Family

Two Thousand Thirteen

It’s been a long while, and I have missed this. The last time I posted was the day before the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The tragedy hit so close to home, literally…and I was so emotionally distraught afterwards that I felt I had nothing relevant, important or worthy to write about… so I decided to take a little break from blogging. Then came the holidays, and we all know how crazy that time of the year is. So here we are, January 2nd, and in a new year. I don’t know about you, but it feels really good to me.

2012 was a learning year for this girl – personally and professionally. I did a lot of thinking, changing and growing, and I am really pleased with where I am in this very moment. I feel more driven, confident, and inspired than ever before, and plan to carry that positive energy with me through 2013.

One of my 2012 New Years Resolutions was to start this blog. I must say it was one of the only resolutions that I saw through, and I am so proud of myself for doing so. My little blog has become a very special part of my life and somewhat of a therapeutic outlet. Aside from the joy it’s brought to me, I love that it has brought joy to others. This hobby of mine has allowed me to meet some incredible people, and get to know others on a more personal level. Whether they are old acquaintances, or classmates, new readers, or fellow bloggers – this little webpage right here has helped me connect with them all, and I am so grateful for that!

I wanted to take some time to share a few of my 2013 Resolutions with you. Sharing my goals with others holds me accountable, and who knows, maybe some of you have similar resolutions this year. Here we go:

1) Cut out the negative. People are always saying to cut the negative out of your life, but not many actually do so. This is something that has become first priority for me in the past few months, and I already feel like a new person. I cannot stress how important it is. Do not give anyone or anything the ability to bring you down. Don’t waste your time worrying about what others are doing, or thinking, or saying. Don’t compare yourself to somebody else. Don’t tell yourself that you’re not good enough, or that you can’t do something. Cut out negative people, influences, and thoughts. Let go! Be positive. All of the time.

2) Save money. This is always a goal of mine, but this year I have some bigger financial commitments looming and I want to stay on track. I am grateful to have not a dollar of debt, but it’s not easy. I pay cash for everything, and there are weeks where my bank account sees single digits, but it is worth it in the end. I’ve lived on a budget before and plan to set up a new budget over the next couple of weeks. (I think that might be a good post) πŸ™‚

3) Give more time. To my family, to my friends, to strangers, to anyone who needs it. I feel that I made a good effort over the last year to spend more time with my loved ones, but there is always room for improvement. My entire life I’ve done a lot of volunteer work, I’m still technically a Girl Scout and have volunteered through council as recent as last year, my Β sorority in college was very involved on a local and national level, and Β my current job allows me to be involved in a number of organizations, but I want to make an effort to give more. Especially in light of recent tragedies, natural disasters, etc – there has been a lot of loss. I have so much, and it’s only right to give to those who don’t.

4) Pursue my passions. I started taking classes in September for something that I am extremely passionate about. I don’t want to share it just yet, but it is something that I plan to learn inside and out, master, and incorporate into my future. I’ve been itching to post about it, but I think I’m going to hold off a little while longer! Stay tuned – I’m really proud of this one πŸ™‚

I am looking forward to 2013, a fresh year makes for a fresh start. Overrated or not, I think that it’s important to make some resolutions for yourself. There’s no time like the present.

Balloons

Happy New Year everyone! XOXO

Ladies Weekend!

This past weekend I spent some quality time with so many of the special ladies in my life. Friday night I went out with some girlfriends to celebrate a 24th birthday. We did a little bit of bar hopping & a lot of catching up!

I don’t get to see these pretty faces as often as I’d like, so nights that we have one another’s undivided attention mean the world to me! πŸ™‚

Kelly (the birthday girl!), Erin & myself
Kelly (the birthday girl!), Erin & myself Friday night

Random throwback:

Erin sent this to me the other day, and it makes me want to cry! It's she & I on our first day of Kindergarten :)
Erin sent this to me last week, and it makes me want to cry! It’s she & I on our first day of Kindergarten πŸ™‚

I spent the night at my parents house because on Saturday morning we were waking up extra early for a family shopping trip with all of my Aunts, and my lady cousins.

Early morning photo-boothing :)
Early morning photo-boothing πŸ™‚ (Missing a few pretty faces in this pic)

We had a great day together! We did some Christmas shopping, and enjoyed a lovely lunch . Every time we went into a store with baby clothes ALL of us couldn’t help but pick out the cutest baby outfits! We have serious baby fever – someone in the family needs to have a baby stat…maybe get married first lol!

The past few years I’ve become more adamant about spending time with my family. I would rather spend my day in their company than anything. I’m blessed to not only know, but be related to such beautiful people – all of my Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, etc. are kind, warm hearted, supportive, absolutely hysterical, and simply beautiful inside and out. Β I wouldn’t trade them for the world!

Family photo from Thanksgiving :)
Family photo from Thanksgiving πŸ™‚

Later that night I celebrated my sorority’s 10 year anniversary! I loved being a member of the Iota Delta chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma when I was in college. My greatest friends and memories from those four years are due to my sisters. People love to knock greek life, but unless you’ve experienced the sisterhood and the bond that stems from being part of a Pan-hel organization, it’s nearly impossible to explain.

It was awesome to all be in the same room & reminisce.

This obviously calls for some throwbacks:

At my initiation in 2007 with the rest of the lovely Kappas :)
At my initiation in 2007 with the rest of the lovely Kappas πŸ™‚
Formal 2007!
Formal 2007!
Save the Ta-Ta's 2007
Save the Ta-Ta’s 2007
At our 5 year anniversary in 2007!
Some of the ‘Kiotas’ our 5 year anniversary in December 2007!
Toga!
Toga! 2008
Breast Cancer Walk 2008
Breast Cancer Walk 2008
Spring Break in Italy with some of my Greeks <3
Spring Break in Italy with some Greeks in 2009 <3
A mother's pinning in 2009
A mother’s pinning in 2009
Military Mixer 2009 :)
Military Mixer 2009 πŸ™‚
Fun night in 2009
Fun night in 2009
Rumble in the Jungle 2009
Rumble in the Jungle 2009
Rock-A-Thon
Rock-A-Thon 2010
MS Walk 2010
MS Walk 2010
Formal 2010
Formal 2010
Graduation in 2010
Graduation pic with two of my sisters in 2010 πŸ™‚ (Please excuse our extreme Jaundice lol)
At an alumni brunch in 2011
At a post-grad alumni brunch in 2011

Well that was depressing – and I barely put a dent in it. So many fun times. πŸ™‚

Here are some pictures from Saturday’s 10 year reunion:

Me with 2 of my favorite Stephs!
Me with 2 of my favorite Stephs!

I wore a pleated cream skirt with a black Forever 21 button down shirt, black tights, double buckled black suede pumps, and a gold plated collar necklace.

My roomie & I :)
My roomie & I πŸ™‚
Lauren, Alexis & I
Lauren, Alexis & I
The alumni in attendance - unfortunately, a lot of ladies couldn't make it :(
The alumni in attendance – unfortunately, a lot of ladies couldn’t make it πŸ™
10y8
Group shot!

It was a great weekend. I love playing catch-up with people I haven’t seen in a while!

What were you up to this past weekend? Anything exciting? πŸ™‚

Family Fun: Black Friday

So this year on Black Friday…..I slept in and avoided the madness, because that is not my style lol.

I actually had a lovely day with my Mom & Sister! We decided to run some errands together & grab lunch.

One of my favorite things about going home is that I never have to worry about packing anything cute, because I have full access to my little sisters wardrobe – which gives mine a run for its money. I picked out this great sweater to wear on Friday- it had a pocket in the front and a lace up back! It was so comfortable, I would have definitely taken it home if she hadn’t just bought it lol.

She picked it up on clearance for $3! That’s my girl πŸ˜‰

The three of us went to lunch at O’Neils, a small local spot that we love – they have the yummiest sandwiches!

They completely decked out the restaurant for Christmas πŸ™‚
How cool is this photo that was next to our table? These trees are actually in my hometown!
I got my favorite sandwich: the “Emily” -turkey with lettuce, tomato, cheddar and bacon with thousand island dressing on the softest seven-grain bread. SO good!!

Afterwards, we went shopping to pick up some things to send in a care package to my cousin Donny who is currently serving over seas.

I love this picture of him <3
I love this picture of him <3
Stealing his FB pcis ;)
Stealing his FB pcis πŸ˜‰

My Aunt has been collecting items from family members, friends and co-workers to send to his unit, so we picked up some things they’ve been asking for.

Some things in my basket πŸ™‚
How cute is my Mom?! She was picking up some puzzle books
Lot’s of goodies πŸ™‚
…and more goodies!
I didn’t want to neglect the ladies who are over there too! So naturally, I picked up some festive nail polishes πŸ™‚

We had a lot of fun shopping for them!

**Quick pause for a mini Spanish Christmas Jam-Sesh**:

My sister and cousin scoping everything out![/caption]

So many delicious snacks!
…and more snacks!
I loved this collar necklace
Katherine modeling a pearl & ribbon necklace from their Christmas collection
I was loving this necklace too!
My sister & cousin
I ended up ordering this choker plated necklace. I really adored it; it is the perfect piece to wear through the holidays!

Black Friday was a lot of fun this year! I never do the crazy early-morning shopping madness thing – I’m more of a cyber Monday chick ;), but it was fun to spend time with my family, shop for others & pick out some jewelry for the holidays!

Family Christmas Tree!

The weekend after Thanksgiving I love putting up the Christmas tree & decorating the house with my Mom & Sister – my Dad & Brother usually opt out…I think they were golfing this year lol. We always play Mariah Carey’s Christmas album, dance around & just enjoy the day. We don’t purchase a real tree anymore, when we were all younger we were insistent on finding the tallest, fullest tree there was – we’ve since invested in a phenomenal pre-lit fake that is just as effective, 80% less the hassle & looks even better!

We took all of the tree decorations out of storage
We had a little trouble with the star LOL
Even Lily got in the spirit!

I love our ornament collection because each one has some kind of memory, joke, or sentiment to it. There are even a few faces on the tree πŸ˜‰

This was a bridal shower gift for my Mom!
This one is so old & chipping away, but it’s still one of my favorites πŸ™‚
How cute is my little sis in her 3 fingered homemade ornament LOL?!!
This one of my brother cracks us all up! He’s suuuuuuch an angel πŸ˜‰
…And that’s me…in 1st grade!
…aaaand Katherine called it quits
All done! So pretty πŸ™‚

Naturally, after all of that work it was manicure time!

Fun Gelish mani on Katherine! Midnight Reflection & Twinkle on her index fingers πŸ™‚

I love spending time at my parents house during the holidays. It’s so warm, festive & comfortable. It’s so darn hard to make my apartment feel that way! …Stay tuned for that post though…we did make an effort!

Do you and your family have a Christmas decorating tradition?

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