Tag Archive | kimmie

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.
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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.
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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:
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Day 2: Rehearsal
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Day 3: Kimmie’s Wedding Day!

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The stunning Bride

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Steaming away to calm my nerves!
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Off to Castle Hill Inn!
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The most beautiful bouquets
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Beautiful Mom
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Sisters :- )
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Father-daughter moment <3
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Family!
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Mom and daughters
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Wedding party!
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With our Mom’s <3
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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!

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sometimes we need a reminder

Hi friends, how are you? I am still adjusting after a very busy exam week and action-packed weekend, but I wanted to say hello and share some photos. I had a special, emotional weekend honoring my twin sister Kimberly at her bridal shower.
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When a special event like this is over, I often like to sit back and reflect on the day as a whole. As I did this, it really got me thinking that sometimes we all need a reminder…
A reminder that life is short.
A reminder that our health is our wealth.
A reminder that today is a gift.
A reminder to say ‘I love you’ when we feel it.
A reminder that family is life’s greatest blessing.
A reminder to love with all that we have.

This past weekend served as my reminder for many of these things.The bridal shower itself was absolutely magical. The setting, the ambiance, the flowers, décor, the food, the people, it was perfect.
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In the weeks leading up to the shower, I had been so busy planning, crafting, and bogging myself down with details that I wasn’t entirely focused on the meaning of the event itself; I hadn’t been focusing on the fact that we would only be throwing a shower like this for her once, that it would be over so quickly, and that in two short months she becomes a wife. Then, last week, my grandfather’s health significantly deteriorated, and it really put everything into perspective. It didn’t matter if the cake and decorations were perfect,  or if it rained on the day of the shower, that wasn’t important. We just want our Boppa to be at her wedding with our Nana, together. 

As I sat next to Kimberly and looked around, I was reminded about how blessed we were to be there. Blessed that 30 amazing women came to celebrate my sister, including our Nana, siblings, aunts, cousins, friends, future family, and more.
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Blessed that she is joining such a beautiful family, inside and out.
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Blessed that she chose me to be by her side on her special day.
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I was also reminded about how much we missed the people who couldn’t be there that day; 
We missed our Grammie.
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We missed our Mem.
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We missed our Grandfathers.
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Kimmie and Grandpa
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Kimmie and Boppa

We missed our long-distance friends and family. But I was also reminded of how excited they would have been for her, and that their presence is still among us.  

I needed these reminders that day, because they helped me to be at peace and refocus on the joy, excitement, and love surrounding my sister at this special time in her life. Life is so short, goes by too fast, and it often proves to be difficult to simply slow down.  Sometimes I think we all need a reminder to do this, to soak in the moments and appreciate each day and what it brings.

Thank you to everyone who helped make Kimmie’s bridal shower so special, I love you all!
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Please pray for our dear Boppa. We went to see him after the shower  and he was all smiles. He has been released from the hospital and is now resting at home. Thank you for your prayers xoxo
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My favorite oats on-the-go

Hey friends! I hope you all had a great start to your week and/or had a relaxing day off if yesterday was a holiday for you. It happened to be a holiday for me and I was psyched! I got back from visiting my twin sister in Connecticut late on Sunday night so after a day full of travel, I was happy to have a day to ease back into things on Monday.
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Kimmie and I at dinner over the weekend
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Beautiful Mom and beautiful Deb

Speaking of the weekend…my Mom and I had a memorable few days with my sister, her puppies, and her fiancé at their home in Connecticut.To say we were sad to leave is a definite understatement; family time is truly the best time. Anyway, we weren’t planning on staying for as long as we did, but because of the storm warnings we had heard in advance, we actually left our house in Maine at midnight on Wednesday night and drove through the night to beat the storm, arriving around 5:00 a.m. in CT.  (Yes we are a bit crazy, but we beat the storm.) We got a great greeting from the puppies, too, so it was worth it!
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It was important for us to be there because her wedding is now less than 100 days away!  Wedding preparations were our mission this weekend, and wedding prep we did. Veil and garter shopping/buying, seating plans, invitation prep, wedding band hunting… you name it, we discussed or accomplished it. It was an extremely productive few days. I love this beautiful bride-to-be.

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I have to admit, our fun-filled weekend made it a bit challenging to stay on track food-wise.  Just to update you, I’m still mostly following the “clean-eating” plan I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. I say ‘mostly’ because I’ve occasionally had some dairy and gluten (and chocolate and champagne…oops), and this weekend was no exception. In all honesty, though, as strict as I felt this plan was at first, it has gotten easier and easier with time. Now I simply feel that I’ve adapted to this way of eating and I just really enjoy it and the way I feel, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to deprive myself from my old favorites once in a while. (Favorites such as pink bubbly and cookie dough Oreos).

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While in Connecticut, the three of us squeezed in a couple of at-home workouts together which was great, but food-wise, when you’re near New Haven, CT and have the opportunity to eat their pizza (literally voted #1 in the USA) how could you not eat it? My gluten-free and dairy-free guidelines were pushed to the wayside that day, which I was perfectly happy with because it was truly worth it to me! 

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My plate x 2 (at least)

I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggles with staying on track food-wise when they’re traveling, so I felt like this would be a good topic to address. This weekend was the first time since starting the clean-eating plan that I would be traveling, so it was a true test, that’s for sure. However, I tried to strategize my meals as much as I could.  For example, something that always seems to help me stay on track food-wise when I’m on the road is keeping my breakfasts and lunches consistent with what I’m used to eating.  We did this in Connecticut, too, by starting the day with protein shakes and fruit for breakfast, and having big salads for lunch. It filled us up but didn’t slow us down, something so crucial when you’re busy!

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This is something that helps me during the school week, too. My class schedule this semester is pretty much all over the place, since Mondays and Wednesdays I’m gone from roughly 8:30 am-10:00 p.m., and Tuesdays/Thursdays I have night class and I don’t return home until around 9:00 p.m on those nights, either. Needless to say, starting my days off with a wholesome breakfast and packing ‘real’ snacks and hearty lunches  is integral to fueling me through the days. That being said, overnight oats have become my staple lunch at least 3 days a week. I love them because I can prepare them the night before and just grab-and-go the next morning. They’re wholesome, protein-packed, versatile, and just so-darn-delicious. Here’s my go-to recipe :

Cinnamon-Almond Overnight Oats
Ingredients:

-Small to mid-sized container (I use a glass jar)
-1/2 cup gluten free old-fashioned oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
-1/2 cup of Almond Milk (original or vanilla Almond Breeze) Use enough to immerse the oats. Add 1-1.5 tbsp. water if oats are not immersed in liquid fully.
-1/2 TBSP chia seeds (optional)
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
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Toppings
(Feel free to mix it up with different fruits, nut butters, and nuts; these are just suggestions!)

1/4 cup blueberries
1 TBSP almond butter
1/2 TBSP silvered almonds

Directions:
Add oats, almond milk, water, chia seeds (for added protein), and cinnamon to your jar or container, stir well, and store in fridge overnight. Add desired toppings the next day before eating. Store in cold space before consuming.
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The next morning when you take your oat jar out, you’ll see that your oats have soaked up a majority of the liquid and they are now a thicker consistency. If they seem too dry, stir in a little more almond milk or water, that will help. Trust, me, they may not look pretty but they are delicious,  full of protein, and will keep you satisfied for hours.

Most days I top my overnight oats with almond butter and blueberries, but on other days I’ll choose apples, raisins, and walnuts. The possibilities are endless.  Plus, I can easily tote these in my school bag without worrying they’ll be crushed (unlike a sandwich or something of that nature), or I can leave them in my car to keep them cold. All I do is bring a spoon along with me, and I’m golden. I’ll be enjoying these today for breakfast or lunch, I can’t decide yet!
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Are you a fan of overnight oats?
Do you struggle with staying on track with your eating habits when you’re on-the-go?

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 : )
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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!
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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!
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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!
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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.
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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.
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4) Lastly, add the flour and salt to this and stir until well blended.
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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!
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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.
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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!
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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!
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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.
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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!

Playing catch up & an early halloween

Hello hello and Happy Halloween! Anyone dressing up tonight? I’ll be headed to night-class, but I’d much rather be celebrating and handing out candy, that’s for sure.  Anyway, I fully intended on blogging last week but every time I tried, studying got in the way. Unfortunately , for the time being, studying > blogging. Luckily though, my studying paid off and my midterms went great! HOORAY. So now I’m playing catch-up on sleep, blog-reading, homework and life in general.

Okay, time to talk about much more exciting things than studying…like celebrating Halloween. Prior to last year, I had celebrated the previous four Halloween’s out in Boston with girlfriends, and it was always a blast.
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Harvard schoolgirls throw-back

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Me as Barbie a few years ago!

I skipped last year (I was actually on a flight moving to Australia!) so this year I was psyched to have the chance to dress up again, and even more psyched to be dressing up with my twin sister. We hadn’t dressed up together since we were in grade school!
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Although we celebrated a few days early since they obviously needed to throw a party on a weekend rather than a week-night, it was an epic Halloween in my book. I actually really liked my last minute cowgirl costume, but I loved Kimmie and Jimmy’s pirate get-ups even more! 

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I had been anticipating last weekend for the entire two months I’ve been home, as it was the first time I was going to be able to spend multiple days with my Kimmie, and the puppies too.
Just LOOK at these adorable little boys. Bumble-bee and alligator…I die.
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At their Friday night housewarming/Halloween party we  drank a little too much,  ate a few too many pieces of candy, and played way to many games of Flip Cup. It was perfect.
Here’s the outcome to our few to many drinks:
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Whoops. Dunkin’s breakfast sandwiches, homefries, muffins, and coffees were needed in a BIG way. (That would be me with the ketchup issues.)

The rest of the weekend involved exercise, real housewives marathons, pizza, pedicures, and lots of puppy snuggling. I did not want to leave Connecticut!
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Post-run snuggles
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Cupcakes from Sugar Bakery (winner of Cupcake wars!)
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The best cupcake I have EVER eaten.
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Cuddles with my boy.
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One of our favorite things to do together!
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Peanut was a tiger for costume #2!
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Love my nephews

This week it’s been back to reality, but it’s almost Friday so that’s a positive! And since the Red Sox won the World Series last night, there’s a lot to celebrate this weekend for sure!
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What’s your favorite Halloween costume-to-date?
I personally loved being an eskimo. I loved wearing a furry-hood on my head all night, and face paint can be so much fun!

Do you like cupcakes?
I have cupcake problems…seriously I cannot be trusted around them.

Who else is psyched about the Red Sox?