2020 Intentions

December 18, 2019
We're one week away from Christmas and two weeks from the start of a new year! I'm sure many of you feel the same as I do about this fresh start - eager, excited and hopeful! Even though I don't want to treat my life as some sort of to do list, I think intentions are a nicer way of saying goals. A dream without a plan is a just a wish and I think the start of the year is the best time to make plans for those dreams! 
  • Become more informed. This being an election year, I want to truly be informed. While I love my snippets of information from my daily reads, I'm making it a goal of mine to listen to Up First from NPR which has 10 to 15 minute segments and Skimm This since it's available after 5:00 PM - perfect for my commutes to and from work!  
  • Healthy habits. For the majority of 2019 I was either nursing or pumping, so not only was I burning a ton of calories, but I really ate whatever I wanted. The other benefit was the amount of water I was consuming. Since I stopped nursing / pumping, I have really let that water consumption go down, trying to make up for it at the last minute at night. Not only do I want to increase my water intake, I want to be kinder to my body with the food I eat. I think the word I'm looking for here is balance - I'll continue to indulge in treats, but to make better choices about them is what I'm after. I also have a three month Forme Barre ambassadorship coming up that I'm really excited about and having that type exercise back in my life!
  • Growth of business(es). I have a lot of plans for both the blog and my wedding planning business that I hope to launch in 2020. So much of why I haven't done it yet is honestly due to not having enough time / a real plan. I now have a plan which was half the battle, so it's putting that plan into motion that I'm really excited for. One of my favorite quotes is "Great things never come from comfort zones." Learning to expand mine!
  • Be more present. I fully intend on putting the phone down and being present with Sophia more in 2020. So often I want to capture all these moments and I feel like she'll only remember me as having a phone in my hand or putting it in her face. I always want to remember the smiles she makes or the funny things she says, I don't ever want her to feel like she's not getting my full attention or that she has to compete for it. Gary is SO good at putting his phone away and playing / being present with Sophia and I want to get better at that! 
  • Investing in myself. This year I crossed a big to do of my list which was completing a certificate program in Marketing. It took some time getting back into the groove of completing assignments again and being graded, but it was really fun learning again. I've made it a goal of 2020 to complete another certification that's a little more difficult, but one that will be a great professional milestone for me. 

While many of these aren't going to be measurable by easily crossing off the list, I know that I'll feel better accomplishing any of what is mentioned above! What are some of your goals / intentions for 2020?

6 Recent Reads | November & December Edition

December 16, 2019
I think my reading mojo came back just as the year is getting ready to end. I love reading so much and it was only after college that I really fell in love with books. The escape they provide - it's just the best and while I tend to gravitate towards romantic / chic lit books, those suspense thrillers always draw me in! Here's a few books that would be great to add to your To Be Read lists! I also can't stress enough how great Kindle Unlimited has been. I've had it for almost two years now and there are so many great books to read that are included in your monthly price!
Miss You (Kindle Unlimited) || A case of sliding doors, missed opportunities and a little bit of the One Day book vibes. What happens when you meet the love of your life, only you didn't realize it and then your life just keeps on moving. That's the case for Gus and Tess and as the years tick by you see how their lives unfold - always just missing one another. Reading this book each time the characters were close to finding one another I kept finding myself holding my breath to see if this was it and the moment they would spot each other. There was a lot of realness in what each character went through and gave up. It was a fresh read and one that I flew through because I had to see how it ended! I wish there was an epilogue - that's the only thing missing!
His Royal Highness (Kindle Unlimited) || So much yes to this RS Grey book! It's cute, sassy & a total fairytale! Derek Knightley is heir to the Knightley Amusement Park. Whitney is 10 years his junior and the girl that was once just his mentee has suddenly blossomed into the princess of the park that everyone loves. Her unrequited love from 8 years ago is back, but he's ready to show her that the prince act isn't an act at all! Cheesy - 100%, but if you're looking for something really lighthearted, this is it! 
Passion on Park Avenue || Lauren Layne was one of my favorite authors from last year and this is her new Central Park series. Oliver was probably my favorite male character in a while and Naomi, was a little so-so for me. A rags to riches story for Naomi has her in the running to be the newest resident at an exclusive co-op on the Upper East Side. This wouldn't be the first time she stepped foot in the building and it's a grudge she just can't let go. She's worked so hard to prove that she's not just the girl from the Bronx anymore, but the only person that even remembers her that way is her! Oliver has no idea why Naomi is so against him, but he still works hard to get her to see the real him, not just this uppity, rich snob she thinks he is. I think I'll like the other stories in the series more than this one, but all the characters were really fun! 
Meet Cute || Ever since literally running into her high school heartthrob of a crush, Dax on the first day of law school, Kailyn has fallen over herself as the ultimate fan girl. When Dax beats her out for the top spot at the end of law school, she can't help but think the attraction was all in her head and he's just a former actor jerk who is only out for himself. That is until terrible circumstances force Dax into her life and she's getting to see the real guy. It's a meet-cute love story all the way, but it was a lot more R-rated than I was anticipating, almost threw me off while reading! Cute read nonetheless! 
After the Rain || I'd have to say this is my least favorite Renee Carlino book, but only because I didn't care much for the female character. Avelina has had no shortage of heartbreak in her young life, so when she meets and marries Jake, she keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop. What seems like a world away is Nate, top of his class heart surgeon and keenly focused on his success. Nate follows his dads request to go to a ranch in Montana to regroup and there he meets Avelina. The first person to make her smile or laugh in a long time, he is drawn to her and sad about her past. The story is really about these two people falling in love with themselves before they can love anyone else. Not my favorite book, but for only $3 it wasn't a terrible read. 

In the Unlikely Event (Kindle Unlimited) || One day eight years ago, Rory goes to Dublin in search of saying goodbye to her father, but instead she ends up meeting Mal. They share a day / night so perfect, that they make a pact that in the unlikely event their paths ever cross again, regardless of their circumstances they will get married and be together. One catch is they can't look for each other and they can't let anything other than fate bring them back together. Told in alternating voices and through different times, this was such an engrossing read. There was heartache, lots of laugh out loud moments and real grittiness that as a reader I couldn't wait to see how they came out of it! The epilogue is what dreams are made of, may have actually cried reading it! 
What are you currently reading?

Friday Favorites

December 13, 2019
Happy Friday, friends! It has been  a while since I've gotten a post up on a Friday, but this week has been nice and refreshing, so time was on my side! We have a few things planned for the weekend and I actually have another day off today - the joys of saving up all my vacation time and needing to use it before I lose it! 

This Week

On Monday we went to visit Santa at the mall and I was fully expecting Sophia to have the meltdown of us placing her with someone she didn't know, but this girl was all smiles and within 5 minutes we were done! It helped that we were the first one's in line, she was fresh off a nap and in a really good mood! We will see what next year brings, but it's hard to believe that she was only 4 months old for the photo last year and now she's a full on toddler!

That night my friend Tess and I went to the Veuve Clicquot pop up chalet at the W Hotel. We had the best time sipping on champagne and taking way too many photos! I feel like I rarely go to these types of events anymore, so it was really nice to get out for a couple of hours!

Recent Buys

I've done quite a bit of shopping over the last few weeks with all the sales and I've really loved all my new goodies! These boots are just as comfortable as I hoped they would be and an early gift from my mom were these jeans from Ann Taylor that are so comfortable. I also scooped up my first BeautyBio skincare treatment and can't wait to try it! 

Around the Web

Hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead!

Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide

December 11, 2019
Even though this is the stocking stuffers gift guide, I really think any of these gifts would work for co-workers, friends and of course to put in the stocking! I like to add in a few practical things like travel size anything for Gary and since we go through our stocking after opening presents if there is anything smaller or an accessory to the larger presents, this is where I'll add them! 
  • This desktop mini vacuum cleaner is so fun! I bought one for our house to clean up the counters, but I think it would be great to keep at work as well. It's $12 and even though it's not hands free, it's a neat little gadget that comes in a couple of colors. 
  • AirPod covers are such a great stocking stuffer, especially if the big gift was the AirPods themselves! These come in 18 different colors and are less than $6! 
  • If one of the big gifts was a Nespresso machine, then pods to go with the machine are the perfect matching gift! Amazon now sells 3 sleeves for $33 and this is one thing we always need and order! 
  • I love to listen to music in the shower, but usually just bring my phone in the bathroom - this little wireless and water resistant shower speaker is perfect for belting out the tunes and giving someone at least 5 minutes of peace! 
  • These little hand creams are perfect! I actually bought the set and split them up to gift for a couple people as a stocking stuffer. You could do that or give someone all three to have with them at home, in their bag and the office! 
  • I bought this lint roller for myself and it's cute and chic! Keep it in my purse - super handy!
  • For anyone that has all three of these tech devices, this is a great charging station
  • I love conversation starters, this card game from Hygge would be great to have for date night conversation or when friends come over and you want to do something different! 
  • This is another gift that comes as a trio so you could split it up or gift it to one person. Lip balm is one of those things that you can never have too much of!
  • I don't know if anyone else struggles with water consumption, but I always find that I would drink more water if I had something with me at all times, but when it's not in use doesn't take up much space - enter in these collapsible water bottles! I think these are great for every day, but also for travel!
  • Skincare is something that everyone wants to incorporate more time into, but time is something that's hard to find. If you gift this jade roller, know that they wont need a ton of time. Popping this in the fridge then putting on some eye gels - roll on the face and in 5 minutes you're depuffed and looking refreshed! 

This was my last gift guide for the season! How is your holiday shopping coming along?

Gift Guide for Toddlers
Gift Guide for Your Bestie
Gift Guide for Her
Gift Guide for the Guys

Weekend Rewind

December 09, 2019
Happy Monday, friends! We had a nice low key weekend thanks to the cold weather, but no complaints! I'm also looking forward to an extra day off today with Sophia to do a few holiday things - so keeping the party going!

Friday after work our neighbors had a cookie decorating party! Sophia isn't really big on sweets or so I thought because she practically inhaled the cookie and slice of pizza and then was out like a light - successful evening if you ask me!!
We purchased a new rug during Black Friday & Sophia loved rolling around with nothing in her way!!
Gary had an event on Saturday so we had a little girl's afternoon - Target trip & a little lunch at Chipotle. This was the first time I ordered a kids meal for Sophia and for $3.95 you get so much...truly impressed!

Our friends came over on Sunday for a little brunch and toddler time! Linda and I had the girls 2 months apart and they are just getting to the cute age of playing together. After a fun weekend with all of us in Portland earlier this year, we're planning a trip for 2020! They also gifted Sophia this fun series of books and I have to say - they are my new favorites to read to her! 
The weekend ended the same way it began, with another cookie making get together and some Marvelous Mrs. Maisel binge watching! Really looking forward to a fun festive week ahead! 

Gift Guide for the Guys

December 04, 2019
Back with a gift guide for the guys today. If I haven't already gifted this to my husband, dad or brother in law, then you can bet it'll be a gift they get this year! 
  • Yeti Mug || This is a staple gift to me. I don't know many people that wouldn't love to get it and in fact, it's one of the gifts that I ordered for our holiday gift for my colleagues one year. It comes in so many different colors and really is one of my favorite things to give year after year - to different people of course! 
  • UGG Slippers || One of those gifts that men just really never treat themselves to. Getting a nice pair of slippers is a gift that keeps on giving! I like the ones that aren't completely open in the back, but are still easy to slip on and off. 
  • Sunglasses || Love Ray-Bans for a sleek and handsome look! Gary has a few pairs of sunglasses, those he wears around Sophia, ie the ones he wont care if they break and then a nicer pair that he wears to work or for daytime events.
  • Wireless Earbuds || I personally love my airpods, but if you have a guy on your list that isn't really into brand names, these wireless earbuds are just as comparable to Apple Airpods. 
  • Tile Mate || My friend exclaimed that this is the perfect "Dad" gift! Gary got some last year as a gift and graciously gave me two (one for my wallet and one for my keys). I've thankfully only had to use it once to find my keys at our house, but it's a "peace of mind" thing to have! 
  • Subscription Box || I like subscription boxes because it's the gift that keeps on giving. Birchbox has a great men's grooming box and you can do a 3, 6 or 12 month gift for them. 
  • Mini Blue Tooth Speaker || Never know when you're going to have to be the life of the party or need tunes - this little speaker is a fun and manly color! 
  • Weekend Bag || Gary has one way to bring stuff on overnight trips - a suitcase! Need to change that with these sleek duffel bags. 
  • North Face Gloves || Gloves are like socks, one always ends up missing at the end of the season! These are some of the best for those cold New England winters!
  • Multi Tool for Grill || Honestly the hardest person on my list to buy for is my brother in law, he has everything and coming up with ideas that I think he'll find useful is tough! One thing he loves is to grill - this is a great 3 in 1 tool! 
Do you have a go to gift for the guys?

Thanksgiving Weekending

December 02, 2019
Happy Monday, friends! Can we just pause real quick, because this is the last month of the year and the decade! We're getting ready to start a new decade and that is pretty exciting to me! We had the best Thanksgiving, made quite a dent in our holiday shopping and had some really cozy nights in! 
Sophia looks like a little grandma here and it just cracks me up! 
Gary and I alternate the holidays and this year we celebrated with his family. Sophia was such a little love & pretty much wore herself out running after my sister in law's dog! We don't get to see them as often as we'd like, so it was nice to spend some quality time with everyone! 

 Notice the sock tucked into my pants...very glamorous! 

Saturday I was invited to check out the new Saturday drop in program at Galoop Children's Classes in Chestnut Hill. There is an imaginative open play space and art center for kids to play and let out all their energy! This is going to be so perfect as it starts to get colder and we go stir crazy in our own house! Sophia had the best time exploring and playing with all the toys we don't have! Cecilia, the owner and program director really embraces the fun of being a child and she's so passionate about all the programs that they offer for parents and caregivers! 
That day I got a much needed cut & color! I went a little lighter than normal, but I absolutely love it! 

Sunday before the snow, Sophia and I went to my sister's house to visit with the newest edition, their new puppy, Ziggy! I mean just look at his little face, he's so sweet and cuddly! I'm so happy that Sophia loves dogs because we will be seeing a lot of Ziggy! It was the best way to cap off a fantastic holiday weekend! I've also been watching so many Hallmark Movies - they are so much better this year, super cheesy, but better!
Wishing you a great start to the week! 

Black Friday Sales

November 29, 2019
Happy day after Thanksgiving, Friends! I hope you're all still enjoying all the leftovers and cozy on your couches today! If you're like me, then you're working a half day and doing a lot of your shopping! I'm actually 75% done, which is way further along than I thought I'd be! I've noticed that a lot of stores are kicking off their sales much earlier and really you can get great stuff throughout the weekend! Here's a few places that I'll be placing orders from!

Hope the celebrating and shopping continue all weekend long for you! 

Gift Guide for Her

November 25, 2019
I always put the gift guide for her together with things that I would seriously love to have, have already asked for or already own! I always think of these as gifts you want, but have a hard time buying for yourself, so why not ask for them during this time of year?!

  • Spanx Leggings || Everyone that has these leggings says how incredible they are, so I'm thinking Santa may want to have these under the tree for me and you!
  • Life Planner || For the organization and planner obsessed, the Erin Condren Life Planner is the best gift! I finally have one of my own and I can't wait to start using it. There's always a great Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale for these, so keep an eye out. 
  • Passport Holder || For that woman that loves to travel or plans on doing a lot of it in 2020, a new passport holder is the perfect gift!
  • UGG Slippers || I've made it no secret that these slippers are on my wish list and I think they'll finally be making their way to me! 
  • Adjustable bracelet || After my recent trip to NYC, I'm somewhat in love with all things Monica Vinader and really into her jewelry pieces. I think any piece in would be an incredible gift to start a collection! I especially love the Riva adjustable diamond bracelet
  • Sorel Sneaker Boots || There is something about these insulated sneaker boots that is both futuristic, cool and a little over the top! Getting to wear sneakers in the winter in Boston without having to compromise on comfort and keeping warm - that's a win! 
  • Away Luggage || If I needed luggage, I would 100% be asking for any type of Away luggage. I think it's super sleek and comes in a ton of different color options.
  • MZ Wallace Tote || It would not be my gift guide if some sort of tote bag wasn't on there, but I have had this one on my own wish list for quite some time and find these to be the most travel / everyday friendly! 
  • Heating Pad || I have this neck and shoulders heating pad on the list for someone very close to me and I think it will get a ton of use. Something that's a set it and forget "me" time experience. 
  • Wireless Charger & Sanitizer || For as much as we're on our phones, I don't even want to think about how gross and dirty they are. This charger and sanitizer is perfect to keep at home or the office! 
  • Charlotte Tilbury lip set || Charlotte Tilbury makes some of the silkiest and best pigmented lipsticks! This set is a great gift and one I certainly wouldn't mind! 

What's on your wish list this year?

Recent Reads - Fall Edition

November 20, 2019
Halfway through the week already and Thanksgiving is right around the corner! This time of year, I find myself reaching for books more and trying to squeeze reading in whenever I can. I'm a notorious multitasker, so I'll watch TV at night and then during commercial breaks read a few pages - it's the ultimate way for me to decompress! Here's a few recent reads that you should definitely add to your list! 

The Other Woman || There was twist after twist with this book! I'd had it on my list to read for a while and finally scooped it up when it was on sale! Emily and Adam seem like the perfect pair, but there's one woman who doesn't think so and wants to make sure Emily is out of the picture before they get married. I wouldn't say it's a full on thriller, but it's a page turner and you can't help but wonder who is good and who is crazy. If you've ever seen the movie "Hush" you get some similar vibes reading this book. I'd say, this is the perfect suspense to read this coming winter! 

Perfectly Adequate (Kinde Unlimited) || I could not read this book fast enough - I would put it in my top 5 for the year! Dr. Hawkins and Dorothy could not be more different. He's a single dad, doctor and pretty much every woman's dream guy. Dorothy is a free spirit, nursing student and patient transporter at the hospital and she also has Asperger's.She doesn't quite get the social cues that Dr. Hawkins is throwing out at her and it leads to some pretty funny situations. It was both touching and fun to read - I can't recommend this book enough.  
The Tattooist of Auschwitz || This is not my normal type of read, but after hearing so many great reviews, a friend of mine lent me her copy to read. I think from the title anyone can gather that this will not be an easy read - it's full of heartache, loss, gruesome moments retold, but at the heart of it all is a beautiful love story and that was what I chose to focus on. Lale was taken to Auschwitz during the Holocaust and when they discovered that he spoke several languages he was given the job of being the tattooer at the camp and tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners. It was there that Lale met Gita, a love forms between them and he vows to marry her one day. The true story of Lale and Gita's enduring love was beautiful. I cried many times reading the book and the author vividly captures the essence of both of them. It's clear why this book is an international best seller and a must read! 

The Thousandth Floor (Kindle Unlimited) || One of the best things about this book was that it took place in the future - which is not something I thought I'd ever be into. It's 2118 in New York City and life in the 1,000 story tower that stretches into the sky is exactly as life is today, just with a few more enhancements. There are privileged families that live on higher floors with the comforts that we know today and there are poorer families that live on the lower floors having to make do with what they have. Aside from the fact that this book takes place in the future, I found the relationships the characters in the book had to be really fascinating and similar to what you would think of in today's world. I loved that the author took it to a level of fiction that wasn't improbable. For example, the way we text today is through a phone or tablet, in the book it's done through contacts that the really rich can afford - so when you see someone texting via phone - you know they aren't quite as well off. There is a hyper-loop that can take you from NY to Paris in three hours - certainly not out of the realm of possibility for the future. All that to say, that while it was the future, they still deal with the same issues we face today. The characters are young and in high school, but it was a really cool read! There are two more books in the series that I want to get to as well! 
The Allure of Julian Lefray (Kindle Unlimited) || An easy and fun read from RS Grey. Josephine (Jo) is such a relatable character! Leaves her small hometown in Texas to pursue her dream of being in Fashion and moonlights as a fashion blogger. She lands a job with one of her favorite designers, the only catch is she's actually the assistant to the designer's brother, Julian. Easy to follow, fun to read and you could definitely feel the heat between Jo and Julian. Steamy moments aside, it was really well written and I think the added touch of Jo being a blogger made it even more interesting to read. 

I have a few books downloaded and have been slowly making my way through those! What's on your reading list right now?