My 2021 wasn’t terrible. I became a Mom, and I celebrated and enjoyed life as much as possible. I explored and pushed myself to try new things. I got creative with ways to motivate myself, and I continue to move forward. It sucks that I’m spending the last day taking care of a sick baby, but such is life.
Below is my picture recap of the year. I choose one picture to sum up each month.
It was great to reflect on the year. I hope you had some time for reflection as well.
Recapping my year is a must, but first I want to share how I spent my holidays. This year looked and felt different, but I was determined to make the most of it.
I kept it local and virtual. I watched the tree lightings virtually for Athens Square Park and Astoria Park.
I honestly didn’t venture around the neighborhood as much as I wanted, but I still got to see some beautiful decorations.
I didn’t do much this year. I confess I didn’t even open up my Christmas boxes. I went with simple and familiar. Each year, I do a tree of Christmas cards, and for a tree, I got a tiny one this year so that we could enjoy the stuffed toys from my daughter’s advent calendar.
I’m fortunate that I could celebrate with my groups of girls. Both parties weren’t fancy, but I had a great time, and most importantly, everyone got to meet my daughter, Maxine.
A big hit this year was the gingerbread houses! Two were made with my husband’s niece and nephew, and one was made with my parents.
The advent calendars were also an obvious favorite. We all enjoyed our own. Andrew had a whiskey one, Maxine had a stuffed toy one, PJ and BB shared a fancy feast one, and my parents and I had a chocolate one.
I had low-key family parties with great food, but I’m pretty proud of my Christmas Eve dishes. I went all out with a seven-fishes-themed spread. We had raw oysters, crab, salmon slices, mussels and clams in a white wine, fried shrimp, and baked fish. We also had steak, brussel sprouts, and mashed potatoes. For dessert, I made brownies.
I was so excited to dress Maxine up this year for parties and PJs. I couldn’t help myself.
Christmas cards and gifts:
I went with both personal cards and virtual cards. I sent many of my older family members cards with personal notes and sent a virtual card with pictures to all my online family members.
I gave many food-related gifts and personal touch gifts this year. Below are some of my favorites.
Overall I had a great holiday, and I hope you did as well.
Oh my, so much has happened in the past ten years. The good, the bad and everything else in between. Here is my decade in review of some of my best memories.
I was working at Interference, an event marketing firm in Soho, and been with Andrew for almost two years. We decided to go on a romantic vacation to Costa Rica. This was the first trip we did an all-inclusive package and got SPOILED. Here is a picture of us getting ready to zipline and me on the beach. To be that thin again… le sigh.
I turned the big 3 0!!! We went on a Carnival cruise to Mexico. The port was in New Orleans, so of course we had to stay an extra couple of days to explore. Here is a picture of me clearly enjoying my birthday!
I started working for nonprofits around this time. My first one was the Bocuse d’Or USA Foundation. Now they are known by a different name but their mission is to mentor young chefs. I had the privilege to help plan their 2012 competition at the Culinary Institute of America. The winner represented USA at the Bocuse d’Or competition in Lyon, France. No big deal right! Here is a photo of the competition set-up.
I became a condo owner!!
I began running this year. My first ever race was The Color Run. We had so much fun. I’m not sure why I’m the only one that got color blasted but ok.
I joined the Volunteer Training and Leadership committee at the New York Junior League this year. The committee is now known as Volunteer Education and Training and is pretty dear to my heart as I become the co-chair two years later. The league is one of the oldest and largest women volunteer organizations and the committee I chose to volunteer with focuses on training women on various topics to help with their professional and volunteer career. This picture is of my very first event that I helped with as part of the committee. I’m now part of the Annual Fund team.
I started Grad school! I decided to get my masters in Nonprofit Leadership.
I did the unthinkable, I ran the NYC marathon. Well I ran/walked it but still. I worked my butt off and I raised $5K for the New York Junior League. Look at all my medals.
I got married!!!
It’s been a year of me creating my own traditions with Andrew. This holiday season I did a lot of firsts. I carved my first pumpkin, I made my first thanksgiving meal all by myself and we got our first tree.
I’m not going to lie, 2019 was a rough year for me personally and professionally but I had some really great moments with the people I care about. So here is my year in review…
January was a tough month for me but Andrew and I were still able to have a kick ass date night at Secret Summer’s Aquarius party. Here I am with the naughty wolves.
In February, Andrew and I decided to get away from NY for Valentine’s Day and his birthday and headed to The French Manor Inn and Spa in the Poconos.
Early March, I celebrated my Mom’s birthday at one of our favorite restaurants London Lennies.
Enjoyed Cherry Blossom season in DC with my friends Dawn and Christie in April.
Kicked off the summer season with my girls at Jones Beach for Memorial Day Weekend. Got the weirdest tan which I still have till this day.
Andrew and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in June. We enjoyed a beautiful boat cruise and then a few days later had dinner at our wedding venue. Here is Andrew messing around on the boat cruise.
Got to enjoy my family’s beach house in Shirley Long Island in July. I don’t go there enough. It was beautiful and peaceful.
I’ve been pretty obsessed with trying to hit all 50 states lately. After working on a small puzzle of the US for a team building exercise in August, I bought a bigger one and plotted my next adventure.
My next adventure turned out to be a road trip in South Dakota and Minnesota in September! Here is a picture of us in the Badlands.
October is a very important month because it’s BIRTHDAY month! I did a lot of celebrating but my fav was exploring the Sojo Spa in New Jersey. Multiple floors, hydrotherapy, infinity pool….I can go on and on. Here we are in the heated pool.
I kicked ass for Thanksgiving. I cooked a full menu, cooking a turkey for the first time, which included an apple pie. I really out did myself.
Here is a picture of my turkey pre-oven:
Here is my apple pie:
And lastly, December. I started the year rough and I ended the year rough but being with family this past week has been a god sent. One thing I’m really proud of this month is getting my tree. I’ve never really grown up with a tree so getting one was a big deal to me. I’m sure I’ll collect more ornaments in the future but it was the perfect first tree.
This holiday season went by so fast, I really can’t believe it’s almost over. It feels like Thanksgiving was yesterday but lo and behold 2020 is just around the corner. Here are some of my favorite memories.
Kicked things off by watching the Rockettes. I started going to the show every year with my Dad not so long ago. This year my Aunt and Uncle came along.
One thing I’m really proud of this year is cooking for Thanksgiving. From turkey to apple pie, I took care of it all.
I also cooked up a storm this past month.
Green bean casserole
Really decked out my apartment this year.
This is the first year Andrew and I got a tree!
The cats loved it!
Also, had some great family moments.
My cousin Rosie’s baby shower.
Annual Christmas party with the girls.
Pre-Christmas meal with my family the Saturday before Christmas.Hosted my family’s annual Christmas Eve party.
Andrew and I decided to get out of New York for a few days and booked a last-minute trip to the Dominican Republic. We’ve been twice before, and it has always been super relaxing and chill. This time around we stayed at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville. I highly recommend it. We did all-inclusive and stayed in the adult only section, as the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana was right next door. It was perfect! We had access to two private pools, a private section on the beach and adult only restaurants but still had the opportunity to explore the family areas as well.
Here is the suite we stayed in, had a jacuzzi and outdoor patio area too =). The hallways had these amazing gate like pieces that made the place feel like you were walking in a castle.
One of my favorite things about the resort was the sculptures. They were everywhere and each pretty unique. I would say a nice blend of European and Modern.
The pools were spacious, and there were plenty of spots. We didn’t have to reserve any chairs. Andrew and I even found a spot where he could smoke his cigar without it being an issue.
The beach was beautiful. Pretty much all the seating had a cabana/hut feel, and there was plenty of space. The water wasn’t crystal blue but still a sight to be seen, and the sunsets were gorgeous. We took advantage of a free hour of kayaking on our last day.
The food was pretty good, the best all-inclusive buffet experience I’ve had! On Friday, Andrew’s birthday, they had a seafood buffet with grilled lobster which was yummy. We also got to try their signature restaurant, Don Pablo, which had an AMAZING foie gras appetizer (we had two!) and their Brazilian restaurant.
The trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the spa. We got massages two days in a row and took advantage of their sauna and jacuzzi sections because why the hell not!
Overall I had a great time. It’s been a while since I traveled to a country that doesn’t predominately speak English. It was a bit refreshing to have to try to speak and learn something else. This trip has reminded me how much I love to travel and to explore. Need to pick my next travel destination soon!
Andrew and I recently celebrated our fifth anniversary at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, Maze, at The London hotel in the city. Andrew and I are big foodies and are a big fan of his British show, The F Word, so it seemed like a good place for us to check out.
The space was amazing with beautiful chandeliers at the bar and blue seating everywhere. I also loved the bathroom area, which is basically a corridor of individual bathrooms that include your own personal sink with a great selection of lotions.
The food was also amazing. Yes it was small portions and it was expensive but I knew that going in. I truly enjoyed everything I ate and the portions were good enough for us to share. We got the foie gras, spicy shrimp toast and scallops for appetizers. The foie gras was a bit messy to eat and the shrimp toast wasn’t really spicy but we didn’t mind one bit, they were all delicious. Andrew got the NY strip steak and I got the branzino. We also tried the brussel sprouts and the wild mushroom sides. If I could’ve licked the brussel sprout plate, I probably would have. To top it off we got complimentary dessert because they had to move us to another table to accommodate another party. It wasn’t really a big deal since our plates were already cleared when they asked but I gladly ordered and finished the apple tart and the chocolate mouse.
We spent easily around $250 but I’m worth it =). I would absolutely go back and maybe hang out at the bar before enjoying my meal next time.
I first heard about the show through my boyfriend, Andrew. I got tickets to see Sleep No More in October and he mentioned a couple of interactive shows he heard of that would be great to attend, this show being one of them. I finally got tickets to see it with him and two of my friends, Adrienne and Christine, on a Friday night.
The show is actually inside a pop-up space with the best outdoor bathroom trailer I’ve been to so far :). The atmosphere is very dark, clubbish, with old school paintings everywhere to set the mood and show timeline of Russia in the 1800s. Seating is a combination of bar stools, tables and lounge tables. I paid for bar stools but once we got there, we were given a table, BONUS.
The show is based on the novel War and Peace, which I never read but overall I enjoyed my experience. It was very interactive, the performers dance and sing all around you. Due to our location, we always had a performer near us and we also had a few sit at our table as part of the show. The performers and wait staff also do there best to try to get you to understand who is who. I also like how they modernize the music and how they give you some what of a small summary to follow if you want via the program. It might have been too whimsical for Andrew but the ladies and I enjoyed it.
Here are some pictures:
Program…you’ll need it
Pricey food snacks
I spent about $134 per ticket. We received some snacks (perogies, bread and pieces of vegetables and olives) but we bought a cheese and charcuterie plate, shrimp cocktail and plenty of drinks. Andrew, I believe, spent around $200 on us ladies. I don’t regret my night trip to Moscow, it was quite entertaining, but I’ll pass on the food and drinks next time.