Thankful for Ends

Today  I’m thankful that the presidential election is O-V-E-R. No more political commercials, no more political facebook posts, no more every-single-day-leading-with-a-political-story on the Today show…we’re done! Now lets see what Obama will do with four more years. And hope that our whiny little leaders can reach across the aisle to do what’s best for our country and not just their political standings.

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Thankful Take 3

Today I’m thankful for the opportunity to Celebrate Milestones. The countdown is on to Alex’s baby shower, which means Joey’s giving me crooked looks every time another amazon box arrives with necessary baby shower purchases and emails are flying between best friends plotting airport pickups, sleeping arrangements and decorating duties.

Welcoming a baby into the world is such an awesome occasion and I’m thankful  to be able to contribute to the happiness of a most deserving mom-to-be.

 

Weekend Thankfulness

Some days of Thankfulness to catch up on, so here it goes to cover Saturday, Sunday and Today 🙂

1. Snail Mail — Yes, I stink at getting the mail on the regular, but I’m definitely more encouraged to get better at it when these little gems pop up in my mailbox 🙂 Thanks awesome friends who are great at sending good ol’ fashioned cards.

2. Old Friends — We went to the wedding of one of Joey’s oldest friends this weekend. Made me thankful for our network of friends, and the ability to always pick right back up where you left off.

3. My Husband — This time last year we were planning our most awesome wedding, and being around old friends this weekend made me thankful for the million other things we’ve planned, done and accomplished throughout our crazy long relationship. We challenge each other, and drive each other nuts at times, but the bottom line is there’s no one else I’d rather share my life with than him.

What are you thankful for today?

 

Lets Be Thankful

Hi, it’s me. Diana. Worst blogger evaaaa. It’s a new month though which feels like a good time to try to reinvigorate myself around getting you some regular posts!

I’m taking a page out of Pam101’s book and deciding to fill November with posts about being thankful. I’m already a day behind, so here are two things I’m thankful for:

1. 28 Years With My Grandfather — My grandfather passed away on 10/21 at the age of 88. He lived a long, healthy, full life and was married to the love of his life for 65 years. I’m so thankful to have known him. He will always be a role model of patience, kindness and love to me.

2. Knowledge — This probably sounds weird, a totally nerdy, but lately I’ve been craving knowledge. I want to learn and understand so much more about so many things – healthcare marketing, photography, nutrition, business management, fitness…and the list goes on. It almost feels overwhelming. I’ve never had a strong, lasting desire to go back to school, and I don’t think I’m feeling that now either, but I’m thankful for the ability to learn on my own through classes, career development opportunities and reading. Knowledge is a wonderful thing.

Here’s hoping you’ll join me in being thankful this month!

That’s What’s Up…

imageI haven’t been picking up my camera enough lately. Instagram, yes. Real camera, not so much. That being said, I was so incredibly flattered to receive the most lovely baby announcement from Sara the other week featuring one of the photos I took of Charlotte at 6 days old. Her little lips just melt me. Note to self: Keep practicing! Take more photos of something, anything, just do it! Note to Sara: I miss you, mama, and need to cuddle Charlotte asap!

Hubby and I had a date night Friday after spending the week apart. Date nights are exponentially more fun when there’s something called a “Beer Paddle” on the menu. We tried a slew of new beers, but the only one I can remember is “Laughing Dog Ale” because it had the head of a yellow lab on the tap. Hey, I buy my wine for the labels and choose my beer based on the tap. Don’t hate.

Speaking of dates, I had an awesome lunch date with my bestie Alex the other day. The fall weather was delivering and we enjoyed sitting outside, talking about life, laughing way too loudly and taste testing the selection of mini-cheesecakes from the cafe. It was a much needed reprieve from an otherwise jam packed week. A reminder amongst the hustle of life that it’s important to step away from the never ending t0-do list and carve out time for the people and things that truly matter.

Did someone say never ending to-do list? I guess the whimsical lunch dates and fun nights out with my husband need to be balanced with something. Does anyone else feel like a freakin’ domestic goddess when they reach to bottom of the dirty laundry basket?! I totally do. It ranks right up there with putting a knife into a brand new jar of peanut butter on the “Life’s Little Pleasures” lists.

And that’s what’s up.

In West Philadelphia Born & Raised

Lets kick this week off right, with a blog post!

So, did I mention I went to a big marketing conference in Philadelphia a few weeks back? Of course I didn’t, because I suck at blogging lately. The conference was great, I learned a TON, but the networking dinners were where it was AT. Think swanky penthouse overlooking the city (Exhibit A above), and then an event where I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was called “Taste of Philadelphia” at the Reading Terminal Market, a giant indoor market in center city, the entire place was open only to conference goers.

All the food vendors were handing out samples, each thing better than the last, and I think I shed a tear somewhere between my chicken cheesesteak and my DiNic’s famous italian roast pork sandwich with sharp provolone. Don’t even get me started on the pumpkin ice cream or ginger molasses cookie.
After I gained 10 pounds the conference wrapped up, I decided to go on a little “Tour de Family” to visit my grandparents, cousins and aunt who live outside of Philly (shout out to Jackie and Julia for an awesome Friday wine night!). I also did a little creeping past the house I was born in. While I have a hard time deciphering what real memories I have from this house versus what memories I’ve created from old photos and videos, seeing the house made me feel quite nostalgic. I think it’s because now that I’m seeing my friends welcome babies into this world and how special it is to bring those babies home, I realized this is the house my parents brought all three of their babies home to and what a special and sacred thing that is. I had an urge to go knock on the door and just say, “Do you realize the memories that were made in this house?” But then I remembered I’m a solo traveling female in a strange neighborhood I really know nothing about, so I did the smart thing and decided to just keep on driving.

Art Imitating Life

I thought that if I opened this post with an adorable picture of my homegirl Emily, that you’d forgive me for my lack of blogging lately. Did it work?

It’s officially fall, which means it’s that point in the year where everything starts to move even faster than it was already moving until you find yourself ringing in the New Year wondering where the past 365 days went. You know what I mean, right? It’s as if the second the cool weather comes and the leaves start to change it’s Halloween->Thanksgiving->Christmas, bing bang boom — hello 2013.

Work life is so busy right now, which doesn’t help the speed of things, and I find that instead of having time to cultivate my little hobbies (blog, gym, photography) I’m finding the truth in the cliche of “not enough hours in the day.” When my art imitates life, and life is speeding by so fast I can barely grasp it, well then the art is somewhat lacking.

All this is not to say that life isn’t good. It is. In fact, it’s great. In the midst of the craziness I do take time to appreciate all the blessings, even stopping to count them every now and then. Even if it has to happen while I brush my teeth in the shower.

So some things I’m loving on at the moment…

Fall Centerpieces. I filled up my lovely Kate Spade New York crystal bowl (shout out to NYCathy!) with dried beans, stuck a candle in the middle, added some pine cones and viola! Table runner is from Homegoods last year and the mercury glass votives are from Michaels.

Starbucks Seasonal Drinks. I’m a huge fan of the Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Salted Caramel Mocha, but I’m also aware of what a calorie trap those drinks can be. So, did you know you can order a “short” at Starbucks??? It’s smaller than a Tall (which for those who don’t speak Starbucks is a small), but you won’t find it on the menu board. I love the short size because I still get a satisfying dose of my favorite coffee concoction without a side of guilt. Plus it makes me rap 50 cent in my head the rest of the morning, “Go shorty, itz ya birthday, we gonna party like itz ya birthday…”

Puppy Dogs. Clearly I’m always loving on my four legged children, but I especially appreciate them when the hubster’s working bizarre shifts or out of town jobs. My furry dudes keep me company, force me to play outside and always listen to how my day was 😉

Hope you’re having a great week! I’m working on not being so MIA.

Sticking a Fork in the Whole30

Well it’s about time I give you my Whole30 wrap up, don’t you think? Only a few weeks behind, but better late than never. Actually, I’m kind of glad I’m writing this a couple weeks after we finished our Whole30 because it gives me a little more insight into the whole experience. (And if everything I just wrote makes zero sense to you, you might want to read Part I, II and III)

The biggest thing for me is that this whole experience has really changed the way I think about food, the way we shop for it and how I’m ok with looking at good, healthy food as something worth investing in, because really I’m investing in my long term health and well being. Oh, and this morning for breakfast, I had a smoothie made from Kale, 1/2 an avocado, goji berries and applesauce. Hello, hippie much?

I can honestly say I loved the way my body, mind and spirit felt during the Whole30. The best word I can use to describe it as is…clean. And the first week or so after getting off the Whole30, and going back to a non-paleo diet,  Joey and I both felt like crap. I’m still getting random headaches here and there and I truly feel like I have less sustainable energy throughout the day.   I’m not saying it’s ALL related to food, because I know I’m more stressed with work at the moment, but a curious coincidence, dontcha think?

Full disclosure: Post Whole30 I’ve totally fallen back down the sugar rabbit hole. I seriously can’t stop myself when it comes to one cookie vs. three, and the fact that we had hot fudge brownie fixings in the house from Joey’s birthday, well it was all over for me. No. Self. Control. I need to get this in check. Like yesterday.

Eating Habits Now: I’m much more relaxed about the things I’m eating, but I am trying to stick to a mostly paleo diet, choosing lean meats, veggies, fruits and nuts as much as possible. We have yet to buy milk or cheese for the house (not to say I haven’t had either outside of the house, but it’s a start). I made a cauliflower rice dish just last week.  After watching Food Inc. again, I’m very serious about only wanting to buy grass fed beef and free range chicken. I’ll keeping going to my favorite local produce stand until it closes for the year. We’re changing. It won’t happen over night, but I feel a conviction deep inside of me.

Whole30 PartII?: Joey, completely under his own influence, wants to do another Whole30 in October. I think he feels bad because of all of those cheat days 😉 We’ll see what happens.

As for all the questions of, “Isn’t it hard to eat like that?” I’ll quote my favorite motivational line from It Starts with Food:

“It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”

So who’s coming over for some Paleo Southwest Meatloaf tonight?

Scenes from a Weekend: Friendship

This weekend was another Pittsburgh adventure, but this time it was extra special because Hilary is back from Africa! Girlfriend has been gone for 2 years, so we decided a girls reunion was in order and it was high time baby Connor met his world-traveling Auntie!

I swear this little man gets cuter every time I see him! We had a blast loving on him the entire weekend, and catching up with each other on life’s happenings. It had been four years, FOUR YEARS, since the four of us were all together and it was amazing how it seemed like no time had really passed at all.

I feel incredibly lucky to have such amazing women in my life, the kind of friends that cheer you on, pick you up, encourage you, listen with their whole heart and truly wish for nothing but happiness in your life.

It doesn’t hurt either that they know me so well they bring me Eataly goodies from a recent NYC trip, and make funny signs for the guest room door because they know cats make me sneeze.

We got to celebrate an early first birthday with Connor and life in general with each other. It was just what the doctor ordered.

“Yay Connor” because Happy Birthday was too long 😉 Alex, you’re a genius!

The new answer to, “What time is it?”

The photo-bomber in the background makes me love this picture even more!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Happy Birthday!

We interrupt this blogging silence for a very important Birthday Shout Out! Happy Birthday to my handsome husband, dog-daddy,best friend, awesome maker of meatballs, griller extraordinaire and tolerator-of-my-craziness 🙂 You make my world go round and I hope 31 is a great year for you!

As for me, we’re in full on bday celebration mode and while I have a backlog of blog ideas to dump out of my head and into this computer, 3D life needs to come first. That doesn’t mean I love you less though. Kiss, Kiss. TTYL. LYLAS.