Cape Cod – August 2017

Hey Everyone!
So.. our August trip down the Cape has come and gone.  Wow, this trip absolutely flew by…  super womp.  We tried our best to soak up as much fun as possible, seeing as this is the last big Summer trip.  For me that means to sunbath and drink by the ocean…  ahh yeas, my vacation style is pretty simple.  
Our time together was great; the kids had a lot of fun being kids swimming, collecting fish and shells, and we had a lot of fun relaxing, laughing and being on vacation mode. My parents came down for the day, which was fun and a nice way to end our trip.  On that same day my in laws, who were staying close by, came to visit too.  The kids were super happy about them all together to see them swim and do their pool tricks.  I was sort of nervous, cause we have never had anyone visit us over the past 6 years of going to that resort.  They are pretty strict about that stuff, but it was pretty great.  My parents loved it and talked about renting a room next year…  which would be a lot of fun. I love my family so much, you can see it on my face in the below pics.
The one snag this trip is that we had to change rooms..TWICE.  I know, it sounds like a huge pain but it wasn’t a huge issue because the rooms we ended up in were dreamy.   I honestly have no idea what happened, but the short of it is that our original room (ocean view) was booked that Sunday, so they hooked us up with beachfront view that first night.  Sick right?  Then for some reason that last night they contacted us to say they were moving us to a beach/river side view because someone had a complaint and wanted their old room,which is where we were staying (when? I have no idea).  Uhm, a free upgrade again?  Sure I am game!  We don’t spend that much time in the rooms anyways, and they moved our stuff for us while we were at the beach, so that didn’t hurt much either.  I loved everything about each move, so none of us were complaining.  (Ok, I may have bitched a tiny bit till I got to that sick room that last day haha)  
So here is our trip in photos.. each one is captioned.  
Thanks for reading!  
First Day
Day two
Day Three
Day four
Last Day

Weekend Getaway

Hey Everyone!
What a great weekend!
We took a drive up North to see friends who invited us up for the weekend; Well, we left after my husband’s job Saturday night and returned home last night around 7PM. This friend is my husband’s bestie from HS, and his family house is up in Weld, Maine, about 3.5 hours away, which isn’t such a bad ride. This was our third time together up there, once when our kids were 3yr and 1yr, and then last year.  We had such a great time last year, our kids especially. So much so, that we had to make this trip this Summer for the kids.
This trip was great.  I never relaxed so much in such a short amount of time ever.  Never.  My only goal this weekend was to enjoy some downtime with friends, eat and drink like I was 26, and maybe, maybe, get a tan.  We spent one full day there flanked by the two nights, and that one full day was literally the best Summer day!  It started off cool but then progressively got warmer and sunnier, till it felt like 85 by 11 AM(though it was only 76~).  Their house is right on Webb Lake, literally.  You walk out the back porch to a ten foot patch of grass then boom there is the sandy beach overlooking this massively beautiful lake and mountains-scape.  There were times Sunday that I was alone on the beach,  just getting lost looking at the view; watching an eagle fly by or listening to a family of loons squawking in the distance.    I’d then realize where I was and just get lost again looking at the sun glimmering off the water.  JUST PERFECT

Here is a slide show of the weekend.  You can click through or let it stream, that is up to you!  🙂  

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Next time you hear from me here I will be back to the Cape for one last Summer week away, ending the week with my husband’s big 40th bday party!  Wooo! Then it is our last Summer weekend with Labor Day and then IT’S BACK TO SCHOOL!  The girls go back September 7 this year.  We haven’t had an after Labor Day start since my oldest started Kindergarten.  Which is great!  Except it’s my baby’s big tenth birthday on the first day, which she keeps groaning about.  So I am going to try my best to make it the greatest first day of school ever for her.  On the flip side, my oldest is going into her first year at the middle school, and she can’t contain her excitement.  We literally haven’t had a day go by where she hasn’t talked about starting school- I had to take her supply shopping already!!  (She is an academically inclined kid, very smart, so she keeps telling me in a sweet way how much she likes Summer, but can’t wait for school to start cause she LOOOOOOOVES school.  Yes, she is my child!! tyvm).  
I can’t believe I just talked about back to school, it’s still Summer here!! No more jumping ahead.  
And.. Yup, I married a young one. :)~ 
Ok, tty all real soon!  xxoxoxoxo

Cape Cod July 2017 (in photos)

Hey Everyone!

Back from our Cape vacation, sadly. :(((((    

We had a blast even though the weather wasn’t totally cooperative the whole time. We started off great, with a super beach day… then the clouds settled in a bit.  Our one rainy day opened up to sunshine, though!  Which was great for go kart racing, arcades, ice cream for lunch and then a last minute beach day!  But not for my hair.. my god the humidity and my hair do not mix. (You know I am Sicilian when the humidity comes around…holy white girl afro!)

This vacation, however, we tried to disconnect to unwind.  Since my husband owns a business he can’t totally go off grid, people are always messaging him about stuff, but he did way better than me outside of his work.  Me?  Welllll, I didn’t fair toooooo well, but I tried a whole lot!  haha  Damn you snapchat!!  

We did get very lucky to come home with toasty brown tans though (first time!), and lots of fun memories to boot.  

So here is my pix rundown from this trip!  Each one is captioned for your pleasure.  hahah

We have a few other trips penciled in for this Summer…but … we will see you in August again my dear, Cape!

xoxoxoxo

Fourth of July 2017

Happy 241st Birthday,Merica!

Hope you all had a fun (safe) Fourth of July!   Man, I can’t believe the Fourth has just passed us by!  I sound like a skipping record, I know, but…’time flies when you’re having fun’.

We threw the Fourth of July bash this year, again.  I just love the Fourth, ya know.  There is an electric vibe that I get on this holiday; something about the fireworks, all the family, the sunshine, the great food and drinks, all the colorful outfits and gear, relaxin’, the decorations…it all makes me happy.

This year my husband and I wanted to change it up a lil bit by not being slaves to the grill. Usually, we are grill side cooking (in the heat) while drinking (sweating) and talking to everyone, which we love, but last year we grilled sooooOOOooo much food that we felt like we missed out on our friends.  We decided to do a lot ourselves again this year, but cater the two main dishes from Pit Stop BBQ.  Which worked out pretty great because that helped me immensely with not being stuck cooking all day, but mamma mia!, we had so much food!  haha Not that this is a bad thing.  

Fourth of July Menu

  • Raw Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Kale Salad
  • Corn on the Cob (thanks Gabriella)
  • Carrot Salad (thanks Trina)
  • Cornbread
  • Cole Slaw
  • Mac N Cheese
  • Pulled Pork
  • Beef Brisket
  • Baked Beans
  • Hot Dogs
  • Potato Salad (thanks Mum!)
  • Eggplant Parmigiana (thanks Mum!)
  • Veggie Plate (thanks Aunt Helen)
  • Roasted Zucchini and Summer Squash
  • Roasted Asparagus
  • Roasted Onions

We did end up cooking; I made all the veggies, hot dogs, and mac n cheese in the oven in the late morning before the party.  This was a big task with the time, but so worth it.  Everything was hot on the sternos, cooked fresh, tasted great and looked delicious in their pans, and we were free to hang out!

There was a ton of drinks, like beer and wine..  oooh, I made a white sangria for the first time.  YES, first time..for me sangria is red, and red only, but I was aiming for a fruity, dryer, refreshing drink. It actually came out great!   I got drunk, I mean, it was delicious, and, I had to make two large batches of it as it disappeared fast. So I am taking that as a sign that my family and friends liked it, too.

My White Sangria Recipe (party sized)

  • 2 ripe peaches, cubed
  • a pint of raspberries
  • a pint of blueberries
  • three liters of dry white wine (I used a pinot grigio)
  • 3/4 cup triple sec
  • 32 oz peach flavored seltzer

So there you have the food and drinks portion of the party, which is uber important right?  haha

We peppered our lawn with a tent, chairs, beach blankets, bocce, some other lawn games then at the end of the yard it was anchored by an inflatable waterslide, which was a huge hit.  I have never seen the kids enjoy an inflatable we have gotten like this one before.  It was a large slide that went into a good-sized pool at the bottom, so when the big kids weren’t in it the lil ones could hang out in the pool.  I didn’t see a kid fight, cry or anything..which was grrreat!  Everyone enjoyed that.

I did manage to get the kids together to take a group picture, which I love doing..and I also got them to take a LIVE video for my sister in Italy, through Fbook.  It was super cute with them all screaming “HAPPY FOURTH!” and I know she loved it.

 

From the food to the drinks, to the kids playing so well, and the relaxing with family, it was a pretty great day.

Hope you all had a wonderful day too!  xoxox

Recital and Mother’s Day 2017

Hey Everyone!

Wow, I can’t believe how fast this weekend flew.  I mean, it was just Friday!

So what a great weekend; started off with our kids’ dance recital.  What a great time.  The girls skipped dance last year, and were eager to get back to it this school year. I missed it slightly too.  (I don’t miss the hectic end of year schedule, but I missed them dancing)

All their hard work paid off because this year’s recital was the best we ever went to by far..not just the girls’ dances, but the whole show.  Our youngest had two dances, ballet and tumble jazz, and our oldest had one dance, hip hop.  Hip hop was new to her, and she was the youngest in the class.  The year started off bumpy for her, she was not sure she could handle this new way of dancing, but she really did so well and made me tear up a little watching her up on the stage.  So cute.  Our youngest is a real life prima donna.  She is graceful, while loving the movements of dance.  She is so cute. I just love her face to pieces.

After recital, we did what we always do, we treated everyone who came to the show out to eat (pizza n sangria).  It was a lot of fun, but man oh man, I was spent by the time we got food. The girls had so much fun with their cousin, whom they rarely get to hang out with alone. After everyone left, we went home to watch a movie (Fantastic Beasts) and hang out.  It was my fav part of the day.  :)~

 

Saturday, May 13- The Dancing School’s recital, Legends

Then Sunday was Mother’s Day!  Yay!  I have to say that I got entirely too spoiled this year; is that even a thing?  I got to sleep in super late (well late for me is anytime past 7:30AM!), and got woken up with my favorite breakfast foods…roasted asparagus, cinnamon donuts, Nutella on Italian bread toasted (Nutella- I won’t buy normally cause I will eat the whole jar!), black raspberries and a latte.  It made my day!

The kids showered me with cards and activities… a “mom” scavenger hunt, a song written by my oldest, and a special “bob’s burgers mad-libs”  haha.  My husband also showered me with gifts and lots of love, he is real good like that.  I am happy to share that I now have a fancy new chair for my bedroom’s makeup table…something I have always needed, and desperately wanted! haha

After we hung out relaxing over coffee and chatter, I was taken to lunch.  The girls got ready for me without a squeak…that is a big deal, people!!  The clan took me to The Blue Ox, which is in Lynn, one of my fav spots, but it doesn’t feel like it’s in Lynn.  It’s a beautiful hideaway from the craziness with great food and drinks.  Believe me, go check it out, then tell me you love it, too.   We ate (some amazing dishes), drank (some amazing drinks), laughed and had a real wonderful time together. We always do, but I really did feel special Sunday.  The girls were just so sweet about it being Mother’s Day this year.

After we left the restaurant, we swung by my in-laws, then ran home to change to head to my parents.  Did I ever mention how much I love my parents?  I love my family just so much.  We got to their house late, but we spent a fun evening together laughing, exchanging stories, and gifts.  I love the moms in my family and so happy to celebrate each year with them.

I really appreciated all of the extra love and attention Sunday. It is overwhelming at times for me to think about how much they care for me, because I don’t expect much, but they always go beyond anything I could imagine.  I am real lucky and I am grateful.

*You guys make me feel so good, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the thoughtfulness and love. xoxoxoxoxoxox  

Mother’s Day!- May 14, 2017

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend, too.  Especially, all the moms on this Earth who work so hard to give their families love and everything they need the best way they know how.

 

Much love to all of you.

xoxoxox

Philadelphia and New Haven 2017 (Part 2)

Hey Everyone!

I am only posting photos in this post as each picture is pretty self explanatory if you click on them, and it was just an overnight in PA and a dinner stop in CT.

We did do a lot of history walking in Philadelphia.  We really love this city, and I hope I can make it back again soon.  New Haven was new to me, and I hope to make it back there again soon too to eat more pizza  haha.  🙂

xoxoxox!

Day 2!

We went to the Franklin Institute and then headed for New Haven, CT, for dinner on the way home.

New Haven

Washington DC 2017 (part 1)

Hey Everyone,

Just got back from our vacation Saturday night around midnight.  It was such a great school vacation week away!  Let me slide right into our trip here on my blog.

Ooooh yeah! First, I have a new blog name!  I upgraded here on wordpress to valeriaoutloud.blog.  I think it’s just a fun easy name to remember (for ME to remember!) and I needed more photo space, so why not? Right.

We left home around 9:30AM, had the best ride together and got to DC right in time for our dinner reservations at the Old Ebbett’s Grill.  This is the oldest restaurant in DC, right next to the Treasury Building/White House.  The restaurant was hopping!  So glad we made all our dinner reservations ahead of time. This place was old man’s club type of swank with original gas dim lighting, dark blue velvet seating, large stone bar, wood paneling, and all the waiters/waitresses decked out in their long apron whites buzzing around. Super fun, really great menu and drinks list. I am one of those indecisive food people at times, and when menus are really thoughtful it makes it hard, and this place’s menu was packed with a lot of great choices.  We dined on some fabulous cocktails and dishes; like some of the things we had were the calamari, crab cakes, and brick chicken.

DAY 1 Photos:

We stayed at the Hyatt on K Street, and it was real convenient. The location was about 5 blocks from the White House area. We walked everywhere throughout our trip, which was great for us and thankfully we had beautiful weather 95% of the week.

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The next day we decided to spend the day going around to some museums and the archives.  We started off at the National Museum of American History, then hopped to the National American History Museum and then the National Archives… Can you say HOLY WALKING!? We hit some major walking step milestones on this trip. The amount of history and information in these three buildings alone would normally take us a day at each place.  Just impressive, amazing and inspiring.  After all this we took an uber to our dinner reservation at MXCD, a Todd English Mexican restaurant.  I highly recommend it if you like Mexican food.  The sangria was so delicious and each dish we ordered was so good I could’ve stayed there all night noshing! (seriously, Mexican food done right is my fav and their tomatillo salsa is something I am still dreaming about!! Yes I love Mexican food this much  haha. )

Then we decided last-minute during dinner that it was the best time for us to surprise the girls with a stop for dessert.  They have been insane for DC Cupcakes for years; a reality show based on the owners of and shop Georgetown Cupcakes.  So, we took an uber right over to Georgetown, and they were so giddy!  We arrived to a monster line, which went by fairly quick, but I was nervous we wouldn’t make it inside before they closed … but we got in!

…six cupcakes later, and we were all real glad we made the visit. Ok, I only ate half one but they disappeared right fast with this crew!  Their cupcakes are actually good! I only make this statement because we went to Carlo’s Bakery in NJ a few years ago and their bakery stunk..sad looking and the pastries were boring. So this was a relief and a memorable stop for our girls.

DAY 2 Photos:

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Our third day was an unusual one…  So my husband’s high school friend works for the, uhm, CIA in DC.  Anytime we mentioned going down, he has always told us to take him up on a quick tour of his old stomping grounds… THE TREASURY BUILDING!!  So we took him up on it, met right outside the White House and walked over to this obscure building nearby where he got us some credentials to take this tour.  He then took us underground to a tunnel that goes under Pennsylvania Ave!  One part goes to the Treasury Building (which is where we went) and another goes to the White House!  Super cool.   From there he took us all over the Treasury, wherever he could.  The building is definitely impressive, so much money was spent on this interior, it’s quite sick.  After our two hours together, we took off to the Renwick Gallery across the street.  What a beautiful museum!  As we were there the Patriot’s showed up to the White House. We got a text of Bill Belichick walking in with a few people from our friend who was in the lobby across from their entrance.  SO LUCKY!!!

After this gallery, we walked a ways to the USDA building for lunch… weird right!?  Well, not really since it is the only food spot near the Holocaust Museum where we were headed.  So, I was skeptical, even reading reviews, but the food was insanely good and the place was so clean.  AND BUSY!  I have never had a burrito from a non-Mexican place that was as good..seriously.  After we got all stuffed full of food we made our way across the street to the Holocaust Museum.

I really can’t express how important this museum is, especially after talking to my children and all their questions while walking through.  Even though we had prepped the girls beforehand, at home, with some Holocaust and war information, especially all the things that pertained to our families..like how my great uncles all perished fighting Russia, and how my father’s family (there were 11 children) was displaced through the war, and, how both of my husband’s grandfathers were part of the war, one the bombing of Japan and the other the reconstruction of the occupation of Japan.  I wasn’t all that big on this time of our history, until 2011, when I went to Normandy for a personal WWII tour with my husband.

My God.

I left France with such a different perspective, and when we figured to go to DC this year, I was the first to say we needed to go to the Holocaust Museum, no matter the kids age.  We are both connected in some way to the war with our families, but the holocaust is a totally different aspect of that and I wanted to make sure our children understood real racist bigotry/just down right hate, so they understood that this is not normal behavior, and never to accept it as it is ok.  EVER.  I had to fight back a lot of tears explaining things to them, which was hard. Especially when we entered the ovens room and then the shoes room. I was with my oldest daughter, and well, ugh, my soul just wanted to melt into the floors with my tears.

So powerful.

We followed this visit with a rest back at the hotel for a bit before dinner.  We all needed it, especially me.

We then grabbed an uber to go to dinner, my husband was very excited to keep this one to himself.  We showed up to Jaleo!!!  So, a lil back story, I have a huge, well, IMMENSE, chef crush on Jose Andres.  I love this guy, he reminds me of my dad when I was younger..how he talks, expresses himself and just everything, and his cooking skills are right up my alley.  He is so talented.  So when we showed up I was so excited!  I have been wanting to go to DC to check out his restaurants.

Wow, just wow.  What a talented guy!  The cocktail choices were great and the list of tapas was overwhelming.  First, we had to try the Ferran Adrià liquid olives.  TO DIE FOR! Then we noshed on endives with oranges, hanger steak with piquillo, salted cod fritters, Iberico ham and chicken croquettes,  sausage and white beans, and I can’t remember more, but it was a sea of food and drinks.  OOO speaking of drinks!  My husband got a Clara in a porron, which is this funky  glass blown decanter you decant IN YO MOUTH!

After dinner we took a walk to get gelato at Pitango, which was real good!  The girls got a Matcha green tea, a stracciatela (choc chip) and we split a nocciola (hazelnut), and I wouldn’t mind going back sometime.  haha

DAY 3 Photos:

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Our last day in DC we spent it at the National Museum of African-American History and then a walk to the memorials along the Mall.   This museum was as powerful as you would think, and just as lingering as the Holocaust Museum.  My husband’s former colleague works for the museum and gave us one tip…START FROM THE BOTTOM.  So that is what we did.  This area was the most eloquent space I have been in, with regards to museums…and believe me folks, I am a museum expert at this stage of my life with my husband.!; if I had to list all the museums I have been to, you’d be exhausted. Like I am.  hahah

Ok, so this museum was similar in sense to the Holocaust museum, the only difference I felt in this museum was the exuberant resilience of the Africans/African-Americans/Black Americans.  They start you off in an elevator taking you down to the lower depths of the floor, going down through time.  As you made your way back up on foot, you go through the decades/centuries up the levels..like walking through time; starting with their first encounters with becoming slaves all the way to modern day. They over came so much hate, hate that I couldn’t even bear to read on the labels through the earliest times in the exhibit. I was happy to see that they weren’t shy to say things out loud there either, like the words whipped, lynched, hung, beaten, raped, fathered children with a slave, abused, looked over, ignored, etc,  they were there as clear as day…they weren’t dismissed.

As you went outside this exhibit and throughout the museum you saw their dark times turned into a way of life …their music, food, fashion, point of view..just everything.  It’s def a must see in DC!!!

After this we made our way across the Mall to the Washington Memorial, and then to the Lincoln Memorial.  It’s weird how overcome with emotions I was walking up the steps to the Lincoln Memorial.  It was a place I had always wanted to go visit.  Lincoln is a man I highly admire from America’s history.  He made powerful statements and wanted to see a just country.  The sight was not only beautiful but the vibe is also quite impressive.   So many gatherings of people there. Really top notch.  After we hung out at the memorial for an hour or so, we took a stroll through the Vietnam War Memorial.  It is quaintly tucked away so I almost missed it!

We then ran to grab an uber to take us to the hotel for a rest.  We walked something insane at this point, like 7 miles and on our feet, without much rest.  Then after that good rest we took a walk down to Central, Michel Richard’s restaurant..he passed away recently. So as you might tell, I am a bit of a foodie by all these places we hit up in DC.  Central was so much fun!  We got so many cocktails and appetizers that I still am full!  We started off with a blueberry white wine sangria and a pink Negroni for me…holy tipsy off one.  Seriously, I am no light weight, but that drink was holy moly good! After this we went to Milk, a special spot my kids love in NYC.  Then it started pouring, so we took an uber back to pack up the room.

DAY 4 Photos:

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Ok, so this is part one! The second part (one night) we hit up Philadelphia, PA, for a quick history stop and then on the way home we stopped in New Haven, CT.

Hope this wasn’t terribly wordy…as I wasn’t planning to say much!  haha

xoxoxoxoxo