Celebrating 33 and Looking Forward to 34

celebrating-33-looking-forward-to-34

I just officially made another trip around the sun, and I can’t help but notice that every year seems to fly by faster than the last. I just want to slow it all down and savor every moment. In an attempt to do just that, here are some of my favorite moments from 33.

It will be hard to top this one, but I want to lead off strong! My long-time boyfriend and I got engaged on New Year’s Eve. He surprised me and proposed right before we went out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh: Il Pizzaiolo. Luckily, I set up my tripod to take our picture in front of the Christmas tree, so we were able to capture the moment. After FaceTiming with my family back in Cleveland, we went straight to his parent’s New Year’s Eve party and announced it to them and all of their friends. I’ll never forget how I felt that night. I was so teary-eyed and happy.

In February, my sisters and I threw a big surprise party for our mom’s 70th birthday. I snuck through her phone book to invite all her friends and family. We rented out the private room at Bar Louie and had apps, presents, and cake. There were giant gold balloons in the shape of a 70! Everyone had a great time and it felt so nice to do something special like that for our mom.

This past June, I became an aunt! My sister and her husband gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and the entire family is so in love. We are all marveling at how much she looks like my sister as a baby. Every time I see her she is becoming slightly more alert and opening her eyes more. I can’t wait to watch her grow up. I’m completely smitten!

At work, I reached my 8-year anniversary. I’m not sure if I’ve ever explained what I do, but I’m a Senior Copywriter at a major lab supply company. I write every day and get paid for it! I write everything from brochures to social media posts to video scripts. I continue to enjoy the puzzle of rewording a sentence so it flows better or finding the perfect turn of phrase or word to convey the right message. And I’m lucky to be surrounded by a really passionate team full of talented people at a company that values its employees and cares about its culture.

Also:

I traveled to Paris, Chicago, Cleveland, Annapolis, and Charleston.

I went for a sunset boat ride on the Seine.

I stood on top of the Eiffel Tower.

I celebrated my grandma’s 95th birthday.

I sang karaoke with my cousin while her mother (my aunt) and my fiancé watched and laughed.

I saw Paul Simon, Mumford and Sons, and Arcade Fire live.

I went skiing with my fiancé and future mother-in-law.

I started a capsule wardrobe.

I got back into yoga.

I found time for painting and creative outlets like this blog.

I read a ton of good books, including Becoming, The Year of Less, and Daisy Jones and the Six.

I hit 200,000 miles on my car.

I swam in the ocean.

I went kayaking.

I hiked to the top of a mountain.

I had the best of times with the people I love.

On a more personal note and Happy Friday!

So I would like to share a personal tidbit about myself. The boyfriend and I have been in a long-distance relationship for close to 2 years. You may have noticed that because I am always going to visit him on the weekends. So this happens to be one of our off weekends when we catch up on errands and whatnot. I still miss him terribly the weekends we are off, but it is nice to not be traveling and just relax. I don’t know if anyone out there is in a similar situation, but I have to say it’s not that bad. We have managed pretty well actually. And for all of you who do get to see your boyfriend or girlfriend everyday that’s great. But if you don’t, you may understand that there is something very romantic and exciting about not seeing each other for so long. We usually only go two weeks, but at the end of every two week period, I always have something to look forward to. We always make the best of the time we spend together so those weekends are always full of activities. And most important, when we do finally see each other we are both so excited, I feel like we are at our very best. I do look forward to a time when we live closer. But right now we still have a lot of freedom to be young and pursue our separate career goals, which is amazing. I feel very lucky in that regard. I definitely tend to look at the silver lining of most situations. I don’t know why, but I just felt like sharing. Maybe I am in such a mushy mood because I have been checking the blog le love too much. But seriously is there a situation that you are in that isn’t completely ideal, but you make the best of?

I hope you enjoy your weekends and these links:

P.S. I made this, the book.

J.Crew Outlet online! A dream come true!

Win a trip to NYC Fashion Week just by leaving a comment at StyleList.

A new blog on kissing and love.

Annie Hall poster.

I love anything Cole Haan.

I want something leopard print this fall.

Sexy cars.

Another great fall outfit.

I would like this bench please, but I don’t want to make it..hmm.

This camel poncho would look great in my closet.

The perfect white lace dress.

Closeups of Chloe.

Bedroom inspiration
. Good if you’re planning on having a sleepy weekend.

(Photo via Le Love)

Thank you!

I just want to say thank you to my friends and family for all of their b-day wishes and gifts. I had a great weekend with the boy who surprised me with a gift that I featured here on the blog and some really cute clothes that will eventually appear on the blog including a ruffly romper. And thanks for all of your birthday wishes! I certainly have had a lot to be thankful for these past 25 years.

Paprika Shrimp and Green Bean Saute

This is not going to become a Julie & Julia kind of blog, but I figured I would share with you my success and failures cooking my dinner this week. I found this recipe at Eating Well. Although I loved the recipe and thought the paprika and parsley were perfect compliments to the shrimp, I should have followed the advice of a reader who said to double the recipe for the sauce. I found that there wasn’t enough to pour on top of the entree. Another complaint I have is the site says meal preparation will take 30 minutes. I am the type of person who chops and prepares all of her ingredients before getting started and with all of the fresh seasonings that alone took me about 30 mins. So I would recommend having those ready in advance or using prepared versions of the parsley and 1/4 cup of minced garlic. That’s a lot of mincing. Additionally, I felt like the recipe called for an overwhelming amount of parsley, so I just eyed that, and I only used one can of cannellini beans. 
Paprika Shrimp and Green Bean Saute
4 cups green beans, trimmed (about 12 ounces)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
1 pound raw shrimp, (21-25 per pound; see Note), peeled and deveined
2 16-ounce cans large butter beans, or cannellini beans, rinsed
1/4 cup sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preparation

1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Put green beans in a steamer basket, place in the pan, cover and steam until tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and paprika and cook, stirring constantly, until just fragrant but not browned, about 20 seconds. Add shrimp and cook until pink and opaque, about 2 minutes per side. Stir in beans, vinegar and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup parsley.

3. Divide the green beans among 6 plates. Top with the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with pepper and the remaining 1/4 cup parsley.

Nutrition

Per serving: 245 calories; 8 g fat (1 g sat, 6 g mono); 115 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 23 g protein; 8 g fiber; 596 mg sodium; 855 mg potassium.

This past weekend…

We went to the Murray Hill Art Walk and stopped by our favorite restaurant La Dolce Vita.

The beau found a pair of vintage Ray Bans at Heartstrings.

We did a litte thrifting. I found this Liz Claiborne skirt, but unfortunately it doesn’t fit. I was going to try to sell it on Etsy. Let me know if you would be interested in purchasing it before I list it. It’s a petite size 2.

I decided to challenge myself to make a new recipe every night this week. Tonight I made Eggplant Parmesean. I have pretty much perfected my recipe. If anyone is interested I will post the recipe.