Playlist | Valentine’s Day

Hooooly cow, there’s a lot of love songs out there. I had the [un-original] idea to make a Valentine’s Day playlist to showcase songs focused on love and positive vibes and happiness as an attempt be sappy and act festive for a whole five minutes. I added and deleted so many songs from this playlist because I couldn’t believe how many songs totally fit this lovey-dovey, Valentine’s day vibe. So whether you’re professing love to your significant other, your dog, or your heart shaped pizza – grab a glass of wine, here’s a playlist for your listening pleasure! xoxo.

Super bowl Monday?!

If you wanted the Philadelphia Eagles to win the Super Bowl, raise your hand.

Now that I got everyone’s attention – hi guys! Welcome to Monday!

This entire weekend was crazy busy, and it took up until today for it all to finally hit me. Saturday I had a bridal shower brunch, followed by an afternoon with family, followed by a dinner date with my boyfriend, followed by going out with my family and some friends. Sunday was filled with a coffee date with my brother’s girlfriend, the Super Bowl and watching a long-awaited episode of This Is Us. For someone who isn’t too emotional, I feel like I rode the biggest emotional rollercoaster of my life those two days, especially yesterday, being at an extreme high after Tom Brady’s loss, followed by an extreme low watching This Is Us. Add to this the copious amounts of Super Bowl snacks I ate, and the fact I didn’t get to bed until almost 1:00 in the morning, and wake up for work around 5:45/6:00; I am exhausted! I hate being busy on the weekends, but sometimes, it’s just what has to be done!

In regards to bridal showers and weddings, as I get older, I am really starting to appreciate and understand the significance of such events. It’s crazy to me to think that every single person that you love and appreciate will all be together under one roof at the exact same time. Now, I know what you’re thinking – *duh, isn’t that obvious?* – but really, it’s insane. Especially in regards to my family, we are dispersed all over the freakin’ country – whether its Arizona, Massachusetts, Florida, or North Carolina, you name the state, we’re probably there! So having my cousin’s bridal shower Saturday was an exciting prelude to her wedding in May, because it’s another excuse to see everyone again, all under the same roof!

Now, onto Sunday.

First and foremost, I want to acknowledge the fact that Super Bowl food is the best food. I swear anything you make on Super Bowl Sunday tastes different than it would if you made the same dish any other day of the year. Having all of my favorite foods in front of me in one shot – I might have been in my own personal heaven. However, it’s days like yesterday when I don’t have the greatest self control when it comes to unhealthy foods. Now, I don’t always eat the best, but it’s also not everyday what I eat chili and pizza and queso and dessert in one sitting. All I can say is that I am extremely thankful for baggy, boyfriend cut jeans because if I wore anything else to work today, it probably would not have fit or been extremely uncomfortable.

Secondly, if you watch This Is Us, chat with me in the comments about last night’s show. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers for the sake of eyes that haven’t watched the episode yet, but I am extremely overwhelmed and [shockingly] pleased with the way the “big episode” turned out. I laughed, I almost cried, I screamed in shock, I screamed in fear, and I finished the episode with a huge smile on my face. Did anyone else think this episode was done perfectly? I’d love to know what you think. Also, I love the fact that we are spoiled with having another episode tomorrow! Two in one week doesn’t even seem fair, but I’ll take it.

With that being said, how was everyone’s weekend? xoxo.

Things I’m currently obsessed with | January Edition

Holy freaking cow, today’s already January 26th. If 2018 keeps up at this pace, we will be celebrating 2019 before we know it!

I would have to say that 26 days into the month is a decently good time frame to have accumulated some monthly obsessions, right? I mean, geez, we only have 5 more days left to January, how much longer could we wait? Almost every single one of my favorites this month comes directly out of Christmas, whether it be gifts I got, or things I purchased with gifted Christmas funds. I guess this only makes sense, as I haven’t really had the need to venture too far out of the house or buy anything other than the necessary groceries and coffees.

  • KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer. I have wished for an ice blue KitchenAid mixer to be mine for the longest time, and this wish came true when my parents gifted it to me for my birthday! I feel as though this gift skyrocketed me into officially being an adult [minus the fact that I turned 25] because, I mean, usually people that have their lives together have a KitchenAid mixer resting atop their counters, right? So far, I have made a handful of batches of cookies, some dips to snack on during football games, and even some cornbread! It has also become a new favorite hobby of mine to look up things that I can make with my new kitchen appliance, as well as attachments that I will want to purchase in the future to add to this incredible gift. Plus, I am hoping and praying that I will find more inspiration to do more cooking, not just baking.
  • Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Before you judge me, hear me out a little here. I wanted to start a new series on Hulu that had a multitude of seasons, could make me laugh, and could hopefully keep my attention. Lo and behold, I stumbled upon KUWTK and thought to myself, *hey, why not?* While this show is adding absolutely no value to my life, it definitely makes me laugh over and over again. Plus, seeing how this family has transformed from Season 1 to the present is pretty shocking, yet also funny, knowing that these people endlessly deny every plastic surgery rumor thrown at them. I watch this show and wonder if I would have the same problems if I was as rich and famous as this family, such as having a coronary over losing a diamond earring in the ocean that you can more-than afford to replace. Again, no value is being added to my life, and brain cells are probably being killed as we speak. But it has been a favorite this month, that’s for sure.
  • American Tourister Pop 21-in Spinner. Prior to getting this suitcase for Christmas, I had never had my own piece of luggage. I always traveled with duffel bags because I rarely fly; almost always I vacation by car, train, or bus. With our trip to New York City for New Years Eve happening a week after Christmas, this was the perfect gift. This luggage is the perfect carry-on size, but yet fits everything you need and more. I was able to pack for my entire trip in my carry on. Mind you, my clothes were all extremely warm and thick, and I packed multiple layers, snow pants, you name it – it all fit in this bag. Another perk of this luggage is the fact that it has the multidirectional spinner wheels. I was trucking it through the Buffalo airport and JFK with no struggle whatsoever. I know multidirectional spinner wheels have been a thing for quite some time, but I had never used this luggage for myself before, so I got a major thrill out of it. I now can’t wait to travel more just so I have an excuse to use my fancy new luggage again!
  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel. This is by far the weirdest, yet most satisfying, beauty product I have ever used. The texture of this face moisturizer is one that is hard to describe unless you are able to get your hands on it yourself. I would say that upon touch, it feels as if you are sticking your hand into a light puddle, but once you apply it to your face, it feels like a soft, hydrating, creamy moisturizer. The major benefit of this product is that it leaves your skin looking super hydrated without looking greasy; you are left with a healthy glow. This product is also oil-free, making it perfect to apply before you start your morning makeup routine with confidence that it will last the entire day. I got this product for $19.99 in the skincare aisle at Target.

What are some things you’ve been loving this month? xoxo.

A dose of reality you didn’t know you needed. .

. .packed into 224 pages.

As per the recommendation of a coworker, I most recently read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. I know to some of my readers [sorry Nana!], seeing the word f*ck is not the most appropriate language to spew across a webpage. However, while not totally appropriate, this book was way too good to not talk about.

By just looking at the title of this book, you might wonder why author Mark Manson is so crude and vulgar. However, like many things in life, if you take the time and dig a little deeper below the surface, you will find that this man is inspiring, extremely clever, and philosophical beyond measure. Looking at the title, you would not believe that this book had anything to do about values but, spoiler alert, it is.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life is about finding the things in life that are the most important to you while simultaneously letting go of everything else. Manson encourages limiting our exposure to mindless distractions and limiting our concern about things that have absolutely no value to your life. Is this book brutally honest? Yes. Does it give you a reality check that maybe you didn’t know you needed? Yes. He pulls you out of a sense of denial and forces you to look at the dirt covering you, and to accept it for what it is, while helping you to embrace these truths and lead a life of confidence and empowerment. Manson touches on positivity, being extraordinary, and happiness. Maybe not in the way in which you are used to, but it is there. For example, “F*ck positivity. Let’s be honest; sometimes things are f*cked up and we have to live with it.” Brutally honest, but true.

Manson is straight and to the point, and gets you to confront ourselves, our truths, and our uncertainties while making you dig deep into the emotions that will make you laugh until you cry, or cry until you can’t breathe anymore. This book is deeply inspiring while being disguised in crude, four-letter vulgarity. The best part about this book is that it gets a major point across without being fluffy and cute. In a way, I think that has a slight sense of why I enjoyed this book so much, because cutesy, fluffy butterflies is not me. It’s not my personality and it’s not something that I seek out for. I tend to be more of a realist and see things for the way they are, not sugar coated, not a sense of false reality. If you are looking for unicorns, rainbows, and cupcakes, turn away, because this book offers f-bombs and reality slaps.

While this may sound terrifying or as if I am trying to prevent you from reading this book, I am doing the exact opposite. I am telling you, you should pick this up, download it to your Kindle, whatever you must. Because by the time you finish reading, you will be left with a feeling of promise. You will feel free and light. And you will feel a goodness that only your favorite home-cooked meal can give you; the goodness that can only come with raw, unfiltered truth.

DAY 4 | NYC

Day four was our last and final day of vacation. It can also be said that day four was the main reason why we were even here in the first place – for the NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic. It was decided some months ago that this trip to NYC for the Winter Classic would be a Christmas gift for me and my brother. He came up with the idea and I totally agreed, as neither of us need anything so, why not? So, thanks to having season tickets for the Buffalo Sabres we were able to snag some seats and, a few months later, we were on our merry way.

That morning, we woke up, packed our things into our suitcases, loaded up the car, bundled up and set out for Citi Field. Now, when I tell you bundled up, I do not mean we zipped up our coats and put on a hat and a scarf. I mean, we put on our three pairs of pants, six shirts, four pairs of socks, two pairs of gloves, a scarf, a hat, our snow pants, and our winter coat, and hoped that these intense layers would be enough to keep us warm for the 3+ hours we were going to be outside. While we escaped well-beyond-freezing temperatures, it just so happened that the day of the game, the wind chill was going to be, again, well-beyond-freezing. About -6 degrees below zero to be exact. Was the sun out? Yes. Was the wind whipping faster than a speeding bullet? Hell yes. And this, this made a recipe for a freezing, but good, time.

I was at the very first Winter Classic in Buffalo ten years ago, so being at the 10th anniversary game and seeing the Sabres play again was pretty amazing. Seeing how much this event has improved in ten years was incredible to see in person. It was truly a whole new experience from the first time! And, added Buffalo bonus, we got a mini-concert at the first intermission thanks to our hometown band, the Goo Goo Dolls.

While this was the Sabres’ “home game,” the venue was filled with about 80% New York Rangers fans. No surprise since, you know, we were on Long Island. If you follow the NHL, you know that the Buffalo Sabres are not doing so hot this year [and if you don’t follow, well now you know]. Sounds familiar, right? So it wouldn’t seem so shocking to you that they did not win this game against the Rangers. In fact, they lost the game in extra time, just like the Winter Classic ten years ago against Pittsburgh. Overall, though, it was an exciting game and a memory that I will cherish with me forever.

Due to having a flight home to catch, mixed a little bit with the cold weather, we left with about 8 minutes remaining in the game to beat the crowd and avoid any traffic to JFK Airport from Citi Field. After turning in our rental car, getting through security, and grabbing a bite to eat, my long weekend came to an end around 9:00 in the evening when our flight home landed in Buffalo.

There is not one thing that I would change about my most recent trip to New York. And, I already can’t wait to go back! xoxo.

 

Day 2 | NYC

The second day of our trip to NYC began bright and early in the morning. We woke up and headed to the city first thing, as we had tickets to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at 11:00 in the morning. The doors to the event opened at 10:30, and by the time we got into the city it was around 9:30 in the morning, so we had some time to walk around before it was our call time.

We first went into the iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a stop we always make when we go to the city, to light a candle and say a prayer. After that, we went to check out the storefront of Saks on 5th Avenue. This storefront was pretty popular on social media for the extravagant display with lights and decorations set to music, so I was pretty excited to see it in person. The windows were styled as an ode to Snow White, as the movie is celebrating its’ 80th anniversary. They had some iconic scenes from the movie along the front of the store, and on either side, the windows were filled with designer pieces, some custom and others available in store, that had the Snow White vibe. It was absolutely breathtaking! We then stopped back to see the tree at Rockefeller Center.

By the time we walked around, it was time for us to enter Radio City Music Hall for our call time. I had seen the Rockettes many years ago when they came to Buffalo, but I was very young and didn’t remember much of it, so I was super excited to see this show again. We sat atop the second mezzanine, which I totally prefer to sitting on the first level, because you can see everything so much better! The show, in total, lasted about an hour and a half. It included some iconic numbers and was a perfect mix of old and new. My dad and my brother even loved it! This is something I would recommend to anyone visiting New York during Christmastime [or a little after, for that matter]. And with multiple shows a day, there is no excuse not to go!

After the show, we headed over to Times Square to check out the New Years Eve preparations. This was my first time being in the city for New Years Eve, so I had never seen the major production in person. Knowing that we wouldn’t be in Times Square the following day [aka New Years Eve], we decided that this was the perfect day to head over, grab a slice at Ray’s and do some shopping before total madness ensued. It was incredible to see the process that goes into setting up for New Years Eve – the multiple stage sets, the barricades, the sectioned off areas – all of this being done in the midst of tourists, like myself, walking around and trying to catch a glimpse. It was quite impressive.

We then headed over to Bryant Park, another first for my family. My dad had read something online about Bryant Park so we decided to give it a try and, I must say, it was a highlight of the trip! Bryant Park is a privately managed public park located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan – so, essentially, smack dab in the city! For the Christmas holiday, there was a beautiful Christmas tree located next to an ice skating rink that was filled with skaters. When we were there, the fountain at Bryant Park was frozen [after the fact, this ended up being all over the news – who knew!]. The park was filled with little “huts,” these containing locally owned crafters, food stands, and more! They even have an outdoor patio/bar that had fire pits, perfect for the cold weather. This was a place that I never knew I needed in my life, but is now a staple that I will visit every time I go to the city going forward.

After Bryant Park came a trip to the iconic Macy’s, something that we always do every time we visit the city. We ventured the store top to bottom then headed to Niketown inside Trump Tower, followed by a trip inside Saks, which we didn’t get to do earlier due to going to the Rockettes. Our second trip to Saks for the day is when we were able to see the aforementioned light show in person. They had the street in front of the store blocked off due to the insane crowds of people stopping to watch the show – it was madness! I had never been in Saks before this trip and, after going through, I might have to go as far as say that I like it better than Macy’s!

Because we were parked close to Saks [hence, backtracking our steps from the morning], we headed back to Long Island to grab a bite to eat for dinner and head back to the hotel for the remainder of the night. After 9+ hours in the city, everyone was starving and we landed on Shake Shack for dinner, a restaurant that we don’t have at home. Again, a first for all of us, and a unanimous winner.

Stay tuned for day three. xoxo.

Things I’m currently obsessed with | December edition

Let’s address the elephant in the room right away – it has been a loooong time since I’ve done one of these posts. Not so much because I’ve run out of favorite things to talk about, but because I quite literally have forgotten to come back around to this post lately.

  1. Bath and Body candles. I feel like this is the time of year when almost everyone talks about BBW candles. It seems as if every other week they’re on sale and more and more coupons come out as the weeks push closer to Christmas. Do I have a spending problem when it comes to candles? Yes. In our apartment, we have more candles than we know what to do with but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t smell like maple pecan waffles every day of the year. Most recently when BBW had their $8 candle sale, I stocked up not only for myself, but for gifts for others for Christmas. These candles smell great, they last forever, and they are literally never full price. You can’t beat it.
  2. Almond Breeze vanilla almond milk. There truthfully is nothing that I hate more thank milk. Skim, 1%, 2%, whole, you name it – I hate it. I’ve always been one to try to explore my options when it comes to a “breakfast beverage” other than coffee or orange juice [yes, I have a breakfast beverage category]. Most recently, I got my hands on some almond breeze almond milk and I cannot stop drinking it. It is refreshing, tastes great, and goes amazing with a bowl of cereal or handfuls of cookies that I don’t need to be eating.
  3. Apple Watch. My boyfriend and I gave each other our Christmas/birthday gifts early – the Apple Watches we purchased for each other on Black Friday. Before this, I used a Fitbit [which I loved and would recommend to anyone], but there is something about the Apple Watch that I have fallen absolutely in love with. The customizable features, the step tracking, the sleek look, I am head over heels. I will say this, though – if I didn’t get killer deal on Black Friday, I probably would have never bought it and stuck with my Fitbit, however, I am super glad I made the switch and if you’ve got the cash, don’t hold back.
  4. Will and Grace. I’m going to lay this on the table right now – I absolutely hated the new “revival” season of Will and Grace. However, I am on my second spin of watching the reruns of the old series on Hulu and I can quite honestly say that there is not much that makes me laugh as hard as this show does. Currently, I am on the episode [again] where Karen’s husband Stan dies and they spread his ashes overboard on their yacht. The scene where Karen gets pushed overboard by Stan’s mistress is one that makes me laugh so hard that the snort comes out and totally embarrasses everyone in the room. I don’t know what I ever did living a life without access to this show, but I am so happy this exists now.
  5. Christmas. Could you tell? Only 80% of my blog is dedicated to this holiday, especially recently. It’s not so much the holiday itself, but it’s the entire atmosphere surrounding this holiday. People seem cheerier, there is a greater sense of lightness and happiness spreading around. I love buying people gifts and seeing their faces light up when they open them. I love wrapping gifts, decorating, baking cookies – you name it, I love it. Plus, it’s hard to believe that we are only 11 days away. How is this even possible?

What are some things you’re obsessed with this month? xoxo.

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree. . literally | Holiday 2017

Let’s be real here, I have been playing Christmas music for quite some time now. I’d be lying straight to your face if I said that I wasn’t listening to the Glee Christmas album on repeat over and over and over again throughout my ride to work.

Keeping this in mind, it only makes sense to craft, in my opinion, the most perfect holiday playlist. With a mix of some classics, some can’t live withouts, and some new favorites, I have dipped into everything making for a jolly good time. So, buckle up, grab your egg nog, and listen by your Christmas tree or while wrapping presents.

What are some songs you can’t live without during the Christmas season?

xoxo.