dad’s birthday


Last weekend was probably the busiest since Juliette was born! Friday night, Bob and I celebrated Valentine’s Day early with a delicious dinner at DeStefano’s. I can’t say it enough: they are simply the best. The food and service are always always always on point. They could probably screw up my order and spill a drink on me and I’d still think, Nope they’re still the best! Needless to say, we left stuffed and happy. The next night, we went out for a friend’s birthday at Virage, now known as Bar Virage. For whatever reason, they rebranded and changed their menu and we were so not impressed. Virage was an old favorite and a restaurant we frequented many years ago, but they rid their menu of all their best dishes (R.I.P. spinach fettucine and bacon-wrapped figs!) and now it just seems…less special. I was disappointed with the food, although there is something to be said for accommodating service. We had a fun time with our fun group, which ended with a few rounds of beers at McSorley’s. I haven’t hung out like that in a long time, so the next day I was extra tired and achy (read: a little hungover). But we still made it out for an early birthday dinner for my dad, however exhausted we felt. We were a smaller group without my brother and his kids, but it worked out just as well. It was low-key and perfect.

We started with dinner and dessert at an Italian restaurant.

bros burrata jules and grandma


Mason’s beautiful birthday card to Dad. In left to right order: Jules, Jax, Mase and Dad!

bday card dad and mase


Then, we came back to the house for a second dessert – birthday cake! This year, mom baked it.


Jules had a teeny tiny taste of frosting.

jules has cake

Her silly cousins love her and it is just the cutest!

jules and mase

Tequila down the hatch!


Spoiler alert: dad hates tequila.


Oh and check out my total mom fail…


Didn’t even realize that her dress came with briefs. They were still attached to the dress with the plastic tags! Insert facepalm meme here.

christmas day 2015

This year, Christmas was extra special for us because it was Juliette’s first Christmas. That morning, we put on some classics and tore into Santa’s gifts. As expected, she really took to the actual tearing of her gifts, more than the playing of her gifts. It was super cute, but I can’t wait for more Christmases where she’ll be more aware. I remember feeling like this was the most magical time as a kid. Of course, what child doesn’t love this holiday? But I had my little December traditions: watch Charlie Brown Christmas specials a few times, The Grinch etc. I’m so excited for when I can introduce Juliette to some of my favorite movies. I fully intend for her to love The Polar Express, Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Story. I think this might be one of the best parts of parenthood—imposing your ideals on your kids, haha 😉

jules and grandpa

Watching the train run around the tree with Grandpa.


We got so caught up in Juliette’s unwrapping of  gifts that Bob and I almost forgot to exchange with eachother. How times have changed.dirty bib

Juliette’s dirty bib.


Later on in the day, we packed up the car and headed to out Jersey to spend a few days with my folks. It felt like a little mini vacation because we partied and had lots of homemade coquito (like egg nog, but way better…and Puerto Rican) and then relaxed while my mom did awesome things like make us breakfast and sleep with the baby so that we could have a couple of nights of uninterrupted zzz’s. It was heaven!



Coquito in red solo cups, as we do.

Every year, I love my dad’s little Christmas village more and more. He likes to add a few new things to it and I have such fun pointing out what’s new and who’s going where. I told him next year, I might help him set it up so we can tell some new stories with the characters. I think it could be really fun (and tedious).

dinner tablesaladbeans

Can you believe 2016 is almost here? I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it because it’s an overused sentiment, but boy did this year fly by. I remember being pregnant in the beginning of the year and thinking, this year is going by soooo sloooow, I just want this baby to be here already. And then boom, once she came, it was like the clock sped up and suddenly she was 6 months old and we were feeding her solids already. Either way, I know 2016 will be another momentous year for us. It will be such a joy to watch this little girl turn one this summer. We may start looking for a house again towards the end of the year. And who knows? We may even take a small vacation? The year has many possibilities!jax and trethe boys


How was your holiday? Wonderfully merry, I hope!

picking for apples and pumpkins


I was terribly excited to go pumpkin picking at Battleview Orchards in Freehold, NJ this year. Partly because it would be Juliette’s first time, partly because I was indisposed all summer and now I’m finally getting out a little more regularly. At last!pumpkins

We always have a great time during our annual family pumpkin picking festivities, but I especially loved it this year because we got to pick for apples too. And there’s something about picking fruit straight from the tree that makes it extra special. We also had some hot cider with freshly-baked apple cider doughnuts because if you’re going to be a fall cliché, you might as well embrace it. The doughnuts were warm, pillowy and just the right amount of sweet. In other words, so sooooo good. I’m still dreaming of them days later.

Now, a preview of Juliette’s Halloween costume. She’s going to be an ewok. And the most adorable one at that.

juliettekaren and bob


Bob and I kept reminding ourselves to take a picture with Jules on a pumpkin (because pumpkins + baby = can’t even handle that cuteness), but unfortunately she fell asleep against Bob in the carrier. Picking is hard work!

juliette sleeping

That little face! She’s the sweetest.

There were two main patches of pumpkins, but there were rows and rows of various types of apple trees: Winesaps, Fujis, Empires, Granny Smiths and Braeburns to name a few. The abundance of colorful apples were a gorgeous sight. Some were rich red, some bright green and some a lovely mixture of both.

fallen applesjaney and masebitten apple

All were absolutely delicious, by the way.





janey and karenjaney and mase2green


oh hey!

me and bob

It’s been a while.

Things have been better since I last updated you. Actually, they got worse before they got better. Let me explain.

We had a mouse in our house.

A MOUSE. In our house.I was feeling miserable about it. Not only was I still adjusting to my new surroundings, but now I had to deal with this. And see, I don’t like mice. To me, they are filthy little creatures that carry diseases and they give me the creeps. Nothing is more uncomfortable when you’re walking on eggshells in your house, expecting a rodent to pop out at you any moment (Bob tells me they don’t “pop out”, rather they scurry away. But still). Any little sound or squeak inside the house and I jumped. And this mouse was sharp! He bypassed multiple types of traps set up around the house. I would have been impressed if I weren’t so disgusted. We finally had pest control come in to set traps and fill up some of the holes around the house with a filling that’s supposed to block rodents and insects from entering. Since then, we haven’t had any mouse sightings, thank goodness. Of course, then his grandmother who lives downstairs started seeing mouse droppings on her countertop shortly after. I did feel bad about that. A few days later, when his grandmother found the mouse dead by her front door (from natural causes?), a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Sorry to say it, but it’s true.


Bob and I celebrated our birthday in a  low-key fashion this year. We went out to eat, just the two of us, at Bobby Flay’s semi-new restaurant Gato.  The life-changing scrambled eggs appetizer made my night! It was easily the best thing I’ve eaten in months. It was spicy and wonderful and had the consistency similar to a soft cheese spread. Second best thing? The berry crostata dessert. It was such a nice night and the first time we were able to slow down and enjoy each other’s company in weeks (which we’re trying to do more of before the baby arrives). The seemingly never-ending move really took up a lot of our weekend free time. I’m hoping the baby doesn’t come too early so we can have a few weeks of calm before she’s due to arrive later in the month.


My sister’s wedding was last weekend! I took very few pictures and they were only of the bride getting ready at the gorgeous NU Hotel in Brooklyn. No time to snap pics when you’re the maid of honor! But I would eventually like to post the pictures once I have the professional ones. A full photo of the bride’s dress (along with other beautiful moments from the wedding) needs to be shown off because…duh. Plus, there’s this video of my nephew Mason tearin’ it up with his dance moves that my dad has yet to send me. The kid is seriously so good. I’ve never seen anyone just feel that music and let loose like he does. I hope he never loses that!

getting readybouquet

I’d gotten to the point where I legitimately had NOTHING to wear. The weather warmed up considerably and I thought I’d get away with wearing my old summer dresses once that happened. As it turned out, I’d gained more weight than I realized and those dresses made me feel like sausages in casings. When I told my mom, she asked me, “Why did you think you’d be able to fit in your old dresses?”. Good question! I think part naïveté and part wishful thinking. I had held out for as long as I could on the maternity wear, but I had to give in last Monday. I went to Target on my lunch break and bought over $100 in dresses and one pair of comfy pants.

Okay and one eye shadow too because I have no self control in the beauty section. No regrets!

nice shoes

Things are going to start to quiet down within the next couple of weeks (here’s hoping), so I’d like to start picking up my DSLR regularly again. I miss taking pictures. I miss blogging too. And you guys, of course. How are you?

janey’s bridal shower


In recent years, my sister’s favorite place to celebrate her birthday has been at Pane E Vino. It’s this Italian restaurant in downtown Brooklyn, where the back patio is covered by glass, so you get the effect of eating outside in the sunshine without any of those pesky outdoor elements like chilly wind or bugs. It’s gorgeous. Also, it was at Pane E Vino, around this time last year, that she announced a date for the wedding. So it was only fitting that her shower be held at a favorite and meaningful place. I’d say she was pretty pleased with the choice.


If the shower was any indication as to how the wedding will be, then it will probably be a super fun and lively wedding. I actually texted Bob mid-shower, “We are probably the rowdiest bridal shower brunch this place has ever seen!”


We even had a few curious onlookers join us for a dance.

guys2 guys



janey and magieribbon hattable

christmas 2014


Happy New Year! It is a happy one, isn’t it? I’m definitely feeling 2015. But that’s probably because I came into the new year newly ENGAGED. Yes! On Christmas Eve morning, while still in my pjs and sitting on the couch, Bob asked me if I wanted to open up one of my gifts early. Of course I said yes and unwrapped a large handmade scrapbook. On the first page, was the most heart-meltingly beautiful letter I’ve ever read. Tear-inducing! And when I looked up, there was Bob sitting next to me and holding up the most gorgeous ring. Needless to say, I happily and excitedly accepted his proposal. People often ask me if I knew it was coming and I always say no way. Sure, we’ve discussed marriage for years but I always assumed a proposal would come sometime in the far-off future. It was always one of those things that I knew would happen eventually, but when the time actually came, I was completely caught off-guard! I love this guy, I really do. I’m sure that goes without saying, but sometimes you just need to put it out there. He truly is my favorite person.

Can you tell I’m still floating in the clouds?

tree and ring

Anyway, onto the Christmas day festivities. You know the story by now: tons of food, laughs, kids impatiently waiting to open their gifts and few rousing rounds of my new favorite party game Heads Up. Christmas was extra special this year for many reasons, but one being that I had a really great time giving gifts to the family this year. I carefully thought about each person I’d be giving to and shopping early really afforded me that.  I love getting the ol’, “this is exactly what I wanted/needed!” It’s just a good feeling to know you’re making someone’s day. I’ll have to make note of this for years to come: Start thinking about Christmas gifts in October. Earlier if possible!

the boys

sis and sis in lawmilesme and bobdinner2dinner

bob, tre and janeyheads up

tiny village

I’d declared early on in 2014 that it would be the year of new things and that was completely accurate. I experienced cool things like helicoptor rides, a Color Run and kayaking in the Hudson. I started writing my thoughts in a journal, which has helped me clear the clutter in my mind. I started looking for my first home purchase (and we’re thisclose to getting it!). I reconnected with some family that I’d been out of touch with for a few years. I improved my eating habits, thus improving my health and mood.  I got enagaged!

So…2015! Like I said, it’s going to be a good one. I’m actually really excited about it, more excited than I’ve been for any other year. I have a few major things coming up, but I’ll fill you in on all that later. For now, I hope all of your holiday celebrations were full of happiness and good memories!

the hunt for a wedding dress (for the sis!)


I always see how much fun the families have on Say Yes to the Dress but you never really know until you experience it yourself. It’s so much fun and even more so when you can be involved in picking out the potential dresses. Me, my sister Janey, her mother, her best friend and my mother met up at Glamour Closet, a small bridal sample sale shop  in Chelsea. I haven’t ever been wedding dress shopping before this, BUT I think I can safely say that the staff at this place is top-notch. They are warm, friendly, cheerful, helpful, patient, not pushy (so important!)….basically everything you want your bridal salesperson to be. The experience here was tremendous. I can’t say enough good things about it. In fact, we promised to leave some glowing (well-deserved) reviews on Yelp which I have yet to do. Need to get on that.

So we only had one instruction from the bride-to-be: no poufy ball gowns.


So off we went to “pin” the dresses that we wanted to see Janey in. Did I already tell you how much fun this was?


Meet the judges (minus one!).


And the contenders! Cue the upbeat pop music you have yourself an awesome fitting room montage.

dresses 1 and 2

dresses 3 and 4


dresses 5 and 6

Then, we found this delicate, ethereal gown that just flowed gorgeously when it moved. I don’t think Janey allowed herself to fall in love with it until our salesgirl Joyce  told us, “The price of this dress is ridiculously good. Unheard of even!”. We all kind of looked at her somewhat incredulously and asked her what exactly was this fantastic price was. As soon as she said it, the tears started flowing and the cheering ensued. The price was just unbelievable for a dress that looked like a million bucks. Afterwards, we brunched (couldn’t stop talking about The Dress), went to an appointment at David’s Bridal (still couldn’t get our minds off The Dress) and came back absolutely positive that The Dress was The Dress. I’ll have to wait to post the pic on her wedding day next May, but for now just believe me when I say it’s so pretty.

Oh, hi.


Next year we’re gearing up for a ton of wedding bashes, including my sister’s and three other friends. All around the same time, no less. But I have to say I’m most excited for Janey’s—and why wouldn’t I be? It’s going to be a gorgeous, nontraditional affair and I get to be a part of it (plus, I get to pick out my own bridesmaid dress, so there’s that). Bring on wedding season!

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