summer party {festa dell'estate}

The summer family party is a legendary tradition that goes WAY back into my early years of living in this house. We have so many boxes of old photos in what I call the "archives," - photos of parties from the past, the famous 'family portrait,' lists of food and things that "went" and didn't "go." Ah, the rush that precedes the family party. I always looked forward to it - but this year it was my sister's college graduation (see here for that) and it was the perfect opportunity to tie an occasion to the party (as if we needed one)!

The family party, now the family/graduation party, actually took a hiatus for a year or so and became an every-other-year kind of event. It was busy because we were all either in college, or graduating, or going on a different vacation (I have three siblings - it gets busy around here). People thought that we dis-invited them at some times, I think - noo! we just weren't having the party.

Anyway, this year, as expected, was very fun. It was stunning outside - low humidity and 85 degrees. Guests trickled in starting at about 4pm, and thanks to the methodical planning of my mother, things were ready to go for about an hour before the party. We actually had time to get ready ourselves! It was great. It was nice to catch up with everyone and indulge a little in the food. I made cupcakes, and the dish that I couldn't get enough of was an orrichete and pesto pasta...swoon. I think I am addicted to pasta. It's a problem.

The most fun part of the night, in my opinion, was when the sun went down and we hit the bonfire. We experimented with sparklers and long-exposure photography in the dark. We had glowsticks out and the deck was illuminated with fairy-lights. The majority of the guests camped out around the lights on the deck and regaled each other with their own tales and stories. Plenty of food, beer, sangria (made by yours truly!), and snacks to go around. Another perfect summer party for the books.

ciao, xo



{ enjoying an ice cream cone on a stroll around town; sunday morning errands means starbucks}
{the loveliest pink hydrangeas - i wanted them all; an outfit post shot from here}
{a fro-yo stop after a pretty challenging spin class; prepping for one of my final school activities}
{a summer night bonfire with s'mores; some aranciata rossa da san pellegrino ;) }

ciao! xooo


a dash of red

tank loft | maxi skirt kohl's | bag flea market find | sunnies ray ban | bracelets francescas, AE, and alex and ani

LOFT shells/tanks are a huge staple of mine because I love their versatility - easy wear in the summer or winter. Paired with this easy, light maxi skirt from kohl's - one of my first maxi prints ever (!!) - it makes for a nice pop of color.  I'm trying, little by little to break out of my neutral habit. I loveeee depending on blacks, greys, and beiges...so this is a new kind of direction we're headed. Little confession here..did you know that I used to be a loft girl? Yeah, I worked there and it was so fun to be amongst the clothes. Maybe too much fun! Now we have a healthy distance apart...a little splurge every once in a while doesn't hurt. Anyway, this pointelle lace-trim shell is a keeper - I'm eyeing up the turquoise version that it also comes in!

ciao! xo


scenes from the {year's longest} weekend

This weekend was the summer solstice! It was lovely. I have been feeling under the weather so I took a nice long nap, something I haven't done in forever.  I can feel just how close my freedom summer is - it's three days away. Only three more days of work, including today :) Taking these pictures made me realize how much I just love my camera and photography. There is something so brilliant and vibrant about taking pictures in the summer...I am ecstatic with the colors of these photos and just how they turned out.

Anyway, as you can tell this weekend was really quite delightful. Between my weird sleep schedule (thank you +5 hr naps) and getting work done for next weekend's big party, we had the chance to get out, run some errands, and see a spectacular sunset. We ventured to a first annual flea market by the river and it was really fun to see all the tents set up with their best things forward - I even met a lady that was born in Venice, and spoke with her in a little Italian (swoon!). I will be blogging more about the market soon, so check back :)

ciao! xo



I've been kind of bottled up on the blog lately because a big change has been approaching for me. I have known it for a while, but wasn't ready to really think about it let alone type, here, about it... I alluded to it a few weeks ago, with storm of thoughts in my head somehow expressed in words. The big news that I have to adapt to is that S is moving to California. It is all happening really fast. He will be there for work, temporarily (phew!) but still - he's going to be there for a while.  And I will be here. I am so happy for him and the adventures he is going to have. And envious. And sad. because I can't go with him. And I am going to miss him, a lot.  It is just bad timing, with my obligations with work and things at home. As for now, it's just not in the stars. It's really frustrating, and I've gotten annoyed if I think about it, especially with that negative spin on it - but there are a lot of positive things that will come out of this change. The unknown is, as we all know, kind of intimidating - but there is something really alluring about it. I am curious but not worried. 

There are a lot of things I am thinking about - going through the long distance thing again, with the phone calls and face time, getting used to not seeing him. One thing I don't want to do is focus on all of the weekends and occasions that I might now be alone. I'll never really be alone, though, and that's what I need to channel my focus into. There are really cool potentials that can come out of this, like traveling to visit him and adventures of the like. I can't wait to get there - I am planning a visit in the next few weeks, actually. Like I said, it's all happening so so fast. My first and foremost goal is to be a support system for him, because I know if it were me making the transition I would want that! And I can do that.  I am so unbelievably proud of S and his achievements, and I can't wait to add this interesting new chapter to our story - it's going to be a very different twist on things for us :)

If you have any words or advice, or if you're in a similar situation, let me know. Us long distance girlfriends gotta stick together! :) I have such a respect for the people that have done this for longer than I, and completely know from experience just how 'worth it' it all is. It's so worth it...and he's so worth it.

ciao, xo


love, backfired

Every. last. drop. of a 16-oz caramel latte arrived in a nice foamy mess on my car floor early last week.
They say what you love the most can also, in the end, hurt you the most...
and this, my friends, is true.
Let me take you back so you can fully understand this particularly unfortunate coffee diary entry.

It was Wednesday. First thing in the morning, maybe around 6:50 am.
Arrived at the stupid dunkin donuts that happens to be the only coffee shop around my work.
I thought to myself, "treat yo self. It's Wednesday."
So, I ordered a medium caramel latte, hot, with skim milk.
I always have to repeat the "hot" part in the summer time because I get crazed looks.

So...in my brand new car's upholders it went. And the drive was fine.
Until I arrived at work and tried to single-handedly lug my heavy schoolbag out of the car.
I have done this literally every day of the year, so why should it be a problem today?
I tugged it over the center console, right above the cupholders, and, 
SPILL. a pretty decent amt. all over the cupholders.
Grunt, sigh, complain. Okay, wipe it up. For safe keeping put the coffee elsewhere. 
on top of the center console.

and this, my friends, is when the catastrophe happened. cue the slow-mo:
The entire, ENTIRE, $3.68 latte (which is pretty much all milk, people) 
met the pristine black carpet of my mazda. 
every single last droplet, of hot hot milk, and sticky caramel.
I immediately cursed and tried to wiped up the sloppy mess.
But to no avail, it didn't clean up quick enough. The damage had been done.

 Of course it was an 80 degree, humid and muggy day so the milk set in and obviously
 festered into a stinky, bacterial mess (ok, gross).
I wasn't able to scrub it out via industrial power-grade vacuum until later in the day.
But as soon as I did, I immediately felt relieved. I cursed every little ounce of latte as I gleefully sucked it up in that gas station vacuum.
My worries vanished.

Until maybe 2 days later. I got in my car, and it STUNK.
Why three days later? I don't know.
It was unbearable. Even after hosing down the mats and sucking up the gunk...it smelled rancid.
And this is all in my new car!!! GAH!
So another trip to the vacuum, plus a hot water rinse, plus baking soda...
and the results are TBA.

my love for lattes has backfired. sigh. note to self: make sure that lid is on TIGHT.


summer wish list

summer14 wish

vibes I am feeling this summer:

+ ikat print
+ linen
+ rompers
+ punchy nails and lips
+ embroidered shorts
+ a black floppy hat
+ stripes
+ a bright, structured tote bag
+ embellished sandals
+ flowy bottoms

ciao! xo


zucchini and rice pilaf

- 1/2 box rice pilaf (from rice-a-roni)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- zucchini, cut in rounds or diced long
- season salt and olive oil

I loveee this light, summery lunch that is (half!) the serving size. I just finished it up and I feel just-enough full, which is my favorite way to feel after a meal. It's a breeze to prepare, about 15-20 minutes cook time. I get the zucchini cooked separately in a smaller pan, with just  a little olive oil and season salt (I use Penzey's) and brown to your liking. The rice pilaf is pretty easy, because I just halve the directions on the box. The butter makes it not the most healthy thing, but it is delicious and pretty quick for a nice lunch or small dinner. buon appetito! 

ciao, xo 


harem pant

harem pant ae | tank (old) f21 (similar here) | denim jacket (old) | sandals franco sarto | clutch coach (old) similar here  

I have always wanted a pair of harem pants but really never had the place or time to wear them.
{that's what I thought until I actually bought my pair up here.}
I am certainly glad I picked up these from AE  - (they're on sale now!) 
and wore them for a dressier dinner-on-the-deck occasion. 
They are so comfortable and lightweight. I find that the summer, swishy fabric
is actually really easy to dress up. For me the harder part is dressing them casually.
I think that wearing them with a flat thong sandal and a cropped top will be the perfect laid back look for the beach!
I would buy them in more colors - they even have a nice chevron print that I'm eyeing up.
I think it's still kind of weird that I shop at AE, as I have been since I was...hmmm, 13?
but I love their stuff, the prices, and the way they tie in current with classy.

ciao, xo


happy birthday!

haaaaaapppppppy birthday! to my favorite!
I've known this guy for.....what, 9 years?
holy jeeeez. that's a lot. but through those years
no one has been kinder, more patient, and consistently there for me like S. 
he cracks me up. he's my best friend. he simply complements me.
 here's to another year of inside jokes,
very exciting new endeavors, travels, and all of the above.

I love you! 

ciao, xo


splurge v. save

Spending money wisely is something I do in phases. 
There are weeks that go by when I am really responsible; 
I abstain from shopping and really only buy the necessities 
(which for me might not be necessities, unless you're counting lattes). 
But the discipline wears off and before you know it, 
I have a wish list the size of Texas going 
and I really feel the need to treat myself to a little splurge.
Just in time for swimsuit season, 
I was really excited because I found a bikini I loooooved from Victoria's Secret. 
I never had a bikini from there, and I know they are reallyreally  low cut and tight, 
but I wanted to try it out. 
The separate prices, though, for each - at around $35 - hurt. 
I can't bring myself to spend around $70 on a simple bikini I will wear
 only a few times this summer (realistically). 
So I scouted an even better by at an unlikely place, Kohl's! 
I can't say it is my favorite store, but I loved the Crochet Bandeau Bikini by Candie's so much, 
even better than the VS choice. 
It fits wonderfully and I have worn it to the beach already! 
It cost a total of about $30, because Kohl's has really great sales! 
So for both pieces, it ended up being cheaper than just top of the VS lace bikini. Score!

Splurge: Victoria's Secret Lace Bikini
Save: Candie's Crochet Bandeau Bikini from Kohl's

Thanks to CreditCardInsider.com for partnering with me for the post. Check them out, they have some really useful tips on how to be smart with your money.

ciao! xo


scenes from my weekend

watching out for the ISS (space station) with a cozy bonfire. this is what we do. :)
honey lavender ice cream.
new shorts as seen here 

Last week I vowed to myself to get all work done. Do it all. I didn't want one ounce of stress to penetrate into my weekend. And it was so worth it. Staying at work til 5:30, driving home late, being cranky and getting a less-than-decent night's sleep - so worth this weekend. I did everything I wanted to without even going too far. I got some shopping done, indulged a little, and even managed to exercise (keeping up with my goal here).

Some highlights of the weekend:
1. Honey lavender ice cream - everything you can imagine and more.
2. Home made fajitas...I'm getting pretty good at it.
3. A perfect evening for a bonfire, s'mores and star gazing (well, in our case, we search for the international space station which crosses our sky every once in a while - this is how we find it)
4. The feeling after a good run is awesome. I am so glad I am sort of keeping up with it - trying for a spin class tomorrow, and then want to continually run every day. Or some sort of cardio. :)
5. I ordered some food from an italian restaurant and kind of spoke Italian to the chef! It was a fleeting, but ecstatic feeling. Note to self: get back into studying italian...

Maaaaan, I love this sweet sweet summertime.
ciao! xo