Top Ten Posts of 2013

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Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Each and everyday I am surprised that people want to hear the everyday thoughts of little old me. I love interacting with you and finding new friends in this blogging community. I can’t wait for what 2014 has in store!

I started this blog in mid August 2013. Here are the top ten posts, based on readers, since the birth of A Beautiful Little Adventure.

Quinoa Pizza Bits – Healthy Snack

An easy and tasty snack that tastes like pizza! I owe my thanks for Pinterest and the fact that Quinoa is the second most favorite buzz word of 2013 (behind that braggy Kale)

5 Friday Favorites – Gifts that Give Back

Unique gifts for all types on your list – bonus at least 25% of proceeds go to charity!

{Love Story Part 1} When I Lost Sight of Love

My love story series was my favorite thing to write since I’ve started this little blog. This is the one that kicked it all off.

Skinny Chicken Enchiladas

Like you, I’m always trying out healthier alternatives of my favorite recipes. This one does not disappoint!

5 Friday Favorites – Procrastination

Discussing something we all have in common – procrastination! Ranting about my love hate relationship with social media.

Pop-Pop’s Life Lessons and Advice – a video

Pop-Pop is a very special man. To honor him on his birthday I did a special family history interview on video.

5 Reasons I Celebrate Christmas “Early”

Christmas is my favorite! Here are my reasons to stretch the season as long as you can.

Wedding Recap – Secret Garden Theme and Vision

My first (and so far only) recap of my June 2 wedding.

My battle with the hair salon

Gif and giggle heavy posts about my trips to the salon.

What’s in a Name?

My struggle over whether or not to change my name after getting married.

See you all in 2014! Have fun celebrating tonight!

xoxo katie

Close Your Eyes

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Take a moment and try something with me. And I promise, only a moment, this excercise should take you all of 1 minute.

Take a big breath, exhale, and close your eyes. Now, picture your future. Remember only take  a minute or less. What do you see? What is the first thing that comes to your mind?

December flew by in a whirlwind of pine and peppermint scented flashes. It was one of my best Christmas seasons to date and I tried to lick up and savor every little moment. In fact, this whole year has been pretty spectacular.  On Friday, I posted about my top 5 memories. Yet, I’m finding myself in an all to familiar state of mind on this second to last day of 2013.

Where have I been and where am I going?

This week between Christmas and New Years provides amble time for reflection. Honestly, I’ve been pretty down these past few days. Call me out for being a baby, but I’m so sad December is over. You see, all of the anticipation, joy, and love that surrounds Christmas fills me with hope. Hope that the future is bright. Hope in the power of love. Even when I would be feeling knocked down at work, or when I would feel the stress of bills and money being tight, the thought of going home to my tree or looking forward to a family tradition or gathering would get me through the day.

I wallowed a bit more than I’d like to admit this weekend. With the magic of December fading away, I felt like we were getting stuck back in the daily grind. Ryan going back to his night-time law school classes (1.5 more years sounds both short and long), saving money, and getting through the stressful days. But like most good wallowing it allowed me to reflect and look ahead to the New Year.

Ah yes, that time when we all make grand New Years Resolutions. Well, I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. They are empty promises. I think going to the gym on January 2 and then going again on February 2 will prove my point.

Instead, I like to keep things simple.  And by simple, I mean breaking down your life into what makes you happy and what makes you unhappy. Why not choose happy?

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The question, “What are your plans for the future?” has the tendency to make my heart rate go up and my palms sweat. We are trained to look at our life in 5 year increments. Our future looks like a tall ladder with rungs marked with stages like “Graduate”, “Find your perfect career” “Get married” “Buy a house” “Kids” “Retire”. Really, none of us has a clue. You can’t plan out this life.

What you can do is have hopes. I choose to hold on to my hopes as I navigate through this messy life. My hopes are what make me happy, what get me through the day.

This is what I seen when I close my eyes and think of the future:

Ryan, myself, a dog, and an undisclosed amount of children (sometimes it’s 2 sometimes it’s 3) lying in a big bed with the fluffiest white pillows and softest white sheets you’ve ever seen. My vision is in black and white and we are surrounded by photos of family and dear friends.

That’s it.

Everything that is important to me is in and surrounding that bed. Plain and Simple.

Who knows when that image will become my reality. This year?  The next? Five years from now? Nevertheless, that is my hope for the future, that is what makes me happy. That image will replace my beloved Christmas tree, music, traditions. I choose to carry the joy and hope that Christmas brings with me through the year. What I see when I close my eyes will be my beacon – my north star guiding me to stay on track to my future. Why put off happiness?

Because, it’s time to face the music. Today IS yesterday’s future and I’m ready to choose happy, no matter what.

xoxo katie

 

 

 

Favorite Moments of 2013

Christmas is over.

I’m back at work, sitting at my desk trying not to cry that there is no more Christmas music, movies, or people being extra nice. The Christmas hangover seems four times worse this year.

Know why? Because it’s been a pretty damn great year over here. As I grow older, I feel like I’m always saying something similar to, “This was the best year yet!!!”. But truly, this year was full of so much love and growth. Each year is a blessing and I feel like I become more and more aware of that as I accumulate more years under my belt – which in turn makes my days so much fuller.

And it’s not just the big blessings, like vacations, our wedding, and success at school and work. The smaller everyday moments, when added all together, turn our life into the beautiful masterpiece we will look fondly back on when we are in our 80’s talking about the good old days. I’m talking about the good morning kisses, the sing a longs in the kitchen, the chats with parents, the meals with Pop-Pop, the walks around our neighborhood. That is life. That is what we will remember.

Who knows what 2014 holds for us. We have some hopes but fate is always full of surprises. But I never give up on our hopes, they are what define us as a person and couple. We look forward to the adventure.

As we prepare to say goodbye to another year, I wanted to share five of my favorite BIG moments of 2013.

1. New Years 2013 in Vieques, Puerto Rico

Vieques Puerto RicoDecember 31, 2012 it was a blustery and cold day as Ryan and I boarded a flight headed to a very small island off of Puerto Rico. Veiques is a gorgeous island with some of the most pristine and tourist free beaches in the world. There is only one hotel on the island. All other accommodations are inns and rentals. We had quite an adventure staying in a waterfront apartment, exploring the island on a jeep and checking out the local cafes. Other highlights included the Bioluminescent Bay kayak tour, wild horses, and getting lost in the jungle.

New Years eve was spent dancing in the street to a Puerto Rican band with about 100 other revelers, sipping drinks out of paper cups, and dipping our feet in the ocean. You cannot beat that for New Years!!

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2. My 30th Birthday/Bachelorette combo Party

On March 26 I turned 30 and was excited about it! Most people are hesitate about saying goodbye to their youth. Not me, I’m celebrating getting older – it’s a gift some people are never able to receive…not to mention my 20’s were a MESS! I loved my casual joint 30th Birthday/Bachelorette party at a cabin in the mountains. It was a small group of just my bridesmaids. We had so much fun just being silly together, shopping, eating, drinking, making YOLO t-shirts, hot tubbing it, and singing karaoke. It’s rare for all of us to be together – so it was really special to me.

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3. Our Wedding

I think this is pretty self-explanatory – but yes I loved every minute of our wedding and most of every minute of our wedding planning. I loved sharing our vows to each other in front of all our family and friends. I loved having an excuse to get all of our family and friends together for a big party. I loved all the preparations and how it was a reason for my Mom and I to bond for 6 months. And yes, I loved my dress. It was a simple yet elegant Sunday and we were very lucky.

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4. My Mom’s Surprise 60th Birthday Party!

On July 9 my mom and best friend turned 60! After all that she did for me for my wedding I wanted to give her a big celebration. Together, Ryan, my dad, and I planned a SURPRISE birthday party at Ryan and I’s house. My mom loves all things beach and ocean related so the theme was easy. I had a blast planning and preparing all ocean themed decorations and food. About thirty guests attended and we managed to keep the surprise under wraps. The night was so much fun!

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5. Taylor Swift Concert with Kay Marie 

 Also in July, my bff and I went to go see Taylor Swift in concert for our second time together. I have no shame in expressing my complete love for Tay Tay. People can knock her relationships and music as much as they want, I will never waver. Girl is talented, driven, positive, and a great role model. We had so much fun rocking out with all the teens and moms at the sold out stadium. We even had fun waiting for 1.5 hours in between sets until a terrible thunder storms passed through. I’m so happy by bestie shares my love of Taylor!

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 2014, I’m ready! Come and get me!!

xoxo katie

Christmas isn’t over yet!

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I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas! We had an extremely packed day (getting up at 7 and not getting home until 10:30)  and are grateful to have the day off. I refuse to believe that Christmas is over, so we are continuing the celebrations with Christmas music and movies all day while relaxing by the tree. Waking up to a beautiful snowy day doesn’t hurt either!

After all the anticipation and prepartion, Christmas day always flies by. Unfortunately, there are a few people that we only get to see at Christmastime. If we are lucky, each of us will get to celebrate around 90 or so Christamses. The idea of only having that small of a number of times to show our love and celebrate serves as a reminder of how fleeting our time on earth together is. Hopefully, we’ll all be together for a long time and will share many more Christmas memories. I’m happy to express my love to the max this time of the year. Now if only we acted like we do on Christmas all year long.

I’ll be back to posting regularly tomorrow. In the meantime I’ll share some photos from our Christmas Eve and Christmas day festivities.

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Christmas Eve Dinner at Characters, Walsh family tradition

Back home, playing games and music

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Christmas Carol singing time!

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Christmas eve, after a few cocktails

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Mom and Dad on Christmas morning

Family on Christmas Eve, playing games, singing, and cocktails
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new dog toys!

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Buttery Nipples! Christmas tradition!

 

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Mom’s beautiful table complete with tree napkins

 

 

 

 

 

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second Christmas at Ryan’s family

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Ryan’s parents house and the “other” Maggie

 

Merry Christmas, from my home to yours

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Our 2013 Christmas card from Minted

Linking up with Amber (Mr. Thomas and Me) and Erin’s (Hooley with a Z12 Days of Blogging Christmas link up. Today is the 12th and last day! 

Truly, what day is better, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

I love the magic and the spirit that today, Christmas Eve, exudes. I love feeling like a 6-year-old, I love all the energy and excitement, I love the hustle and bustle as we get the house ready for Christmas day dinner, I love the relaxing evening with my family.

Tomorrow will fly by and then Thursday it will all be over. No more Christmas music, no more anticipation, and I could cry just thinking of the sight of discarded Christmas trees waiting for the trash man.

So, let’s slow it down and really enjoy every special moment of this holiday.

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Santa’s coming!!!

 

Today I will hold onto hugs a little extra longer and I will go to bed grateful. Grateful for all the gifts that this life has given me. Traditions may change and grow, this will be the first year that I will not be waking up in my childhood home on Christmas morning. This is the first Christmas Eve in 16 years that my best friend will not be coming over on Christmas Eve to take part in our family traditions. But love and family remains the same. This IS the first Christmas with my husband and his family and that brings extra joy and love.

I wish all of you a truly merry and safe  Christmas. I’m so happy to count each of my readers as friends. I hope you enjoy your day, no matter how you chose to celebrate it. I send extra hugs to those who are having a rough holiday season this year. May you believe in love and hold on to your hope.

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Buttery Nipples

Buttery Nipple shots for Santa! He has SUCH a long night!

xoxo katie

 

Celebrating in NYC

Sometimes life has a way of throwing you subtle reminders of what is important in our little lives. This weekend that reminder was given to me by a screaming mentally ill street person in the East Village. But let me regress…

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I spent the weekend in NYC celebrating the 30th birthday of one of my best friends, Jeanette. Being in NYC at Christmastime, you find yourself surrounded by all the glamorized Christmas cheer – the tree, the ice skating, the window displays, the pop up Christmas tree vendors, the chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The thousands upon thousands of people. I was so excited to get off the train, find my friend a few blocks away and start celebrating. And then I stepped foot into Penn Station and wanted to escape the swarms of stressed out and angry people.

Walking the three blocks to the subway station to meet Jeanette took longer than my commute to work. People were just standing in the streets looking around and NOT moving. The idea of staying in this midtown crowd and attempting to walk to Rockefeller Plaza was dismissed as easily as the idea of eating sauerkraut for the rest of my life. Once we finally made it onto the Subway, we felt like smushed cattle and were sweating like pigs. Not exaggerating. I was literally counting the seconds in my head until we reached our stop. I don’t know how anyone could live in Midtown NY and brave doing any errands during the month of December. All the things that could be enjoyable were not.

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No, This picture does not document the crowds that were around Macy’s and Penn Station.

We literally jumped out of the subway and ran up the stairs and were greeted with the much more friendly and livable NY that I love, the East Village. Although I couldn’t live here now, the village always fills me with romantic thoughts of what life could have been like had I chosen to go to school in the city and lived the bohemian life as a poet. (everyone had a crazy dream like that, right?!). I love the vast array of cafes, bars, boutiques, and pop up street shops, and the fact that there are zero crowds anywhere. Jeanette also asked for perfect weather, and mother nature did not disappoint. We were greeted with beautiful 70 degree weather on the weekend before Christmas.

We and two other girl friends rented out an apartment from AirBnB. With a refrigerator, bathroom, and two beds it suited our needs. We were ready for a night of roaming the streets and bar hopping. Girls’ weekends are like a little retreat. A time to recharge your girly batteries and laugh about silly things. I got a serious workout this weekend by laughing alone. I hardly took any photos – the night flew by.

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After we shared two bottles of the finest champagne (ie J Rogets at $7.99 a bottle – still on a tight budget at 30!) we hit up a Cuban place for dinner. Other highlights included a few champagne cocktails at the French inspired Bougioues Pig, bourban drinks at the highly pretentious speak easy themed Death and Co. and finishing the night as the oldest people in the bar at The Library (but thank god for cheap drinks!).

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As I end my 30th year, I am definitly starting to feel older. My hangovers are more intense, I get tired very easily, food sticks to my hips like superglue, I choose staying home over going out and yoga pants over tight dresses and I managed to go out in NY without going broke or feeling like death the next morning. It was pretty fantastic! I’m all about being a thirty-something. Aging is something to be proud about. Twenties were a confusing and fun mess, thirties feels like a new life is starting.

No, I didn’t forget about that subtle reminder life threw my way this weekend:

As we were walking out to get provisionals for the evening (cheese and Champagne), life handed me my subtle reminder. While crossing Houston St we crossed paths with a man who could barely stand up straight and looked like he just drank his weight in grain alcohol screaming “I’M AWAKE! I’M WALKING!”

How true dear man. How true.

Yes, this is the gift we should be most happy for. To have the ability to wake up every day, to go out into this world and make the most of it. We are given the gift of living – the rest is up to us. We are blessed with the power of freedom and choice. As long as you are awake and walking you have the power to choose how you want to live your life. Go out and be and that person. Don’t waste another minute.

I’m going to embrace my life.

xoxo katie

 

Cheers to you! {The Poinsettia Cocktail}

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Linking up with Amber (Mr. Thomas and Me) and Erin’s (Hooley with a Z12 Days of Blogging Christmas link up.

Today’s prompt:“Holiday Cocktail”

Let’s give three cheers for it being the weekend before Christmas!!! I’m sure there are a lot of holiday parties and celebrations this weekend. I love any reason to celebrate! Every little milestone deserves a little attention and I love creating and naming cocktails for every special occasion. Life is too short – toast everyday! This is why I believe you should always have a bottle of Champagne in your fridge – ready to pop whenever life surprises you!

Today I’m sharing a favorite holiday cocktail, pictured above, and of course the main ingredient is bubbly!

Come join me by the tree and let’s toast to the holiday season with my Poinsettia Cocktail!

1 oz. Chambord  liqueur
4 oz. sparkling Champagne
1/2 oz. cranberry juice

Pour the sparkling wine into a champagne glass. Over that, pour the Chambord and the cranberry juice.

Light, refreshing, and perfect for any special occasion.

And speaking of something to toast to! I’m now offering sponsorships for fellow bloggers, shops, or authors! Now through Christmas take 50% off all sponsorships (all priced under $5 originally) with code: LOVECHRISTMAS

(but act quick! This sale is only offered to the first 5 takers!)

We have a lot to toast to in this upcoming week. Ryan is currently completing is last final exam of this semester. Cheers to only 3 semesters of Law School left! Tomorrow I’m heading up to NYC for the weekend to celebrate best friends thirtieth birthday and then Sunday the Christmas festivities kick off as my brother and his wife are going to be in town. Can’t wait for a few days of relaxing time with family and friends. That’s my favorite part of the holidays – being together and celebrating.

What are you toasting to this Christmas?

xoxo katie