These are the Days

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There are certain moments and days that make everything in this world — (both good and bad) — completely and utterly worth it.

This past weekend was full of these kinds of moments… and it truly was amazing. Not to get all mushy (ok totally getting mushy, sorry), I know these three days were as good as they were because all of them were spent with a particularly kind and loving soul (among a few other people of course ;). But really. I’m so glad to call him mine.

Since I think this weekend was worth recording for myself, here goes.

My Friday night was spent eating sushi with two of my gal pals and ended cuddled up on the couch watching a movie. Cinderella Man – first time I’ve seen it! Really great. The next morning, JB and I went out for breakfast at the diner and walked – well, more like hiked – on an at least 4 mile trail throughout High Rock Park; one of the nicest parks on Staten Island (in my humble opinion.)

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We then stopped for a beer and shared some buffalo wings as an appetizer at a local bar, where we were sure to sit outside and soak up all the impending-autumn sun. After the bar, we took a ride to an Italian supermarket to get some picnic supplies. Cheese, olives, dried sausage and a loaf of bread. It was glorious. We stopped home to pick up Adidas, JB’s dog and take him along on our picnic…and I swear it was just one of those really happy to be alive moments! So good. These are the kind of days I live for.

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Oh and then I went shopping and had dinner with Rita and met up with everyone at the bar later on for a 90s themed music night, which was pretty great. (& a little too packed but whatev).

Sunday was all about the rest and relaxation. I did, however, attend a painting class for a breast cancer fundraiser at Pinot’s Palette. Wine and painting are a match made in heaven. That place is pure genius. I could spend a week there if it was possible – I feel like it’s a place in which I belong! Hashtag artsy.

10671274_10152778055227904_5824752574628564316_nThat’s the finished product – good times!

And here we are, back to Monday….womp womp. BUT the point is, weekends like this make the sleepy start of the workweek all worth it. :)

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Encouragement Series # 7

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Each week or so, I post a new ‘mantra’ to help spark motivation within; things and words of encouragement and general inspiration for the journey of following your dreams. :)

See all entries here.

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When Life Gives us Tomatoes…

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…We make sauce that will last an entire year for our family. :)

Each year, right around the time summer ‘officially’ ends and the seasons are on the cusp of transition, my family gathers in my grandparents’ garage to basically set up a one-day tomato sauce factory of sorts. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

I am in awe of this tradition and think that awe has increased with age, now that I see all the real work that goes into it. I cannot say I did a whole lot of that work today but really wanted to capture some moments of this yearly tradition my family has in order to preserve the memory and process. I can’t believe how amazingly agile my grandparents remain (especially when it comes to making food, ha) and it freaks me out that time flies so quickly and everyone just keeps aging along just as quickly. That’s another reason I wanted to take some photos this time, on my real camera and put ‘em on my personal blog (here!), so that I can hopefully look back on this wonderful tradition in years to come.

First, let’s introduce the main character of sauce making day – the star of the show, to whom this would all not be possible, ladies & gents:

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Are’t they beautiful? Haha… shout out to my dad & nonna who also made an appearance in the above photo ;)

Also, this guy:

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That’s nonno. We like to call him the energizer bunny because he does everything and anything and never stops (even at the age of 81).

So anyway, there are a whole bunch of people involved in this process – and a lot lot of tomatoes, water and machines, too. I have a decent amount of photos to share so I’m just gonna go right ahead and do it:

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^ That’s my lovely mother <3

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One thing I kinda like in particular about this tradition is the fact that the men do a lot of the actual sauce making. I think that’s really nice and cool to see… and even nicer to know they are willing to create all this sauce with gusto!

I mean, I guess it’s only fair since the women in the family (cough my mom, nonna and zia) are the ones who do the actual cooking with the sauce throughout the entire year… :)

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Oh hi. This is when I put my camera down and actually helped. I was starting to feel a little lazy next to all of my older relatives, I must admit. Plus, I wanted to join in at least some of the fun!

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^ Once the sauce is made, we fill up the jars and seal them tightly. In order to preserve each jar for it to last throughout the entire year, we then boil the sealed jars in giant pots for an hour or two. Good stuff!

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ALL HAIL THE SAUCE!!!!!!

The end :)

P.S. see last year’s (much more brief) sauce post here

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Wanderlust Wednesday / Zermatt, Switzerland

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I keep bringing this up… but just to beat a dead horse — play the violin — I have serious wanderlust and am dying to go somewhere completely new and inspiring and breathtaking. Switzerland seems to be making its way to the tippy-top of my list lately. I mean, if you go through this person’s flickr album, you can see what I mean pretty quickly.

Simply amazing. Where would you really ever get to see something like that other than Switzerland? I want to go! I wanna goooo!

Time to Google flights…who knows! Maybe it could happen.

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