Tag Archive | family

Friday Confessions: moments

Hey friends! Long time, no talk. Time sure has slipped away from me this summer. It is SO hard to believe we’re almost to Labor Day.  I don’t know how you’re feeling about it, but I’m quite honestly having mixed emotions.  Since the end of summer is upon us (I hate saying that but it’s true… I start classes in less than 2 weeks!), I wanted to be sure I wrote about some of my favorite moments through the last few months. After all, even though I originally started this blog to share recipes,  it has truly become a space to also express my feelings and write about memories I never want to forget.

We all have moments that stick out in our minds…happy and sad moments, freaking-out moments,  life is oh-so-good moments, etc. I’ve certainly had my fair share of cries and hysterical moments this summer, but all-in-all, there’s been a lot more happy moments that stand-out in my mind more than anything at all. For one, Brandon came home,  for another, my sister got married, and just yesterday we signed a lease and move in one week! While the summer has also had its challenging moments, mostly it’s been incredibly special. I will always look back on these few months and cherish these times.   My favorite moments were:

Moments with my parents: It’s been incredibly rewarding to live with my parents this past year. Having this one-on-one time with them day-in and day-out as an adult has been so special. I’ll always hold dear to my heart the early morning work-outs and walks with my Mom, movie and dinner dates with my Dad, bike rides, mother/daughter day-off trips, and grocery shopping together…man-oh-man I’m going to miss my parents. I will never be able to thank them enough for their generosity this year and I will always treasure these moments.

IMG_9778
An evening stroll in Kennebunkport

Fried food date with Dad (YOLO)
IMG_9901IMG_9902

Bike ride cuties

IMG_9655IMG_9661

Moments with friends: I haven’t seen nearly enough of my girlfriends these past few months, but no matter how far apart we live, the second we’re together, it’s just like old times. Much love to my girls.
IMG_9645IMG_907110492371_10152878689886729_535865551309980550_n

Moments with my other half:Although I’ve only seen my sister ONCE this summer (I can’t even believe that’s the truth), every second of  being together was wonderful. Best friends forever and always.

IMG_9772IMG_9775IMG_9786
Moments with grandparents (and the grand-dogs):
It has been a summer of adjustment without our Boppa around for all of us, especially for Nana. For that reason, we’ve tried to keep her busy and keep her surrounded by loved ones at all times.  Moments with Nana and my Mem are always full of laughter and love, but they’re never quite long enough. My parents would agree that moments with their “grand-dogs” are never quite long enough, either.
IMG_9398IMG_9046IMG_9754IMG_9797

Moments of celebrating love:
It is the summer of weddings and I have loved it! Witnessing some of our closest friends and family members exchange heartfelt vows has been so special and has warmed my heart. Plus, attending them with Brandon has made them even more special.

IMG_8973IMG_9845IMG_9547IMG_8925IMG_9854
Moments of togetherness:

I have not spent nearly enough time with Brandon this summer as I’d hoped, but we are so excited about our upcoming move and future endeavors. I’m thankful for the special moments we have had this summer, and can’t wait for future together.
IMG_8945IMG_9129IMG_9303IMG_9347

Moments at work: The biggest challenge I faced this summer was creating a work/life balance for myself. While I didn’t exactly excel in this balance, I am really proud of the improvements I made in my managing skills and food-service skills, along with the commitment and dedication I showed throughout the season. I truly couldn’t love a small business more.  

IMG_9268IMG_9598

Do you have any stand-out moments of the summer?

What’s up for Labor Day?
I will either be moving or working, so please share some fun plans so I can live vicariously through you!

my sister is beautiful

Hello, hello! Oh my goodness it feels like I haven’t written in forever (because I haven’t) so I have about one zillion things to catch you up on. First things first. Sadly, my Grandfather passed away on May 17th at the age of 85. We are so thankful that he lived a long life, but that does not make the fact that he is no longer with us any easier. The sorrow my Nana and family is feeling is heart-wrenching. Boppa meant the world to us. His passing happened 8 days before my sisters wedding, too, which was (and still is) extremely difficult to comprehend.  As a family, we’ve helped each other cope and grieve together. We knew Boppa would want my sister to have the best day of her life on her wedding day, so it was essential we made sure to stick together as a family for both Kimmie  and Nana’s sake. We love you, Bop.
IMG_8621IMG_7730

Secondly, in exciting news…my twin sister is married! With Boppa watching down on us, Kimmie and her longtime-love Jimmy tied the knot this past Sunday evening, May 25th, at Castle Hill Inn in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island. Everything turned out perfectly: the weather, the setting, the dresses, the food, the entertainment, it was magical. Plus, having our entire family together in one place was so special. My aunts, uncles, cousins and friends traveling from near and far made it even more special! My sister stated that it was ‘the best day of her life’, which is just what we all wanted to hear. I’m SO happy for these two…and I’m psyched to have a brother.
IMG_8924IMG_8927

For now, here are some pictures of our weekend in Newport and of Kimmie  & Jimmy’s big day. Everyone loves wedding pictures, right? (Well, I know I do, and I’m guessing some of my fellow ladies out there do too!)

Leading up to the wedding : Day 1, Newport:
IMG_8639IMG_8642IMG_8644IMG_8645
IMG_8680IMG_8685IMG_8688

Day 2: Rehearsal
IMG_8712IMG_8716IMG_8739IMG_8745IMG_8748IMG_8735IMG_8756IMG_8729IMG_8758

Day 3: Kimmie’s Wedding Day!

IMG_8782IMG_8784IMG_8707IMG_8788IMG_8799
The stunning Bride

IMG_8775
Steaming away to calm my nerves!
IMG_8806
Off to Castle Hill Inn!
IMG_8817
The most beautiful bouquets
IMG_8826IMG_8829IMG_8831
Beautiful Mom
IMG_8863
Sisters :- )
IMG_8870
Father-daughter moment <3
IMG_8908
Family!
IMG_8919
Mom and daughters
IMG_8926
Wedding party!
IMG_8900
With our Mom’s <3
IMG_8902IMG_8918

IMG_8953
With my handsome date

Congratulations, Kimmie and Jimmy. I love you!

p.s. I promise I’ll be back soon with a recipe or two…PROMISE! : –)

Have you ever been to Newport?
I love Newport more and more each time I visit!

What’s your favorite part about weddings?
I have too many favorites…the vows, watching the first dance, the flowers, and dancing are all a tie for me!

Lately: smiles and celebrations

Hello, hello, long time, no talk! I didn’t intend to be absent for so long, but things got a little exciting around here last week…Brandon came home! Lately there’s been a lot of smiles and celebrating going on around these parts : –)
IMG_8179IMG_8181IMG_8183
Obviously I couldn’t resist making a sign, and because I’m a secret poet I had to rhyme Winking smile

I wish I could bottle-up the emotions I felt as I saw him walking towards us; it is a feeling I’ll never forget. Having him home is so surreal! Simple things like getting coffee and bagels together, going to the grocery store, watching t.v.; it’s these little things that I missed the most. I’m so happy to have him back.  Even just being in the same time zone is SUCH a treat because we can actually communicate throughout the day. This may not sound major, but it was something we couldn’t do as a result of the Australian/U.S. time difference so it’s a wonderful feeling.
IMG_8186
We met my best friend Julia’s newborn baby boy, Jackson, the day after B arrived home…he is so precious!

Brandon planned a Vermont getaway for us over the weekend which was unforgettable. A fun road trip with just the two of us was the perfect way to celebrate his homecoming together. We toured (and gorged on ice-cream)  at Ben & Jerry’s, visited Lake Champlain Chocolates and Cabot Cheese, had (too many) drinks, danced and sang the night away at a David Nail concert, and mostly just enjoyed being together again.  I don’t think I stopped smiling all weekend!
IMG_8208IMG_8209
Is there anything better than free ice-cream samples? I think not.
IMG_8216IMG_8236
IMG_8225IMG_8231
What a small world…we even saw friends at the concert! Hi girls : –)
IMG_8239
This would be my hang-over cure bagel. Maple walnut cream cheese for.the.win.

To top off the weekend, I headed to Connecticut to celebrate my sister & the bride-to-be at her bridal shower hosted by her future sister and mother-in-law. To say this shower was beautiful is an understatement. It was EXQUISITE. The decorations, décor, food, festivities, and people were amazing. What a special day for my sister. Love you Deb and Lauren!
IMG_8254IMG_8262IMG_8270
Future sisters!
IMG_8256IMG_8272IMG_8257IMG_8288IMG_8277
It is truly the season of bridal showers! Last week I also attended my friend Suzanna’s shower and it was such a fun day. Can’t wait for that wedding!
IMG_8128

There’s one more thing that’s been celebrated around here lately:
Last week I received my acceptance letter into the Master of Science in Food and Nutrition program at Framingham State University in Massachusetts, beginning in September of this year. I am BEYOND excited. This program acceptance is what I’ve been working towards for the last year-and-a-half, and besides that, it also means that Brandon and I get to move back to Massachusetts this fall. Hip-hip-hooray!  Thank you all for the kind words and support <3
IMG_8175

The celebrations will be continuing this weekend, too! I’m off to Atlantic City for Kimmie’s bachelorette with 8 beautiful ladies. It’s her last fling before the ring and I can’t wait! GET ME TO FRIDAY. Have a great rest of the week, friends. xo

Ever been to Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in VT?
What’s your favorite B&J flavor?
I am a die-hard cookie dough lover, but I tried the ‘candy bar pie’ flavor this past weekend and now I’m hooked!
 
New Jersey friends, any recommendations of fun, girly, day-time activities in Atlantic City in case the weather isn’t conducive for bathing suits?

28, feeling great: Confessions

Happy Friday, friends! It is safe to say April is the month of birthdays around here. First was Brandon’s (he is only 6 days older than me) and on Wednesday my sister and I turned 28. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again..where does the time go? I really do not know. What I do know is that I wish my twin sister her very best year yet. 28 is proving to be a huge year for her already! To start, she’s getting married and she just started a new job. Who knows what else the year will bring? I couldn’t be prouder of her. Anyway, since it’s Friday and all, I’d say it’s time for some confessions:

1) It always seems that every year at least one person asks me what it’s like to share a birthday as a twin.
I love getting twin questions, and I always answer this one in one simple word: AMAZING.
It’s amazing to share a birthday each year with your very best friend.
IMG_7978IMG_7981

It’s amazing to grow up and have joint birthday celebrations (twice the cake, twice the friends, twice the fun!)
IMG_7983

It’s amazing and a true blessing to be a twin.
025

2)I should have been a wedding planner
As much as wedding-related activities can be stressful, it has truly been such a fun process with my sister and it was SO fun to make her wedding invitations this past weekend.  Although we were very tired of gluing and assembling after 150+ invitations, they came out better than we ever imagined. Looks like I should have been a wedding planner…or maybe just an invitation maker!
IMG_7894IMG_7896

3)I couldn’t have felt more loved on my birthday
Seriously,  I am so blessed. I have the best boyfriend, family, and friends around. The flowers, cards, packages, multiple phone calls and all of the messages I received throughout the day were so touching. Even though I had to be  in class all day, I couldn’t stop smiling from the amount of love I felt. Thank you all for your kindness. 28 feels great so far!
IMG_7998IMG_8006

Also, this was by-far the highlight of my food-related birthday treats:
A Dairy Queen Confetti Cake Blizzard. OMG. All I can say is, if you have a DQ in your area, go order this NOW.
IMG_7989

4) I am positive I have a cauliflower problem
Ever since my Mom introduced me to a gluten-free, dairy-free “cauliflower poppers” recipe that involves nutritional yeast as a main ingredient, I have been HOOKED on cauliflower. I’ll share the simple recipe soon, it is a definite keeper!
IMG_8015

5) 11 days remain…
The countdown is dwindling…Brandon is home in 11 days and counting! I have to pinch myself on a daily basis; I can not believe we are almost down to single digits. Ahhhh!  Wishing my love a wonderful last week with his mates down-under.
IMG_2084

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Anyone else ever want to be a wedding planner?
Have you cooked with nutritional yeast?
Do you like Dairy Queen?
I am literally obsessed.

Reflections

Happy (belated) New Year! What a whirlwind the holidays are. Each year, it feels like they go by faster and faster. Anybody else feel that way? The last time I blogged, I had just finished finals, Brandon was about to come home, and Christmas was about to occur.
IMG_5960
Fast forward to today and suddenly I’m back in classes, Brandon has returned to Australia and Christmas is over. Where does the time go? Anyway, I was looking through my phone (and my nearly 3,000 photos…yikes) and I started to reflect on this past year. I love  how that’s so easy to do with pictures! I’ve never been one to state so-called ‘resolutions’ for the new year, but I do believe in goals, so I thought I’d state my reflections on the year instead, along with a goal to go along with each of them too.

Reflections 2013
-Personal growth happens when we least expect it
Looking back, I think I grew more as a person this past year than ever before in my life, but I never really thought so at the time. For all of last year, I was mostly just a basket of nerves. I was nervous to move beyond my comfort zone, nervous to change career paths, nervous to head back to school, move internationally, live with my boyfriend, make new friends and nervous to think about what direction my life would go in next. All of these things pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me grow. Yes it was scary, but I undoubtedly grew from it, without even expecting it.
Goal: Do one thing every month that pushes me out of my comfort zone.
1044516_10200726417937848_251172461_n

-Australia was a blessing
Moving across the world was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also the greatest thing I’ve ever done too. It forced me to grow, ignited my love of traveling, introduced  me to things and new friends, and gave me a lifetime of lasting memories, too . As hard as it was to be away from home, for me it’s harder to be away from the one I love, so everyday has its challenges. That being said, I know (now) that I made the right decision for our future, but it sure wasn’t easy at the time.
Goal: Travel to Australia with Brandon again one day.
australia2
IMG_2973

Distance makes the heart grow fonder
Truth is, I didn’t always believe this, but I am a whole-hearted believer now. Long distance relationships, like any relationship are based on commitment and trust, but with long-distance, I feel the belief you have in your relationship and in one another is a key component, too.   With this commitment and belief forms an unbreakable bond, and if this year has proved anything to me, it’s this. I’m thrilled to say that as soon as April hits, the long distance will be over and Brandon will be home!
Goal: Date nights once a week, minimum!
IMG_1920

-A week off from exercise is actually GOOD for my body
If you told me this a few years ago I would have cringed at the thought. I took a 5-7 days off from exercise at a time a couple of times this year, and it truly helped me both mentally and physically. I am so happy to be past my exercise addiction habits and ways of thinking. Rest does the body good.
Goal: Take breaks from exercise, whether needed or not needed

-I need to sleep more
I have been guilty of being sleep deprived for as long as I can remember, and this year was no exception. I need to remember how good I feel after an 8-hour sleep compared to a 5-hour sleep. My energy levels are better, my concentration is better, my mood is better…everything is just better.
Goal: 7-8 hours of sleep a night
IMG_6399

-I ran a lot but I’d like to run more
Since I stopped playing basketball at age 18, I haven’t felt like I’ve had a ‘sport’. This year, I really connected with running and now it kind-of feels like ‘my sport’. I’m not running a marathon anytime soon, but a second half marathon may be in my future, and it’s just so nice to look forward to running.
Goal: ‘3’ has always been my average number, so I’d like to increase my average running route from 3-4 miles to 4-5 miles by the spring-time.
week2running

-Group exercise is addicting
I can thank Australia for this reflection. It’s there that I fell in love with bootcamps and Les Mills workout classes, and I looked forward to them almost daily. They were addicting, but in a good way. I miss them everyday.
Goal: First purchase when I move back to city/Boston area living is a gym membership…can’t wait!
IMG_1082

-Age is just a number
The thought of turning 28 this year sort-of makes me want to cry. ‘Late-20’s’ oh my. I kick myself just writing those words, but I can’t help thinking it!  When I look at my Mom and Dad I just hope I am just like them in my 60’s, not looking or acting a bit like ‘60’ at all, since age really is just a number.
Goal: STOP thinking of aging as a sad thing and start thinking of it as exciting part of life.
IMG_1972IMG_5222

-As you age, you learn who your friends are
Moving away was truly telling about my friendships. Oddly enough, I felt moving away brought me even closer together to a few of my best friends. Even though I’m not in the same city or state as them right now, I couldn’t love them more.
Goal: Have a girls weekend once a month.
IMG_4540IMG_3567
IMG_4541
IMG_3571IMG_6225

IMG_2523

 

 

 

 

-Family is a precious gift
My family means everything to me, and this year, more than ever, their support was crucial to my well-being. I can’t say thank you to them enough.
Goal: Make togetherness a priority this year and every year.
045IMG_5982IMG_3983

And on a less serious note:
-I have a cookie butter problem
I’m not seeking help for it since it’s too delicious, but I just wanted to acknowledge that I eat far too much of it.
Goal:  Try new nut butters….there has to be others that I like just as much, right?

-Puppies are a key to my happiness.
This might sound sappy, stupid, whatever…I am a true believer in this. Puppies always make me smile, no matter what. My sister’s puppies actually lick my tears. Sometimes I fake cry just so they’ll do it (truth).
Goal: Puppy by year end (NO MATTER WHAT!)
IMG_6341IMG_6351IMG_6321

I’m thankful for a wonderful 2013 and looking forward to a bright 2014.

Do you have any reflections this year?
Anyone else  have  a goal of getting a new puppy, or a pet in general?

I love Cori’s new puppy!

All smiles…and Cake Pops

Today I am all smiles because today’s the day Brandon arrives home from Australia. Hip hip hooray!!!  Can.not.wait. to hug him : )
week4.6-2

Confession: Ever since Brandon moved to Australia, I have a tradition of reading all the cards and notes he’s ever given to me each time we are about to be reunited. I’ve done this every time we’ve been apart and I even brought them all with me to Australia and did this when he went away on business trips. I like having them close to me because it just makes me feel like he’s with me.  Handwritten cards and notes=happiness in a box. They are the best gifts of all.

Truthfully though, I have a hard time stopping smiling around Christmas. Anyone else like this around this time of year? The joy in the air is absolutely contagious in my opinion! Last week I was all smiles in Connecticut with my sister and her puppies in Connecticut. Mostly we just shopped, did wedding-related, crafts, and baked, but I am pretty sure it was my favorite week of the year!
IMG_5653IMG_5656IMG_5658IMG_5813

I do believe that baked goods play a huge part in the joy of any time of year, but it’s especially apparent at Christmas. Baking and enjoying holiday goodies with my family is one of my favorite things about Christmas, so yesterday I decided I would devote a few hours to baking. Cleaning-up aside, baking is truly my favorite hobby. Cake pops were first up on my baking agenda since I’ve been excited to make them ever since I found a cake pop pan at T.J. Maxx. I’m pretty sure this pan is available at major stores, too, since cake pops are all-the-rage right now, but this was my first attempt using it and I absolutely loved it. Perfectly round cake pops, yes please!
IMG_5916

I am all about making desserts healthier, but for Christmas, I think the old-fashioned way is the best way, so real butter and real sugar make these cake pops a real winner! I opted to make chocolate cake with white chocolate and milk chocolate glazes, and lots of sprinkles of course. This homemade chocolate cake is super simple to make, too. Plus, with the help of the pan, it’s a fool-proof way to nearly perfect cake pops. I adapted this recipe directly from the pan wrapper itself, and it’s a definite winner. My Dad and I went crazy over the dough and the finished product.  If you make these, I think you will too!
IMG_5938

Christmas Cake Pops
Ingredients
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup sugar
3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa (I used Godiva brand)
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
24 holiday lollipop sticks ( or regular, but I couldn’t resist the holiday sticks I found at Michaels!)
white chocolate, milk chocolate, or any type of chocolate for melting
Assorted sprinkles for decorating (optional)

Directions
1) Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, grease cake pop pan and set aside.
2) Combine semi-sweet chocolate chips and butter in a medium pan on the stovetop and melt over low-heat, stirring until smooth. Then remove from the heat and transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
IMG_5915
3) Add the sugar and cocoa  to the bowl and mix until well blended, then add the eggs in one at a time and mix until blended.
IMG_5917
4) Lastly, add the flour and salt to this and stir until well blended.
IMG_5918
5) Now add spoonful’s of the batter to the bottom of the cake pop tin (the side without the holes). Make sure you mound the dough over each hole, this way it forms a perfect circle!
IMG_5919
6) Place the top of the pan over the bottom half and secure the clips. Bake for 15-18 minutes. (Mine took about 17 minutes). Check them with a toothpick at 15 minutes to be safe! Once your toothpick is nearly clean, remove them from the oven.
7) Let them cool in the pan for 5-8 minutes, then remove from the pan and place them on a cooling rack.
IMG_5920
8) Now re-grease the cake pop pan and repeat steps 5-7 to use up the remaining dough.
9) While the cake pops are cooling, set out your bowls of decorative sprinkles. I used 4 different kinds because I have a sprinkles problem : –) Then use a double boiler to melt your chocolate (I melt about 1 cup of chips at a time). I started out with white chocolate first.
Side note: This is the biggest bag of chocolate chips I’ve ever used!
IMG_5921
10) Once melted, dip an end of your lollipop stick in the chocolate first, then stick it into the cake pop and roll in chocolate, shaking off any excess chocolate. Then decorate with sprinkles and place on parchment paper. Repeat this process until the cake pops are covered!
IMG_5928IMG_5939

These are perfect for any holiday party! I love them because they’re perfect if you’re looking for a  portion-controlled dessert and they are just so darn cute.
IMG_5941

Merry Christmas!

What’s making you smile today?

Do you have any traditions with your boyfriend/husband/significant other?

What’s your favorite type of cake pop?
Mine is vanilla with pink frosting (you know, the one at Starbucks!) but chocolate is a close second!

Truth is…

Truth is… 
Time management has been a challenge for me lately. I love blogging, but I’ve had a hard time balancing school , work, and life over the last few months. One New Years resolution of mine will be to blog a couple of times a week, mostly because it truly makes me happy to write, reminisce, and share thoughts and recipes.
happy
Source

Truth is…
Thanksgiving this year was one of the best that I can remember. Great food, great family and lots of laughs, I just loved it.
IMG_5483IMG_5504IMG_5490IMG_5508

Truth is…
I am mentally (and physically) exhausted from studying for finals. I have had 3 finals over the course of the last two days, and in the last two weeks, I do believe I’ve studied more  for chemistry than I have for any other subject EVER. Lets hope it pays off.

chem
Source

Truth is…
I recently found out my anatomy & physiology credits from Australia aren’t being accepted for course credit at the college I’m attending, and therefore I must repeat A & P in America. Truthfully I cried for about six hours thinking about the effort and money I spent to take that class…but truthfully I know everything happens for a reason and it will all work out in the end.

Truth is…
I love my grandparents more than anything and selfishly I want them around forever. Watching them struggle with old age has been nothing short of challenging, so I’m always so happy when we’re together and we can dote on them.
bopIMG_5605

Truth is…
Friendship is a blessing. I spent last Saturday in Boston with some of my dearest friends and I truly loved each and every second.
IMG_5618

Truth is…
I really miss outdoor running. While in Australia, most of my workouts were outdoors and I sort -of became accustomed to it. I certainly enjoyed fall running to its fullest in New England, but Maine winters +snow+black ice+frigid temps=no more running for me. However last week and this week, I managed to sneak in one run each week on the “warmer” days, and walk/runs with my Mom. It was blissful!
IMG_5520

Truth is…
I’ve been making a protein shake each morning for breakfast to go along with my fruit and yogurt, and I am absolutely amazed at how long it keeps me satisfied. Arbonne protein powder for the win!
IMG_5444IMG_5445

Truth is…
The holidays are my favorite time of year. When else can you bake and shop every single day and not need an excuse to do it?
IMG_5471

Truth is…
My Mom and I may have a T.J. Maxx problem…just sayin’.
IMG_5575

Truth is…
I made these iced oatmeal cookies last week and they were EPIC. Mother Thyme is a genius. I’ll most definitely be making these  over and over again.
IMG_5582IMG_5584IMG_5587

Truth is…
Brandon arrives home for Christmas in 12 days. To say I’m a little excited would be an absolute UNDERSTATEMENT!
anniversary

Got any truths to share?
What’s your favorite thing about Christmas time?
Anyone else have a TJ Maxx “problem”? : –)