Thursday, January 28, 2016

What's Up, Wednesday!

Linking up with Shay today for the "What's Up, Wednesday" linkup! Trying to keep this stressful week at bay while I can, so I'm looking forward to doing a lighter post today. I had to also talk myself out of a Dr. Pepper at 10am this morning {don't worry, I'm getting one at lunch along with some curly fries} because it seemed like the only thing to calm me down after getting an email that my overdraft protection kicked in for the third.time.this.month, so that's how my day is going. It's been a long two weeks people. A long two weeks. 

Anyway. Let's see if I can keep this post from getting too complainy/annoying/stupid. So much confidence in myself today, right?!

Eating // This week it has been all the things. It's been a lot of takeout that we can bring with us to the hospital {typically only for dinner} and anything that's been easy. I try to counteract those kinds of meals with healthier lunches so I've been doing veggie burgers and soup. At home for snacks I've been doing popcorn and apples and peanut butter because they're my obsession and I can't stop it. When other things in life become a much higher priority things like meal planning and food fall down the list real quick, so sometimes fritos and Dr. Pepper is where it's at and that's fine for now. I'll get back on that bandwagon soon enough. 

This is so romantic to me.. 
Reminiscing about // I've been thinking a lot about my grandmother lately for obvious reasons. I miss being able to call her after my night classes when I'm on the train home and we could talk about our days. There have been so many things I've wanted to vent to her about and haven't been able to. I can't wait for her to get better. Those calls are some of my very favorites in life. 

Such a throwback, but one of my favorites.
Loving // Can I say apples and peanut butter? Like can that be my answer for what I love this week. Because I do. 

NEED. Right now. 
Been up to // Work, school, hospital, sleep, repeat. 

Me every day lately.
Dreading // Any bad news. I don't feel any coming, so I'm keeping those positive vibes up. 

Working on // Besides projects at work and school, when the February prompts come out next week I'll be working on those for OLW project! I really want to get caught up with some of my lists in my 52 lists book, and start writing in the journal I put in my bag. I shoved it in there last week just so I have it with me whenever I feel like writing creatively or venting. As spring nears {I know I'm a little early, but just let me have this one, okay?} I'm getting the itch to organize and declutter again even though it feels like I just did this…so, hopefully I can work on that as well. 

Excited about // It goes without saying that I'm excited for my grandma to get better and come home! But I'm also excited for some fun days in February, some warmer temps {and by warmer I mean 42 degrees} this weekend, and seeing Sammy on Friday!

Watching & reading // I feel like I've talked about The Office a lot lately, so I should mention something else? No? Okay. I'm watching The Office still because it makes me so happy. 

I mentioned in my last post that I just finished reading When Breath Becomes Air which was lovely and as stunning as its title (like seriously, that title. Really? Ugh it makes my heart hurt). So, now I'm in between books, and this week I've gotten such a weird itch to read through all my cookbooks and tag the pages with recipes I want to make. Like am I 63? So I started doing that last night, but then I started watching The Office and eating half a box of fruit loops. Soooo, obviously I had my hands full. 
I have my girl's new cookbook in my Amazon cart right now.
Listening to
// My Dad recently introduced me to Chris Stapleton {nothing like getting music recommendations from your father ;) } and I'm obsessed. He's got this classic rock/country vibe that I love and think is missing from popular country right now. 

I've been listening to "Nobody to Blame" on repeat. 

Wearing // Leggings and sweaters. HUGE SURPRISE. It's January, I'm lazy. That's all. 

This weekend // There is  n o t h i n g  on the agenda for this weekend and I couldn't be more excited. I have been looking forward to doing zip this weekend for days now. I'm looking forward to spending time with family, doing some reading, and relaxing. 

This is my plan for this weekend if that wasn't clear. 
Next month highlights // Next month we're celebrating Sammy's 24th birthday and Valentine's Day! Both fall on a weekend which is awesome since Sammy will be home to celebrate! I can't believe how much more I appreciate our time together since he's been in the academy. I never believe I can appreciate him anymore than I do until… I do haha. I cherish our time together so much, so I'm excited to celebrate his 24 years and Valentine's Day together. 

I'll also be doing a sip & shop event with my girlfriends toward the end of February! You go to various wine tastings set up throughout little shops and boutiques so you can sip while you shop. It will be so nice since we haven't been able to spend a lot of time together lately, so I'm really looking forward to it. 

Anything new // I actually got a text while writing this that my grandma is off the ventilator today, so that's excellent "new" news! I hope this is the beginning to a speedy recovery. 

Favorite Valentine's Day recipe // Sammy and I still have to decide how we're going to celebrate Valentine's this year. We may celebrate by doing dinner Saturday night instead of Sunday since he leaves to go back on Sunday so our time would be cut short. But will we go out? Or should we cook a homemade dinner together? But there's something so special about celebrating a holiday on the actual day, so if we do that should we do a Valentine's Day breakfast or lunch? Should we cook that?! These are the questions of the day. I guess I'll surprise him this weekend with many ideas from pinterest my heart. ;)

If we do decide to cook together I'd like to do something a la Jessica Garvin who is one of my very favorite bloggers I may or may not have a slight obsession with. 

Fine, total obsession with. Her life and style and is everything. Ultimate goals. If you don't already follow her stop what you're doing immediately and follow on all levels. On all social medias. Get on it. Get on it while I stop being all sorts of creepy. 

Anyway, that's all for now. 
Thanks for the continued prayers for our families. It means so, so much to us. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

{emotional} weekending

This recap is going to be a short one because Sammy & I spent a lot of time with family as we both have family members in and out of the hospital all weekend. Lately we've been constantly reminded that life isn't guaranteed so, even though we didn't get to "do" a whole lot it felt really great to spend quality time with family. 

Sammy and I got to spend a few hours together on Friday night when he got home from the academy which was really nice. I helped him edit the academy newsletter he's in charge of (I love that we can share that a little bit now since he'll get a glimpse of what editing is like) and binged some tv. 

The next morning I got up early because I had a mandatory Saturday class meeting to get to. After class, I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up some flowers, and I met Sammy's cousin Christina at her, and her husband's, new downtown apartment so I could see it for the first time (SO gorgeous) and so we could all go together to visit their grandmother since she had just had surgery the day before to remove a tumor. She got amazing news that the cancer hadn't spread (as far as we know) and will have another follow up this week. Praying to God she receives the same good news. She was in such great spirits having all her children and grandchildren around for the day. You would never have known she had surgery which was so great to see. 
& on Sunday... it was finally Disney day! Sammy and I got breakfast before we picked up my cousin's youngest and headed over to the arena. It was such a fun day to spend with her and definitely lifted my spirits after getting worse and worse news about my own grandmother over the weekend. 

The show was really cute and the skating added a unique and beautiful element to the classic Disney stories. Also, this picture is my new favorite thing in life. 

This child certainly is magic. 

After the show, Sammy had to get back home to pack up his bags and equipment and leave for the academy, so I went home to do some reading and try to relax as I waited to hear updates on my grandmother.


There was a lot of eating and snuggling with my pup involved. I ended up finishing When Breath Becomes Air and loved every minute of it. I have been following Paul's story ever since Joanna posted about it on her blog. He is such a beautiful soul and his book is a beautiful collection of thoughts about living a meaningful life when you're always surrounded by, or faced with, death. I would recommend it to anyone and left it on my mom's nightstand last night as a surprise for her to read. 

My grandmother unfortunately suffered through 3 small strokes and a heart attack since she has been in the hospital, all happening within a few hours one day this weekend. She has miraculously recovered from those events and is back on track to recovery even though she's still heavily sedated and on a ventilator. The nurse was even surprised she's made the progress she has and said "she must have someone watching over her". I fully believe my grandfather has a hand in her recovery and it was so nice to hear someone say that out loud. 

Grateful for some lighter and meaningful moments this weekend that gave us a break from some of the harder ones we've been dealing with. Hoping and praying for more good news as the days roll on. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Five on Friday

I haven't done a Five on Friday in a while, so I thought I'd pop on here and join in on my favorite link up! It is a whole bunch of randomness this Friday which feels rather liberating after a week that felt so structured and scheduled. 

One // 

It's been an emotionally draining week for me. My grandmother hasn't progressed like we had hoped and it's starting to make me more and more nervous. We also received some distressing news about one of Sammy's family members this week and my cousin's baby was operated on as well. Luckily, that sweet babe came out of her surgery amazingly well and is going home today. 

It's been difficult dealing with everything on my own this week. I'm rather selective with who I go to with problems especially since I tend to get emotional easily, and with Sammy being gone during the week at the academy, I felt kind of isolated and alone. Luckily I have my family around me but we all deal with things differently, so it's been kind of a tough week dealing with this (while also keeping it together for work and school). Definitely in need of some prayers and healing vibes, that's for sure. 

Two // 
I have really been loving my journey with the OLW project. With this past week being so hard I found myself reminding myself to find the magic in every day even during the times when it seems magic would be severely missing because those have been the times when finding that magic has been most significant to me.

This practice has changed my perspective dramatically in this first week of putting it to use, so I can't wait to see what it will show me throughout this entire year. I had to include this quote because it's, A, Cinderella, B, has the word magic in it hehe, and C, because I've been repeating this quote over and over in my head the last few days which has helped my mood in general. 

Three // 
I have been obsessed with Anne of Green Gables lately. I got the entire book set for Christmas, the miniseries, and have been watching and reading, well, obsessively. 

I read that one of the writer's from Breaking Bad is going to be writing a new Anne of Green Gables series with the CBC and I'm so thrilled I can't stand it! I am a little worried though only because I love the Kevin Sullivan mini-series so much, but I'm sure this will be good as well. 

Also, more fun AOGG stuff: this buzzfeed article about Gilbert Blythe melting everyone's hearts and this Anne of Green Gables inspired wedding is just the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Isn't Gilbert Blythe such a dream?

Four //
We had to read two Anne Lamott pieces for one of my workshop classes this week and I was so glad when I saw her name on the reading list because she's one of my very favorite writers. The two pieces are called "Shitty First Drafts" and "Perfectionism" and they're amazing pieces for all you writers out there to immerse yourself in. They're all about allowing your work to suck, and that it's okay and it needs to be shitty before it can be better. Also how limiting and soul crushing the need for perfection is. They're such liberating pieces from her famous Bird by Bird book about writing. She's absolutely a vision. I would recommend all creative people {which is all of us since we all have the capability of being creative} to read her. 

She also writes beautifully about God, faith, her family, and loathing Donald Trump. She is such a wonder. 

Five // 
This Sunday is the day! Disney on Ice! I hope with everything going on with both of our families we're still able to go because I could use a little bit of that incomparable Disney magic. 


I hope everyone has a relaxing weekend ahead! I'm definitely going to be trying to stay as positive as possible and enjoy everything I can.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

{long} weekending

Ah, that extra day this weekend was much needed, and I say that without belittling the profound human for which yesterday was named after. 
What an incredible soul. I am forever in awe of what his strength and perseverance was able to accomplish and the lasting impression he left {and continues to leave} on the world. 

This weekend also marked the end of Sammy's first week at the academy! I'll admit I was afraid of how he was going to adapt to the high pressure, stressful environment he's in while there. I had this {somewhat} irrational fear of him going home acting like a drill sergeant, but he has really been practicing what the experts preach about "leaving work at work" in order to create that work/life balance. While he's been learning so much, and his mindset has absolutely changed, his personality around me, and his family, and friends has not. I was so relieved even though it now seems silly to think he was going to come home completely different after only five days haha.

I know he's absolutely going to change as he experiences more training, but it was comforting to know that all of what I love about him will remain the same. 

While he's at the academy he has limited access to his phone during the day, if any at all, so I'm not able to talk to him every day like I normally would, so I definitely miss our little messages to each other, but that's what makes coming home special, and I'm so happy he's able to even come home on the weekends because I know a lot of service men and women can't see their families for months at a time. 

I got my merchandise in the mail this weekend too ;)

We spent a lot of the weekend together lounging around and with family before he had to go back yesterday. We ran some errands, lounged around watching tv & movies, and had dinner on Sunday night with his parents, brother, and SIL. 

I also got to do a little work on my One Little Word Project binder! I was happy to finally get through the January prompts since we only have around ten days left before new prompts are posted! 

I bought my own little binder from Target {except I did buy the pen from Ali Edward's site and it's AMAZING which you may think is dramatic when talking about a pen, but I assure you, it isn't. It's that good} and loved getting to be a little creative with how my pages inside look. The word I chose for the project, and this year, was "magic". One of the definitions for magic in Merriam-Webster is "having the power to make impossible things happen" which I just loved as a motto for life in general. I'd love to be inspired daily to strive to make what I think is impossible possible. It makes life seem limitless and I love that. 

Ali Edwards talks a lot about choosing your word, or letting your word choose you, and I believe magic chose me this year. All throughout December I kept randomly whispering the word magic to myself over and over again. I'm sure some of this happened because it was the Christmas season, which is oh-so magical, but still. I took it as a sign when it came time to choose a word. I think the idea of magic is what I love so much about Disney as well. It adds such a lovely nostalgic sense of possibility to everything {if that makes any sense} and that's what I think Disney does. 

While I have many smaller goals attached to this project to remember throughout the ear, my big goal is to strive to see the magic in every single day. I think it will make my gratitude grow even more and make the tougher days seem a little less hard. 

While the weekend was relaxing and mostly happy there was some unfortunate news. My grandma was admitted to the hospital early Saturday morning with some complications due to the medication she takes after having her kidney transplant. Her complications are unrelated to the kidney {thank God} but side effects from the medication are affecting her lungs. Luckily, it seems to be nothing that serious although she needs a lot of rest and watchful eyes over her. Sammy was able to visit her with me while he was home and I spent last night at the hospital with my family. We're hoping the steps doctors are taking now will get her better as quickly as possible. 

Anyone who knows me knows how special my grandmother is to me, so it's really difficult for me to see her this way. I'm definitely praying to my Papa to help her :)

This week is going to be rather packed leading up to an even more packed weekend, but it's filled with all good things! Hoping to get some more creative posts up this week, and in the next few weeks. I'm finding how much more calm I am after a creative surge of energy, so I'm trying to harness that as much as possible!

Linking up with Biana today & I can't wait to read how everyone else spent their long weekend! 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Life Lately

Life lately has been all about taking life day by day. There have been a lot of changes to daily life in the last week and "take it day by day" has been my mantra in getting through it all. Nothing overtly crazy or dramatic but since I have a habit of making everything overtly crazy and dramatic it's been kind of overwhelming for me. I'm dealing though! & they're all changes that will only lead to good things, so I'm staying as positive as possible. 

Here's a photo dump of life lately...

Winter quarter started this week. LAST. WINTER. QUARTER. EVER. I know I keep saying I'm going to miss school when it's over, and I definitely will, but I won't miss commuting in our Chicago winters. 

The course load has proved to be way more involved than I thought it was going to be, so the above picture accurately depicts how I have been feeling lately.

A few weeks ago I received the sweetest package from Donna who I had the pleasure of getting to know over the holidays during the Blogging Elite holiday meet up. I enjoyed getting to know her so much and looked forward to receiving her emails every week! She sent me the cutest "A" ornament, scrapbooking items for a beginner like me (!), peppermint tea, her favorite YA novel to add to my collection, and mini notebooks for blogging. I've been using everything she gave me especially in the last week with school starting {especially the tea since I think I'm getting sick… I'm having a cup right now!}. Thanks again, Donna! I love everything. 


Earlier this week Sammy and I went to another Bulls game and had the best time. These tickets were a Christmas gift from my mom to Sammy and they definitely didn't disappoint. 

We started off by having dinner at Ricobene's on the south side and we were pleasantly surprised!

I got a slice of spinach & mushroom deep dish and Sammy got their breaded steak sandwich with hot giardiniera and cheese. 

I of course love the signage ;)

We sat front row which was an awesome experience. We even saw ourselves on the screen a few times haha. We got there when the doors opened so we got the giveaway which a jersey {Sammy also walked away with a few other freebies which is his favorite thing ever, so he was a happy guy}! 

The Bulls won which is the first time I've seen them win at a game before, so that was long overdue and awesome. Bulls games are my favorite with this guy. 

This week marked the start of working out at work! A few weeks ago I signed up for the membership, and got my pass, so I started going after work before I catch my train to go to class. I've actually liked adding it to my routine, so I hope it lasts! 

On Friday, Sammy traded in his '99 Pontiac for a new Ford Fusion! He was so excited. He definitely needed a more reliable car for all the driving he's going to be doing on the weekends back and forth from the academy. 

& I mourned via snapchat about losing my BFF. It's so silly to admit but I actually got emotional when we left this baby behind. We've had so many memories with this car {he drove us to prom in it!} that it felt sad letting it go, but the new car will give us new and exciting adventures. 

Later that night we went out with Sammy's family to Brava! to celebrate him starting the academy! I got campanelle in a spicy tomato cream sauce with shrimp and it was prettayyy good. 


On Saturday, Sammy and I spent the day at his grandparents' house with his brother, SIL, cousins, and aunt. We all learned to "make the sausage" as they say even though we don't actually make the sausage as much as we section it off and hang it. 

Sammy's grandparents have this crazy awesome pantry in their basement where his grandpa has nailed in so many hooks for the sausage {and other meats} to hang from. They also store all their homemade sauce, pasta, and other things down there.


They also hung sobrassada {which is like a hardened salami but way, way better} and capicola. All the meat has to hang to dry for about three weeks and then the family distributes it among the individual families. 


While Sammy's grandpa watched over the sausage business his grandma was in the kitchen making pizza for lunch. This was also where Christina and I keep sneaking cheese ;)

In her element!
 I asked if she would teach me how to make her pizza because it was so good I can't stand not knowing how to make it myself. 

All of us girls & nonno! 

I love that Sammy's grandpa has taught him how to do this because even though I doubt eat it I still had a lot of fun having Sammy teach me and I know he'll love teaching his children one day. I fully plan to have a pantry like this in our future home! 

I snapped this the night Sammy told me he got accepted into the academy last month :)
I spent a lot of this week soaking up as much of Sammy as I could. I'm so glad he'll be home every weekend but I've missed him a lot so far since we aren't able to talk while he's in training during the week {I've already written him a letter though! Don't you worry. I'm playing this thing like it's 1942}. I'm in awe of him all the time and everything he puts himself through to get where he wants to be in his career. Can't wait to squeeze him on Friday!