15 things learned in 2015

At the end of this year and close to the beginning of a new one, I’m hiding out from all the resolution-crazed people in the gym and on the roads to reflect on 2015 a little.

Last winter, I spent a ton of time on my own. I even rang in 2015 at home, on our couch with my dad, something I swore I’d never be so lame as to do. It was good for me, though, because I was able to learn a lot about the people I surround myself with. The weather, too, was extra frigid and extended into March, when my dad went through something really difficult at work. My father is my rock and seeing him lose something that both took so much effort and meant a lot to him was heartbreaking. But the sun came out again and, like nothing else can, brought a big breath of new life when I visited my brother and his wild child friends in the late spring and had the time of my life. In June, I hit kind of a milestone birthday, and celebrated with friends and family. Blowing out the candles on what felt like my millionth vanilla birthday cake from the same bakery was comforting. The summer was probably one of the best of my life. It was packed with three trips and an amazing, come-to-Jesus moment that I needed. Then, in the fall, I made sure to dedicate a lot of time to my work and studies and it showed. Even though I got through a lot of personal messiness this year, I think I was most proud of my professional and academic accomplishments. Then, as usual, the year closed out quickly with the holidays and a mild December. I’ll always loveChristmas, and I hope I never tire of it. We’re in that week between Christmas and New Year’s, kind of in limbo, now. Here we are.

If you skimmed past that, for which I won’t blame you, I’m highlighting this year that was filled with growth and a lot of change with fifteen things I learned in 2015.

  1. Knowing one or two recipes like the back of your hand is invaluable.
  2. Girl drama may just be worse than boy drama.
  3. Salt water and sunshine can cure anything.
  4. No one has ever regretted purging clutter.
  5. It’s okay to love kids with your whole heart but not want any.
  6. Feeding my makeup addiction is expensive, but usually worth it.
  7. Gel nails are destroying me, but I can’t stop.
  8. Brown eyes are average, yet somehow stunning.
  9. Stress cleaning is truly therapeutic.
  10. So is the gym.
  11. Some people are better kept at arm’s length.
  12. Take care of yourself.
  13. Meet as many people as you can, and make lasting impressions.
  14. Black never fails to look good.
  15. Sometimes, though, black is a crutch. Embrace color, especially May-August.

Clearly, I’ve learned a lot. Take notes, and learn from my mistakes. I can’t wait to fill you in more in the new year and hope you’ll tag along on even more of my missteps (and, more importantly, adventures!)


[via picssr.com]




on getting over it

One day, in the most simple, inconsequential way, you’ll realize that you’re going to be okay. He broke your heart and took advantage of you and made you do things you said you’d never do.

You’ll be squished, drunk between your two older brothers in the back of someone’s Tahoe, walking the family dog, singing at the top of your lungs in the car, or buying yourself that bag you’ve envied forever, and it’ll hit you: you’re getting over it. Him. 

Eventually, you’ll think of him less and less with each passing minute, purchase, song, and rainstorm. All the things you used to do together, the memories that used to consume your every moment, now aren’t much more than a passing thought. As time goes on, these will mean less and less to you.

Between the actual ending of things and the moment of realization, you’ll be going through hell. When it rains, you’ll think of him and how he loved to fall asleep to the sound of storms. When you view his Snapchat stories and Instagram posts, you’ll remember how you once were the subject of those photos and videos.

So, my advice? Take a random Tuesday off and stay in bed with Dear John  and Cherry Garcia, and let all the tears out. Watch every Grey’s season finale, and listen to Adele’s entire soundtrack. But, for every day that you do that, take another twenty-four hours and work on yourself. Hit the gym. Go to brunch. Put in hours at the office. Study. Grab lunch, dinner, and drinks at those places you’ve been meaning to try. Of course, you’re allowed a few (one for every two months you’re together) hot mess nights on the town that end with pizza, a cute random, or a pile of tears on the pavement.

Getting there will be brutal, but it’s worth it. You’ll learn more about yourself than you ever have, and at the end, you’ll emerge with not only a life-changing epiphany but also a renewed sense of self worth and the empowering feeling that you can do anything.

[via mtv.com]




Sometimes, the holidays make me sentimental. I often find myself looking back on the past year and reminiscing on trips, events, and moments. So, right now, at my desk on a chilly day at 2015’s tail end, I’m missing…

IMG_2621an afternoon learning how to make my sweet grandma’s famous eclair cake

IMG_2934the golden hour on our girls trip, sickness and rain be gone

and many more that I was too busy living to capture in photos, especially those readily available on my desktop:

-visiting my brother and hanging out with his amazingly funny and wild friends for two weekends

-attending an NFL game with my dad, along with a few NHL friend dates, and a favorite SEC matchup #rtr

-the Fourth of July at the lake

-our Cape Cod girls’ trip

-date functions, even if they’re with all the wrong dates

-reuniting with the cousins I grew up with on our vacation, Easter, and the holidays

-a weekend in Boston

-the annual family trip & being young and stupid for the night

-8 a.m.’s with my favorite girls, and our favorite songs

-meeting the surgeon that helped me more than I could’ve known

-every single moment with my two dogs. I love you, F & V

-Ritas of all flavors with those same favorite girls

-randomly running into the man that gave me direction and made me believe in God again. My faith is something I don’t know if I’ll ever understand or want again, but, I know I’ll always be welcome to thanks to this man.

-all of the in-between, the things I can’t remember to write down or get pictures of but make every day special and fun





casual christmas

Last night, my family and I trekked an hour and change to see my mother’s extended family. Loud, extremely Italian, and chock full of the best food of the season, it’s one of my favorite parties, and we keep it casual.

Over the years, we’ve fine tuned the system: a simple, classic dish, too many breads and pastas, an array of desserts, one gift exchange, and a traditional kids picture on the stairs, even though us kids are too old to all fit on the steps, let alone be bothered for a picture together.

Of course, we all manage to show off our new Christmas gifts… and maybe an ugly sweater or two (looking at you, Uncle F). Here’s what I wore:
casual christmas
It was a complete surprise to me, but I am obsessed with my beautiful new BB Dakota vest. Shockingly, my mother picked it out all by herself, and I really do love it. I wore it yesterday too, shhhh. Paired with my usual Paige Verdugo crops, found on sale at Rack and I’m sure available on sale elsewhere, in a dark wash and older suede booties, it carried me through dinner and our annual Cannoli Contest. Of course, I topped the ensemble off with another gift, the Rebecca Minkoff I’ve been hoping for.
While I always love showing off my gifts, the best part of this annual holiday gathering is always reuniting with cousins, aunts, and uncles. You know me, and you know I love meeting whatever poor soul is dragged to the party as a non-spousal, trial run plus one. God bless you all.

dear santa

Dear Santa,

I haven’t really been good this year, but maybe if I set out some peanut butter kisses, figs, thumbprints, and a stiff drink glass of milk you’ll give in…

I know it’s been a while since I’ve last written to you, but I did dress up as one of your elves for a party sophomore year. I would include pictures, but it was a rough time in my life.

Anyway, I’d love to find any of these presents under the tree, along with a case of rosé, a boyfriend, and whatever remains of my dignity.

dear santa
I have been wanting the authentic Rebecca Minkoff with adjustable straps, in matte black or with silver, for going out and everyday. I’d stick this convenient Tory card case for my license and i.d. inside. For working out and hitting classes, this Lululemon top in a fun color would be perfect, paired with my favorite Nike crops. A mat wouldn’t hurt either… if I can drag myself to the gym. After sampling the Texas Tea shampoo & conditioner set from Drybar, I’m hooked. I’ve also been running low on the old classic, Viva La Juicy, my night-time favorite. A perfect stocking stuffer would be these cozy socks from Target for sleeping in or a bright lip pencil, like this or this.

top christmas foods

In continuing my mini-series of the best things about Christmas, quickly approaching on the horizon in a mere 3 days, I’m back to chat about one of my favorite topics, food.

Christmas, for my family, is always over the top with food. My mother is half Sicilian, and my father’s side, while not remotely Mediterranean, loves food just as much. Below are just our personal traditions, but I’ll also try to include the classics.

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup; Paula Deen
[via foodnetwork.com, recipe courtesy of Paula Deen]
  • Paula Deen’s Baked French Toast Casserole will change your Christmas morning. It. Is. Heavenly. Nothing will top a heaping plate of this with some bacon, or your breakfast meat of choice, and a mimosa.
  • Monkey Bread is a close second. I’ve only had it a select number of times, and will forever be loyal to the casserole, but it is also a great choice. My only issue is that it’s difficult to eat, especially if you’re trying to tear open presents.
  • Sticky buns or cinnamon buns are a treasured classic. I would recommend Pioneer Woman’s recipe. If you serve the ones from the can, while they are delicious, on Christmas, you are the Grinch.
  • Stuffed shells may be unique to my family, but I would suggest it to everyone. The richness and saltiness combined with the comparatively little amount of pasta is refreshing among loads of Christmas cookies.
  • Prime rib is, for me, something I look forward to all year. I’ve never made it, so I can’t speak from experience, but I will say that it will make you look skilled af in the kitchen, especially if you use butcher’s twine.
  • Party potatoes, contrary to the frou frou-ness of prime rib, are a working class American classic, loaded with cheddar, potato chips, and artery-clogging goodness. Recipe here.

Damn, now I’m hungry.