Easter Brunch 2018

Hey Everyone!!
Yay!, it is almost Springtime! Next week, in fact. Yes! Finally!  I’m seeing it now. Rising temps. Warm breezes. Kisses lit by sunshine. Windows rolled down. Wearing colorful sundresses. Blooming flowers and green leaves popping from the naked trees. Getting closer to Summer. And most importantly…NO SNOW!! Can’t wait. (Ok I hear we are getting a storm on the day we turn to Spring but AFTER that we will have no snow …right!?!?)
Also, this time of year is for our annual Easter brunch with both families and our girls’ godparents. Which we threw today.
Ahhhh I had so much fun!!
This get together has morphed a bit through the years. It started (2009) as an Easter Egg Hunt with a surprise visit from the Easter Bunny. The kids loved it, I did too.  Now it is a pot luck brunch, it has been for two years. Which…me likes.  It isn’t any easier without the bunny or hunt, I still go crazy prepping and cooking, it’s just the snow got in the way too many years and having twenty kids ransack my living room For eggs lost its appeal.  Especially, since most of them are way above average height. 
What fun celebrating with everyone …and busy busy.  I was non stop the whole day, that I am literally laying in bed typing this out. I know. I lead a rockstar life.  Well, I am pretty tired and since the big man has a job tonight I’m going to let the pictures from today tell the story so I can get some sleep.  I must b tired since I rarely go to bed before midnight!
Wish I took more but I was so involved with socializing that I slipped up..socializing also means mimosas.
Ohmygod lots of mimosas.
Hope you had a great Saturday, too!! 


Oh, and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!



For My Girls

Dear Girls,

You have no idea quite yet how much you have changed my life. I never saw my future self when I was a young woman being a mother, and I guess it was because I never felt like I was equipped to be a life long teacher…till I met you guys. The change was pretty instantaneous, you two, from the beginning, made me feel so centered and loved, that motherhood felt natural. I mean this literally. In the hospital the morning after I gave birth to H, which was only a few hours after I had you, the nurse had that heartbeat monitor on for a while as she talked to me, checked vitals, etc, and after a bit made this sound ‘huh’. So of course, I had to ask what was wrong and what she said was by far the best words of my life. ‘Oh, nothing is wrong’, she said, ‘your heartbeat, as you’re holding your daughter, is much slower than when she is not in your arms.’

Because I loved being with you, my lovely girl. Same thing happened when I had L, except it was her face as they rested her on my chest that filled me with joy. She let out that little sigh as she looked up at me with a half smile. Like she was so happy to finally make it to meet me. 🙂 You were the ingredients I needed to feel good, literally inside.

So this post is a different one compared to the norm of birthdays or travels. This one has been a long time coming. I have had many moments when certain phrases or thoughts pop into my head and I wanted to make sure to write them down for you both; sometimes I forget them by the time I see you or I have been lucky enough to talk them through with you. Or I repeat them so you understand what I’m trying to instill. And. Though you guys know, I’d never really let a day pass without saying what is on my mind, when I remember. My intentions are so you know I love you and want to arm you with a bit of common sense information. Which can be very wordy at times. Do not laugh at your mother!

But seriously, these thoughts are like little life lessons that I know have come up or will, so here I decided to type them out… a spot where I can continue to share with you and they will never be lost.

Sooooooo,  here I go with what’s on my mind…

1a. Be happy. No matter the paths you take. No matter if you make mistakes. Remember the steps you walk are a part of your journey and history. Do not regret your steps, but use them to learn from and keep moving forward.  Mistakes are lessons learned and most likely, the ones you will remember learning most. But happiness inside comes from yourself. It’s a very conscious decision that drives inner contentment, it isn’t given. It is earned with a positive outlook, surrounding yourself with the activities and people who keep that ideal grounded. It’s like a habit of good thinking influences your life.

1b. Most people are annoyed by genuine happiness.  I never understood why, but I think it has to do with their jealousy not figuring it out themselves.  They cannot seem to figure out that it is a choice to make, like everything else in life.  It is a choice every day. Don’t be a miserable jerk like those people, because negative fulfillment is the worst feeling.  Every day is a true gift to be alive, so, as long as you realize that you can wake up everyday feeling happy, which means you can make any path to further contentment/happiness.

2. Beauty you are born with and beauty you manifest inside are different things. What I mean is you or others can’t help how you are born.. your eyes, lips, body, skin, being tall/short, or other features you are born with, are out of your control. Never just think that a handsome face equals a good person. It does not. A beautiful person has inner wisdom, life knowledge or talents that they use for the good in this world; they are soulful, passionate, selfless, respectful (and most importantly respected). Seeing through the mask of outer beauty is tough, but seeing the soul of a good person within is not if you look correctly. Just know the difference.

3. Be confident. Be proud of who you are, where you come from, what you do, what you make, what you have and don’t be afraid to misstep. You are only human.  What I admire about strong people is their confidence. Their confidence in just being; their confidence in not being afraid to try in spite of making mistakes. Their confidence within. Even their resilience to be confident in times they might want to waiver. Stand tall and know yourself well enough to stand grounded.

4. Do not take each day for granted. Participate in the day. In your life. Don’t be so lazy or blue that a day withers on.  The worst things I have seen come from those sloth like people who do enough just to survive, for what?  That is no life, YOU ARE HERE TO LIVE, MY LOVES!! So live!!

5. Find passionate love.  The kind of love that utterly sweeps you off your feet. Where a kiss lifts your spirits and a look from the eyes paints your soul. The kind of love that beckons the birds and music every day. The type of love of your dreams, that brings you the respect, admiration and the complimentary companionship you deserve…and if you can make sure the person you love is also funny and handy around the house, car or yard ..that is a bonus! ;)-

6. Laugh. AT EVERYTHING. Life is too short to not enjoy it. Laughter fills the soul.  At the worst points in my life, I found that one laughable moment would get my spirits back up. Even if it was brief, it made differences I appreciated. And I swear laughter is a part of staying youthful, which is important as we age. So laugh every day…and use face cream. Jussaying. Powerful stuff there.

7. Don’t get wrapped up in what other people think of you. It is their opinion, and it shouldn’t have become common knowledge. It only matters how you know yourself. (as I always say..’screw them. They miss out on the beauty within’.)

8. Your family is the first set of people you love, learn to cope with and love you unconditionally. Never stray from one another. Don’t let moments pass by without sharing them together. Always keep an open dialogue with me and daddy. And. Especially with each other. You and your sister are a special unit, a bond no one else can understand.

9. Stop often to look up at the sky.  Take yourself outside to enjoy what this beautiful world has to offer.  Go on hikes, walk your neighborhood, drive to the beach/ocean, bike trails, visit landmarks.. even sit in the yard.  With your eyes open.  Take it all in.

10. Never stop learning.  There is one thing in this world that no one can ever take away from you.  Knowledge. It keeps us motivated.  Helps us grow as humans, and keeps us connected to the real world.  These things are key. For life. And you just don’t know who you can help with your intelligence.

11.  Stay away from others who cause drama.  People that gossip, argue over nothing or look for things to happen to them by causing conflict.  These people will cause you to lose yourself in their stupidity and you just don’t need that in your life.

12. Never work a day in your life. What I mean is have a career, trade, or job that you love, and you will never feel it is a burden. You will wake up with an eagerness and THAT is a great thing to be able to have each day.

13.  Be true to yourself. If something doesn’t feel right to do, well, just don’t do it. You don’t have to compromise yourself for other people’s ideals. Trust your instinct. Your gut will never let you down if you listen to yourself.

14.  Stay active. Not only is it great for your body but it is great for your mind. You will learn a lot about yourself when you continue to challenge yourself in this realm. Whatever the activity.  You are capable of so much and keeping an active lifestyle helps you see many of life’s challenges ahead in different ways.

15.  Or is this 14a? Anyways. When life gets you down you get up. Literally.  Sometimes the best perspective can be found when you are active. Go for a run, lift weights (highly recommend), hit the gym, hike, be in a place where you are moving your body and you will see more clearly.

OK, I think that is enough for right now.  You know there will be more. Haha.  But I hope you can hear my energy in each thought because I believe that these are important insights to repeat to oneself.

You girls are special, strong, smart, beautiful souls. Such individuals with drive, and I hope my guidance throughout your life brings out the very best in you.. you make me extremely happy and proud.

I love you more than anything in this world.




2017 Recap in photos

Hey Everyone

🍾 Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a great New Year’s Eve celebrating with all your loved ones and that you are all prosperous for a happy, healthy 2018! xoxox

For my first post of 2018, I thought to review 2017 with a year-end recap like I used to do, and because right now I am rushing to get my whole family dressed to go to my parents for our first dinner of 2018 together it is an easier option than typing out a recap  haha.

Eating the first dinner of the year together is a tradition. Lots of traditions in this family, but my favorite is eating lentils together on January 1. I am Italian, so of course, if you are also Italian, you know that this is a big tradition as we believe lentils bring luck.


January 1, 2017- We had the first dinner at our house

That is the first photo of the recap, so let me keep going.  I chose the photos for this recap, but am having WordPress put them in random sizes and order because that is how I roll. Ok so here we gooooOOOOoooo!

Photo Recap of 2017

Came out super cute!!  Great job WordPress!

So I gotta go eat some lentils!




Christmas 2017

May your days be merry and bright

And may all your Christmases be white.”

Greetings from a winter wonderland up in Massachusetts!

This Monday we were given a ‘White Christmas’ like those from the movies. We had quite the snowy view out each window as we opened presents by our tree, but as soon as afternoon hit the snow fell softly and the sun immediately shined through the grey skies. It was beautiful. (For the children really, as we adults had to clean that mess up as soon as it ended. Well, my husband had to. Haha)

What a wonderful Christmas this year! We celebrated all weekend with those important to us; from Friday night hosting friends to Saturday night partying to Sunday night at my sister in law’s to Monday together with my family at my sister’s. I hope this is a glimmer of what 2018 will hold for us. Lots of good memories with beautiful people (and amazing gifts haha).

Speaking of gifts!! What an awesome Christmas of giving and sharing this year. I’m a big supporter/advocate of  St. Jude all year round, but those feelings of wanting to do more for those that need it hits me hardest this time of year, and hope you all gave some time or donations too. If not, please look inside yourself to give to a worthy cause; honestly, it doesn’t take much and there are so many who can use your help so the list is long. (And it is a good feeling to do something for someone who needs that help. Between donating time, toys, clothing/housewares or money, giving to a charity can be done in so many ways.)

Outside of philanthropy, I gave some pretty rad gifts this year if I do say so myself. It was so great to see the faces of all my family, especially of my nieces, nephews and godchildren, happy with the gifts their ‘awesome aunt’ gave (you bet your butt I am the awesome one!!). But of course, the best part of talking about all of this is because I can finally talk freely about the girls’ big gift of Christmas and our next planned getaway… A TRIP TO DISNEY WORLD!!! I think I am more excited that I can finally say the word Disney at home without feeling like I am giving clues away, cuz that word comes out of my mouth every day practically.

Ok so the big reveal was fun. After the kids opened their gifts I had them go on a small scavenger hunt to find our Elf on the Shelf. Who didn’t make an appearance all season. Under the tree the kids found a hidden tube of sunscreen with a card attached. The card was from our ‘elf’, which was a hello and a rhyme clue to find her.

Lots of Christmas cheer, but it’s getting hot in here.”

(I didn’t say I was a poet)

As the kids ran everywhere to find her, I quietly grabbed all the Disney themed presents then placed them under the tree.(didya figure out she was in the oven?) That clue led to our Elf holding a big envelope that directed them to the tree to read it (and to find more gifts). It was super fun and they were beyond surprised. Our oldest daughter cried for like an hour over it all. (I got video of them opening the letter, and it is so funny and sweet. I’ll post it later on IG.)

As for receiving gifts… well, I got so many nice gifts; my husband always spoils me from the gift-wrap (Snow White theme this year) to each gift.  Also got spoiled from my parents, sister and my girls, which was super nice. My kids are really thoughtful and in tune with their Mom.  God really did give me a special gift with these two girls in my life.  I am very lucky. 🙂

Here are a few pics of the weekend:


And now, we are here.

Our last official week of 2017. Crazy how fa… (No no, I’m not even going to say my catchphrase from the year). Ahem. So ok, where was I? Oh yeah. Ok …as we are celebrating our last week of 2017, I wish you all a peaceful Christmas week, wrapping up with lots of love, laughter and memories…. And hopefully a slower feeling of 2018 passing than usual. Haha.


2017- Christmastime in NYC

Hey Everyone!

Christmas and New Year’s are just days away!  Yay!!  Hey my page has snow again…I love when they do this on wordpress.  :))))))))))

You know what I am about to say, where has this year gone? This has been the fastest year of my life.  I swear we just celebrated Christmas a few months ago, not a year ago! Is this what people mean by “time flies when you are having fun” or is this how fast life really goes?  Because I can remember being a kid and life was so slooooow and boring at times that time never sped up.  <– where’d that go? haha

Ok, here I am on December 21, the house has been decorated since Thanksgiving weekend, which makes me happy, and I have to wrap a few more things before the weekend starts tomorrow.  This weekend is packed with parties and family dinners and gift exchanges, which is always a good time.  I love presents. Not just for myself, but seeing the gifts being opened is always fun.   My kids are going to literally die when they open their gifts Monday morning, I cannot WAIT!  (I’d share with you what they’re getting but my oldest reads my blog now..so..no.)

Also, Hi Ava, I will not spoil the surprises because I love you. 

Speaking of how awesome we are as parents, we surprised the kids this weekend with a weekend in Manhattan! We kept the secret!!   I have been going to NY since I was born, Manhattan since I was a teen and we have been going to NYC for my birthday since my husband graduated college, and started taking the kids with us a few years ago.  They, similar to me, love going on trips, so they were beyond excited (after the shock and sadness of no school set it-yes my oldest was sad to miss school..  not my kid hahah) !  We had such a great time, lucked out with the weather, and like our last trip, we hit some spots with them that we used to frequent before they were born. It was really great to share these experiences with them, and I hope to continue adding on to their adventures in NYC.  Though, maybe next time we can go not on my birthday weekend but in the Spring or early Fall, because I really hate the colder weather!!

Ok well, I have to jet because I’m technically working…   hahaha.


Happy almost Christmas!


Thanksgiving 2017

Gobble gobble!

Hey guys!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday with family and friends.

This year we hosted Thanksgiving again, going on a handful of years now hosting this dinner; which the process is always a lot of fun for me. I look forward to the Wednesday before to prepare the dinner with my mother alone all day.  We have a real good time talking while putting everything together, and crafting new things to try…and she cleans the capon! I hope this is a tradition I can partake in until I am old and gray, well, I won’t ever be gray..maybe blue or purple, maybe pink? hah. Plus, I love to cook, and I love the challenges of putting together a large dinner on my own with all the prepping and different cook times getting it on the table at one time.

This year’s Menu:


  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • Scallops wrapped in bacon
  • Crostini of goat cheese and caramelized zucchini
  • Chilled shrimp cocktail*


  • Valeria – Lillet white, elderberry syrup, St Germain and Prosecco floater
  • Poinsettia – Prosecco, cranberry vodka and splash of cranberry juice
  • Michael-  caramel apple martini w cider sugar rim


  • Lemon/thyme roasted capon filled with sausage stuffing
  • Roasted potato spears
  • Pumpkin spiced roasted butternut squash
  • Green beans w garlic
  • Roasted Asparagus w lemon
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts and bacon glazed with maple syrup
  • Braised fennel w clementine zest
  • Mashed potatoes*


  • Squash pie w homemade whipped cream
  • Chocolate chip brownies
  • Chocolate frosted vanilla cupcakes
  • Cream cheese raspberry puff pastry
  • Italian cookies*
  • Sfingi* (Sicilian type fritter)
  • Blueberry pie*

*=brought by family


The best part of my Thanksgiving wasn’t that my kids behaved, or that my house stayed clean, or that the dinner turned out stellar…it’s that I got to sleep in till 8:30AM. Yes, everyone, my kids gave me a Thanksgiving gift by not running to my bedside early. We are on a roll over here!! Haha. I’m jk jk. Well, sorta, sleeping in is like my favoritest thing ever. Starting your day from bed without being poked at, yelled to, creepily stared at, cried to …is pretty fantastic in my Mommy book. Woohoo give it up to my girls.

FAVORITEST is now a word, yes.

Thanksgiving, all joking aside, turned out to be a real nice day with everyone. From appetizers and cocktails to dinner and desserts, it was smooth going and real delicious …if I can say that about my own food? I have so much to be thankful for this year..so here I am spelling it out.

I am thankful for my health and my families’ health. I am thankful and grateful to have clothes on my back, a nice home with food (and coffee) on the table every day and for our jobs that help us make that happen. I am thankful for my family, my loving and supportive husband, my two smart caring children; for my beautiful parents, wonderful big sisters, caring in-laws and all my friends. And even my cat-baby, Gordon! I am thankful to open my eyes everyday to experience life, and feel that life is good without being extravagant or extra, that the simple things are all I need. I am thankful that I can reflect to appreciate what I have..not what I don’t have and I hope my children see what I see, and how beautiful is this life. 



Here are pictures of our day!

Another holiday in the books, guys.  I can’t believe how fast 2017 is flying by and I hope 2018 goes a lot  …s l o w e r!  Let’s all hope!

Happy Thanksgiving and we will talk soon!


Tokyo Day 5- Asakusa Sensoji Temple and Our Last Day

Hello World!

We are on our last day here!

Really loved reliving this trip this week, and drafting this last post is making me sad.  Tokyo is a fabulous place, so unique and we experienced so many things that I will hold in my heart forever.

Tokyo Day 5- Isetan and the Asakusa Sensoji Temple

On this day, our last day, we slept in a tiny bit, till like 8AMish.  We needed the rest after the night before, AND, we needed the rest to get us through traveling back home. We quickly packed up the room, got ourselves ready, said goodbye to our room with the incredible Mount Fuji view and checked out.  As I mentioned in the first post, we hired a car service to take us to and from the airport, today he was scheduled to pick us up at 3PM. So, we had a good chunk of the day to spend in Tokyo.  SCORE!!

We decided to go grab some breakfast at Isetan a few blocks away.  They’re the largest and best Tokyo department store, and their food bizarre level is crazy insane!  I saw things (and bought things for family) I never had seen anywhere else in my life.  I am still floored thinking about all the prestigious foods and knowledge I acquired from that area.  My husband surprised me with taking our breakfast up to their rooftop deck, open to eat and relax.  Wow, what a stunning place!  They had a large grassy park flanked by a small shrine and vending machines of course with an incredible view of the city. Definitely recommend this quiet sweet spot.

After chilling roof top, we walked around the city to find some souvenirs for the girls before hitting up one last attraction, the Asakusa Sensoji Temple.  Man, souvenir shopping was the hardest part of the trip.  Oddly, though the Sanrio stores there were big, the sections in toy stores back home were better than their specialty shops in Tokyo.  Surprised?  Me, too.  But I was not freaking out because we still had shopping in Asakusa and the airport.  The airport, by the way, is the best spot to shop for any type of souvenir you are looking for; I scored for the kids there big time!

Finally, we made our way by taxi to Asakusa; it’s about a thirty minute drive.  I am so glad we didn’t opt for a train like we did back in 2004.  We ended up seeing a totally different side to Tokyo driving from Shinjuku to Asakusa, like real life.  Working class people.  Their homes.  Their parks.  Their stores.  No flash.  No lights.  Not a thousand people hoarding around.  Real life.

The Asakusa Sensoji Temple is the oldest Buddhist temples in Tokyo, and was one of my most memorable stops thirteen years ago. A lot of people visit this place, from all over the world.  It looked the same, except there were about 50% more people in the area than I remembered.  But it could be because it was a weekend, I don’t know.  Tokyo seemed flooded with more people than I remembered before in general. The experience, with so many people, was different.  Not bad, just different.  The gates to the Temple are a colorful wonder, with a giant lantern in the middle flanked by two intimidating statues that open to the grounds market.  This place is so great, and the shopping was a lot of fun, grabbed a lot of Japanese souvenirs for the girls here.

The Temple itself is at the end of the market; it was so crowded we didn’t actually have that type of time to wait in the line to go in after walking through the market. I did go inside in 2004, so this time I walked up to the large incense burner right out front where a mass amount of people were there lighting large incense sticks they were buying along the building.  I gently wafted some of the incensed smokey air over to my body, from head to toe I pushed the air around me for a blessing.

Now my trip to Japan was complete.  🙂

We left the Temple to find a taxi, well, first we stopped for coffee then hailed a taxi back to the hotel.  I never mentioned this before, but my husband never drank coffee till last year, and I really love having a coffee drinking partner in crime everywhere I go now!  haha  It’s the little things people.

We got to the hotel just with two minutes to spare!  The driver was there waiting for us, so we grabbed our bags from the Bell Hop to hit the road.  The drive back to the airport was great.  Saw all the fun spots we visited in 2004, and those sights we couldn’t make this trip. Like the tower and of course the big one for me, Tokyo Disney. I saw it on the way in but didn’t want to mention it.  You guys have no idea how much I am still bummed I didn’t make it, because we were staying at an affiliated hotel that had direct bus service, so I literally had planned out a whole day to go for when I was alone while my husband was at work that day.  Up till three weeks before we left I had these plans,  then everyone made me realize how sad that would be for me, no one to share the day with, and riding rides alone…it sounded super lame without anyone else, so changed it to what I did. Which ended up being a lot nicer on my own and was invited out with everyone that night unexpectedly for dinner.  Something I wouldn’t have been able to do if I went to Disney and something that ended up being LESS depressing!  haha

Anyways, I am not bashing it, but Tokyo Disney from the highway above looked real small, sort of like Disneyland shrunk down. The entrance was right near the highway and I saw Cinderella’s castle, which was small.  I think smaller than Disneyland’s!! They had a gorgeous hotel next to it, and it was more beautiful than the castle..so.  Also, by the ads on the hotel TV, not what I researched online, it looked more like an amusement park near my house, Canobie Lake, with Disney themes, than a Disney theme park.  I was reminded many times I made the right choice.

Ok, so back to this day…  We had an extremely nice, comfortable ride and got to the airport in 1.5 hours.  We checked in, grabbed some food for the ride and gift shopped some more, then boarded our flight at 6:10PM Sunday.  We landed in Boston at 4:54PM Sunday.  We grabbed a car home, and we arrived to a wonderful reception of family waiting at the house.  The girls went bat shit crazy seeing us, crying and laughing, and I swear held onto me for a half hour straight!  I wasn’t letting go so.  haha


This was an amazing trip!  Every day I learned or was experiencing something new, and that was exciting.  Tokyo is an exciting city, with so much history, tradition, yet so modern and forward, the art, the buzzing crowds, and so many wonderful things to see!  I really didn’t expect to go back to Japan, and I am so grateful I had this opportunity again to visit such a beautiful country.

Thanks for reading along!  Till next time!



To read about the whole trip:

Day 1– Traveling to Tokyo

Day 2– Tsujiki Nippon Fish Market/Taito City

Day 3– Shibuya / Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Day 4– Harajuku / Meiji Jingu Shrine