My kinda abbey

Hi friends. Late night blogging tonight- we were celebrating a very special birthday for a truly amazing nana.

Birthday cake

I’ve gushed about her on the blog quite a few times, but my nana is pretty incredible.. we’re so lucky to have her and Liv is also a lucky girl to have her nanas watching her while I work a couple of days each week. Nana taught me how to drive (I freaked my mom out too much because I had a lead foot and took turns a little too wide), she’s been to all of my dance recitals and performances, and she’s never mad at anyone. She has a beautiful heart and gives so much to everyone around her.ย 

To celebrate her bday, we all went to The Abbey for drinks and dinner when everyone was off work,

The abbey

and it was a great treat after a long dayโ€ฆ so was the glass of vino ๐Ÿ˜‰

Us 3

The Abbey is a quaint, funky restaurant with modern twists on American comfort food. Every night they have a seafood special, a meaty special, a salad special and a breakfast-for-dinner special (!) in addition to their eclectic menu.

Just like last time, we were treated with truffle popcorn, fresh bread, butter and sea salt for the table,

and we ordered the brie wellington and “the board” to share as appetizers.

The board

(Egg, apricot, flatbread with tapenade, olives, salumi, house-pickled veggies and a hunk of beautiful salmon)

For my entree, I rolled with the same thing I got last time we were at The Abbey: crispy salmon with carrot puree and brussels.

If it ain’t brokeโ€ฆ.


After nana rocked her while we waited to order,


sleeping beauty snoozed through dinner and woke up just in time to sing “Happy Birthday,” suck on some broccoli through her mesh feeder thing, and then gnaw on her cousin’s dolly ๐Ÿ˜‰

Liv and doll

I also had a little trip down memory lane while we were there- the hostess was one of my hip hop girls when I taught at the dance studio here in Tucson (in high school and college). She said, “sorry to bother you.. but were you my dance teacher??” I was so, so excited to see her. This has happened a few times since we’ve been back, and it makes me so happy to see the girls I taught when they were little all grown up.. and also makes me feel super old, haha.

I’m back at home, and I have no words of workout tips or anything like that.. just a full belly and a happy heart.

Time to snooooooze.

See ya in the morning with some Friday Faves and a roon recipe I’ve been promising ๐Ÿ˜‰



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  1. jaclyn on July 20, 2012 at 1:16 am

    wow livi is getting SO BIG!! so cute too! when she was really little I thought she looked just like Tom but as she’s getting older, I think she looks more and more like you ๐Ÿ™‚

    glad you are having a great time with the fam. enjoy yourself!! <3

  2. Wendy A. on July 20, 2012 at 1:17 am

    Love the Abbey!!! Great place! Where do you teach?

    • Fitnessista on July 20, 2012 at 1:19 am

      i used to teach dance at a studio here, but now i teach fitness at one of the health resorts

  3. Karen A. on July 20, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Wow, that food looks amazing! Where is this located?

  4. Lani on July 20, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Lovely, heart-warming post, Gina. Sounds like a simply great evening. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Erin on July 20, 2012 at 1:43 am

    Is it easy to eat gluten free there?

  6. Averie @ Averie Cooks on July 20, 2012 at 2:12 am

    What a story..bumping into a now-adult who was a former student! That’s crazy and cool! And Livi is looking like such a big girl!

  7. Bek @ Crave on July 20, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Sounds like a beautiful night- I think the workout tips can wait. We are satisfied enough with your food piccys haha.

  8. Melissa (Better Fit) on July 20, 2012 at 3:33 am

    Sounds like a wonderful night with lovely food and a fantastic family!

  9. Jess on July 20, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Livi looks so big! ๐Ÿ™‚ lovely family you have, so nice that you all spend so much time together!

  10. Anne on July 20, 2012 at 7:05 am

    That is SO wonderful Liv gets to grow up near her great grandmother!

    We always lived 8 hours from our family and now for the first time in my life I live close to family outside of my immediate family and it is so cool!

  11. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on July 20, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Happy birthday to your nana! She sounds like such an amazing woman. ๐Ÿ™‚ And that’s really great that Liv gets to spend so much time with her. My grandma looked after me during the days when I was a baby, and we’ve always had a special bond since. It’ll be nice for Liv to have that with her nana too!

  12. Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness on July 20, 2012 at 8:14 am

    What a wonderful night! Happy birthday to your Nana! I can totally relate to how close you are with your Nana because I have a wonderful Nana myself and am so grateful that I am so close with her! I always love seeing old dance students too! I am always in awe with how big they are too!!!

  13. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance on July 20, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Isn’t that funny when you run into old students? I’m a math teacher, and at the beginning of a school I’m bound to have a student say, “You had my older brother/sister!” “Wow, what are they up to now? What year in college?” “Oh, they graduated already and are working/living (insert something fancy)”. Whoa. I’m gettin’ old!

  14. Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings on July 20, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Your family seems so sweet! And Liv’s little cheeks are so cute! Glad you are getting to spend time with lots of family!

  15. Stephanie on July 20, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Question for you. Im not sure when you said dinner and late night how late you were out but since my daughter goes to bed at 7 (and gets super tired by then) Im always rushing to get home by then. A few times I have gotten her in bed by 7:30 or 7:45 just because I was running late, but how do you handle later nights out. Do you get home by bedtime or let Livi roll with the punches? My daughter just isn’t good at the whole sleeping in a carseat at a restaurant with a ton of noise thing so I dont even try so basically my husband and I are home by 7pm every single night unless we have a babysitter or one of us stays in and the other goes out.

  16. Julie on July 20, 2012 at 11:06 am

    “Full belly & a happy heart”… LOVE.

  17. Cat @sugaraddictsanonymous on July 20, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Sometimes, just sometimes, I see a picture like that one of your salmon entree, and I wish I was not deathly allergic to seafood! It looks fabulous!


  18. Jess on July 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

    This is such a beautiful post. I lost my grandma this year and posts like these warm my heart and bring back the greatest memories. What a lucky little girl Livi is to be able to go back one day and re-read posts of the amazing occasions she was present at. And I can’t with those cheeks of hers, too adorable! Be sure to wish your Nana a happy birthday from your bloggie friends! <3

  19. Stephanie @ Legally Blinde on July 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Happy birthday to your nana! I’m so glad that you have her in your life, and that Livi gets to spend time with her, too. I’m really lucky to have grown up near my grandparents, and that I got the opportunity to spend lots of time with – and being spoiled by – my grandmas ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Ashley Smith on July 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try this place but I thought it might be “pub food” ( a la Nimbus??)

    I think I will be headed here for date night with the hubs this weekend!! Looks AMAZING! YUM!

  21. Julie on July 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    What a fun night out with family! Your nana sounds amazing. I never knew any of my grandparents, so I’ll live vicariously through you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Abby on July 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    “full belly and a happy heart” what more can we ask for?

    • Abby on July 20, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      Also, where are your gorgeous wedding rings?

      • Fitnessista on July 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm

        I went to dinner straight after work and never wear jewelry to teach or workout

        • Abby on July 20, 2012 at 1:38 pm

          Ohhh ok, that’s smart, my poor wedding ring and band are scratched on the underside from weights haha

  23. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy on July 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    aw how fun! Livi is just so adorable! and a breakfast-for-dinner-special?!?! that is AMAZING:)

  24. Liz @ Southern Charm on July 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    I know how you feel with the being old thing!! I used to competitively dance until my JR year of college. It’s crazy that some girls weren’t even 10 yet and now they are touring and on shows like SYTYCD. I’m SO proud of them … but I also feel REALLY old!! Haha.

  25. mary on July 20, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Totally unrelated, but if anyone ordered the Tarte QVC set and got a foundation too DARK for them, and wants to trade for FAIR, let me know. I thought I ordered ‘light’ but QVC says I ordered ‘fair’. Probably what happens when you order at midnight! : )

  26. Cathy on July 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Just wanted to reach out and let you know how much I LOVE your blog!! I’ve been on an amazing routine and this blog keeps me super motivated. In fact, I am going to make those Amaze Balls recipe tonight and so pumped to maintain this healthy lifestyle.

    I posted some of my progress on my blog and if you’d like check it out! I posted a pic of my cut up arms hehe!

    Cathy Trails_My Progress

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