Cheers to The Year I Never Thought Would Come

*before you read any further, I’ll warn you, this post unintentionally ended up sounding dangerously similar to one of those Christmas cards essays from that family you haven’t seen in years, who, over the last 12 months, has celebrated three births, a promotion, some kind of high school sports team championship, a marriage, maybe a break-up, a stellar report card, a well-trained pet, a vacation to outer space, a Pulitzer Prize nomination…you get the idea. 

I hope you won’t crumple this post up and toss it in the trash before giving it a chance…


This year was ______.

January began the first of many lasts; last semester on Hawk Hill, last lengthy Winter Break, last Formal and Date Party with my best Squirrelfriends, last few (million) cups of Wawa coffee. I (somewhat reluctantly) completed one final internship requirement in Center City and proudly stood inside Hagan Arena for one final basketball season, witnessing the Hawks take the A10 Championship title, every step of the way, from Philly to Brooklyn. The winter was long and to be blunt, miserable. I spent much of it snowed-in with an extreme case of Cabin Fever that spread like wildfire from floor to floor in our 5-bedroom, 6-person house. I spent a night or two waiting far too long for Domino’s delivery, and “ventured” out of the house only when absolutely necessary (so, maybe…three times a week? Five?) for margaritas and nachos at the bar just down the street. Towards the end of February, things started looking up. Aaron Carter performed live at SJU (photos below) and Once Upon a Plate was born.

In the spring, I spent too many mornings at Delancy’s Deli (as if that’s even possible) and not enough nights at Howl at The Moon. I searched relentlessly for a post-grad career (to my dismay, babysitting on Cape Cod wouldn’t cut it this summer), all the while with dad’s voice in my head, “…and why do we go to college? To get a JOB.” (a phrase I’d been hearing at the dinner table since 2005). I applied to just about every open position that contained any form of the words “Boston”, “marketing” and/or “social”. I mastered the art of a Skype interview and finally received an offer just minutes before heading into my final, final exam.

In April, I stuffed every dress at Lilly Pulitzer into one small dressing room, picked a winner with help from my big sis and in May, hid that nautical, blue and white shift dress underneath a black gown, as I walked across stage on Graduation Day. In June, I said a teary goodbye to The City of Brotherly Love, paid my first visit to The Street, caught a Red Sox game and headed to Eastham for three weeks of basking in the sun on First Encounter Beach, paddle boarding on Great Pond, sipping wine in Truro and sipping coffee with mom.

In July, I moved to Boston and never looked back (Just kidding. In reality, I spent the first few weeks in denial and spent every Friday afternoon for the next 3 months heading back over the Sagamore Bridge for more beach time and homemade chowder). From conference calls to clam bakes, I transitioned into the “Real World” with ease (and a pretty nice tan).

September and October brought picnics at The Street, food truck lunches, Brewery tours, Duck Boat tours, concerts in Boston Common, new friends, old friends and lots and lots of oysters. I spent the last of warm weekends getting lost in Beacon Hill and Harvard Square and boarding the commuter rail to Salem.

November brought me back to Philadelphia for a basketball game, a fashion show and a much needed night at Kildares Irish Pub. I took some pretty important next steps into the world of blogging, ate much too much turkey and stuffing, advanced my indoor cycling skills, and nearly doubled my scarf collection on Black Friday.

December was filled with gift shopping, gift wrapping, gift giving and gift unwrapping, holiday events at The Street, Christmas chaos at home, Bloody Mary’s, mini-manicures, chocolate martinis, new traditions (although I’m not sure how long waking up to a barren tree on Christmas morning will last) and old ones. A peaceful and happy end to an eventful year.

What I’m trying to say (in a very indirect way), is that this year was a lot of things. It was exciting and terrifying, unbelievable and inspiring. It was challenging, disappointing and meaningful, heartbreaking, uplifting and bittersweet, filled with lots of laughter, many smiles and only a small handful of stressful, sometimes tearful, fits of panic. It was like nothing I could have ever planned for or expected.

It was a year I never thought would come. In 2006, the year 2014 seemed unimaginable, futuristic even and in 2010, it still felt millions of years away. My four years in college would undoubtedly last forever. 2014 was nothing to worry about. But 2014 came and went in what seemed like a blink of an eye.

It’s been a pretty good year, a heck of a year, thanks for being a part of it! Take a look at some of my favorite meals and moments from 2014…

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TGIFriYAY is BACK

After dropping the ball and leaving you heartbroken, I’m sure, with no light reading to accompany your cup of Joe last Friday morning, I’m back sharing with you two weeks worth of cool things that I’ve stumbled upon in life and on the web. In my favorite format of lists and links, I give you: TGIFriYAY.

Today I’m taking my own advice, tapping snooze a few extra times, sipping lots of coffee in my coziest PJ’s, and playing hooky from my corporate responsibilities. 3 whole days to myself to gently absorb the shock of the Real World’s lack of a 4-week-long Christmas Break.

Instead of Chestnut Hill, I’m headed to South Boston to poke around and probably buy a bunch of locally made gifts (for myself) that I definitely don’t need.

But don’t let my Friday fun get you down, regardless of whether you’re wearing jeans or jammies, it’s still FriYAY and you can still join me in a toast to the end of another successful week and the beginning of a very merry weekend!

Looking to kill some time? Allow me to help…

  • Christmas is right around the corner and since last year’s quest to introduce mom and dad to “hair cuts” was a fail, this Peppermint White Russian recipe seems like a fitting (and much less ridiculous) substitution.
  • Kid President is yelling about tiny top hats for dogs and other big ideas so I’m joining the #BookItForward movement and you should too, because “ideas, dreams, stories, the more we share them, the more awesome things get.” What book or story inspires your life? Most recently, it’s The Storyteller, for me.
  • This month has been all about chocolate covered everything and it’s all thanks to the good people of Dipt.
  • An IG account you should all be following (besides @aelagasse and @shopthestreet)? @blommingdales. Really cool stuff goin’ on, so if you want to be amazed…go check it out.
  • I could watch this video for 24 hours straight and I’m positive it would get me every. single. time. (even if I was watching it while sitting amongst a handful of Social Media gurus and the President of the ad agency that created it…….cause that may or may not have happened this week..) #WorldsToughestJob
  • For those who don’t know anything about me, I love Jimmy Fallon and everybody loves Justin Timberlake, so….enjoy.
  • Sundays are for bacon and brunch and pancakes and cookies, so I’m testing out this potentially life changing Pancakes & Bacon Cookies recipe this weekend.
  • I’m giving some serious thought to getting on board with November Project but that 6AM wake up call is just a little bit daunting…
  • And last but certainly not least I leave you with my top five christmas jams (of the week), because no one can harmonize the reason for the season like Run DMC, Coldplay, Chris Brown, Harry Connick Jr. and/or Justin Beiber. Go ahead and judge me, but I dare you not to get down to JB’s Christmas Album…  

I promise I’ll be writing about something other than Friday sometime soon. Happy weekending, people!

PS to my my friends and family in Philly…I hear Wawa pretzels make for great stocking stuffers 😉

TGIF (again!)

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Once again, it’s FriYAY and you can bet I’m bloggin’ about it!I’m thinking about changing the title of this blog to “TGIF!” because it seems to be the only thing I write about these days…

Back in college, all those months (feels like days) ago, the beginning of December meant the start of one very excruciating time period known as “finals week”. I’m quickly learning that a very similar scenario happens when you’re in the business of managing and marketing a shopping center, only this time that hell-ish scenario (ok it’s really not that bad) is in full swing from Black Friday to Christmas Day. BUT I know I’m not the only one drowning in a sea of holiday madness as of late, so let’s all take another swig of coffee, and thank our lucky stars that we can always count on Friday to lighten and brighten the end of each week.  

So hit snooze, skip the make-up routine, eat cake for breakfast, put sugar in your coffee, crank that Justin Bieber Christmas album…go crazy! Because it’s Friday, my friends, and you deserve it.

Here are a few things I think you might like to know about:

  • Milk + Bookies. All you book-worms, cookie-lovers, teachers, mamas, and all around good people out there; listen up! This non-profit is helping kids learn, grow, imagine and explore through stories and books.
  • I bought these pajama dress pants on Black Friday and if I could shout about how comfy they are from the top of the Pru, I totally would. Instead, I’ll leave you with this link and let you know that they’re still on sale. And to whoever made this drawstring-waist, slouchy-leg thing a style, thank you.
  • Brown paper packages tied up with string….and maps and stamps and ribbons and bows; 25 ways to wrap up those pretty little gifts, DIY style.
  • Got 5 minutes? Use them on this TedTalk because this chick went on vacation with only 7 pairs of undies in her suitcase and still managed to look great everyday via thrift shops & flea markets. Got a few more minutes? Watch each video in the playlist, it’s cool.
  • The folks at Anthropolgie are doing some pretty innovative things to alter and enhance the way we experience retail. A story to keep your eye on..
  • UPDATE: @rosedoordesign created this BEAUTIFUL illustration of the cutest puppy on the planet and you all need to see it because I promise, if you haven’t yet smiled today, you will now.

That’s all I got for ya today. Anything for me? Let me know in the comments below!