Category Archives: family

Wordless Wednesday (almost)…the holidays, in pictures.

This is the first year that my family has staggered the holidays in such a perfect way that we’ve not only had a chance to see each other in various family settings (baking cookies with my sisters, niece and mom, celebrating Christmas at my dad’s with my sisters and niece, celebrating with M’s family, and finally, hosting Christmas at our house for the first time ever, with my sister Jess and Scott and my mom – sans grandparents who weren’t feeling well, though we did get a ‘virtual’ visit via Skype!), it’s felt busy-ish but not rushed, savored, not blurry, and with the right level of balance I am striving for right now. In a word, this holiday so far has been: perfect.

So I give you an almost wordless Wednesday, the holidays, in pictures. Cheers!

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Showering my niece in the girliest of girly clothes, and she *had* to model them for us. She is *such* a girl! <3
Showering my niece in the girliest of girly clothes, and she *had* to model them for us. She is *such* a girl! ❤
Celebrating Christmas bestie-style. A long time coming!
Celebrating Christmas bestie-style. A long time coming!
Moments of Isabel sprinkled throughout the weekend. And when she reaches for a hug and a kiss, it's evident that she has a heart just like her namesake, my Nonna. SO loving (just like my sister Jen, too!) <3
Moments of Isabel sprinkled throughout the weekend. And when she reaches for a hug and a kiss, it’s evident that she has a heart just like her namesake, my Nonna. SO loving (just like my sister Jen, too!) ❤
Capturing some family shots. I LOVE the picture I captured of my dad gathering Isabel up into a giant 'dad hug' and kiss.
Capturing some family shots. I LOVE the picture I captured of my dad gathering Isabel up into a giant ‘dad hug’ and kiss.
The holidays wouldn't even be complete without some fitdates with besties and my 'kindred' Meaghan, and lots and lots of barre n9ne action!
The holidays wouldn’t even be complete without some fitdates with besties and my ‘kindred’ Meaghan, and lots and lots of barre n9ne action!
Brunch is most definitely going to become a new tradition for Christmas! It was delish! Menu: mini bagels, cream cheese and lox, crackers and cheese, stuffed mushrooms, craisin/walnut/apple/spinach salad, potato leek soup, and for 'dessert' - greek yogurt with pear/apple/pomegranate seeds, walnuts, granola and flax (a yogurt 'bar'!), and the best cinnamon rolls I have EVER had (thank you sis!!), topped off with prosecco/mimosas!
Brunch is most definitely going to become a new tradition for Christmas! It was delish! Menu: mini bagels, cream cheese and lox, crackers and cheese, stuffed mushrooms, craisin/walnut/apple/spinach salad, potato leek soup, and for ‘dessert’ – greek yogurt with pear/apple/pomegranate seeds, walnuts, granola and flax (a yogurt ‘bar’!), and the best cinnamon rolls I have EVER had (thank you sis!!), topped off with prosecco/mimosas!
A few candids/bloopers always make it fun ;-)
A few candids/bloopers always make it fun 😉

A smattering of thoughts.

Yes, I did say smattering.

(is that even a word. Wait. Don’t answer that. I kinda like it, even if it isn’t!)

I feel like I don’t have a heck of a lot to say on one given topic right now, but I have enough to say to toss some up here. Take it or leave it ; -)

I was driving home from the studio last night (talk about diving right back into teaching after almost two weeks of travel and not many classes taught or taken in between – total withdrawal – teaching 3 classes yesterday, wheeeee! end side note) and I flipped on ‘Ave Maria’ – the Beyonce remake of that song and wow, the words struck me. I found myself thinking ‘wouldn’t that song be perfect when we get married?’

And then I listened to another of my all-time favorites ‘You are the Best Thing’ by Ray LaMontagne and thought ‘swoon…this is *exactly* how I feel about M. *This* should be ‘our’ song’ shouldn’t it? 

(like how I completely bypass any other details about said marriage/wedding? doing this ‘my way’ after all…)

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I am *totally* embracing being home and in my own routine, with my own food, my own choices, everything. Talk about appreciating more and more my ability to work from home, huh? As much as traveling for work has really expanded my horizons and my confidence, it’s also much more taxing than it may look from the outside looking in. At least I always find it that way. If anyone knows the secret to traveling and not being bone-tired after, please share 😉

And, after my last trip, I was inspired to put together some of my bigger a-ha moments when it comes to travel and balancing your food choices for the ladies of barre n9ne studio. Check out my guest post on it (I was going to cross-post it here, but figure you can swing on over and take a peek if you are interested!).

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For the first year in many, I feel as though the holidays won’t go screaming past me in a blur. While I have a lot of back to back family gatherings next weekend leading into Christmas, I purposely did not overbook weekends leading into it (this past planless weekend? GENIUS.) and I feel ready and excited for the holidays!

AND M and I are hosting Christmas DAY this year at our apartment and I couldn’t be more excited about that (good thing we started new holiday traditions huh?). We’re hosting my sisters (I think both of them can come, but as a matter of fact, that may not be true, BUT I will see them both the days leading into Christmas too – score!), my mom and my grandparents  for lunch and another genius move on my part? I’ve decided to make a brunch menu since I think everyone will be nearing ‘food fatigue’ where one big meal too many will cause ‘sick of food-itis’ which ALWAYS happens to me after the holidays. It’s not about overindulging, just about wanting a simple meal vs. a roast, a turkey, a ham, etc. Ya know? (or is it just me?!). Pinterest will be my consultant for all things brunch. Got any good ideas? I’d love to hear them (and pin them!).

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Anyhoo, that’s all I got. (and, like so many others, I am silently honoring the victims in the CT shootings…at least here on my blog, but will be keeping top of mind to ‘pay it forward’ as much as possible this holiday season, and always.)

 

Holiday traditions anew.

Last Christmas, our first Christmas living together, we cobbled together our decorations from our past (those I’d purchased at random when I lived alone, on my little “Charlie Brown”-esque Christmas tree, his from the first Christmas we were together, that I forced him to buy, so he’d have a tree decorated at his apartment) and put up a half-leaning tree (we discovered we lost one of the legs to the stand of his, in the move, so thus it leaned, half-haphazardly against the wall, so klassy) and a random assortment of decorations. Needless to say, it looked okay, but not well-put together and was just enough to get us through the holiday with a little glitter and festivity.

This year, I decided we needed to start anew. Start from scratch. Buy a bigger, better tree (not the lame tree we accidentally purchased…), buy coordinating ornaments, and a few

personal ones. And, almost most importantly, new stockings that we could hang from our mantle (I ALWAYS wanted to have a mantle to do that, it just looks so pretty!). So, last night, on our mid-week date night in, we put together our newer, bigger, and better tree (that M so kindly got exchanged at Target, despite not having a receipt!), placed our new coordinating ornaments up (silver, white and blue), and a few fun ones, including a glittery ‘2012’ and a couple of martini glasses (I am still on the hunt for a couple of wine glass ornaments, those are a must!), and – begrudgingly – placed the scary looking Nutcracker M insisted on buying, on our countertop.

After, there we sat…we listened to Christmas music, we drank some wine, watched the fire glow from the fireplace, and everything looked so…perfect. Sparkly, glowing, warm, and festive. We talked about our marriage plans, we talked about BEING married. And just sat there….settled.

Holiday traditions anew…and it feels like the culmination of a magical year for me, for him, and for us together. Feeling incredibly blessed.

 

Gratitude’truths’…in pins.

It’s no secret I’ve been kind of quiet on the writing front lately and part of that is my effort at simplicity (paring back on the nice-to-have’s and focusing on the life priority list right now) but part of that is also because when you’re happy and filled with gratitude, there truly is less to *say* that I haven’t already said. And I don’t know about you, but even I grow sick of my own happy musings sometimes…let’s be real 😉

But during a time of year that just naturally feels like a time for gratitude, I can’t help but think of how different my life is now, vs. my very first Thanksgiving on my own, now FOUR years ago (!). I was a shell of myself, in so many ways. And while I’ve worked incredibly hard to get to where I am today, I sometimes still struggle with just how good my life is, and remaining humble and with a large dose of perspective at all times (even puppies and rainbows lose perspective sometimes, I know, you’re shocked. Not. Hehe).

So, I feel inspired to share some of my feelings on gratitude and gratitude ‘truths’ as I like to call them, in pins!

This one, by far, defines my journey over the last 4 years, not to mention the last decade+ of my life. I feel so very blessed to have M walk into my life, but also equally blessed that my ex-husband *walked out*. Every person you meet, good or bad, hurtful or loving, shapes you. For that, I am grateful.
My sisters – not only are they my best friends, when we are together, I don’t think I laugh harder, smile more, or feel happier. They are, and will always be, my priority in my life. Now, more than ever. Gratitude…is sisterhood.
I think this is something I have really grappled with in recent years, and this year, I finally feel as though I am ‘good’ with me. I like me. I love me. Imperfections and all. And to feel that way…is contagious. If I can pay that feeling forward even just a little bit day in and out, I will. Gratitude…is imperfectly perfect.
I declared 2012 the year of unseating comfort zones. And this one truly speaks to that, Driving past fear of failure, and charging towards what I am passionate about. Making my role at work MINE and shaping it. And barre n9ne? Well, I think that is just a given…it surrounds me with passion, happiness, and, well, sweat. What’s more to love? Gratitude…is taking chances.
Friendship, as we grow older, is hard to cultivate. It’s not like childhood, where your friends are basically born from who sits next to you in 4th grade…as an adult, it is incredibly hard to make new friends, and sustain the old. The friends I have now are a beautiful mix of both, a small circle of those I truly cherish. For all the laughs, the private jokes, the memories, and the bond. Gratitude is…REAL friendship.

Gratitude. Is a feeling like no other. ❤

FEF: volume II

Awhile back, I waxed poetic blogged about it being ‘finally effing Friday’ (hello longer than LONG week and chock to the brim with activity!) and today? It feels warranted to celebrate FEF yet again.

Because it’s been another doozy. Mostly in a good way. Just one of those weeks where I felt like M and I were ships passing in the night (we had one meal together this week, and tonight won’t even have that!). And not even so much because I fell back on my motto to simplify either, just a week where M had lots of meetings after work and I had several evening plans as well. But in the choas of this week comes a few very fabulous things I am loving. So, celebrate, shall we?

I am loving sister dinners.

As part of my quest to make more room in my life for what matters most, sister dinners was a top priority. These nights are so special and NEEDED for the three of us, to really connect as sisters, without our men, or families, or anyone, around, just us. Being silly. Sharing in a glass of wine (something my sister Jen rarely gets a chance to do!). Laughing. Venting. Catching up.

And sometimes a special guest joins us to make it that much more perfect. This Wednesday was sister dinner WITH that special guest…my niece Isabel. She is at SUCH a fun age, and she melted me into a million pieces with her running full speed in for a hug, her kiss on the lips and how she says ‘hi auntie’ in the cutest little voice I have ever heard. She’s also a fan of the selfie and we took many of those to capture the night. My most favorite collage of all time below 🙂

Sister dinners…worth the busy week to cram in and do right.

I am loving my expanding role in barre n9ne.

Another reason my week was so busy – but in a valued, good way (just so happened that everything got planned for the same week, M’s busy week and mine, the perfect storm for ships passing in the night!), was a long-awaited meeting of the b9 minds (LOL. That would be me, Jess and Tanya) to discuss even more ways to make barre n9ne better, bigger, and stronger. My sister and I are officially taking on more of a marketing/PR/social media role at the studio to help make this happen and I couldn’t be more excited.

Melding my passion with what I’m good at (PR/social media)? Perfection.

And, helping even more with the 60 day challenge, refining it further, helping clients be successful? A dream.

Bringing in new events, features, and classes and teaching even more? Words cannot describe.

And, I am loving looking back at the past four (!) years since I began my journey anew. 

You see, Tara at Relative Evolutions asked me to write a guest post for her on my evolution, from then, until now (she’s had quite the journey herself, and I am so proud of her, and happy to see where she is now!!). And it’s taken me weeks and weeks of ruminating on just how I wanted to capture it, and the inspiration to put it all together. Here is the finished piece, and I am so proud of it, and my journey. I don’t write on the topic nearly as much, but it just makes my heart happy, proud, and filled with gratitude about my life now.

So, while I am celebrating FEF fervently today, I am feeling grateful (albeit relieved the week is nearing an end). And I am feeling so fortunate to be surrounded by those I care about. Because this weekend? It’s Friendsgiving, folks. Third annual, and it’s going to be the best one yet 😉 Hope you have a fabulous weekend, shaking off a long week, and enjoying a much deserved weekend! Cheers!