joeywaffles, love, wedding!

365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months, and a whole lot of minutes until #WoodGotHerGood

I can’t believe exactly one year from now I will be walking down the aisle and marrying the crazy, handsome, funny, kind, and tall Mr. Joey Waffles. In lieu of my weekly #weddingwednesday post, I wanted to take today to write down how and what I’m feeling.

I am spending this Friday night and Saturday morning with three of my (unofficial until I formally ask) bridesmaids and my Mother trying on wedding dresses. I will probably have my maid of honor face timing in. I get to enjoy a rite of passage with my favorite people, and honestly I never thought I would be excited about this. You see, I was married once, when I was 24.

Ten years ago, I went to a courthouse and said “I do” in a black shirt and jeans and had my wedding meal at iHop and then went to work. I was young, in a rebound relationship, and thought loving and being in love were the same thing. He was my friend and let’s just say 90 Day Fiancé and I had a few things in common.We divorced 4 years later after living apart for over two years and I guess it just made marriage feel like a transaction. It was something I didn’t want or care about and it never felt real to me.

When JoeyWaffles and I got together, it was something neither of us wanted and we didn’t even know where this was going. Sure, we had both been in a few long term, serious relation ships but nothing had ever been smooth sailing. We both had  trepidation’s and had been hurt, so we were kind of going in with some restraint. Luckily the more time we spent together we accepted this was something totally different and that meant our future could be too.

In 365 days I get to join my life path with his, in front of family and friends. We get to share our love and goofiness with the most important people in our lives. We get to show faith and trust in each other and in love. We know that there is always a worse, when you say for better or worse, and we’re ready.

In 365 days, I get to dance and sing and enjoy a day full of love and acceptance. A day that 50 years ago, we couldn’t have had without breaking a law. A day that symbolizes our commitment and the life we’re choosing. No, a piece of paper won’t change much but it will be a sign of love, joy, of promises, of a bond, and will remind us that we are sharing this thing called life together.

In 365 days, I get married to my favorite person. My person.

You're my person..png

 

 

christmas, family, happy, holiday, holidays, home, italian, joeywaffles, kansas city, love, taylor swift, xmas

Wednesday is the new Monday

Christmas 2014

So my holiday 4 day weekend was busy and fun and went by too fast! Don’t they all though? I spent it shopping, Christmas tree decorating, removing bathroom floor tile, playing Tetris Attack with JoeyWaffles, and just enjoying time at home, I missed posting my Monday Must Haves but since it’s my blog, this week it’s going to be on Wednesday. Bear with me the next few weeks because life is crazy around the holidays. I have to finish shopping, find shoes for my company holiday party, clean the house, make Christmas cookies, get end of the year stuff done at work and so on and so on. Blogging is such a great outlet to relax, be inspired, and reflect. I love my cozy office so maybe I’ll end up writing more.

Now on to the Must Have’s!

When I was younger, we had a lot of Christmas traditions that I sadly no longer do but really loved. We always drove out to the boonies to a tree farm to pick and cut our own tree. We would get dessert at the same local spot and then get to play video games at this crazy arcade. I always spent my $5 on the crane/claw machines and had to wait patiently for my brother to go through his which took forever. We would read from the bible, ever year a different gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) and light the advent wreathe. We also took the ubiquitous holiday family photo in front of the tree, although the year we had the chicken Betsy and the dogs was rather memorable.
So while I no longer have those traditions, there are still a bunch that are going strong and are what Christmas means to me. I have added a few others the older I get so read and enjoy!

Christmas Crime Scene Tape: When we were little and always wanted to peek at the tree, my Dad came up with the idea that the Elves would block off the tree and if we crossed it, we wouldn’t get the gifts. That wasn’t really the point, it was really how funny the signs were and still are to this day. There is usually a theme and now with FB my Dad has all year to collect photos and embarrass us. The youngest person gets to cut the tape, or ribbon if we can’t find any. Then we race to the stockings and Christmas can begin!
The Santa Claus: This is my favorite Christmas movie, I actually love all three in the series. They are funny and silly and sweet and I love Tim Allen. When JoeyWaffles and I were first hanging out and it was Christmas and I mentioned how much I loved them, he downloaded all three and watched the first one with me one night all cuddled up. The fact that I had mentioned it in passing and he remembered and surprised me was one of the million reasons I fell in love with him. There is nothing better then watching this while cuddling with him and all the animals, the soft lights of the Christmas tree, and a soft blanket on us. This is probably our first Christmas tradition so I really cherish it.
MiMi’s Peanut Butter Balls and Grandma Fern’s Brownies: When my great Grandmothers were alive, they each made a signature amazing desert and my Aunt has kept the tradition alive. Mimi’s PB balls are the best frozen and there is s special gold tin they have to come in. They are the perfect size and go so fast. You have to make sure to hide some so they don’t run out! Grandma Fern’s brownies are probably my favorite desert ever and I look forward to these all year. Paleo be damned, these are worth a few days at the gym.
Traveling: Christmas has always been huge in my family, much like many people. I have so much family that it had to be precisely scheduled when I was younger. My older brother and I celebrated Christmas Eve morning with my two Dads, then headed over to my Mom to open gifts with her and my stepdad and then we headed over to my Italian grandparents to celebrate with cousins, aunts, uncles, and more. We would go home around 11 or 12, sleep for a few hours and then drive to the airport, get on an early morning flight to Kansas City, MO for my paternal grandparents, aunt, and other family. We did this until one day in my mid 20’s I had enough of the missing or delayed flights and being stuck in airports and now we go to Missouri the weekend before Christmas.  Plus without going to Kansas City, I would miss out on the one meal a year my Grandma cooks, a delicious roast with mushrooms and bacon, patrician potatoes, Rhodes rolls, green beans and corn casserole.  
Pop Christmas Albums/All Christmas music: Mariah. N’Sync. BSB, 98 degrees, Hanson. I love em all and need my fix of their holiday albums. Taylor Swift and Josh Groban too. Plus 93.9FM in Chicago plays all holiday music from November ’til Christmas and I don’t change my radio. You can’t leave out Bing, Frank, and all the originals. Favorite Christmas song? “Baby it’s cold outside”
Italian Christmas Eve: My Mom’s family is Catholic so we don’t eat meat on Christmas Eve and instead have pasta, homemade cheese pizza, and seafood. Food is a big part of our culture, the making, eating, the family recipes, the warmth it is to be in a kitchen. Some years we’ve had eel, calamari salad, mussels, and more. The stuffed artichokes my Aunt Laurie makes are out of this world and what’s being Italian without some wine?We eat my Aunt Diane’s special chocolate chip cookies. Our Christmas’s are loud, full of laughter, smiles, the most wonderful smells coming out of the kitchen, and of love. It’s cheesy but I’ve always been so proud to be Italian and of my heritage and of the strong people who came before me.
What are your favorite holiday traditions? What is your favorite holiday movie or song?
Check out Kristen’s post on balance and the traditions she and her husband keep!
Bella and Dante in their holiday wear
beauty products, bella, dante, dry shampoo, duh, holiday, holidays, joeywaffles, love, mom, not your mother, pteri, thankful, thanksgiving, turkey, winston, work

North Shore Thankful

(Thanksgiving 2013, hosted by JoeyWaffles and I)
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it’s all about the love and happy and warmth and most importantly, about family. Maybe your families blended or all over the country (like mine is), maybe you live with them or they’re right down the street, maybe it’s a friendsgiving, but it’s the time of year time to be thankful for the people and things in our lives. Of course, we should be thankful everyday but it doesn’t hurt to have a day to officially celebrate. Plus, the history of Thanksgiving is a bit awful so turning into a day of being grateful, well as Martha Stewart used to say, “now that’s a good thing”. So without further adieu, here is what I am thankful for this year, in no particular order. Obviously it should go without saying that my family, friends, and health are the duh, of course ones.

My job-Getting to love what I do and where I work and who I work with is a blessing. I always quote Charlotte from Sex and The City when she is asked about being happy in her marriage and she says “Not all day, every day but yes, every day”. That is how I feel about work. I love driving there and have never dreaded a Monday. I actually look forward to my job, my boss, my co-workers, and just loving the work. I get to grow and learn and laugh and it can’t get better than that. Work is where you spend most of your time so you might as well make the best of it, enjoy it, and find something that combines a passion with paying the bills. Plus with the PR girls, Alex, Paul, JBeast, Sara, and more, I work with the best, funniest, goofy, most amazing group of people who like to laugh about everything and snort, especially about T-Ruddy Rex ya see.(work joke duh)

My Mom-She is the strongest, funniest, most hardworking, goofy, and kind person I know. She is the definition of selfless and she also can share celebrity gossip with me. The older I get the more I look/act like her and I am proud of it. She is a huge source of health tips, working out, eating well, and just being my biggest cheerleader. My Mom is absolutely without a doubt the person who loves me the most and who would do anything for me. She can make anything better no matter what and she can drive me crazy at times. The older I get the more and more I really get to appreciate her. Plus she loves movies like Booty Call and Wayne’s World and Tommy Boy. She’s a classic.

Heated Car  Seats-I mean seriously, my butt feels so warm and toasty when I drive, especially when it’s so cold out. Every time I get in the car and turn them on, I’m happy. Joey has them in the Mini and the Wrangler so our butts are always warm like our Starbucks. I am lucky to have a car, let alone a wonderful car like Taylor. I pretty much don’t want to own anything but another Land Rover and it’s the North Shore in me but no matter the car, heated seats have become a must.

JoeyWaffles- I don’t always publicly gush about him, I mean I post our photos or some of the sweet things he does or even just how cute he is, because he really really is. The thing is though, he makes me a better person. I love him more than I love being right which is HUGE because I love being right. I am Italian after all. He makes me sharper, smarter, kinder, funnier, think more, he challenges my mind and shows me a whole new way of thinking. He encourages me to be myself and learns from who I am. I love that we both have stayed ourselves as much as we have become a team. When I take a two week vacation every year without, all he wants is for me to have fun while he gets to stay home and hang out with his friends, take care of all the pets and watch comedy central in his boxers. Whatever floats his boat really. Every night I get to fall asleep feeling safe and loved and at peace. Knowing that we bring out the best in each other and not just encourage each others bad habits is something I cherish. You might be thinking “duh Tiffany, that’s what’s supposed to happen” but a lot of people can be in love and not have that. So I am thankful that I do. I am thankful he chooses me and I choose him and that we play Tetris Attack at 2am and watch New Girl together.

Dry Shampoo-Seriously, this is life saver. I use Not Your Mother’s or Bed Head Rockaholic and they are AMAZING. For someone who has thick hair and a lot of it, shampooing my hair everyday is not an option or even every other day. I don’t have the 45min to an hour prep time. This is a great solution and I recommend everyone keep some at work or in their car for an emergency.

My Dad-Hands down, he’s the best guy and I am so lucky Joey has so many of his traits. He is thoughtful, funny, kind, smart, tells corny jokes, and always lets me ramble on. He deserves the best and I am so excited to meet his new bf because I think he finally found a man who deserves him. So I am really thankful for Andre as well because he makes my Dad so happy. I am thankful that they are happy in California and I get to see them in less than a month!!

Duh-Apparently I am trying to bring this back or it never really left my vocabulary but I am thankful this word is still fairly relevant and fun to use. It’s nice then a swear word and really gets the snark of course without offending everyone. Try it out. Feels like a guilty pleasure right? Just go with it, trust me and now I sound like a sleazy guy at a bar. Hmm.

My animals-Bella, Dante, Winston, and Pteri are the silliest, goofiest, sweetest, goofiest little pack of furbabies. Winston is at the vet and has been, battling a urinary blockage and infection and $1500 we know he;s worth every penny we’ve spent and will continue to spend. He’s the sweetest little grey jerk ever and while it’s nice not to be woken up at 6am by a hungry cat, I can’t wait til he comes home. Pteri is the cutest most unladylike cat ever and got me to like cats after years of indifference. Bella is my babygirl, babychubs, fat little loyal sausage who loves Joey better but knows I will always protect her from anything and then there’s Dante. My sweet sweet baby boy who has the biggest heart, the best personality; he would protect me from anything and curls up next to me with his big brown eyes and sweet face and I melt. He makes the funniest noises and has the worst breathe sometimes but he’s my little guy.

What are you thankful for? What makes Thanksgiving for you? Are you shopping on Black Friday? Whatever you’re doing, have a safe, happy, and wonderful Thanksgiving.

DIY, garage sales, happy, home improvement, ikea, joeywaffles, laundry, pinterest, renovations, thrifty

You can’t turn a home into a housewife…wait, what?

Okay so you might not be able to turn a home into a housewife but you can make a house into a home and the process is more fun then the end results.
A little back story about myself. Growing up in Highland Park, I had no clue how to pick a Chicago neighborhood when it came time to move out. I wasn’t sure what would be affordable and fun but also fit my laid back style. Honestly, the only reason I lucked out with my great apartment in West Rogers Park was because my Dad owned the building. A 3rd floor walk up in a 1920’s building, arched doorways and built in book shelves, I fell in love.
Sure, I was in walking distance of the best Indian restaurants but parking was terrible. Whether it was sitting in JoeyWaffles car on a sunny afternoon in the summer, watching the local drug dealer in a wheel chair sell his weed who we couldn’t believe we were a)seeing this and b)wow he’s tough, the chair doesn’t even have handles or having to fight with a local curmudgeon about walking his dog on a leash, there was never a dull moment. So when I made the big move to live with JoeyWaffles in Evanston, I said good-bye to sketchy side streets and hello to North Shore yuppies. 
Don’t get me wrong, Evanston isn’t exactly traditional North Shore but it’s apparently where the cools kids who want a mix of urban restaurants with suburban parking are flocking to, That’s as best as I can reckon anyways. Plus with Northwestern, tons of places are open late and these kids aren’t troublemakers because they’re too busy studying or watching their football team. While it’s kind of cool to be living in a city getting a huge amount of buzz, owning a house just means higher property taxes, very NOT fun.
The funnest part of being a first time home dweller (Joey’s the owner) is the decorating. One of the most recent projects we undertook was changing the front bonus room area from a sort of man cave/junk room to a man cave/home office. All I wanted was a corner to have a little office area and with some O.P.I. paint from Clark+Kensington, an IKEA desk and some garage sale finds, I have a wonderful office space. You can see the before and after below. 

So far besides the office, we have: painted the front hallway from a bright red to a yellow and grey and added some molding; bought the  Series 6 LoveSac sofas which the pets can’t get enough of; bought, sanded, and stained the IKEA Stenstorp kitchen island; renovated our heated back porch to become a laundry room and bought a new LG steam washer/dryer set; painted our pantry, and are in the process of renovating our bathroom and turning the second bedroom into a video game display room. 
I love being able to do whatever we want in our home and making it our own. With a lot of my friends settling down, buying their own places, or looking for different places to rent, it would have been great for them to have what New York has, Compass. I love that their site makes is so user friendly and idiot proof. You can click sales, rental, or agent, pretty self explanatory. 
You can also favorite places, request a status, make an appointment, and such. My favorite feature is by far the Neighborhood Guide which lets’ you assess each neighborhood and see where you fit in socially. places to go, and pictures. I would love to see them do a Chicago site and see where my friends fit in. I also think that really getting to explore more areas, getting out of a comfort zone and seeing what your city has to offer is a great thing. 
I’m looking forward to getting our bathroom done over Thanksgiving and posting pictures. What current home renovations/DIY projects are you doing? What have you done to make your home your own?
angry orchard, books, fall, friendship, halloween, happy, joeywaffles, monday, monday must have's, noshopo, velma, winter

Monday Must Have’s- Fall into Comfort…and the beginnings of Winter

Fall means thermal shirts ($9 on sale right now at Old Navy) and the leaves changing from green to reds and golds and it means dressing up for Halloween. It means rainy Friday nights cuddling with the pups watching Christmas movies (it was November pretty much so that’s totally allowed) and it means the transition to Winter. So just like sinking into a hot bubble bath, this weeks Monday Must Have’s bring comfort and relaxation to my life.

Work BFF– Everyone needs a work bff to laugh with, get water with, throw tantrums at, jump out at you and make you scream (okay maybe not this one), and have general debauchery and shenanigans. I have an amazing work bff and now we get to go through the whole30 together. While I already have a really amazing workplace, having my bff there makes everything better and means one of us is always ready and willing to go shopping on lunch or switch off Starbucks runs. Reading this article in the Huffington Post, there are a lot of great reasons having a work friend is actually highly beneficial to the office, so, really it’s your duty to find someone to have slop buckets with and eat at spider table. Don’t ask, just go find the Meredith Grey to your Christina Yang.

Smart WomenSome books just stay with you and this has been one of my favorites since I first picked it up. Set in Boulder, CO in the 1980’s, it deals with growing older, friendships, relationships, and has a great protagonist in Margo Sampson. Judy Blume is an honest, funny, smart woman herself and her writing never disappoints. If you want a reflective, fun, and comfortable story, this is the book. A great read, especially if you loved her other novels, Summer Sisters and Forever. Plus, sometimes I just want something real without there being something crazy or depressing or someone getting terminally ill.

Angry Orchard Hard Cider-This has been around for a while but as I say good-bye to it for the next thirty days, I encourage everyone to try it or keep drinking it. There are so many ciders out there and it can be overwhelming but this one is tops. Delicious and crisp and never disappointing, Crisp Apple is my favorite and Green Apple a close second. JoeyWaffles loves the Cinful Apple and I do have to say, it’s pretty tasty. I love it in all seasons but I do have a particular fondness for it during the fall. Great with some homemade chili, salmon, ribs, okay pretty much anything, it just always hits the spot without feeling like it’s alcohol. To be honest, I don’t even care about the alcohol as much as the great flavor and crispness.

I dressed up as Velma from Scooby Doo for Halloween at work and it turned out great. Last year I was Kim Khardashian and while it was fun, it wasn’t great for working in. By EOD I was wearing some Bearpaw boots with my little black dress, not very chic. So this year fun + function won out. 
   
Skirt- $2.72 from Ann Taylor Loft via Goodwill
Sweater- $3.99 from the Limited via Goodwill
Kneeesocks- JoeyWaffles bought for $5 from Ebay
Glasses- Borrowed from my friend Marta from her old Garth/Wayne’s World costume
Wig- $14 from Spirit Halloween
Shoes- $19 from DSW
Magnifying Glass- $1.99 from Party City
Total=$46.70 

I am keeping the shoes since they were so comfy and on sale from $69.95. Everything I can sell or reuse (minus the glasses). Considering the Velma costume from Party City is ill fitting and $29.99 for a low quality product and doesn’t include shoes or socks, I consider it a steal. Jinxies!
What did you dress up for this Halloween?
What are some of your must have’s this week?

advice, dating, food, groceries, grocery store, joeywaffles, relationship advice, shopping, weekend

The Girlfriends Guide to Grocery Shopping with Your Guy

So JoeyWaffles hates shopping in general but he REALLY despises grocery shopping. A lot of people do because you have the browsers who stop every two seconds, the slow movers, the picky people in the deli line, etc. Going to a grocery store during 5pm-8pm during the week is brave of you and forget weekend shopping, it’s all a nightmare. In my single days I did the 1am shopping on Saturday night with the Orthodox folks in my old neighborhood and it was a breeze. These days though, we always end up doing our shopping on Sundays. Daring and reckless you might say but that’s when we run out of groceries and it means I get fresh salmon for dinner.

So how do I get in and out of the grocery store and still have a smiling JoeyWaffles?
1. Have a list. Have.A.List. Seriously. I don’t think I can stress this enough but nothing will annoy your guy more then having to wander around and listen to you think out loud. He doesn’t care what you’re having or who’s coming over, he just wants to quickly pass by the produce section where old ladies are examining their fruit as if it’s a priceless piece of art and their lives depend on the perfect cantaloupe.
2.  Organize your list by store layout.  Most grocery stores have a similar layout when you walk in: produce, deli, meats, dairy, bread, etc on the perimeter. The insides have the dry goods. Try to group your list by department so you aren’t running all over the store, back and forth and pissing off all the people following the grocery cart flow. This way you can route yourself like GoogleMaps wouldDon’t be like mapquest and make a twenty minute trip into forty-five. (did I really just reference mapquest and date myself? sure did. 31 represent.)
3. Do not linger. Get in. Get out. Stick to your list and don’t talk to strangers. Just find your items and move on. Simple. Efficient. You want to debate between which goat cheese is better, do it on your own time. Otherwise throw both in the cart and think while your pushing your way to the next product. You can always give it back at the register BUT don’t do this with all items and makes someones jobs harder by having a bunch of go backs.
4. Throw something in the cart just for him. We all know bribery works so throw in his favorite juice, a big steak, maple bacon chips, Angry Orchard, whatever floats his boat. He’ll be happy to have a treat and I appreciate having a 6’4 guy who can grab things and move people out of the way for me.
5. Let him pick the checkout lane. At least if he picks wrong, it’s on him. Plus, all I really care about is the candy selection and choosing between People magazine or the National Enquirer. 
In all seriousness, these rules aren’t just for your guy/partner/significant other who hates shopping. These rules apply can apply to you as the grocery store hater or for your solo trips.
After all, you can just make #4 a treat for yourself.