Posted in Party Time!

Christmas 2018 and NYE

Hello WordPressland!

Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas Season and a great start to 2019!

Christmastime Fun!

We had a great season exploring all that Boston has to offer before school vacation, AND after! My eldest sister is home from Italy with her family, and is for another 10 days or so, so we got right to the fun.  My niece is 10yo, and she has never seen Christmas outside of her region of Italy. And, Christmas here in the States is like nowhere else.

We glam it up in every direction with decorations, lots of trees and an amont of lights compared to none; it is quite the spectacular sight if you have never seen it before. (and as I spent one Christmas in her hometown in 2007, I know she had NEVER seen anything like a holiday here.)

We tried to do so much.. we started the first day they got here by seeing the Christmas St Bernard Dogs at Smolak Farms. Those dogs look animated, that is how cute they are in real life.  Then we celebrated our Mom’s 70th birthday, which I hosted the cake afterward.  We then took the kids to see the Nutcracker at the Boston Ballet. My family and I had a few holiday parties between, then we took a trip with all the family to see the Enchanted Village at Jordan’s.  I brought my sister with her family with me to work one day so she could walk around to shop. Then we celebrated my 42nd birthday.  After that was my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Then we celebrate my niece’s birthday. After that we took everyone to the Museum of Science to check out the new sights there. My family and I had a party that we brought my niece to at the Hampshire House. Which was quite the kick ass party.  Then it was Christmas week, where Christmas Eve was hosted by my sister-in-law. Christmas Day was hosted by my parents, we had a sleep over and a few friend parties between as the girls slept at my sister’s one night for a kids birthday for my niece, then I hosted New Year’s Eve night, and that follows these Christmas pictures below.

All in all it was busy, but fun.  I may need a vacation soon after all this!

 

New Year’s Eve!

‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.’ -C.S. Lewis

☆☆☆Happy 2019!!☆☆☆

It had been four years since we hosted a NYE party, and with my sister home we figured why not this year?   We had decided last minute to make this party a potluck. With thirty people coming we had to figure out how to make everyone happy, and potlucks are a great way to make sure folks eat what they like… and I actually like hosting them. And man oh man, did my guys out do themselves! We offered a lot to begin with..unlimited cava and prosecco to start, a chili bar, crab cakes, taquitos, roasted mini peppers (which I can’t get enough of), a cheese plate, a literal vat of guacamole and dip with an insane amount of chips. Everyone ended up bringing so much…a monster Italian pandoro sandwich, pizza, chicken enchiladas, mini hotdogs, pulled chicken, sausages, mac n cheese, cakes, cookies, and the list goes on!! (I am swearing off food after this week btw.  I had lost 7lbs in December, and I think I have gained back five from NYE alone!! haha) But it was all well worth it.  I loved hosting this party this year even if my house still looks like it was hit with a tornado.  🙂

The next day we were sluggish, but we made it for January 1’s dinner with my family at my parents’.  Very low-key, just like I like it.  Now I am off to work.  YES I typed this all out before the kids got off to school.  Maybe 2019 will be a productive year?  haha No I know, I doubt that, too.  🙂

That’s it.  I hope you all had a great start to this fresh new year!  Best wishes for a healthy, prosperous 2019.

xoxoxox

Posted in Party Time!

My Parents’ 50th Anniversary Celebration

Hello WordPress!

Two weekends ago we celebrated my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary! Woo! I know, fifty years is quite an amazing milestone, when you sit to think about it.

My parents’ anniversary is actually in February, but since my eldest sister is home from Italy this Christmas season they felt it would be the perfect time to celebrate this major event. With all their children, and grandchildren, together.

My parents; Concetta Latino e Salvatore Graceffa 02/08/1969

My parents. I just love them. Their fairytale started when they got married in Aragona, Sicily in 1969. They migrated from Italy to America not long after getting married. A new life with new possibilities laid ahead as they arrived in the Bronx in the fall of 1970, with not much money and pregnant with my eldest sister. My father had some family who migrated years earlier there and figured it was a good starting point.

Trying to acclimate to the American language and new culture was not easy at first, and they were not sure how long they would stay in America. But they had one another. My father found a job and my mom stayed home. My eldest sister was born in 1971, then a year later they had my older sister.

As my sisters were toddlers, my family moved from New York to Massachusetts for a better life and work opportunities. They had moved to an Italian/Sicilian neighborhood in Waltham, they felt at home there. My father worked hard every day, long hours, as my mom stayed home with the children. It wasn’t always easy but they had one another. They liked Waltham a lot as they encountered hometown friends and made life long connections that made them feel that missing sense of community from home. This is where and when I was born, in 1976. Which I coin as the best year of their lives. Ahhemmm.

In 1978, my parents had the opportunity to buy a house in the city of Malden. Since living in America they had rented, so this was a huge dream to buy a home. This home is where they have lived, nurturing each other and their family since. My childhood home is a reflection of my parents. The pride they have for it. All the work they put into it. It’s the beacon for this fairytale they have worked so hard on.

And, a fairytale is what they lived and still are living. Fifty years relying on each other for support and love. Fifty years of laughter and memories. Fifty years of commitment. Fifty years with three daughters and six grandchildren. Fifty years of learning new culture and language. Fifty years of stolen kisses in front of their family (and my dad goosing my mom, I see you!) Fifty years with many friends, who are like family. Fifty years of celebrations. Fifty years of stories that could fill a novel. 🙂

True love is a rare, warm, beautiful emotion.

❤️Happy Anniversary!!❤️

Now on to the celebration .. what a great party. My parents booked the Tuscan Kitchen in Burlington, and my sisters and I planned the rest. It was a successful collaboration, even with my eldest sister in Italy most of the time! It was truly a visually beautiful night and my parents were so happy.

Here are some photos:

Posted in Party Time!

Forty-two

Hiya WordPressland!!

It has been incredibly busy this month for me and my family.  If you follow me on IG you know why in my story.  Those who do not follow me there are missing out on my crazy life with my eldest sister home, parties that seem to be happening every weekend, prepping for the holidays, working, school life, packing for NY, going to PT, crafting for my parents’ anniversary party (which was last night and will post about later) and just everything.  Needless to say, I haven’t had much time for myself to just chill out.  But here I am, making the darn time to .. chill out.  Is writing this out chilling out?  No, but let’s all pretend.

So, as you can see from my title.. forty-two happened.  Yup, my birthday was Friday!  Forty-two. I kind of like forty-two.

Man, I don’t know about you all up in this new age bracket with me, but doesn’t forty-two feel… good?  Like, I loved my twenties, I didn’t love myself so much though I wish I had.  Changed by leaps and bounds in my thirties, learned to love the uniqueness about myself. Now starting in my forties, I feel … contentment.  Weird right? I feel happy in myself, my body, my life, my family, my outlook and everything that is around me. I am not comparing myself to anyone else, because, well, no one is like me; so how can I compare myself to another human (vice versa too)?  Is this contentment caused from growing older?  Is it part of some ‘I am too old to give a crap’ mentality that everyone says happens in our forties?

I honestly don’t know.  I feel like I am having an easier time accepting what I can control and letting go of what I cannot.  I used to be afraid of growing old, but right now, at this moment, I am not afraid.  I am growing older, not old.  This phrase packs a lot of punch.  Growing older, not old.

grow
/ɡrō/ verb – gerund or present participle: growing
1. (of a living thing) undergo natural development by increasing in size and changing physically; progress to maturity.

Growing is a beautiful thing. 🙂

xoxoxo

Here are some pictures from my festivities…

Posted in My Travels

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

Posted in Weight Loss Diary

It’s About Time I Updated You!

Wow, my my, I just looked at when I last posted and I swear it was last week…NOT that long ago.  So sorry!  This is a good sign though, right?  Too much going on to stop and post to the masses of WordPressland.  At least that is my excuse.

Ahhh, so much to talk about!  

First.. Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see a shadow yesterday.. that’s just awesome!  If rodents could really predict weather… 😉

Well, I just got home from a meeting discussing my youngest daughter’s communion at the end of April.  Yes, COMMUNION!  I can’t believe it!  She is eight, in the second grade, and she is on her way onto her second sacrament.  Seriously, where is this time going!?  How do I make it stop?

Or, how do I make it speed up enough for our upcoming gigantoid family vacation!?!? 

YAHHHH! It’s almost that time of year when we say goodbye to chilly New England and hello to the warmth of the south…Winter Vacation!!  Tropical temps. Sandy beaches. Hanging with stingrays. Mayan ruins.  ARRG I AM GOING TO EXPLODE!  Without giving out too many deets, this is going to be a smash you in the sack awesome trip.  Yes, I just said that.  haha.  This is a huge first for us.  We are joining up with my so awesome friends, from Australia, who are here on a 5 week trip of a lifetime.  They are kicking it off with us.  

How awesome?  🙂

We are going out on a 7 night cruise, my family’s very first cruise, to the Western Caribbean (Princess Cays, Grand Caymans and Mexico)..then..and please keep it on the dl, we are going to surprise the girls with a drive up to Orlando to hang out at Universal for three days.  <– They are HUGE Harry Potter fans, so this is going to liTerally be the best surprise of their child lives.  The other awesome part of it is that our Ozzie friends will be going with to Orlando..their kids know they are heading to The Wizarding World, but they don’t know we are going, too.  Everyone’s assuming we are up in Orlando to catch a flight the next day.  I am so excited!  

The countdown has begun, and my brain is on overdrive with all that needs to be done before we head out.

Next..  Things are going extremely well at the gym.  I have so much to catch you guys up on, but I feel like I am typing a mile a minute so it will come out all garbled.  Let me get to the good parts… I started a few weeks ago focusing on some new to me yoga and pilates moves.  My goal has been to strengthen my core, because I was real weak there.  Holy wow, what a big difference right off the bat. First, I sweat a lot.  I don’t normally sweat, never really have, but, oh my, I am a sweat..er.  lol  Also, what a big change in strength.  I am so much stronger in my core than ever.  It feels amazing. Very new feelings.

So, with this new found strength, I thought it was time to try out some hard core lifts and moves I have never done before..dumbbell pullovers, good mornings, back squats, Romanian dead-lifts and stiff leg dead lifts (barbell and dumbbell).  I started at some decent weights, then progressively added on.  I even impressed myself..through the sweat.  (I can’t believe I sweat!)  I push myself each week, and it’s funny how in competition I am with myself.  I noticed that I walk taller, am more confident and feel centered.  All from working out!  The bonus is that my clothes fit better, my tummy is flatter and my butt looks amazing  haha… So I have been told.  I am super happy.  Like ecstatic.

Oh, one more..  I have had a huge FOUR POUND drop recently!! This, as you know, has been an issue for me. Is it the pilates? Yoga? Weights? all of the above?  Who knows, but for now it seems to be working, but my focus remains strength and having tone…and continuing on having fun.  If I drop weight, that is a bonus for me. 🙂  

Well, that’s it on this hump day.  Hope you guys are all doing so great!!  I have missed updating on here, and I know I say this all the time..but I hope I can more often!!  😛

xoxoxo 

 

Posted in Random Stuff

Ringmaster Valeria

Hey everyone!

The girls are officially in the swing of back to school.  It has been a little hard for ME to adjust  hah.  Since day one we have been involved in getting them back acclimated to a better sleep schedule, homework and school activities. Ooof! Homework!  I don’t even know why this is still a practiced school process anymore.  But it is.

So, with back to school, we are back to school activities.  The latest was our oldest child’s open house Tuesday. This is when you get to see your child’s workspace, all the fun things they started to do for the year, talk about their goals with them and a quick hello with the teacher.  Her teacher seems super nice and down to earth, which is a relief.   Our youngest daughter’s open house will be this next week.

But till then I’m going to be in a whirlwind of running around.  I am in the thick of getting ready for the girls joint birthday party on Sunday, circus theme! You all know me, I go big or I don’t do it at all.  It is going to be so much fun! So far, we have a little over forty people coming and I have planned for a jumpy house, cotton candy and popcorn machines, a retro circus photobooth, BBQ, tons of candy, cake and homemade games, possibly face painting, too.  The girls will be dressed up as cute clowns in tutus with colorful suspenders, all dolled up.  I was thinking of getting dressed up for fun. Planning to be ‘The Ringmaster’; sounds fun doesn’t it?  haha

But, all I have so far is a mini top hat fascinator and well, me  haha.  Oh boy.

I have done a lot of work for this party, a lot of fun crafting things. So I can’t wait for it! I love making this party happen for my kids every year, and with this their last one together, for me, it will be immensely special.  Our oldest turns ten.  My God.  Ten? I still think of her as my five year old!  Time is just flying too fast.

Ten.

Wow.

My oldest daughter is so amazing.  I know every parent says that about their child(ren), but my oldest daughter really is such a wonderful person.  You know that kid that just has their thoughts in order and knows exactly what to say, or how to say it to make you see things differently? Well, that is her.  She makes me proud every day.  Not because she is academically smart or because she is artistically inclined, but because her heart is so big and she loves unconditionally, looking past faults and accepting of how people are. That is the mark of a good person, and it validates all my hard work being her parent.

She is my sunshine. 🙂

So. Now that I am teary eyed, let me get back to this. hah

On top of all this excitement…I am still killing it at the gym about five days a week. It feels so great.  I see a lot of results, muscle formation, whittling waist, but..I just keep hitting this weird wall.  My body is shrinking, but the scale is not going down. I’m stuck where my last loss was, so it’s a little frustrating; but I’m trying not to focus on that and focus on all the positive things happening. It’s hard for me to do this because it can be depressing; I am a scale person no matter how hard I listen to my supporters. I just can’t help but put my ass on that scale!  So not seeing it go down just hurts haha.  Going up would devastate me though, so I have to focus on the positive.  I am feeling strong and happy.  Which is a major win imo.

Well, I need to jump off wordpress now, gotta get to the gym soon!, but will definitely update you guys on this awesome party next week!   Wish me luck putting together a look!  Haha

xoxoxoxo

Posted in Random Stuff

And The World Didn’t Stop

Hey WordPress World!

It’s Friday..FINALLY!   And a three-day holiday weekend to boot! Well, except for me, it’s a FOUR DAY WEEKEND! Wahooo. Taking Tuesday off to have some fun with the Mr..

So, I wanted to talk about something, I am not sure how it will shake out of me just writing about it without thinking it through but I am going with my feeling.

Most of you that follow me, have read about my changes and that I have been on this life changing ‘journey’ for quite a while.  Ever since I changed my exterior in 2009, it really changed me more than I realized it ever would. I realized that all that weight was covering me from a world I wanted to be around.  It’s hard to recap that feeling, but because of that one change, I just felt so free and able for the first time in a long time, that I couldn’t help but update everything about myself..inside and out.

You can say I upgraded to Valeria 2.0.

So lately, my journey is about trying to bring myself back to my inner happy place.  Yes, I am a happy woman, and you all see it I am sure, but, I seemed to have lost my center point where I am just content with me and not giving a rat’s ass about what others think. I am not meaning that I sit there with fears of what people think about me, because I can tell you all that I don’t care if people like me or not, but I carry this weird baggage of always having to be perfect.  Well, put together really.

I don’t like when people see me not put together is what I am saying.  I’m not sure why, but I think I like to know that I also have it together.  hahaha

Today, I did something I had never done before, which leads me to believe I am coming a step closer to this content center.  My husband and I were running late getting the kids off to school.  Staying up late like me does have its downsides too.  So. We still had to shower, and there was like less than ten minutes left to get them into school without being tardy.  So, I did something most people do, but I have never.  I just grabbed my kids, my glasses, keys, and drove them to school.  No washing up.. hair a hot mess in a bun..no makeup on..in my glasses..tank and yoga sweats..and flipflops.  Usually, I have my husband throw on a baseball cap then rush off to get the kids to school, coming back to shower and off to work.  So this was new.

I have NEVER in my life done this.  NEVER.  I have always been so concerned with my appearance, being put together, that I couldn’t ever think I would be able to do this. If I have ever gone out without makeup, it was after I cleansed and moisturized, made sure my hair was straightened, put on large sunglasses and hid from the world.  I know this sounds weird, but, I have always wanted to just be this person.  The person that can just be, wake up and go.  No one would cringe, or say ‘oh my, what happened?’, or that I felt like I would stop the world because I was disheveled.

Strange right? Well, as I was driving to grab a coffee after dropping the girls off, seeing I was without makeup or contacts in the mirror, I gave myself a smile. I didn’t care if anyone saw me or if it would cause the world to stop.  haha  I had to do something and be somewhere.. and I fucking don’t want to care about other people.

I felt free.

Now, I am not thinking I will be all over the place without makeup on or fresh out of bed in my pajamas. I love love love being dolled up.  I am realistically saying that this small thing today defined a moment in myself where I wasn’t preoccupied with putting those concerns ahead of life happening. Today, I wasn’t concerned about who I would see or looking at myself with disgust and that is a big deal in my book.

We all have quirks about ourselves, and well, honestly, mine is and has always been that I never think I am pretty enough without my embellishments.  Whatever this body/face image issue inside myself is about, I am going to crush it and make it go away, because most of what is my unhappiness stems from there.  And I do not like there.

So today, was a big step in the right direction.

This made me real happy. 🙂

xoxoxo