Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mid February: 2015 Recapping.

As per usual, I've been way behind on catch up posts - I'm honestly so impressed by all of you who balance work, family, social lives, and social media along with blogging; I legitimately can't seem to get it together no matter how much I determine myself that I'll post more regularly, upload pictures more quickly, etc. So seriously - I'm in awe and can't wait for they day that I stop doing these way late and ridiculously long catch up posts!

New year, same me.
I say this considering that I never even posted about New Year's Eve, which was a low key, but amazing celebration with Anthony, his brother, and his sister and her husband. We first went out to dinner in Hoboken, then back to his sister and her husband's apartment for (too much) prosecco, wine, Clicquot toasts at midnight, and drunken dancing. It was the perfect way to bring in 2015, though I woke up the next morning with a slight case of food poisoning (initially thought to be a hangover due to the copious amounts of drinks and beautiful dance moves). This was cured by House of Cards, and being taken care of by a very sweet boyfriend who braved the cold to buy me ginger ale, Saltines, and chicken noodle soup (which he had, since he forgot chicken noodle soup is not vegetarian friendly).

Prosecco in goblets.

Birthdays was the worst days...
Next up (after many game nights, time with family and friends, and nights in - specifically finishing up House of Cards), was my 27th birthday.
I've never been a fan of celebrating my birthday, probably because I haven't had a good birthday celebration in years - it always turned into a headache where I spent more time trying to appease what everyone else wanted to do versus actually celebrate as I would want.

This year though, after I was kind of bummed about planning it (by bummed I mean super mopey and not into planning at all), and Ant completely stepped up. Not only did he find the perfect restaurant for he and I to go to, but the restaurant had the most gorgeous rooftop bar where friends were invited to join us.

On my actual birthday, my mom, dad, brother, Ant, and I headed to a restaurant/lounge near me for Fig Moscow Mules (my dad ordered a Raging Bitch instead - I think just so he could say it while giving my mom  a side eye), delicious food, and then headed back to my parents house for this gorgeous cake my mom made me (I bought her cake decorating classes from Carlo's Bakery for Christmas, and she used what she learned to make this for me, in my favorite color!).

The following Saturday, I headed to the Manhattan Vintage show with Anthony's sister, where we spent hours perusing the different booths, buying vintage odds and ends, and just having some quality girl time. It was a really fun and special time (and she was totally accurate in her recommendation for me to only bring the amount of cash I was prepared to spend - I easily could have spent my mortgage payments there).

After returning from round one of the city, Ant and I got dressed up and headed to Print (it's located in the Ink hotel in Hell's Kitchen - it's kind of adorable, Ink hotel, Print restaurant, and Press Lounge), where we had one of the most incredible meals ever (seriously, so worth the visit if you're in the city). Everything is farm to table, they were accommodating with the fact that I didn't eat meat (put the pancetta on the side of our gnocchi appetizer so that he could still enjoy it and I could feast on gnocchi), and the drinks were fabulous. The service was also some of the best I've ever had.

From there, we headed upstairs to the Press Lounge, which has the most incredible city views (this will have to be a repeat summer visit since they open up the entire balcony that wraps around the perimeter) and amazing drinks (I had Old Fashioneds all night that were perfectly made). The NYE crowd from Ant's family was there, as well as a handful of other friends that made the trek in (or from the Upper East, which is a considerable hike) on the cold day. It was one of the best birthday celebrations I've ever had - and I got to wear my new jumpsuit which I was crazy excited about.

The best looking, most thoughtful boyfriend ever. 

On the Sunday following my birthday, I headed to Anthony's parents house, where his family made me dinner, which included his mom's vodka sauce (which now beats Carmine's for best vodka sauce EVER), and a salted caramel chocolate tart handmade by his dad. It was a fabulous time, and featured more amazing and incredibly personal gifts.

Valentine's Day.
I think that every girl (I know it's a generalization) at some point, totally romanticizes Valentine's Day. We long for that guy who loves us to show up with flowers, tell us we're beautiful, plan surprises, etc. and somewhere along the way, after these things never quite happening, we kind of give up on the notion that those kind of scenarios exist in real life.

I was there too until a few days ago.

Ant and I had planned to go to the Catskills to a bed and breakfast we had gone to after Thanksgiving for a blissful and completely relaxing three nights away. Relaxing and being pretty secluded sounded like the perfect way to spend Valentine's Day, so we booked in December, and had been looking forward to it for months. Ant showed up on Thursday, chocolate and red roses in hand - my first Valentine's flowers of my entire life (besides from like, my dad and grandpa), which was already more than enough.

We headed up to the Catskills the Friday before Vday, and got to our bed and breakfast with the perfect amount of time to relax, drink the complimentary champagne they had given us, and take in the sunset. It was an absolutely perfect night (made even better when I kicked his ass in Phase 10).

On Valentine's Day, we set alarms and woke up for breakfast (the breakfast really cannot be missed at the lodge - it is unreal), and as we sat waiting for our breakfast, Anthony remembered he'd left his wallet upstairs, and had no money to leave a tip. Upon coming back, we devoured our pancakes and then headed back up to the room to exchange gifts - it didn't take something like this for me to know that I have the best possible boyfriend in the entire world, but I'm telling you, he continues to blow me away. We walked into the room, where I found the reason for his trip upstairs.

To me, Valentine's Day can be overrated because it seems like so much emphasis is put onto one singular day. However, it was that much more meaningful to me since I have someone in my life who treats me with so much love, thoughtfulness, and respect every single day that it's easy to see a holiday like Valentine's Day as an extension of how everything typically is.

It was a snowy day in the Catskills, so we decided to cancel our dinner reservations at a French restaurant 17 miles away, down a very serpentine road, and instead, called a local pub to order pick up, and ended up walking in a snowstorm (with me wearing two layers of pants, three layers of sweaters, fur earmuffs, and Uggs) to get it before eating it in the lodge's dining room.

It ended up being the perfect Valentine's dinner, where we opened a bottle of wine, sat by the fire, and just talked. I honestly could not have asked for more, and think this night completely trumped anything else we could have done. It breaks it back down to the fact that it's not what you do, it's who you're with when you're sharing things. It was definitely a perfect weekend (and so hard to leave!) and one where I continued to pinch myself wondering what I could have done in life to get so lucky and have such a wonderful boyfriend.

Vday burger, soup, and wine (unsure of why the photo quality is so grainy, but that's okay).


Anyway, that is my mid-February status update on 2015 so far - here's to hoping I get it together (and order a new computer since mine is officially dead and the work computer doesn't quite cut it) and don't take forever for more status updates.

I hope you all had beautiful Valentine's Days, and whether you're a fan or not, I hope you know that you're loved by so very many people. xox

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

27 for 27.

My birthday falls a little over a month (one month, two days, so let's round down) after New Year's Day, so it seems slightly redundant to do a post where I reflect upon the prior year, since I most likely had just completed one.

However this year is a different one, and one that I'm really proud of (though I feel like I continue to say that each year, which I'll take as progress, which I'm not going to complain about). It's been a year of growth, of painful lessons that I know will just propel me to be more positive in the future, of loving myself, of connecting with fantastic new people and forming strong bonds with those who have remained in my life, of huge life changes, and of constantly striving for more good while not letting the negative bring me down.

I believe that every single day brings opportunity, and that weight shouldn't necessarily be placed on "new year, new me," or whatever cliche is applicable. However, I do place weight on setting goals/vision boards for what you want from your life, to try to keep reflecting.

So, now that I am officially a 27 year old, these are my goals and ambitions for this year, to at least reflect on and continue to work on.

1. Travel more. 
So far lined up for 2015 is a trip to the Catskills for Valentine's Day, a trip to Maine in late April, and Anthony and I are currently planning a California trip for the summer. Bring it on! I want to see more, experience more, and try new things, especially with someone I love and who shares the love of traveling and seeing everything.

2. Spend more responsibly. 
I love to shop, I really do (see #3, as my closets are bursting at the seams with all aforementioned purchases), but I definitely need to start being smarter about what I spend my money on. I've kept the majority of my money in my checking account, and definitely want to be better at sinking some of that into savings, since the down payment for my house definitely wiped a lot of that away.
There really is no reason for me to own two pairs of the same exact Cole Haan boot, so I need to think better about what I'm buying.

3. Declutter.
I've started sorting through my closets to downsize a bit and to weed out some of the cheaper things I've bought over the years in order to make room for that "capsule" wardrobe and pieces that will last forever. I've also started taking advantage of the salary bump to get rid of pieces of furniture I had bought for about $0 from Ikea to invest in better Pottery Barn pieces - one thing at a time, so that I can have more forever pieces.

4. Allow myself to be more vulnerable.
I mentioned last post that I'm not great at allowing others to see my vulnerability. I don't want to ever wear my heart on my sleeve for everyone I encounter, but I should be able to get more comfortable with those who I love, trust, and know love me. I need to work on owning my emotions instead of apologizing for them, and letting people see me where I may not necessarily be at my prettiest.

5. Juice.
I want to try to have least 5 green juices per week (or any type of cold pressed juice). It makes me feel better when I'm healthier, and it's equally good for my skin.

6. Get more facials.
My skin is my #1 insecurity, and I really want this year to be the year that I stop stressing about it and obsessing so much. So this may sound like a superficial goal, but sometimes I don't schedule regular facials because I make excuses for not having time, etc. and then feel like shit about myself - having that love for yourself and confidence within your own skin is so vital.

7. Set a new PR.
This is the beauty of running - setting goals. I want to set a new personal record, whether it be for distance or speed. I work very well with goals, and think this will definitely fuel me to push harder.

8. Learn to really use my camera.
I almost never use my very expensive dSLR because I'm not confident with it. I need to play around (and having a boyfriend who is an extremely talented photographer is such a great and untapped resource with getting help) so I can use it more.

9.  Read at least one book a month.
And document vocabulary words that I don't know so that I can keep learning.

10. Take more pictures. 
Of whatever I want. Without worrying about how it's cliche or silly, but because I want to keep looking back and having memories I can look at whenever I want.

11. Plan more dates.
I don't tend to be highly opinionated when it comes to dates, so I get into that "I don't care, whatever you want to do" mode. I don't want to be just a boring tagalong, so definitely want to find fun things to do with Anthony in our area so that I'm a contributor to the relationship instead of just going with it. (So any fun date ideas are welcomed!).

12.  More blates!
I need more blog dates in my life because you ladies are fantastic and so much fun. So if you're in the NYC area, let's get together more often!

13. Renew my passport.
This NEEDS to be done before May, so it is an easy and necessary goal that I'm writing down because I get into the beautiful habit of pushing things off until the last minute, and this one isn't something that I can wait until the day before and expect a realistic turnaround time.

14. Go to a concert.
I had so much fun at the Prydz concert that I definitely want to go to another this year (waiting on Hardwell or R3hab to post tour schedules, because YES).

15. Try more new recipes.
I spent a lot of age 26 eating a shitload of salad, which is healthy, but not very original or showcasing any culinary skill. I definitely want to try more vegetarian, healthy recipes, as well as build up a repertoire of Anthony-friendly (read: meat) recipes so we don't have to order out due to my insecurity about cooking meat for him.

16. Make macarons.
I'm terrified to attempt them, but got all the supplies to make my own for Christmas, so I want to at least try it before I give up on myself.

17. Host a game night.
I did this last year and had so much fun, so a repeat is definitely necessary.

18. Let go of toxic people and don't regret it.
Last year was a biggie for this, but sometimes I still have my regrets over it (more so as I start to plan my birthday party and realize that I don't have that many of "my" people anymore to invite), so I need to realize how good I feel now that I've cut out people who only brought me down. I love the people in my life (and need to stop compartmentalizing them as "Anthony's people" vs. my people because I've made solid connections on my own), and want to continue to appreciate and love those people with all I've got - so there's no room for negativity!

19. Stick with regular workouts.
I feel better after, so I want to do at least 3 nights a week of working out just for me.

20. Attend a couples' class.
Whether a cooking class, art class (preferably a BYOB one, because wine and art go together very well), wine class, whatever - this is kind of in conjunction with #12, but is on a different level where we can learn something together while having fun.

21. Be kind to myself.
I'm my own worst critic. I overanalyze and can really pick at myself. I've gotten better, and want to continue to inch forward to giving myself a break and taking pride in the good, while forgiving myself when I mess up.

22. Drink more water.
And to coincide, less booze. I've basically eliminated drinking from my weekday routine (with some exceptions, obviously), but definitely need to up my water intake - especially on days when I don't do hot yoga, as that becomes a huge motivator.

23.  Moisturize.
All the time. I'm getting old now, so need to start before it starts to really show.

24. Do some outfit posts.
I am so self conscious about doing this - like, ridiculously self conscious. So I want to bite the bullet and at least attempt it, if for nothing else, to do it just for myself to get over myself a little.

25. Laugh more often.
Since I'll be moisturizing more, it's okay I'll get some smile wrinkles.

26. Give more genuine compliments.
To coworkers (even ones I don't like when they do a good job on something), to my friends for all of their amazing accomplishments, to Anthony for the same reasons, to my family for being pretty kick ass - whatever it is, if it's genuine, I don't want to hold back from potentially making someone's day a little bit brighter.

27. Listen instead of always feeling the need to speak.
I've seen relationships (friendships and romantic relationships) fall apart when one person is only waiting for their turn to talk, versus actually and proactively listening to what someone has to say. Sometimes I interrupt, and sometimes I don't give my full attention, which I definitely want to work on.

So these are my goals of things I can work on and try to grow from for this new year.
Until then, I'll be braving the cold, having dinner with my parents, brother, and Ant tonight at a fun lounge, then pushing through the week until the weekend for dinner at a lounge with Ant and then celebrating with some of my favorite people at a rooftop bar.

How do you like to celebrate your birthday?