Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Roommate Edition.

Being graduated from college has been such a crazy adjustment (I feel like I say this in one form another probably too often) - it's been over a year now since I've been done, but I still miss so much about it. Believe it or not, I actually miss going to classes, having a routine, the clubs/organizations I was a part of, and most importantly, my friends and roommates.

I consider myself truly blessed to have found a core group of friends that I'm still extremely close with. While my roommates and I didn't always get along (except actually and surprisingly my roommate Rach and I - who were randomly paired to live together freshman year and continued to be roommates for all four years!), now looking back on it, I don't dwell on those negative things, only the positives from it.

Some readers who have been with me for a while might remember (vaguely, I don't expect you guys to keep tabs on everything I do, obviously! ;) that last year I was in the wedding of my roommate Chelsea. It was a really fun celebration, and the first wedding that I was ever officially "in", so it was an extremely special time.

Weddings always bring out the emotional side of me, and especially now that my friends are getting married (no, really - when did I get so old?!), I find myself becoming more and more cheesy and sappy as I watch these people that I've fought with, done their makeup, cried on their shoulders, watched copious hours of Sex and the City and Friends with, drank too much with - dress up in their gorgeous dresses (or suits!) and commit to a life of happiness and fidelity with someone.

I've been to a ton of weddings over the years - some with budgets as high as the cost of a house and some that weren't quite on that level, but to me, it's all about the celebration of love and happiness (I told you - it brings out the sappy side of me).

I got the invitation for my roommate Amanda's wedding in August (I honestly thought for a while that I wasn't invited, since the wedding was in September and the invitations were literally sent out mid-August), and immediately planned my trip back to Pennsylvania to attend the wedding along with Rachael (Chelsea wasn't invited - Rach and I were the only college friends who received invitations due to budgeting).

So much had changed for all of us in the year since we had attended Chelsea's wedding - Rach and I both broke up with our long time boyfriends, we had new jobs, had (pretty much) adjusted to life back at home, and were now talking about grad school, moving, finding ourselves.

It was so much fun to return to Pennsylvania, catch up with old friends (and make new ones) the night before the wedding at local bars, and get ready with Rach the next day for the wedding, as we had gotten ready for so many mixers/formals/nights out during our four years of living together.

Amanda and Kyle's wedding was different from any other wedding I had ever been to, but it was what they wanted, and was perfect for them.

The format of the wedding and the times was a little different, with the wedding ending at 3:45, and the reception not starting until 5, so Rach and I headed out for post-hangover Chic-fil-A (seriously, the waffle fries and Oreo milkshake - the only vegetarian friendly options - were almost an instant cure) to kill time. The counter people commented on how we were dressed, because apparently dresses and heels aren't typical fast food outfits (who knew!).

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The reception in and of itself was definitely different - it was held in a fire hall, and had a Phillies theme to tie in Amanda and Kyle's love (read: Kyle's obsession) with the baseball team.

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Rach and I were seated at the table with the other people our age (two that definitely took a liking to us), and we ate, we drank, we danced (the drinking helped with that), and then we drank more and loaded up on copious amounts of desserts (seriously, the dessert selection totally made up for the fact that I ate a plate of broccoli for dinner).

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Rooms is so tiny that Rach and I tried to compensate for our height by awkwardly bending, so excuse the way our legs are positioned.
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I swear other people were dancing too.
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Best friends.
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Cranberry and vodkas, vodka sodas, and ridiculous amounts of dessert. Open bar = win.
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Aside from the wedding and how much fun we had with our friends, the second highlight of the evening came when one of the guys that Rach and I sat with took her outside (abruptly, in the middle of the Cha Cha Slide no less) and asked for her number, to which she nicely said no.

The next morning when she and I woke up and checked Facebook, I had a message from the same guy who told me that he had "spent the night talking to the wrong roommate," but warned me not to tell Rachael he'd written to me. Really (read: Could this guy really be that big of a douchebag? Answer: yes). We got a lot of mileage out of that one with "sloppy seconds" jokes. Guys, just so you know, no girl wants to be second pick, especially not to her best friend.

All in all, the weekend away was so necessary and I can't wait for my next trip to Pennsylvania to visit my amazing friends!

Do you all go to a lot of weddings? What have been some fun memories for you from weddings you've attended?

If you haven't yet, make sure to enter my giveaway!

Currently listening to: Bassnectar - Color Storm Remixtape

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Memories Giveaway!

I love scrapbooking, and often - if I really like you a lot - I'll make some form of a scrapbook of our friendship for people. I've made them for my parents, friends when they get married, for birthdays, myself - I really enjoy it.


When I was contacted by My Memories to try out a digital scrapbooking product and host a giveaway, I was all about it.


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My Memories is sponsoring a giveaway for a free copy of their My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software! It is extremely user friendly, provides tons of layouts, templates, fonts, and add ons - definitely a fun way to share your memories with friends and family in a creative way (and it's especially nice to share with relatives who may not be on Facebook and have access to your albums!).


You can add music, effects, choose background colors - there are unlimited ways for you to share your memories with your friends and family in such a creative way.


Here are some of the ways that other users are utilizing this software (found from the My Memories blog).

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The possibilities are endless!
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My friend Leeann at Join the Gossip made this adorable and fall-inspired one! (And you all know that I am all about fall anything).
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There are a few required things that you need to do in order to enter (unfortunately if you don't go by all of these things, you won't be eligible to enter - such a bummer, so make sure you read these!).


1. You must be a follower of La Dolce Vita.


2. Please visit the My Memories website and post in a comment what your favorite digital paper pack or layout is.


Extra (non-mandatory) entries:


1. Follow the My Memories blog (+1 entry).


2. Like My Memories on Facebook (+1 entry).


3. Follow My Memories on Twitter (+1 entry).


4. Follow me on Twitter (+1 entry).


4. Tweet about this giveaway - you must include a link to this post and also link it to my Twitter account (+2 entries).


Please leave a separate comment for each way that you've entered! (Or if you number all the ways you've entered in one comment, that's totally fine as well!).


For those of you who don't win the giveaway, My Memories has been generous enough to provide a special $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store - $20 value!

The code is: STMMMS8222 (it's recommended that you copy and paste this link when you buy to ensure that you have the code right!).

This is a really great product and company, and their customer service is more than willing to assist you as much as possible - I had a question and received thorough, detailed help on what to do within HOURS of the email I sent!

The contest is open until October 8, 2011 (two weeks). I'll use Random.org to select a winner!

Good luck, xo.

Currently listening to: Bonfire - Childish Gambino.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Positive Thinking.

To say that the past few months have been challenging would be a gross understatement. For a while, my life seemed to have taken this downward spiral, and as hard as I tried to see the positive or the beauty in the situation, things just kept coming up to knock me on my ass.

That saying "things come in threes?" - definitely more fun when it's three positive things - when things start coming in negatives by the droves, it's really easy to get down on yourself.

I can't pretend - I started to feel really bad for myself. I journal my feelings when I get really overwhelmed, and then read them back and reflect on what I've written, and where I've come - it's usually a rewarding thing to look back and see progression of self through the years, and how I've grown from the curveballs that life has thrown my way (some self inflicted, some not).

When I was reading back on some of my journal entries from the past few months, I think I was doing a self pity thing - and it's okay to feel sorry for yourself every so often, but when you start pitying yourself and only looking at the negative things, I really think that those things become your complete focus, and it becomes impossible to see the positives.

I allowed Poppy's death to become a crutch for me to feel sorry for myself - to withdraw from some of my friends, and then mope around and feel even more pathetic/sad/sorry for myself -- and that is the exact opposite of what he would want for me. That realization didn't all of a sudden make everything better, but it gave me strength, gave me motivation, and helped open me up to look for the positives.

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I have like, twelve subdivisions of inspiration folders on my computer, and one of them is just filled with words of encouragement - so when I get down and discouraged, I've been looking through them for inspiration.

So for when life throws you hard times - no matter what they are, I hope that these words/pictures can bring you the comfort and inspiration that they've brought me.

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This is one of my favorite quotes of all time.
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It was honestly when I consciously adjusted my attitude that I was only able to see the positives, which I really believe opened me up to seeing the beauty in life. If I had continued with my bad attitude/self pity, I think that I would have let a ton of experiences pass me by, and who knows if I would have gotten a job, had great times with my friends, or enjoyed the company of my family.

I'm not saying that by looking for the beauty in life, you'll never get down or discouraged - that's a total normal thing to experience. It's when we let that sadness/anger/negativity control our lives that we're too clouded to ever see the positive (and I love you all too much to want you to feel that way!).

To end it with a quote from a children's book that resonates so strongly with me (that is actually inscribed to me in one of the last cards Poppy ever wrote me on my 23rd birthday, which is so hauntingly beautiful),

"If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

-Christopher Robin; Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

Love you all and am just an email away if any of you ever need anything - you all make me happy/inspired. xox

Currently listening to: Primetime - The Throne (Jay-Z and Kanye West).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Family Dinner.

Food has always been a central part of bonding with my family. For as long as I can remember, we've gone out to eat and some of our best memories took place at dinners out. Even as a young child, my parents took Pat and I out to pretty nice restaurants, but instilled in us proper restaurant etiquette (actually, one time my mom picked up Pat and sat with him in the car because he was throwing a tantrum - this is why I have no tolerance for misbehaving children in nice restaurants).

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Most of my favorite memories, especially with Poppy and my dad's side of the family, revolve around us sitting at a dinner table, laughing and trading memories back and forth, enjoying the time spent together.

We still go out to eat as a family (now minus Pat, though he always joins us when he comes home to visit) at least twice a week, experimenting with different cuisines and options, sharing the things we ordered, and catching up with one another.

Now that I've settled back into a routine where I'm not home much, I actually look forward to these times out to spend time with my parents without any pressure or stress, and argument free.

I used to be pretty snobby about the food on the Cape - for one, there is no decent Chinese food, which to me is quite the horror, because you can throw a rock in Jersey and you'll hit an amazing Chinese restaurant - and I guess being used to going into the city as much as we do for dinners has given me an elitist attitude about dining out.

The past few years though, my family has discovered some of the hidden gems of Cape Cod - places that offer food and service that rivals some of my favorite NYC restaurants.

The Captain Linnell House is one of those places - the perfect combination of amazing food, a gorgeous location, and service that really does parallel that of Delmonico's in NYC.

The restaurant itself is in a historic estate, that has now been converted into the restaurant, as well as a reception hall for weddings.

Since I've become a pescetarian, I have begun to seek out (and commend) restaurants that offer a variety of options on their menus that can encompass meat-eaters, pescetarians, and vegetarians, which the Captain Linnell House does impeccably.

Above all though, I'm grateful for the fun evening I was able to spend with my parents at the restaurant - the food, drinks, and gorgeous setting were only second to the flowing conversation and laughs that we shared (though after my second tequila-based drink, I stupidly told my parents that in college me + tequila were not a winning combination, to which my mom replied, "That sounds like my college experience!" Crisis averted, and I learned that I am clearly not the only lush in my family).

I'm pretty sure that we have a thousand pictures in front of the fireplace at the Cape house.
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There had been a wedding on the premises the day before, so these were the remnants of that.
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The grounds were so gorgeous.
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And obviously, the best part was the amazing food/drinks.
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Lobstah bisque.
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My seared yellowfin (hidden under wasabi marinated microgreen).
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Crab stuffed longfin/pork medallions.
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And then there was dessert - because really, who can ever turn down cake?
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Dad's key lime pie (to go).
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(I'm writing this post on an empty stomach, which is a mistake because I am now craving this carrot cake - it was incredible, and took me three days to eat the whole thing).
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We left the restaurant five pounds heavier (read: they had to forklift me into the car), but having enjoyed the company of each other, which is really all you can ask for.

What is your favorite restaurant (local or chain - doesn't matter!)?

Currently listening to: White Blank Page - Mumford & Sons (a slight switch from the usual dubstep/electro).

P.S. Guys - I got an actual teaching job! I'll be teaching adults in an inner city who are on a 2nd-5th grade level and aspire to improve their basic reading and math skills so they can get jobs in the community. While it isn't an el. ed job, I really like what the program stands for, so I'm excited! :)