Tag Archives: Birthdays

Year of Intention

I wrote this post on top of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with OneRepublic’s “I Lived” playing. Sounds like a fairy tale, right? It’s pretty much is and allowed me to pause and reflect.

My writing spot for the day

My writing spot for the day

It’s been a long summer, one where I repeated the phrase: “It could be worse,” nearly 100 times. Everyone moved, work was crazy busy and I found myself moving along without any clear direction. That’s not normal for me – I’ve always had a plan, a goal, a schedule so this way of life didn’t feel right.

If you’re not moving forward, then you’re going backwards right? I’m not sure. But what I learned this year is that over orchestrating my life puts too much pressure on me and probably those around me. Every day should be its own adventure.

I paused over the weekend and reflected on what I want the next year to look like. Normally, I would create a list of things I want to accomplish in the next year and highlight the best moments of the past one. But that’s easy for me. 25 feels like a milestone so it should be more challenging. This year is going to be the year of intention: setting intentions, putting more positive ones out to the universe and being more intentional with my words and my time. To start, my intention for this new year is to believe in the change. My journey in the last year has been shaped by changes that life handed to me not ones I consciously put into motion. I know I can do better when faced with new challenges and unexpected changes. Whatever is meant to happen will shape my path for the better…or at least make for an interesting story!

Will I totally give up my planning nature? Definitely not. Who I am at its core isn’t going to change nor do I want it to. But in the spirit of continuous improvement, I want to fageocus on getting better from here!

I’m looking forward to celebrating my birthday over the next few days and making 25 the best year yet! I invite you to join me in my year of intention and to share your thoughts below!

Fifty Fabulous Life Lessons

Over this past weekend, we celebrated my mom’s 50th birthday with a grandiose surprise party, complete with red carpet and paparazzi. We danced all night long and properly celebrated a woman who has lived every minute of her fifty years.

pic60I could be biased since she is my mom, but I haven’t encountered anyone who’s lived life to the fullest like her. She makes every moment count and learns something from every experience. In my 23 years on this earth, she’s only imparted a fraction of that wisdom on me. Here are my favorite “mom-isms” I’ve gotten from her!

1) You can never have too many people who love you.

2) You have to create your own definition of success.

3) Some days you’re the bat, some days you’re the ball.

4) For every pot, there is a cover, but some people are cookie sheets.

5) Heaven Must Have Sent You is by far the best disco song of all time.

6) You can only control your reaction to a situation, not anyone else’s.

7) I am your mother first then your friend.

8) Lead never follow (not never, but you know, don’t follow the crowd).

9) Everyone is different.

10) Hard work does pay off in the long run.

11) Work hard, play hard.

12) Don’t apologize for being successful.

13) Sundays are for pasta and football.

14) Being rich doesn’t necessarily equate to having money.

15) Parenting is by far the hardest job in the world.

16) Sleep is never overrated.

17) The strike zone is armpit to knee. Don’t swing at anything else.

18) Pick and choice your battles.

19) Take your vitamins.

20) Your girlfriends, like those no-matter-what, I-have-your-back best friends, are the true loves of your life.

21) College was meant to teach you how to think, not for you to learn every last thing in a textbook.

22) There is power in prayer.

23) Your father loves you, don’t ever forget that.

24) Life is short, buy the shoes.

25) Celebrate your birthday all month long. pic107

26) A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

27) You should do your own version of the opening ceremonies every Olympic Games.

28) Sometimes you should do it yourself and others you should write the check.

29) There is such a thing as a power outfit, down to the underwear.

30) Find your own voice.

31) Manicures and pedicures are worth the money. Also, don’t go to work with chipped nails.

32) You’ve earned that vacation, take it.

33) Sometimes your friends will need a hug and sometimes they’ll need space. Know the difference.

34) Always have a “go-bag”

35) If it’s a priority, find a way to get it done.

36) Men are only a part of life, not all of it.

37) Don’t spend money you don’t have.

38) Pay it forward anyway you know how.

39) Laughter really, really, really is the best medicine.

40) The delicate setting on the washer and dryer is cheaper than the dry cleaners.

41) Lease your cars.

42) You can’t write a recipe for meatballs: you’ll know they’re right based on the texture and smell.

43) Turn the radio up if a good song comes on. Who cares if it’s 6 a.m.?

44) Wherever you are, I’ll be there too. Mom ranks as #1.

45) Learn as many ways as possible to get from a place to your home. Back roads save lives.

46) Smile even if you have no idea what’s going on.

47) If the music is good, you better be dancing.mombd

48) Go to the doctor and the dentist regularly.

49) A mother’s love is unconditional even when you do something stupid.

50) It’s all about the journey.

I’m so lucky to have my mom as my role model and friend. No one compares to her!

Big Sister, Big Responsibilities

sam babyOver the weekend, we celebrated my sister’s 11th birthday. She is one of the three younger siblings I have and is at a very impressionable age. Both her and my nine-year old brother pay close attention to my actions. For example, they are Temple obsessed as that was their first encounter with a university. Since our age difference is so large, things they see me doing they think they can do too. No Samantha, you cannot shop at Forever 21 just because I do.

Maybe it’s me or maybe it’s because there are so many years between us, but I feel a certain responsibility to my younger siblings, especially my sister. That’s probably a girl thing since we are already sharing clothes. From the minute she was born, I felt the need to protect her, guide her and be there for her. This role as big sister to a little girl has proven both rewarding and challenging at times.

I was thirteen when my sister was born. I instantly became a pro at changing diapers, making bottles and finding the Elmo DVD to calm her down. That’s the great part about being so much older: I had the opportunity to help and learn how to take care of a baby. While the day-to-day tasks proved to be a great learning experience, having a little sister has taught me how to mentor and have more intentional conversations. My sister has such a big personality and a mind of her own, which is awesome. However, reasoning with her and helping her to see the big picture is tricky. The older she has gotten, the more we talk about real life situations like losing friends or schoolwork. I absolutely love being able to have these conversations with her but learned to approach them with caution. My words are like the Bible to her; she takes things literally. It has taught me to be very intentional with my words and actions.

The challenge to being a big sister is that I based my decisions around their happiness, not my own. While sisterthis isn’t always true, it definitely has happened. If I skip yoga, I can pick Samantha up from dance and take her for a manicure before Antonio’s hockey game. With the prospect of moving out becoming real, I’m not sure how I’m going to live more than 30 minutes away from these kids. Then I remember how I went to college, how I still saw them, went to hockey games and the list goes on. Going to college left such an impression on them. I hope is so does moving out, having my own apartment and a good job. I still struggle with the need to be there all the time but the greatest lesson I can teach them is to find your own happiness, to live your own life.

Do you have younger siblings? What kind of impact have they made on your life?

Family Fridays: No Matter What

“Cousins are usually the first friends we have as children. No one will understand your crazy family like your cousins do. No matter how long it’s been, cousins can pick up where you left off. They are your heart, your soul and understand you better than anyone.” 

All of my cousins have a special place in my heart. Cousins can offer an outside perspective that parents and siblings often can’t. I am fortunate enough to have the greatest cousins ever, in particular an older cousin who has become my big sister over the last 13 years.

AmandaAt 10 and 13, neither of us were sure of anything. We were young and impressionable, without any care in the world. We spent the majority of our weekends together, took vacations together and grew up side by side, there for each other whenever necessary. Now at almost 23 and newly 26, life certainly has changed, I’d like to think for the better.

As kids, we were too mature for our age, over-thought things and were hypersensitive. As adults, those qualities are still there but we’ve grown up and learned to manage ourselves, each other and our families. I’ve seen Amanda grow up, be successful (the girl is already getting her second Master’s degree!), fall in love and genuinely be happy, a foreign concept for us at 18. She works hard and has earned the right to be happy and to live her own life; that’s kind of difficult with our family. I am constantly inspired by my cousin, her ability to fight for the things she wants and the way she lives every day to the fullest.

As we grew up, things that we couldn’t control changed. Our once seemingly perfect family has changed It has been a challenge to stay sane and keep our relationship grounded. But, from a young age, we stood by the ‘no matter what’ principal. No matter who said what, no matter what happened, we trusted one another. Today, that hasn’t changed. It’s something we believe in and will follow forever.

There are so many songs that have turned into anthems for Amanda and I. The list is long and continues to grow. However, one song consistently reminds me of my cousin and of everything she’s taught me. There have been so many lessons learned but most importantly, Amanda has taught me to live everyday, to make myself happy first and to not waste it.

Family Fridays: Love You More

I wonder if my dad thought he’d get away with having a birthday and not getting a blog post. Who is he kidding! My own personal superman stands well over six feet tall and has a demanding presence. But, when you have a conversation with the man I call dad, you see how he is a gentle giant…or when in a bathrobe, Tony Soprano.

twinsI am fortunate enough to both look exactly like my dad and share some of his personality traits. He has taught be so much about life and family. Here’s the most important life lessons I’ve learn from my dad.

1. Respect: Since we were old enough to talk, my dad practically forced us to call family friends Mr. and Mrs. Please and thank you had to be used in order to receive anything. You call your grandparents often, never miss anyone’s birthday and show up for Sunday dinner. While we all, including my dad, catch an attitude sometimes, he raised us to respect others and ourselves.

2. Generosity: My dad has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. He literally would give you the shirt off his back. He will come to your games, help you financially and put your happiness before his own. He loves to make people happy, a trait I know I inherited from him. I have his big heart too, always willing to do for others before myself. Both Dad and I care too much, become over-invested and end up disappointed because not everyone is like us. It certainly is a learning process.

3. Sports: I can remember listening to WFAN, the fan radio station from about four years old until now. Thanks to my dad, I understand terms like power play, ERA and safety but also can throw a baseball, and do well in fantasy football. He had me at games, teaching my players’ names at only a couple of months old. He also instilled in me a love of sports, mainly softball. You could find Papa Crispino in the outfield with his cigar and sunflower seeds, keeping my stats. No man was prouder when I hit my first home run freshman year of high school. Through playing sports, my dad taught me never to quit, to give up and to always be a team player.

4. Music: Obsession with Billy Joel? Thanks Dad. When the fan wasn’t on in the car, Billy Joel, Kiss, Thedad Partridge Family or Barry Manilow were on the radio. River of Dreams was my dad and mine’s first song that I completed mess up the lyrics to. I even made him sing Celine Dion at my Communion party. My dad taught me to appreciate good music, the classics and sing as loud as I can with the windows down.

5. Love you more: Since I was about five, my dad would end every phone conversation with “love you more.” He still does it all the time. He also means those words like no other dad does. He loves me (and his other three children) more than life itself. He is extremely proud of me and says it to everyone often. Despite being severely overprotective, he has showed me what unconditional love is and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Below, I share with you the song “Cinderella.” I’ve never considered myself a princess, but I’m sure my dad does. I don’t know if I’ve ever asked him to dance, but at any and all parties we go to, he makes sure to squeeze in a slow dance with me. Even superman likes to dance sometimes.

Family Fridays: Heaven Must Have Sent You

April is an action-packed month meaning there’s a bunch of very important birthdays. If you stopped by the blog yesterday, you heard about my friendship with Trish who celebrated her birthday yesterday. Today is another very important Aries’ birthday…

There’s no one quite like my mom. If you’ve been lucky enough to have met her, you’ll completely understand what I’m saying. She has these little whit-isms, snippets of advice, if you will that make total sense but also make you crack up. For example:

“Some days you’re the bat. Some days you’re the ball.”

momThink about it. It makes complete sense but you absolutely smiled while reading it. There’s more than just these pieces of advice too. She’s an NYU graduate, put herself through college while working, raised  two kids and is an executive director at Morgan Stanley. She makes jokes about everyone, including herself. She raised me on 70’s Disco, The Beatles, Mariah Carey’s 1’s CD and TLC, among many others. She works very hard but also knows how to enjoy life. She listens to all my crazy stories, gives sound advice and is the best cook I’ve ever met. She’s my mom so you’d assume I’m a little biased, right?

Ok, I probably am biased. But not entirely. My mom is tough in every sense of the word. Tough meaning her expectations for everyone including herself are exceptionally high. Tough meaning she’s good at hiding how she really feels. Tough meaning she can take on the world but demands we all do the same. At a point in time, I didn’t see any of this or understand it. It took years,  going away to college and several screaming matches for me to realize I’m lucky to have the mom I do.

We never used to get along the way we do now. Trust me, there’s still moments when I wonder what inmom2 the name of all things holy is she thinking. Guaranteed she thinks the same thing about me. We figured it  out despite our differences. Our personalities are not exactly alike though there are some similarities: how we cook and host parties, the music we like, how hard we work and how passionate we are. There’s a bunch of differences too: I’m more OCD, she’s more focused, I’m more emotional and she’s better with money and numbers. We’re certainly not the same person, but the important traits have stuck. When I say I got it from my mama, I’m not lying.

In 22.5 years, my relationship with my mom has grown and changed over and over again. She is my role model, the reason why I believe I can do both, the career and the family. We don’t get it right every day or even every other day. But, we try to learn from each other. I’m so lucky to have her as my mom  and can’t wait to celebrate her birthday tonight! The song that inspired this post’s title is below.

To The Moon & Back

Today’s post has two purposes: celebrate my very first college friend’s birthday and continue on with the 30 Days of Truth Challenge. Let me first take you back five years ago to August 2008. I happened to get lucky and land the single room at the end of the 4th floor short side hallway in Peabody Residence Hall. The single was nice but the hall itself wasn’t. Yet, I created the absolute best memories there and made a lifelong friend in the process.

trishbdPoor Trish was the girl who lived next to me freshman year. I honestly think we became friends because I was so loud and she heard all of my conversations through the super thin Peabody walls. Thank God for those walls. She was my first real friend at Temple and five years later, she is one of my best friends and the most level-headed person I know. I often wonder how someone who is so calm and laid back could be a friend with someone as high-strung and insane as me. But she is and for that, I am very grateful. This leads me to the next Truth Challenge prompts:

Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Part one: While Trish and I have pretty much been friends for our entire college careers, there was a time when our relationship wasn’t as strong as it is today. This was due to a lot of things that have subsequently changed for a variety of reasons. That being said, I don’t ever want our friendship to go back to that place. I know I couldn’t live without Trish, her perspective on life that helps to keep me calm and grounded. In broader terms, I know I couldn’t live without my friends – maybe not the exact same people but an inner circle that I rely on for support and advice. My friends keep me going; without them, I don’t make sense.

Part two: There’s a laundry list of things (even people) I could live without. However, one thing I know I could live without is drama. That is one of the many things my friendship with Trish has taught me. The drama is just not worth it. Life is simply too short, as cliché as that sounds. Trish has the patience of a saint and is happy just being with people. She’s not high maintenance and reminds me that friendships (or any relationship really) shouldn’t be. There’s no need for drama; talk it and hug it out and things will be just fine.

moonMy life has changed more than ever since I started college. The one constant has been my friendship with Trish. She has consistently and happily shown up during the last five years. There’s no way I could ever express how grateful I am for that. I know I say that about all my friends but in reality, she has been the only there, on the ground with me at Temple for the entire time. The memories we have are priceless and hysterical. I know the future only holds more great things for us. Happy Birthday Trish!

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