new years' resolutions

Some of my new year's resolutions…just to name a few. 
I think my resolutions for last year were a little more self-centered,
and they are even repeated (some!) here. A bit. Last year I was more focused on
travel! finding me time! going to cafes! exploring my own city!
This year I need to practice more outward displays of giving.

Anywayyyy…I am wishing for a happy 2014. Last year was utterly fantastic.
I've been so lucky in so many ways. And I could sit here and do a year of review…but I won't.
(one of my resolutions is to not dwell on the past!) The reason being, I reminisce too much. Siiigh.
I can only hope that 2014 is just as bountiful, rich, unexpected, and exciting. I am sure it will be.

happy New Years' eve, everyone!
ciao, xo!!


christmas at home: part 2.

Another happy Christmas has come and gone - it is hard to believe. I've always felt a tang of disappointment seeing the gigantic 364 on our 'days til Christmas' chalkboard, as opposed to the excitement of single digits..

Christmas in our household was so relaxed, thank heavens. Everyone took their normal positions around the tree - I always go to the left, it has always been that way - and we watched A Christmas Story on repeat and took our time getting the food ready. My roasted veggies were a hit, I'm not sure why everyone likes them so much! They are nothing compared to my sister's famous mashed potatoes. We set the table and used the pretty red and green chargers, and enjoyed so much food and dessert that it was almost obscene for just the immediate family. So obscenely good! 

I can't wait for next year's magical Christmas morning. :)
ciaoo! xo


christmas at home: part 1.

Christmas isn't Christmas in this house unless you've got a lot of everything going on. Last minute driving, forgetting about dessert, Christmas Eve macchiatos, dogs barking, silverware clinking loudly, discovering the Chinese restaurant around the corner makes really good sushi, guiltily poking around in the chocolate box, gifts carefully placed under the tree, cozy sweaters, making messes amid the wrapping paper, arguments and banter lovingly echoing through the halls, bells jingling on the dogs' collars…those are all the prerequisites for a classic Christmas in our house - some new, some old traditions.

This morning was simply delightful, and I can't wait to bring you part II tomorrow! xo

Merry Christmas! xo


a post from christmases past

last year, I found a kitten near a dumpster that was almost starved. 
I named her Pip, took her home, and kept her until we found her a home. :)
Some things haven't changed...
Pretty lights from small towns and big (NYC)
my favorite ever coat 
baking from great-grandmothers' recipes
visiting state college 
me in Rockefeller Center
loving the bright bursts of holly
 playing in the snow

the most beautiful Christmas trees
and as always…loving my espresso!

- - - 

Happy almost-Christmas!

This combination of 2011-12 wintry goodness makes me smile! Last year was such a difficult year for me, for some reason I don't look back on it and wish to go back - I feel so much better now about how I've grown and where I stand - but there are things I do miss. My kitten! That's the biggest thing. Looking at these pictures makes me wonder now how she is doing. Now we have a new addition to the family…Scout!…so things aren't lonely, but who is going to leave us little smelly Christmas presents under the tree? (yes, Pip loved pooping under the tree)…

It's fun to look at old pictures and also think about how my photography and interests have changed. I still like taking blurry light pictures and documenting my tea and coffee escapades. Maybe not much has changed after all ;)

ciao! buon natale! 


christmas traditions

Gingerbread houses have turned into a Christmas tradition…
and I proudly present to you the house that S and I created!
Compared to my sisters' little masterpiece, ours was quite meager….
But I  love it. Every detail, down to the gummy bear emerging from the chimney ;)

The tree is decorated and looking lovely. This is one of my favorite christmas ornaments,
from the summer of 2011 when I studied in Siena, Italy.

Pizzelles! The smell of them baking in the kitchen sends me over the moon.
The look of the dozens of jars on the dining room table, all ready to be gifted, is a sight for sure.
What makes it even more special is that it is my great-grandmothers' special secret recipe. 
I had about 5 already this morning.. ;) 

I am always known to take a blurry lights picture…

S and I always have "our" Christmas a few days before. He travels to be with his family across the state,
and I miss him every time, especially on Christmas Eve and Day! 
But this year we had the loveliest little celebration.
We had dinner at a new little restaurant in town - italian of course - and we brought a bottle of vino rosso, my favorite! it was a delightful little night to try a new restaurant.
Then, home for presents! :)

and this is Scout's first Christmas…her stocking is all filled with dog toys and bones and treats! 
New traditions! :)

ciao, xooo!


coffee diaries | green line cafè

Green Line is a cute little cafe that has multiple locations in Philly - I've only been to the corner store right in center city. What immediately struck me about Green Line was the kindness and coolness of the barista behind the counter - he was awesome. It's a delightful little stop to make while you're in the midst of your walnut street shopping. :) The people and the organic feel of the place is what makes it so appealing to me. I have to try their other locations - I'd love to go sip a cup while a live band is playing. swoon! Is it my absolute favorite ever coffee? Maybe not, but the cute little neighborhood corner location is perfect for grabbing a quick latte. And it's also around the corner from here ;)

Green Line Cafe
15th and Moravian
Center City, Philadelphia, PA


packing the perfect holiday suitcase

christmas comfy

Some people roll their eyes at the thought of traveling for the holidays, but as you know the thought of going somewhere always thrills me. While I will be staying at home this Christmas, I do know a thing or two about packing for a long weekend (or summer). Some things and ideas on my must-have list for the holiday season. It's so important to stay put-together and fresh, no matter how many miles you've crossed!

  • wear your boots while you travel. it'll save you a lot of effort instead of lugging them in your bag!
  • depending on your destination, bring small purses - a cross body that is easy to switch from day-to-night, and a clutch that can also pair as a wallet!
  • leather-inspired leggings resist wrinkles and are super comfortable.
  • embellished fleece will also dress up your outfit, but surprise! it's a sweatshirt :)
  • patterned and punchy scarves are easy to pack and take up very little room.
  • I always gravitate to skirts and dresses because…I hate pants! 
  • Flats are what I normally wear, but like to bring in my suitcase because they're space-saving and much more comfortable for walking.

Check out Paul Frederick's tips for keeping clothes crisp while traveling. Their advice - especially showering "with" your clothes - is something I've always found to be so smart. Time-saving and resourceful advice like this makes living out of a suitcase seem much more doable. Stay stylish, travelers! :)

ciao, xo


buffalo plaid

blouse LOFT // scarf AE (old) // pencil skirt Banana Republic (similar here)

These pictures are blurry, but fun…it was cold!
I've had this skirt for a while and was waiting for the perfect weather to snap a picture in it.
I was going to wear it to Thanksgiving…but this thick, classic buffalo plaid in red and black 
felt more Christmas than anything.
It's definitely a punchy piece, a tough thing to wear, but I love the holiday feel.

How do you wear plaid? any tips? 
ciao, xo