Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Single Girl's Guide to Hosting a Baby Shower

Ensure you have mani the day prior
You start with LOTS of bubbly - this is really for you as the hostest and not so much for the mom-to-be.  But, to be clear, I am not creating rules or judging.  I really think I had my own bottle of bubbly in the kitchen.  Oops.

Then I think next on the list is good food.  I tend to get really nervous when I have to cook so I decided to go with things I knew.  Butternut Squash Bisque, Strawberry, Blue Cheese, Candied Walnut Mixed Greens Salad and yummy finger foods (including chips and guac because I feel this should be a staple of any San Diego gathering). Top it all off with the most amazing dessert ever, even non-coconut lovers (yes, these people exist) will love this Coconut Cake (thank you BetsyLife!!!).

Coconut Cake 

Have things on hand to do but leave out the stuff people hate...like forced fun and everyone sitting in a circle awkwardly faking excitement about burp clothes and diapers.  We only did one game and I had a little surprise from my fav boutique, Vocabulary on hand for the winner.  It was the easy one - guess the mama-to-be's belly size. Which sparks some good natured name-calling for those that overestimate.  I also had a "make Baby Olivia a onsie" station but people never stopped talking long enough to partake - which was fine, since I already made the MOST AMAZING GIFT EVER!!!  Mom's like to take pics of their newborns every month the first year - so check it, numbered onsies made by yours truly.   The only "must-do" was a Wish List for Baby Olivia (for Megan's scrapbook really).

MUCH easier than you think - I can help :)
Decorations - I believe in keeping it simple.  I bought a bunch of pink, purple and orange balloons and then Gerber Daisies to match.  Oh and actually I stopped at Target and bought party balls to hang to add a touch more color.   A few gifts in pretty paper really helps bring even more life to the party! Of course, I have a relatively small place so it doesn't take much.

Last but not least, you need an awesome person to celebrate!  Megan is such a lovely, wonderfully awesome and incredibly fun person that made for a perfect day!  Baby Olivia you are one lucky baby coming into this world :)

~ happily,

Monday, January 28, 2013

I'm baaack!!!!

Yes, I stopped to take pics (catch my breath)

Today is day 30 of "heal my butt month" so I went out for a run. I am not even sure what I'm doing can be called running right now.  I felt awesome at first - all of those little aches and pains were gone. Butt pain - vanished. That was was the big one (hahaha).  But about halfway through it I felt my  hammy tightening up (and I only run 30 minutes) and starting to pull again.  That part was frustrating!!!  I need to work on stretching, foam rollering and going to hot yoga consistently so I can keep this up.  I am even debating joining a gym so I can focus on strength as well.  All for the love of the run :)

Don't I live in an AWESOME place :)
I felt so clear and alert this morning I just want to start everyday like this but as I have learned I am not able to do that right now.  So tomorrow I will spin and Wednesday do pilates so that Thursday I can run again.  Anyhow - I just wanted to share that running in the morning is the best feeling ever and I just LOVE IT!!!  But I do not foresee myself signing up for any races anytime soon.  Which leaves time for new goals!!! Like learning Italian and how to use the sewing machine I just bought!

Also, I am really open to suggestions on how to fix my hammy pain...


Thursday, January 24, 2013


I haven't run since the day I flew to Italy - DECEMBER 28th, 2012!!!  I literally haven't run all year...and it's killing me.  Actually, the first two weeks were no big deal.  In fact, I knew I needed a break because I hadn't had a pain free run since before my marathon - actually, maybe since before Ragnar - in September.  I kept thinking how cool it would be run to run through Rome.  And then I thought - why don't I walk and then I can drink wine.  Duh - better idea.

Chicago Marathon 2008 - HAPPY RUNNING GIRLS
So I guess the first two weeks of not running were fairly easy - I drank wine, ate pasta and wandered around Italy with my my bestie (and her hubby).  Then I came home and was totally jet-lagged and behind on work so there was no time to think about it.  THEN I was hit by that flu/cold awful bug that everyone has.  So I basically could not function for at least five days.  First day back, I hit a killer spin class at Breakaway Cycle and I swear I almost died.  Since then it's been pilates and spin.  Today I missed spin because I slept through my alarm (really I forgot to set it, woke up in time but was so beat I couldn't move).  I just want to run I thought when I got up an hour later.  Running is so much easier - I don't have to meet anyone else's schedule, I don't need equipment, it's free and I can do it ANYWHERE.  I kept trying to sneak away to hot yoga or to hit the gym in my office building but it didn't happen. I JUST WANT TO RUN.  But am convinced that a 30 day break will heal my legs and make my running in 2013 so much better.  It's really not that long - it took me longer than that to do the damage!

Then I told myself it's one day.  Tomorrow I will go to hot yoga before work.  Saturday I have spin on the calendar with Jenny.  Sunday.  Well Sunday - if I go to hot yoga like I plan, then I can run a day early. I just have to remember that running pain-free is so much better than limping.  Feeling all muffintoppy and jeans to tight for one more day is OK.  I can do this.  I'm glad we had this talk.  I just want to go back to happy running girl again.


Monday, January 21, 2013

I love weekends

Riding home fromt The Fish Shop

I love weekends. I know this is fairly common but they make me happy.  I was so sick last week that on Thursday night I said, if I feel better tomorrow then I will be low key all weekend.  And so it was said, and so it was done.

I really accomplished a ton. I got a cut & color after work (umm, Greg, we went too dark and I am trying like crazy to wash some of it out). Saturday morning I did spin at Breakaway Cycle with Jenny.  It was AWESOME.  Ok, the cold kind of made breathing harder - I think. Or I am terribly out of shape.  But it was a great workout and the gym was sooo posh - we even got cold towels at the end of the workout. I just signed up for three classes this week!  That was also my first workout of 2013 - which is crazy for me!  I have one more week of not running - I think I should sign up for some yoga classes too so that my hip/butt actually feels good when I hit the pavement again!

Then super productive Kim went into overdrive.  I did a ton of stuff to get ready for Megan's baby shower next week.  I also made her gift and I can't wait to show you guys!!!! I am so proud of myself. I am going to do this for Trimble and Jenny and really anyone else who wants it - yay!!!!

Sunday I let go of productive, creative Kim and just enjoyed the awesome weather and town we live in.  Megan and I took the pups on a few hour mini hike through Tecolote Canyon.  Then Lil Kim and I rode our beach cruisers to The Fish Shop for beers and fish tacos.  We sat at the bar to catch some of the Pats/Ravens game.  I love that place - I swear they win the best fish tacos contest in my book.  Watched the end of the game at our local bar, Barkey and headed home early.  It was a great day.  Great end to the weekend.  Now I am committing right now to making it a great week!

~ happily,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Goals... I know I'm late...

I know I'm late but I just returned from Italy (sick of hearing that yet??!?!!) and I am still operating on the mindset of the Italians, forsi domani (maybe tomorrow)!  Just kidding, I am just a little behind, in everything right now.  Also, I hate resolutions because I never stick to them.  Like the year, I said I was going to "be more ladylike"...then I dropped an F-bomb and was hacking loogies  on my run.  It lasted about 15 minutes. Note to self, be realistic.

I thought the best place to start was to review my Mini Happiness Commandments from last August.  I think that is going to be my guideline for 2013.  Saying no and letting things go are really, really hard for me. However, there are things I want to accomplish and I can't and I won't be sidetracked.

Be Healthy - usually, I say I want to run 3 marathons or set a PR or lose 5 lbs.  This year, I want to be healthy.  I want to eat good food, sleep enough, run pain-free, be super active and yes, I want my jeans to feel amazing every time I put them on!      

Stay Positive at Work - I am a sensitive, emotional, competitive, passionate person which can make me really great at my job - when I am positive. When I get down or frustrated shit spirals down fast.  I get caught up in worrying about things I really shouldn't.  I need to stay focused on my MiniHappinessCommandments and all will be great.

Learn Something New - I have a ton to learn at work so that should keep me occupied during the day.  I am trying to crash/sneak my way into Italian classes next week so that should take up my evenings.  Maybe I should add something to make me more creative with my blog...hmm...

"Never Been" trip - my friend, Randall from Australia, does this and I love it. So I am adopting it too!  London is a direct flight and I can meet Krissy there so I am thinking that's on the list!  And back to Italy to see all the stuff I didn't have time to see this trip - I am sure I have a tour guide :)

Actually, what I want for 2013 is an adventure. I want to be scared. I want to push myself and feel fear like I haven't in years.

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better person."  Benjamin Franklin


Saturday, January 12, 2013


I became obsessed with the panoramic feature on my iPhone.

I LOVED ITALY!!!  I know everyone knows this by now but I can't help but do a recap.  That same prosecco stop that we came up with the lessons learned list we also came up with a "favs" list.  Actually, I loved so much more than this but I really tried to narrow it down.   

Favorite Experience - Positano Adventure.  TOMBOLA!!!! (Bingo)  Yep, I played Bingo with the locals and WON, not once, but TWICE!  Also, I rode on a motorbike and drank ridiculous amounts of prosecco and hung with the locals and just had a ridiculous time.  Which was saying a lot because the entire town shut down the next day to go to Thailand (well basically).  So not a lot was open...but we made it so fun :) 

Favorite Meal - Pranzo in Arco Felice;  pranzo is lunch and let's just say it's a big deal.  Arco Felice is the little town where GT and Krissy live.  You basically spend about 4 hours eating and drinking wine.  It's AWESOME.  In Napoli they eat a ton of seafood so this one started with a ton of seafood and then pasta and then dessert and then limoncello.  (And then we watched Eurotrip, because I had never seen it and this is apparently, necessary to prepare for the rest of my trip.  And, yes, Scottie doesn't know!!!!)

Most Incredible to See - This is sooo tough. St Peter's Basilica and Pompeii are probably a tie. It's not that the Sistine Chapel isn't beautiful or the Colosseum but there was something about those two places that bumped them up a notch for me.

Favorite Town - Orvieto; a little town in Umbria, and I read somewhere that it's called Tuscany's little sister. I haven't hit Tuscany yet but I do love her little sis!  Dinner our first night at Trattoria del Moro Aronne, was phenomenal. And our server was so sassy and fun!  If you visit the website, look at recipes, I had the "Birds Nests with Pecorino and Honey".  I promise it's called something really hawt in Italian and is sooooo yummy.  I tried Grappa and hated it. That was really the only bad thing about Orvieto.  Oh and I lost my heart (earring, but that sounded cooler) but I gained a frog.  So in the end, it all works out.  We also got a private tour and tasting at winery, Custodi, that was delish!!!  Just an awesome time.  (Also, there are two nuns walking to work in this picture.)

Top Dog of 'Em All - New Year's Eve.  Usually NYE's are kind of overrated.  You spend a lot of money on a dinner or cover charge or drinks and wear shoes that hurt, blah, blah.  This was awesome - Angelo (who is Italian and the BEST COOK EVER) made us dinner and we hung out at Dave's house and then went to Angelo and Julie's roof to watch the craziest fireworks show I've ever seen.  Napoli is known for the fireworks shows on New Year's Eve and they did not disappoint. It was really amazing (yes, i overused that word on this trip, oops.).  I wanted to share the video but apparently I am an idiot and it looks awful :(. 


Friday, January 11, 2013

lezioni da Italia (lessons from Italy)

I LOVE lists and on my last night in Rome, Krissy and I came up with a bunch of them over a few glasses of Prosecco.  It was her genius idea to put my mind at ease from thinking of less fun things.  I heart her.

10.  Old men on trains are pervs.  You don't need to speak Italian to figure this out.  One guy sat next to Krissy and asked her for a kiss at midnight (NYE) and when she said no, asked for her number and when she said no, asked her if she wanted to have sex at midnight.  REALLY? BASTA!  Enough!!!  The other one was so disturbing that I am going to leave it out but just trust me.

9.  Speak Italian even if they laugh at you.  It's the only way to learn.

8.  There's a reason every toilet has a brush next to it.  That's all I'm gonna say about that...

7.  NEGOTIATE!!!!  I wanted to buy something on the side of the road because I thought it would be fun...ah, I paid 15 euros for a jar of olives. They were pretty amazing but I should have paid 5! AND I KNEW IT!!! Grrr....

Limoncello Salute at Pranzo

6.  Order what the locals order or what the wait staff says they love.  You will never be disappointed.

5.  Believe in the crazy stuff!  Make a wish in the Trevi Fountain (3am is the perfect time because they are WAY fewer people).  Wear red underwear on New Year's Eve and throw them out on New Year's Day - you will have luck in love all year!  I mean When in Rome... :)

4.  This one is a secret but it's really good but I don't want to spoil it. heheheheehe

3.  Validate your train ticket.  It's costs 50 euro if you don't and even an angry old Italian woman can't argue the train officials into waiving it for the poor American girl who didn't know better.

2.  "Va bene"... basically, "no worries" or "it's all good".  I love that phrase.

1.  Do not yell, "forza Napoli!!!!" in a bar in Rome while they are playing Rome in a match.  It's like yelling, "Go Chargers" in downtown Oakland while they are playing the Raiders.  I was promptly escorted out and if I were a dude I probably would have been killed.  Note - I was just really excited that I remember how to cheer in Italian.

~ happily,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Service and Sunshine Lady

I have so many stories to share from Italy but those will have to wait.  On Monday morning I woke up to emails and Facebook messages that my Grandma had passed, she was 94.  I mentioned a few months ago that she was diagnosed with Leukemia and they did not expect her to live long.  She always said she didn't want to be last and she didn't want it to be drawn out.  I am sure for my sister and those around her it didn't seem quick but in the scheme of things I really feel it was.

Her letter to her students - when she was a Dean
I feel an enormous amount of guilt going on my trip when my Grandmother was so sick but I will just have to live with that.  She was a fierce lady who did what she wanted and well, we may have that in common.  The last time I visited she told me she hated that I had decided to live so far away from everyone.  Then she stopped and said, well, I guess I did the same.

My Dad sent a copy of the NARFE (National Association of Retired Federal Employees) newsletter where they called her the "perpetual Service and Sunshine" lady.  She called and checked on everyone, I swear she spent half her days talking on the phone to people making sure they were OK and if they weren't helping them find the resources they needed.  She truly lived a life of service.  Even after she retired from teaching, she volunteered with the AP math students a few days a week up until a few years ago.  (I did not receive this gift of mathematical skills.)

Lavina & Joseph Primerano
I'm grateful for my last trip to see her. I am grateful for all she taught me and now I am grateful that she gets to be with my Grandpa again.  I'm sure he's missed her as I know she's missed him.  I hope one day I meet someone I love half as much as she loved him.  And I am so sorry I wasn't there.

love you grandma

~not as happily today,

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

storie d'Italia

first pub in Rome - "we are always open"
It's about one in the morning at home and I'm just starting my day here in Italy.  The jet lag part was really not that bad.  I stayed awake almost the entire portion of my first leg from San Diego to London.  Had a pint in London and completely passed out on the second leg - which was a nice little nap before going out until 3:00AM when I landed!

We're now at Krissy & GT's place in Naples.  It is incredible - they have an amazing view and live right on the Gulf of Naples (which opens to the Med).  I'm in love. I've always said I could only leave San Diego to live in Europe and I'm fairly certain I was right.  I could move here and open a dog walking service or work in a cafe or anything really. The people are so amazing and the culture is one I definitely could fit into (except, smoking - someone should tell them it's bad for you).

The most amazing and strange day so far was definitely NYE's day.  We started it off at the Up Down Cafe with cappuccinos and cornettos (croissants).  If I'm not careful I'm going to get fat in this country!  Actually, probably not because we walk everywhere.  They put a heart in our cappuccinos - again, love.   I know they do this at home too but it's just so small and cute and YUMMY.  We were going to go to Mt Vesuvius but decided to go shopping instead.  I really hope we see Mt Vesuvius before I go but am SOOOO glad we went shopping.  Picked up a few new sweaters for ridiculously cheap and saw some crazy stuff.  First we ride a ghetto train to get there.  There is so much graffiti that you can barely see out of the windows.  I posted a picture or two on Instagram! Anyhow, this creepy old man gets on and the ENTIRE train we are in is empty except maybe two other people.  Also, they were both girls but he sits next to us and stares at Krissy. Then he pops up and sits right next to her.  Now what transpired next is a little fuzzy for me because he was speaking Napolese. I swear that's a language. Krissy kept telling him we did not speak Italian and he kept telling her he wanted her phone number (he pulled out his iPhone so I figured that part out) and then he told her he wanted to kiss her a midnight and then he asked if she wanted to have sex at midnight.  As if, when she said no to kissing that sex was something she would say yes to.  Seriously!?!?!

bride & groom in napoli
We make it into Napoli to shop and there is the Palazzo Reale - which was one of the four homes of the Bourbon Kings during the ruling of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies.  It was really incredible - I should have taken more pictures of it but I was also sadden by how poorly it was taken care of.  And completely distracted by this wedding - the man had a RED SATIN SUIT ON!!!!! It was really incredible.  I took a dozen pictures of them. Love. Love. Love!!!

Then we walked the streets and saw so much amazing and totally crazy stuff.  One sad thing we saw was a funeral - I think it's the quietest part of my trip. I also am not sure how the hearse got there.  The alleys were the best part - people drive scooters and cars in them.  While others hang their laundry or sell their goods and others just sit outside cafes sipping vino. They are the size of our sidewalks - I swear!!!  Also, we saw little kids with flame throwers (ok, lighters) lighting fireworks. Yes, this was in the alleys.  I was terrified. I needed some prosecco STAT.  So we stopped in the cutest place and had little tiny proseccos.  Then we headed home, got dolled up and had a lovely dinner prepared by a their friend who is from here, Angelo.  We went to the roof to watch the craziest fireworks show I've ever seen in my entire life.  At one point, there was so much smoke we couldn't see each other.  We had a 360 degree view of the entire city - take the most amazing fireworks display you've ever seen and multiply by a million. That's what we saw in Naploi on NYE.
prosecco in Napoli

Also, it's a tradition here to wear red underwear on NYE and throw them away on New Year's Day.  So I did it - it is supposed to lead to luck in love and fertility (could do without the latter).  I just wish I read the part about throwing them away before I spent 12 Euros on new red underpants (that I had to wash in the shower and blow dry to wear out that night).  But I could use the luck so I'm not complaining!

All in all, this was the best New Year's I've had in a long time - maybe ever. Pretty certain that means this is going to be the best year yet!!! Yay, for 2013 ~ Happy New Year!!!


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