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
banana bread, benefit, benefit makeup, cosmetics, criminal minds, food, happy, joey, joey waffles, life, life lessons, love, monday, monday must have's, must have's, recipes, taylor swift, thrifty

Monday Must Haves!

Monday Must Have’s is something that a lot of people participate in and I decided that NoShoPo will be no different. So enjoy the first of (hopefully) many North Shore Poor Monday Must Have’s. It will be a mix of things you can buy, watch, experience, things I just like, etc.

The Worlds Best Banana Bread Recipe I had some overripe bananas and decided it was time to make some delicious banana bread. I added dark chocolate chips,  a teaspoon of cinnamon, and some brown sugar on top and it was AMAZING. JoeyWaffles has something to eat with his morning coffee and I found the only banana bread recipe I’ll ever need. Easy to make and the house smelled glorious. See my instagram for a scrumptious picture.

Benefit Cosmetics Advent Calendar I already emailed this to JoeyWaffles as a pre-holiday gift. He get’s stumped on gift giving, even though he gets me things all year, so usually we make lists for each other. This way we communicate what we want and it’s still a surprise because we give a bigger list then we are going to get. This is top of my list because I love all things Benefit and these would be get things to travel with and keep in my purse.

Criminal Minds Marathons Because sometimes they can’t all be about Law & Order: SVU, as much as you want them to be. Not just because you miss all the Elliot episodes no matter how good Danny Pinto can be but because Criminal Minds is amazing and thanks to ION you have just figured it out. I am pretty much obsessed with this show about the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) and love the character relationships. Starting at season one, while watching season 10 and it isn’t even weird. If you aren’t watching this, you should be.

This weekend I made the above mentioned banana bread and some inside out carrot cake muffins (the frosting was on the inside) so my beautiful Kitchen Aid mixer got lots of love. We resurrected the Keurig for some Saturday morning coffee and breakfast at home. I cuddled with Bella and Dante, went shopping with a good friend, hung out with my Grandma at the nursing home and enjoyed a great Jeep ride Sunday. Went thrifting and grabbed 3 sweater and some books for under $18. Found two fun dresses at Forever XXI…this one is really cute and was on sale for $12.
Living well doesn’t have to mean living large. It’s the simple pleasure that bring the most happiness to my heart. A warm cup of coffee while curled up with JoeyWaffles and a warm blanket. Driving on a gorgeous fall day with the Jeep top down and a great song on the radio. 
Love the life you live. Live the life you love.
bob marley


Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go buy and listen to Taylor Swift new album “1989“.
In the meantime, what are your Must have’s this week?

advice, dating, happy, joey waffles, love, love lessons, north shore poor, relationship advice, single, soul mate, taylor swift

North Shore Love Lessons (or this is why you might be single)

Thanks to JoeyWaffles, I am out of the dating game and hallelujah for that. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed dating and the single life but I was always a long term kind of girl. I am not that old but dating now seems so hard! Dating when you’re in your twenties in the current social climate, yikes! I have seen a lot of articles popping up on dating from dealbreakers to power struggles and the qualities that matter in a mate, and there is a lot going on. Being me (and having once wanted to be a certified relationship and sex therapist) I have some strong thoughts/opinions and advice. So many people I know are dating and looking for mr/mrs right and wondering why they keep meeting the wrong types. Wondering why you’re a catch and still single?

I’m gonna break it down for you, using  some old school adages with new school philosophy.

1. Never chase deals, streetcars, and a woman/man. If someone wants you, they want you. Plain and simple. When a person wants you in their life, they call and text and make it happen. If they can’t handle this simple communication and have issues, ask yourself why you want them. If they can’t even be a friend to you, why want them for a partner? Obviously people have issues and everyone ALWAYS has a reason why this doesn’t apply to them but at the end of the day, it’s just a fact. You call people you want to see and make them a priority. Someone might be worth it and like you but if they don’t call you for weeks and you see them out and about, it’s you they don’t want to see. Move on.

2. To find a prince, you have to kiss some toads: I believe Foxy Brown said this and she’s right. Not every kiss or date is going to be perfect and it shouldn’t be. Life is all about experience and sure, there are people who got lucky their first kiss was their last first kiss but that’s a rare case these days. Going out with a guy for a drink and having a kiss that taste of bourbon and mystery, why the hell not. Having a list of expectations and limiting yourself to an ideal type just closes off the amount of people you meet. You may not like short guys with tattoos and a nice smile but go out. Have a drink or tea. Maybe you don’t click with him but the waiter is your type or his friend. Or you just make a great new friend. Does this mean go out with anyone who asks, absolutely not. But if someone intrigues you, is respectful, interesting and seems like a good person and you feel comfortable take a chance. Even toads offer the experience of learning what you don’t want.

3. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire: Trust your instinct. That’s it. If you think you’re a side piece/they’re lying/something isn’t right, you’re probably right. Go with your gut. If you want to know, ask. If you get evasive answers and there’s a pit in your stomach, don’t ignore it. Oprah said the only mistakes she’s made were when she didn’t trust her instinct and well, she’s Oprah so I believe her and so should you.

4.Opposites attract: So this is a funny one because I think it over simplifies things. People who say this to justify relationship problems can be downplaying the real issues. On the surface a lot of thing can be opposite but your core beliefs need to mesh and be on the same wavelength. Your morals, ethics, and who you really are, that matters. What music you like, tattoos, favorite foods, they all play a role but it’s what you believe that should not be opposite. So while surface opposites might attract, don’t apply this to everything.

5. All you need is love: Ha. If it was only it was that simple. Love is great but it doesn’t pay the bills. You also need respect, commitment, time, laughter, and on and on.

6. You’ll find it when you stop looking: You know why this works? Because when you love yourself and are happy and satisfied with your life, you stop looking. You know you don’t need anyone to be complete you. Before you can be in a relationship and love someone else the way deserve, you need to love yourself first. I love JoeyWaffles more than anything…except myself. I love me more and that makes me all the better as a partner. It’s the biggest cliche but it’s absolutely true…unless you find your soul mate online dating and then, go you!

The best part? No matter how rational and heart smart we try to be,
Taylor Swift says it best:

“If you have enough natural chemistry with someone, you overlook every single thing you said would break the deal”