Thoughts

Pina ColadaImage via Pinterest // Design by Laura of Some Kind of Lovely Ride

Some important words of wisdom for your Thursday – from the hilarious genius that is Ellen DeGeneres. Anyone else craving a pina colada & summertime right about now?

I spend my days/life in constant search of balance. Balance between work and everything else. Balance between healthy meal choices and that second serving of dessert. Attempting to accept that my life will be full of both good and bad, and that all I can do is roll with the punches. It’s a good thing that pina coladas exist in this world. And it’s an even better thing that I can look at my life & recognize that the good FAR outweighs the bad.

Good luck finding that balance in YOUR day!

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5 DIY Projects for Dog Lovers

It’s no secret around here that I am obsessed with my dog. I have an Emma Pinterest Board to stash funny & creative dog-related projects that would be perfect for my lil’ girl. So if, by chance, you are equally obsessed with your doggie companion – here are 5 great DIY projects for you to try your hand at – and for your pup to enjoy!

1) DIY Dog Pillows

Let’s get real. It’s only a matter of time until I make a pillow that looks like my dog. The dog-loving geniuses behind Bark Box shared this great tutorial for making your very own doggie pillow!

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2) Classic Canvas Dog Tote

Leave it to Martha to come up with a practical-yet-lovely way to tote around a little dog. This tutorial from Martha Stewart uses an L.L. Bean canvas bag & a little ingenuity!

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3) Dog Bed Suitcase DIY

This has got to be the loveliest dog bed I’ve ever laid eyes on! And the tutorial – from Ruche Blog – is easy to follow & full of great photos.

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4) DIY Crate Dog Bed

Another dog bed option from Home Frosting – I can’t get over how cool this looks.  If only Emma would humble enough herself to a dog bed… she’s a lap & human furniture/bed kind of dog. (Translation = her parents are horrible dog trainers and we spoil our four legged child like there is no tomorrow.)

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5) DIY Dog Tail Hook Wall Organizer

And finally, a project that it sure to make you giggle every time you hang your keys/hat/coat. I am obsessed with the look of this set of IKEA dog-tail hooks on a great piece of reclaimed wood. Head on over to Condo Blues for the tutorial!

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So what do you guys think of all these great doggie-DIYs? Can I get a woof – woof?!

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A Few of My Favorite Things (Birthday Style)

My birthday was a few days ago, and I was quite spoiled by my loving husband and family. If you follow me on Instagram you likely saw some pics from my fun-filled “birthday week”. Here’s a round-up!

Birthday Collage1 & 2) the week started off with a mani-pedi date with a friend, so I’ve been sporting Essie Mademoiselle on my fingers & Turquoise & Caicos on my toes. 3) Pretty tulips from the grocery store bloomed all week in our living room. 4) More tulips – a lovely flower bed outside a hotel in NYC spotted while my BFF & I walked the streets on a fun-filled evening. 5) Drinks, dinner, a show & time with my bestie. 6) Gorgeous flowers delivered on my birthday from my amazing husband! 7) New favorite shoes (Reva by Tory Burch). 8) Happiness. 9) Seriously spoiled – a new bag for toting my laptop & work essentials (Longchamp Le Pliage), a new springy cellphone case (Botanical Rose iPhone Case from Rifle Paper Co)., and a basket for my bike (Nantucket Bike Basket Company).

I love having a Spring birthday – it is such a happy & optimistic time! Now if the weather would just get it together, I would have zero complaints!

Have a great day everyone! Xo!

Heroes

I wanted to take a break from sharing my progress on my new workspace to touch on the horrific event that has been on all of our TVs, twitter accounts, and minds for the past 20 hours. The news reports started flooding in with a vengeance yesterday afternoon – and my first thought upon hearing the words “bombing at the Boston Marathon” was of my friend Sheree who was set to face Heartbreak Hill in her third Boston Marathon. Fortunately, Sheree was safe – but that, of course, can not be said of everyone who was running towards or cheering loved ones on at the finish line that day.

In my world, the idea of a marathon complete eludes me. To be able to dedicate yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally, to such an impressive feat is so amazing to me. Over the years, I’ve watched Sheree grow stronger – not only as a runner, but as a proud, confident, incredible woman – and I’ve always known that the commitment she makes each year to train and prepare for the marathon has been a large part of that change in her. To top if off, Sheree has run these past three years for charity – for the Mass Mentoring Partnership – an organization that works to provide quality mentoring to Massachusetts youth in need. So in addition to the personal training regiment that Sheree works so hard to keep, she spends months on end working to raise funds for this worthy cause. And let me tell you – there is no such thing as “too far” when it comes to Sheree and her charity.

Sheree BananaThis girl stood on the streets of Boston in a banana suit, singing and dancing, all in the name of fundraising for charity and preparing for the Boston Marathon.

Yesterday, a day that should have been a proud moment for the people of Boston and a day of triumph and accomplishment for my friend Sheree, was devastated by a cowardly act of the anonymous. But what will never cease to amaze me, as an American and a human, are the overwhelming amount of good people, doing good things, that will always stand up to violence and hatred, no matter the personal cost.

Sheree runs for her own mind, body and soul – and she runs to bring hope to the lives of children that have felt the pain of desertion, domestic violence, and poverty. Sheree is a hero to the children she brings aid and comfort to, and she is a hero to her friends and family who have watched her bravery and strength over the years.

Once again, we have all been witness to heroism – in the brave first responders who rushed to the horrific scene yesterday to care for the injured, and in the civilians – spectators and runners – who ran towards the blast to offer assistance, aid and comfort.

The good will always fight against the bad – and will always inspire courage and hope in the hearts of those who watch from TV screens around the world. The Boston Marathon brings together people of all backgrounds – from professional runners to banana-suit-wearing, kind and dedicated people like Sheree, either running for a cause or running just because – and in the face of tragedy we can all stand together and look to the heroes among us for strength.

To Carry Her Close

I have started this post at least a dozen times over the course of the past month. Each time, the words just did not come out right. This blog has been an outlet for me over the past year – in many ways. I’ve shared wedding plans and DIY projects, and occasionally written about topics of a more personal nature – today being one of those occasions.

2 months ago my grandmother – my Mommom – passed away. You may remember her from this mother’s day series I wrote last spring, when I talked about some of her amazing qualities & some of the important life lessons that I learned from her over the years.

mommomI’ve always counted myself to be so very lucky for having had so many years with each of my four grandparents. I lost my first, my paternal Grandfather, a few years ago – and it was a harsh reality to accept that I would not have my loving grandparents in my life forever.

My Mommom was diagnosed with a rare and terminal illness many years ago. And so my family prepared, in as much as one can prepare, for the day that we would have to say goodbye. Each holiday was a special joy, and having her with me on my wedding day was a blessing I had hardly dared to hope for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut all of these important moments shared with her are kept only in my memory now. There will not be another Christmas together, there will not be baptisms and birthday parties. My future children will never know her – will never feel her unconditional love, experience her intelligent wit, or share an Entenmann’s crumb cake doughnut with her after a sleepover.

I worry that my own memory is insufficient. My younger brother remembers details and moments that are merely a haze to me. I remember fragments – pieces of my past. Like the colors of her garden in the springtime, the sandy taste of her Werther’s Butterscotch candies on a hot summer day down the shore, and the smell of spaghetti and meatballs cooking on her stove as I sat at her round kitchen table. I remember how she rarely raised her voice, and that she loved to tell stories. I remember mother-daughter miniature golf tournaments – for which my mother, Mommom and I would team up – and listening to broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera House over the radio together.

I remember taking for granted that she would always be at everything. Every concert, soccer game, school play and recital. Every holiday dinner, every lazy summer in LBI. And as I grew older, and as I watched my friends lose their grandparents, I remember the  the tightness in my chest at the thought of having to say goodbye.

I miss her. I miss just seeing her, just sitting close to her. I miss the way my mother would tell her funny stories and make jokes because she couldn’t do that herself anymore. I miss watching my grandfather look at her with his expression of constant, steady love.

Lockets1I wear this locket now – and gave its twin to my mother – so that I can always carry my Mommom close. It’s the beautiful Forget Me Not Tiny Heart Locket from Heartworks by Lori, which I then sized and cut a photograph to fit inside.

LocketsThe image is of the hands of my Mommom and my mother, along with mine – joined on my wedding day this past October.

DSC_5971Three generations of strong, intelligent, funny and loving women (not to toot my own horn!) Each caring for the other in their own special way. It’s an image that reminds me of how lucky I was – and am – and to forever treasure my memories.

This One’s For the Dog Lovers

It’s no secret that I am obsessed with my dog. I seriously cannot think of a cuter thing on the planet (except maybe a few babies, like my niece and nephews, for instance. But I suppose I’m biased).
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The good news is, the hubs is equally as in love with our crazy little ball of fu, Emma the Australian Terrier, as I am. The bad news is, she is a very spoiled pup.

Someday when she has a human brother or sister, and her parents have to split their love and affection (I hear babies are a little bit time consuming), she will probably be very confused.
BirthdayEmmaEmma’s birthday bone was bigger than her last year. 

But, until that day arrives, lucky Emma is the center of our little family. She’s the boss of the house (Caesar Milan would NOT approve), and a source of constant entertainment.

To commemorate our love for the little fur ball, I even commissioned a portrait of Emma in all her cuteness-overload-glory as a Christmas gift for the hubby.

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And by “commissioned”, I mean that I ordered a custom pet portrait from the talented Nicole Chen of The Stardust Studio Etsy shop.

I sent Nicole a few of my favorite snapshots of Emma, and she created this lovely painting that totally captures Emma’s signature wide-eyed “aren’t I the cutest thing you’ve ever seen” expression.

EmmaPortraitA puppy portrait? Now that is love.

We were fortunate enough to enjoy a day off this past holiday weekend, and so we took Emma for an extra long walk in the park on Monday morning.

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She did some running & frolicking, and stayed nice & cosy in her Boots & Barkley argyle jacket (from Target). She’s a total prepster.

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So speaking of things we buy for our dog, the hubs found this really neat service called BarkBox, and signed Emma up for monthly deliveries. BarkBox sends a package of toys and treats, specifically selected for your dog’s size.

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Image from BarkBox.com

The subscription (which can be by the month, or for 3 or 6 months at a time – with bigger savings as you increase your deliveries) comes with a special bonus – as BarkBox donates 10% of all their proceeds to local animal shelters. As a subscriber, you learn about the shelters BarkBox is supporting, and you can even recommend local animal shelters to BarkBox.

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Emma’s first BarkBox (of the Small & Cute size) arrived over the weekend. We helped her open it up, and she immediately discovered the bag of Nootie treats. Also included was an all natural, 100% beef Barkworthies Chew, a sturdy-looking rope Jax and Bones Octopus (named Elton & voted Best Pet Toy by Pet Product News) and a rubber peanut (the Ruff Dawg “Wee-Nut” … ha) that can be filled with yummy treats.

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We’re pretty sure she liked it.

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BarkBox seems like a relatively affordable way to treat your dog to new toys & treats, learn about doggie products (like shampoos, and healthy, all-natural treats). Emma’s subscription is less than $20 a month, with free shipping. I did a little research and found the retail value for each item in her box – adding everything up to get a total closer to $30.

What do you guys think? Sure, we’re probably a tad over indulgent when it comes to out little pup- but it’s a small price to pay for the absolute JOY that she gives us on a daily basis. She is part therapist (she literally licks the tears off my face when I’m sad), part comedian, and part foot-warmer during our evening couch/TV sessions.

Do you have a pet that you love to death? Tell me about him or her! I love to swap pet tails…I mean tales. 🙂

Happy New Year!

Hello there, friends! I hope you are all well, happy & healthy on this first day of 2013! I’ve enjoyed a lovely break from work for the past week, including a little blogging break while I spent most of my free time binge-watching the first two seasons of Homeland. Great show, and I can’t believe it took me so long to check it out! Now that I am reeling from the season 2 finale, I thought I’d take a second to share with you some of my favorites moments of this past holiday week!

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Little bits of happiness from my week- from the top left photo clockwise:

a beautiful dusting of snow on Christmas morning in my parent’s backyard  // my sweet little nephew enjoying a Christmas story on Christmas eve // crate of gifts under our Christmas tree (significantly emptier than pre-Christmas, but we still have some to give!) // the glow of a candle in an aluminum lantern, surrounded by pine cones & glittery balls // sparkling wine and our wedding toasting flutes to ring in the new year // our part cozy – part college-kid-esque New Year’s eve dinner. Dining by candlelight on our coffee table with our new wedding china and paper towels for napkins. We’ve got class AND we don’t buy real napkins. Bam.

New Year Resolutions for 2013? More family, friends, crafts and books – less take-out, stress, and overflowing laundry baskets.

What about you?