State Love

ShelfI was born and raised in Pennsylvania. I love soft pretzels, the Phillie Phanatic, and the rivers of Pittsburgh. I moved to New Jersey five years ago, and while I’ve loved the Jersey Shore my whole life (and spent my summers there for as long as I can remember), I was still resistant to the idea of becoming a “Jersey Girl.”

No offense to Snookie or Theresa Guidice… but Jersey Girl is pretty much synonymous with big hair, leopard print attire, and table flipping these days. (I do secretly love Theresa though, I cannot lie).

dish-053012-necessay-roughness-2Image Source: Bravo TV

Nevertheless, a Jersey Girl I am, thanks to five years of residence, a Jersey-born hubby, and the occasional “aw” sound that accidentally slips into my daily conversations (I cringe every time I catch myself saying “”tawlk…”)

I still take pride in the fact that I know how to pump my own gas. But I also really like not having to do that when it’s cold & rainy, so…womp womp.

I’m a big fan of state & region inspired art, and I’ve got my eye on some Pennsylvania-based art to pay tribute to my roots – like this lovely watercolor print and this rustic wood piece. (birthday hint for any relatives or husbands that might be reading…)

So decided to create my own State Love art to represent the state where I met & married my love! This yellow New Jersey piece was an easy project – using cardstock & scrapbook paper. The little heart is over Hope, New Jersey – the quaint little town where we tied the knot.


To make my New Jersey art, I used this this image of an outline of the state (link will take you to a PDF).

I put it into a Microsoft Word document, and flipped the image so that I could print it directly onto my yellow scrapbook paper, cut it out, and turn it around to have a line-less yellow New Jersey.

NJStateArtI glued the cut out state onto white cardstock, and then glued on a little red heart (just cut freehand from red scrapbook paper). I popped the entire piece inside a white frame matted to 8 x 10 – and boom! Let the fist pumping commence!

ArtworkShelfMy new artwork is hanging out on a new shelf we installed a few weeks ago (there is a long story behind the shelf which I’m sure I’ll get around to telling someday soon…) It’s hanging out with my Gnome Sweet Gnome stenciled canvas, along with a yellow gnome candle from Target, a white “C” and a jar of cute little daisies. I love the yellow & the combination of these two handmade and personal pieces in our living room!


Tell Me How You Really Feel.

Last night, FH and I drove to Sandy Hook, NJ to meet up with Amy Migliore & Lauren Gibson of Focal Point Studios for a little engagement photo shoot. This is one wedding detail were are quite behind on, I realize, but it worked out so well because FH & I both love the beach & summer evenings, so although our wedding is in the Autumn, we got to enjoy another favorite season & build some lovely (and hilarious) new memories.

One of the things I love the most about my future hubby, is his unfailing honesty and commitment to be true to himself. In our relationship, I very rarely find myself wondering what he ‘really feels’ about something, because 99% of the time, he will tell me the truth. (Although, like every good man, he does have a good grasp on the little lies that make a lady feel pretty or normal… even when she is lookin’ a mess or acting crazy.)

Anyway, my point is that I love my FH’s strong individuality (as he loves mine- there are no sheep to be herded in this household). With that said, when the idea of taking engagement pictures came about, my future hubby was very clear about his less-than-thrilled attitude. I imagine most husbands-to-be do not jump at the chance to stand in forced positions, awkwardly striking the “I’m looking at you with a natural, loving expression while people stand around me snapping photos and inside I sort of hate you a little bit for making me do this” pose. Or maybe they do. I wouldn’t know, because I’ve only been engaged to one man, and my man was not excited.

So when I said at the beginning of this post that I love how my FH always tells me the truth about what he feels, I meant it. But I love even more that last night he a) told me the truth about how he felt, but then, b) did it anyway. And tried to smile, and eventually relaxed enough to be his normal, joking, sarcastic, and wonderful self. I was so happy to be taking pictures with such a loving & wonderful man last night. Our photographers were so sweet & made us feel as comfortable as possible.

After we thought our photo session was over, my FH assuming he was driving away to safety, and Amy & Lauren flashed for us to stop – insisting we just had to get out of the car to take a few more pictures because the sunset was just TOO beautiful to miss – my man dutifully parked the car & walked through the dunes to capture just a few more pictures. The combination of Amy & Lauren’s commitment to their artistic vision (and to capturing gorgeous photos for us to cherish), with my FH’s ability to compromise for love the bribe of a giant ice cream sundae when we got home, made for a fantastic evening.

Lauren shared her perspective in a lovely (and insightful look at marriage and compromise) post over on the Focal Point Studios blog, where you can see some of the pictures from our shoot. If you live in the Philly/NYC and are looking for incredibly talented and fun photographers, you simply MUST contact Amy & Lauren! Thanks again, ladies!

Looking Forward

Since I recently wrote about feeling nostalgic for past birthdays, today I will share a list things I am looking forward to in this next year of my life! I started out with the intention of listing 27 things- until I realized none of you would really want to read about how excited I am for things like this:

#12- I can’t wait for another year’s worth of Sunday brunches complete with BACON.

#19- I hope I survive another year without being bitten by a rabid squirrel.

I get it… some things are better left kept to oneself. That being said- here is my shortened list of SEVEN things I REALLY can’t wait for!

Wonderful Things to Come as a 27-Year Old

1. The opportunity to perform one of my favorite roles from one of my favorite musicals alongside some wonderful friends and super awesome students rising stars this weekend! I’ll play the Baker’s Wife in a Faculty, Student & Alumni Production of Into the Woods at the high school I teach at. In the Jersey/NYC area? Come check us out!

2. June 25th- the final day of my final course at BU. From that point forward (assuming I pass my final two classes), everyone must address me as Master. And with schoolwork out of the way, I’ll be able to devote more time towards my new-found blogging habit!

3. June 24th- the day I embark on a week long cruise with my best friend life partner (dinosaur- that’s secret code) Eric. He plays Mary Sunshine in Chicago on the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, and I get to spend a week in paradise, loving life and loving my best friend! (P.S. this ship is HUGE. Holy cow.)

4. On June 29th my amazing nephew will turn ONE. CRAZY! And I’ll get to see him & the rest of the fam down the shore in LBI for a hot second!

Here is the little man with his craziest coolest aunt at Christmas. Have you ever seen a cuter baby?

5. Throughout the summer- I’ll keep plugging away on my changes to our apartment decor. Maybe I’ll reupholster some furniture. Or paint a room. Or hammer some stuff. Who knows!

6. The big one- duh… I get to marry the love of my life in October! And our dear friends and family members (and our dog) will be there to celebrate with us! And it will be total awesomeness! And there will be S’mores!

7. By the time I turn 28, I will have a new name. Wild. Good thing I already reserved my new gmail address like, the day I got engaged.

P.S. I really enjoyed this little article about the decision to change your last name when you get married. I’m excited to take my future husband’s name… but also a little weirded out by the whole concept the transition from single-with-my-own-name to married-with-his-name-and-where-did-my-name-go? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the whole thing!

What are you looking forward to when you reach your next birthday? Which year of your 20s is/was your favorite?