptuous sandwiches, artistic salads, prepared foods and their own house-baked cookies and treats. They also offer a freezer case packed with some of their delicious homemade favorites including: Bolognese and Marinara sauces, Matzo Ball Soup, Skinny Vegetable Soup,  and several flavors of frozen pints of soup.

Located in both Newton and Brookline you can find their soups at

Brookline New England Soup Factory
2-4 Brookline Place, Brookline MA 02445
Soupline 617.739.1899 Phone 617.739.1695

Newton New England Soup Factory
244 Needham Street, Newton MA 02464
Soupline 617.558.9988 Phone 617.558.9966

Let me know what you think!!

Kind Bar Controversy

Yes, yes I am a little behind on posting my opinion on what is being called the Kind Bar Controversy. But better late than never.

I am sure you have heard about the warning letter the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent to Kind, LLC regarding four of its bars: Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Apricot, Kind Fruit & Nut Almond & Coconut, Kind Plus Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein, and Kind Plus Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew + Antioxidants. Essentially, the issue is that these KIND bars use the term “healthy” on the label when they do not meet the criteria to market the bar in this way.

There’s a definition for healthy?? Yes there is! FDA rules state that in order for a product to use the word “healthy” it must, among other things, be low in total fat and saturated fat per serving. Since the Kind bars in question contain nuts, which are naturally high in fat, they don’t meet this criteria. These named bars above didn’t make the cut to be labeled “healthy” because one of the criteria is that the they must contain 1 gram or less of saturated fat or no more than 15% of calories from saturated fat specifically. At about 2.5 grams or more of saturated fat per bar, KIND bars do not meet this criteria.

However, keep in mind a good portion of the saturated fat used in the bars comes from: 1) a high nut content and 2) use of coconut or palm oil. The jury is still out on how good or bad coconut oil is for us. But, many of my colleagues find the logic behind this confusing because nuts are otherwise known to be nutritious and high in healthy unsaturated fats, fiber and vitamin E. Hence, the controversy.

So, as a nutritionist, what’s my take on this?

1) The legal definition of healthy needs an update because HELLLLOOO many whole foods don’t even meet this definition!

And on the flip side, many foods that are low in total and saturated fat, and meet the criteria for the term “healthy,” are foods I wouldn’t recommend because they are processed.

Cynthia Sass, RD said is best when she wrote “Nutrition is an evolving science, and I think we’re at the point where the notion of what’s “healthy” has expanded in the minds of both experts and consumers and while proper food labeling is important, but there should be updates and priorities.”

2) I still wouldn’t recommend some of the kind bars to my clients and I wish the FDA had focused on the sugar content of these bars, not the fat.. While many were left scratching their heads and thinking, “Really? That’s where you’re going to focus your resources?” I am actually kind of glad the FDA chose to focus on these so-called “healthy” bars. It’s important that both processed foods AND healthy foods get focused on because if we only choose to focus on the crap, the public will continue to remain uneducated and buy what they think are healthy products. We have an obesity epidemic and with 16g sugar per bar, there are better bars out there. Again, I wish the FDA had focused on sugar because that’s the real issue with some of the bars. If I had to guess, I would say in a given week about 95% of the people I see are eating KIND bars, thinking they are doing themselves a favor. Well let me tell you, that full sugar KIND bar and flavored Chobani yogurt you’re eating is making your waistline bigger. We need to shed light on the fact that even our “healthy” products are being spoiled by the food industry.

I’m not saying don’t buy a KIND bar or yogurt, but here’s what you should look for when choosing snacks:

Low Sugar. Aim for 6-8grams of sugar or less, Natural sugars found in fruits and dairy products (lactose), vegetables, etc, are better obviously but sugar is still sugar- HONEY IS SUGAR PEOPLE! If you are going to buy a KIND bar- opt for the 5g of sugar or less. For yogurt,

The more natural the better. I love my quest bars and I always will- are low sugar KIND bars better for you?- totally but they stick to my teeth and personally I enjoy Quest bars more. Skip any bars though that have an excess amount of sugar alcohols in them.

Protein. A good rule of thumb? Opt for a bar with protein of at least 5g or more. Sometimes it can be difficult to get a good wholesome bar though with loads of protein. Do the best you can. I personally really like NUGO slim bars, Nogii bars (GF and paleo), Quest bars, and Larabars. My least favorite: Clif Bars and Balance bars.

My overall recommendation: Always watch the sugar, and of course, watch the number of bars you eat! Never is an excess consumption of bars good for you.

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Healthy Habits in the Workplace

Most of us know exercise and good nutrition are essential for optimal productivity in the workplace. But, a new study that will be published in the journal Population Health Management further shows that eating unhealthily is linked with a 66 percent increased risk of loss of productivity, while rare exercise is linked with a 50 percent increased risk of low productivity.

Having worked in a corporate setting, I can tell you it’s not easy to take breaks, get up and walk, and remember to eat a healthy diet, even as an RD! However, I can tell you that there is increased activity in the brain if we do make a point to get up from our computers and walk around. I was inspired to write this posting after quitting my corporate job, which was a corporate wellness job by the way, in order to give you guys some ideas of how to keep your work environment a healthy one.

1) Take Exercise Breaks- It’s important to get up from your desk every few hours. If it’s nice out, I’ll schedule a lunchtime walk outside. It really re-energizes you.

2) Pack Healthy Snacks-Because I am often rushing around with clients and don’t have time to sit down and eat for more than 10 minutes, I always pack quick healthy snacks and meals. I keep nuts and fruit in my bag plus the occasional granola bar to keep me going throughout the afternoon and to keep my mind sharp and energy high. If I am really craving something sweet in the afternoon, I opt for a small piece of chocolate.

3) Exercise Before Work- Exercise keeps me sane I swear! I feel that I am so much more focused and energized if I exercise before I start my day at work. Plus, it helps set the tone for the day and allows me to better cope with unexpected challenges or stressors.

4) Water Bottle on Hand-One of the most plentiful resources in the office is usually underutilized- water! It helps to keep me hydrated and focused. When I used to work in the corporate setting,  I would get up every hour to grab a cup of water. Not only is water good for us, but it makes sure we get up and move. If using the bathroom every other hour isn’t your thing though, keep a water bottle on hand. I always keep one readily available (I like the life factory water bottles), so that I at least have a reminder in front of me.

5) Keep the office space clutter free- It’s so important to me that I have a clean office for clients. It also helps keep the stress at bay and ensures I can focus on my work. If you need a clutter-free, comfortable place after work to get things done and focus, I recommend checking out WeWork. WeWork is a co-working company that builds really neat shared office spaces equipped with water, lounges, coffee, internet, phone booths, event space, and conference rooms.

I would love to hear from you about what you do to keep your work day a healthy one!

My First Karaoke Brunch

If you asked me if I would ever get up and sing karaoke in exchange for a free brunch, my answer would be: No trust me, you don’t want to hear my voice. But if YOUR answer is yes, then you’ll want to check out this new Papagayo special. Papagayo Charlestown is hosting a Karaoke Brunch on Sundays where you can earn a FREE breakfast simply by singing some tunes for the crowd. And even if you don’t feel like singing, everyone that comes to support you will get 50% off their brunch entrees for the ENTIRE month of January. I had my first karaoke brunch experience this past Sunday with some other wonderful bloggers to celebrate the launch of HeyLets.

HeyLets is an alternative to some of the review sites out there. The focus is on sharing positive experiences at places you love (restaurants, shops, fitness studios, etc.) and interacting with other users. To create a post on the app it’s super easy! All you need to do is write a couple of sentences and share a pic. Through the app you can wishlist other people’s posts (sort of like favoriting a tweet or liking a status) . And, as your posts are wishlisted, you increase your status from rookie to up and coming to reviewer, etc. It’s kind of like Yelp but on a whole new level. You can download it from the itunes store and try it here.

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Anyways, back to brunch! I started out with their coconut margarita, which was absolutely delicious. I usually get their Blackberry Fizz drink, which I also highly recommend. The menu had a bunch of great brunch options that fit with their Mexican theme. While I was not daring enough to get the Huevos Divociado or Brunch Stack, others did try some of the house specials. I got the West Coast Omelette, which came with fire roasted turkey and fresh avocado and chili-lime dressed greens. The dressing on the greens was tangy and refreshing and complemented my super sweet drink.

Our group getting our karaoke on!

Our group getting our karaoke on!

I’d been to Papagayo for dinner plenty of times and really enjoy the atmosphere and laid back vibe. Their guacamole is also to die for if you’ve never had it! It was neat checking it out for breakfast though, especially because I had never been to a Mexican style restaurant for breakfast (and drinks +brunch go so well together). Add attentive servers, good company, even better food and drinks, and I can definitely say I enjoyed my experience at Papagayo.

Just a few FYI’s: Karaoke brunch is only available at the Charlestown location on Sundays.

My meal was complimentary (even though I didn’t sing) but all opinions are my own.

Where: The offer is available at Papagayo’s Charlestown restaurant, located at 1 Chelsea Street.

The Club by George Foreman III

I have been dying to try a boxing class for some time. Intimidation and nerves had thus far prevented me from ever giving the intense sport a try. I’m badass but not THAT badass. But, with the Southie Crossfit Showdown going on this weekend, a girl’s gotta do something to stay active. I had heard about The Club by George Foreman awhile back, a luxury boxing gym, located in a two floor, 15,000 square foot space. With the lack of my cross fit gym available and the demotivation of working out at home, this was my chance to give one of the intense fighting classes a try.

So, on Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending a BoxFit360 at The Club by George Foreman III. Described as 2 minute circuits for 45 minutes using Kettlebell’s, rowers, ropes, and more, this sounded like my type of class!

When my fiancé and I arrived on Saturday, to say we were impressed would be a huge understatement. The Club is a converted warehouse with brick interior, state-of-the-art locker rooms with a sauna, steam rooms and showers and towel service, an on-site juice and coffee bar, and plenty of core, cardio and strength training equipment. The center floor also features two boxing rings, with the edges featuring smaller spaces for group exercise classes( like boxfit360). Classrooms are also on the outer edges and include fight conditioning, boxing yoga, barre, and spinning. Upstairs you will find treadmills, rowers, and more for all of your cardio needs. You really can find anything and everything you need at The Club. And of course there are plenty of bags and boxing equipment.

We had such a fun time doing the class too! Pat was our instructor and was super focused and does a great job pushing you. He also is very attentive to form, which I ALWAYS seek from an instructor. Great full body workout and I really appreciated the core intervals in between each circuit. The staff were accommodating and friendly as well and we didn’t feel out of place being the “newbies” at all.

I will definitely be back for more!

Halloween Tricks for Treats and Tips to Keep you in Shape

Halloween may be about the outrageous costumes, festive parties and frolicking in the dark, but what really excites us are all the TASTY TREATS! Mini size candy bars, colorful candy corn and other tempting Halloween candies will certainly satisfy a sweet tooth, but unfortunately will also wreak havoc on our diet and fitness program. Lucky for you, there is a way to indulge in those Halloween treats guilt free. Just follow these exercise tricks and training tips designed by Boston Sports Clubs® (BSC). Not only will you satisfy your sugar fix, but also get fit while doing it.

Tricks for treats after you trick or treat: Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Patch Push-ups with Side Plank – Get into pushup position on knees or toes. Do a pushup and as you come up, rotate to the right into a side plank, taking left arm up to the ceiling (keep knee down on the floor for balance; stack feet for advanced). Come back into pushup position and do another pushup followed by a side plank to the left side. Continue alternating pushups and side planks for all reps, modifying when needed. Do 3 sets, 10 each side.

Jack-o-Lantern Jumps – Start standing with feet about 6 inches apart. Bend knees and sit down to a 90 degree angle, keeping your back straight. With a power jump, leap up as high as you can, landing a giant step to the front. Repeat to the sides and back. Try for 3 sets of 24.

Spider Squats – Holding a plastic pumpkin filled with candy, perform a squat. Place your feet shoulder width apart, abs pulled in. Squat down slowly as you sit back on your heels keeping good posture with chest up, shoulders back, and chin level. Lower as far as you can, keeping knees behind the toes and not going below 90 degrees. Tip: place a chair behind you and act like you’re about to sit down, pulling up before actually sitting. Do 3 sets for 15.

Tricky Tricep Kickbacks – This is a tough one! Stand on right leg, taking the left leg straight out behind you so both leg and torso are parallel the floor. Bring the right elbow up next to your torso while holding a weight and, maintaining your balance, extend the elbow until the arm is straight by contracting the triceps. Maintain this position for all kickbacks and then switch sides. Try for 3 sets, 12 each arm.

Creepy Crunches – Lie on your back with hands placed gently behind your head. Put feet about 2 feet apart, flat on the floor, with knees bent. To start the exercise, lift your shoulder blades off the ground, meeting your rising knees to some up to a 90 degree angle. Lower both the feet and the head back to the ground. Try for 3 sets of 20.

Lurking Lunges with Bicep Curl – Stand in split stance, right leg in front, left leg in back. Holding plastic pumpkins filled with candy, bend both knees and lower into a lunge, keeping front knee BEHIND the toe and knees no lower than 90 degree angles. As you lower, perform a bicep curl, keeping your elbows by your side. Release curl while rising. 3 Sets of 10 each leg.

Monster Climbers – Start with hands on the floor, shoulder width apart, legs straight on toes. Using a thrusting motion, bring right knee into the chest, tap toe on floor. As the right foot goes back to starting position, bring the left knee in. Be sure to have a slight bend in the elbow and keep your abs tight. Continue for three sets of 20.

Halloween Treats (mini size) Training Tricks

1 Almond Joy – 80 calories – Do 100 Jack-o-Lantern Jumps

1 Three Musketeers – 40 calories- Do 4 sets of 20 Lurking Lunges

1 Reese’s cup – 50 calories- Do 5 min of Monster Climbers

1 Tootsie Roll – 30 calories – Do 30 Spider Squats / 30 Creepy Crunches

1 York Pep Patty – 75 calories- Do 5 min Monster Climbers / 3 sets Tricep Kickbacks

10 pieces Candy Corn – 70 calories- Do 3 sets of 10 Pumpkin Patch Pushups

Remember – it’s just one day!

Halloween, like other holidays, is a single day on the calendar. So go ahead, and enjoy that bite-sized treat!

BSC ( Boston Sports Club) has provided these tricks and training tips to indulge in Halloween treats guilt free! 

Meal Plans At Last!

Yes- this has taken me awhile to offer- but I am happy to announce I am officially offering meal plan serves.

If you have ever wondered how much you should be eating,

Or you are concerned you are not getting enough of a certain nutrient,

Or are gaining weight despite exercising and cutting calories

Or just simply want some nutritional guidance, stop by my website:http://www.shelbyknutrition.com/services/

if you are interested in working together. You can expect to receive 2 weeks of customized meal plans- including your shopping list and simple, easy to follow recipes. We will work together to make a plan suitable for lifelong healthy changes that fit with your lifestyle.

So are you ready to start making changes?

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My Engagement

Happy Sunday!

How was your weekend!?! My past week + few weekends ago now took quite the turn from what I expected—all in a good way of course- lots of family, friends, and good food+ nantucket= recipe for a great week. Even though I haven’t had as much time to blog recently, I like sharing random things going on in my life. I love reading about what’s going on in others lives, so I forewarn you that this post has absolutely nothing to do with paleo/nutrition AT ALL, but rather what’s been going on in my life, because sometimes…that’s what’s fun to read about. I write this though as I battle a cold and am slightly distracted by the sweet potato chips to my left, so please me forgive me for the any apparent brain fog.

I’ll start with what happened TWO weeks ago now. Wow time flies!

My absolute best friend from high school came up for the weekend. She usually comes up every fall, but because she lives in DC, it means a lot when I get to see her and catch up.  It’s amazing how much can change in a year since her last visit: A new condo, new accomplishments, new jobs.. all of which moved me in the direction of growth, when I allowed them to. It’s nearly overwhelming to round-up the happenings of this past year, but it brings me happiness and joy to reflect and appreciate the highlights of the year.

We spent most of her first night catching up, sipping wine, and sharing our changes of the past year, all while planning out her next few days in Boston. I was excited for a weekend that was everything I needed it to be: free from work, life chats, downtown Boston, dinners out..etc. Of course, the planner in me should just chill every once in awhile because little did I know Saturday would be nothing like we had planned, but rather a day full of surprises put together by my boyfriend.

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Saturday we woke up and got dressed to go get our nails done- the first surprise put together by my lovely boyfriend. He had arranged for us to get our nails done months prior as part of (what I thought) was his anniversary gift to me.

Post nails, however, my friend hands me a card, and starting to feel like I am on a scavenger hunt, I eagerly open it. It reads: “Sweetie, it’s time to say goodbye to Sarah, her time with you is over, but your day is far from it. Someone at Spa Christine is waiting for you to get started with your next surprise.”

I walked next door to the spa, where I spent the afternoon getting my nails and makeup done. While at the spa, I simply assumed that we would be going to dinner afterwards. Post treatments I was brought outside where a limo was awaiting with my boyfriend inside. Unbeknownst to me, he had arranged a private wine tasting at a family owned vineyard, reminiscent of our 1 month anniversary. We grew up in upstate NY surrounded by vineyards and wineries. It was at this point things started to become a little clearer to me as to why I was dressed up and had gotten all dolled up. What a nice anniversary gift I thought!

We then got back into the limo after our tasting, as I wondered where we could be off to next. We drove back into the city, and then we began down Newbury street, pulling off to the side in front of a jewelry store. Rose petals lined the steps down into the store, that had been shut down just for us. As I entered the store, a box reading “Marry me?” sat tall on top of the first jewelry display. My boyfriend led me over to the case, where he had picked out 7 different rings for me to choose from! My friend of course was there (as I was wondering where she was all day!), taking pictures to capture this perfect moment. I of course said yes. After drying my tears, he put the ring on my finger, and it was at that point that I realized the jewelry store had been decorated with canvas portraits of us. Even better? Afterwards, we took the limo to the privately chartered yacht he had waiting with my family aboard to celebrate 🙂

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