Tag Archives: memories

#37. & #38. father-daughter dates and paying it forward

I have been a daddy’s girl as long as I can remember. Ok, I’m a momma’s girl too (I lucked out with two super awesome parents), but my dad and I are practically the exact same person. He’s the guy who introduced me to Jules Verne and gave me my thirst for adventure and travel. He taught me how to make the perfect pancakes. Because of him, my first word as a baby was AC/DC thanks to continuous replays of Thunderstruck and Back in Black. He’s incredibly smart, creative, idealistic and one hell of a cook. I’m thankful to take after him so much.

As a teenager you go through this transition – from worshiping your parents as kids to not wanting to be in a 500 foot radius of them. Hanging out with your parents is no longer the cool thing to do, and so you replace Sunday morning breakfasts with your dad for Shady Maple trips with your best friends. Instead of staying in and watching a movie with him, you opt for boozy movie and manicure nights with your gals.

Then you hit your twenties, and you move a few states away and you realize how much you miss Sunday morning pancakes. And reciting lines from National Lampoon’s Vacation. Which is why it was so important for me to take my dad out for a father-daughter date this summer. Especially considering that the last one was 12 years ago.

Twelve years ago, I was in sitting in Ms. Lawlor’s history class. I was in 6th grade and it was my 11th birthday. We were doing presentations on the 50 states when my name was called for an early dismissal. I went down to the office and my dad was standing there with a big grin on his face. We went and saw Monsters Inc. at the local movie theater and grabbed some pizza afterwards. To this day, it is still one of my favorite birthdays and memories with my dad.

Always being one for sentimentality, I thought it would be adorable to take him to see the new Monsters University movie, to inject some nostalgia into our date. We bought tickets for a Sunday matinee showing, ordered a giant bucket of buttery popcorn and sat ourselves between dozens of other dads and their young daughters. So young their feet couldn’t even touch the ground. Before the movie started I looked around and watched as one dad fixed his little girl’s bow in her hair. She looked up at him and smiled so wide she looked like she could burst and she quickly gave him a kiss on the cheek. My dad had been watching too and we both looked at each other and smiled, remembering the days when my feet couldn’t touch the ground and he had to fix the bows in my hair too, years and years ago.

The movie was good. We both enjoyed it and even laughed a few times throughout. Afterwards, I treated him to lunch at the Olive Garden across the street and we spent the next hour talking about everything from work to weddings to favorite memories. To wrap up the day, we stopped at Dick’s Sporting Goods because he needed a new pair of work shoes. Because he spends all day making deliveries and driving a truck, a pair of good, durable work shoes always set him back at least $100. My dad is always looking out for others before himself, so I knew I wanted to do something extra nice for him. Before I knew it, I was swiping my card at the register and the look of surprise that came over his face made the dent in my credit card balance completely worth it.

A few hours later I packed up my stuff and was getting ready to leave for the 3 hour drive back to Maryland. Before I got in the car he gave me a big hug, told me how much he loved me and appreciated everything I had done for him that day, from the movie to lunch to his new shoes.

I kissed him on the cheek. And I made him pinky swear it wouldn’t be another 12 years until the next date.

My mom and dad at my recent bridal shower.

My mom and dad at my recent bridal shower.

I only wish I had known when I was 13 what I know now: that spending quality time with your dad is totally one of the “coolest” things you can do.


#9. have a girls’ weekend

First — yikes! Allow me to apologize for the lack of blogging this week. I haven’t fallen asleep behind the keyboard. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. This week at work has been a whirlwind with exciting announcements that have required me to spend every waking minute and ounce of energy in important hearings, writing  and editing releases, pitching media like a mad woman and lining up media interviews left and right. All I can say is, thank GOD I had an awesome weekend with some of my favorite ladies before the avalanche of work stress came charging at me.


Now that I live a couple hundred miles away from my favorite people, when I do get to spend time with my closest friends, it makes every second that much more special. Which is why I wanted a girls’ weekend on my 213 in 2013 list. Alex and Lauren had planned to come down inauguration weekend (woops, total oversight on our part), so that Friday I pushed through work eager to get down to Union Station and pick them up for a weekend of revelry.

Once I got the call that their buses were in, I jumped out of the car and waved my arms signaling where I was. They started walking towards me and that’s when I noticed three people, not two, were making their way over. I squinted through the dark and in total shock and surprise, saw that they had brought my good friend Marianna with them. Ensue lots of high pitched, girly squealing, screaming and jumping. Turns out we would all get to help celebrate Marianna’s big 21st birthday together.

Poor Marianna couldn't even partake in the $1 margaritas because it was still an hour until her birthday...

Poor Marianna couldn’t even partake in the $1 margaritas because it was still an hour until her birthday…

After loading the car with their bags, we went over to Medaterra, a greek/Mediterranean restaurant in Woodley Park. They were serving up $5 martinis and $1 margaritas (that apparently tasted like cough syrup). My martini, whatever it was, tasted like spiked chocolate milk and was well worth the five bucks. We sipped, munched and chatted until the restaurant closed and made our way back to my apartment where we spent a few more hours sipping drinks and catching up.

Life is always made better by a cupcake. Or four.

Life is always made better by a cupcake. Or four.

The next day we went over to Cake Love — my absolute favorite cupcakery — and got Marianna a free birthday cupcake while the rest of us debated between the various flavors of tiramisu, nutella and peanut butter and banana. We took our cupcakes to the park bench outside of the outdoor skating rink and stuffed way too many calories into our gullets before crossing the street to paint some pottery.

Never take 4 OCD girls out to paint pottery together...
Never take 4 OCD girls out to paint pottery together…

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that having myself and two other OCD freaks who aren’t super fond of children (Alex is the normal one) painting pottery surrounded by kids would be a good idea, but I went for it anyways. We squeezed into a small table, spent too long debating between rose pink and blush pink and then began the tedious task of painting our various pieces. Lauren freaked out about her lines not being straight (…they were abnormally straight), Marianna threw a fit about paint smears and I had a bitch fest about my uneven chevron stripes. Alex just enjoyed painting butterflies and polka dots and made the rest of us look like nut jobs.

My finished piece -- a reminder of my new attitude for the year ahead.

My finished piece — a reminder of my new attitude for the year ahead.

After finishing our pottery pieces and washing off, we went over to Nando’s Peri-Peri and enjoyed a pitcher of sangria and some delicious Peruvian chicken. We needed the sangria to calm our frazzled nerves from the children whining and the imperfect pottery paint jobs.

oro pomodoro pizzas

Stuffed full of chicken and wine, we went home, washed up, (I napped…because I’m old), and got ready for dinner at Oro Pomodoro (the same restaurant Mike and I took that pizza making class at). Another friend of ours, Kurie, met us over there and we all ordered various mouth-watering dishes — pizzas with shaved parmigiana and prosciutto, gnocchi with braised beef and wine, and the coolest dish of all — creamy risotto with porcini mushrooms and white truffle oil, prepared tableside in a 1200lb of parmigiana by the same chef from our pizza-making class, Michaelo! The waiter was from Naples and was absolutely adorable and charming and always made sure our glasses were full.

The coolest dish I've ever seen -- risotto prepared tableside in a giant block of cheese. It costs $1500!

The coolest dish I’ve ever seen — risotto prepared tableside in a giant block of cheese. The block costs $1500!

Once we were finished with dinner, we went home, freshened up again and went out to properly celebrate Marianna’s 21st at Blackfinn, a frat-esque saloon type bar in downtown Bethesda. We enjoyed a night of dancing to music so loud that it shook your core and left you deaf at the end of the night. The way it should be when celebrating someone’s 21st. I passed out around 5am — I couldn’t cut it anymore.

Our plans for brunch the next day got scrapped by a disgusting amount of traffic thanks to the inauguration so instead of cozying up at Matchbox, we ended up having to get Chipotle to go.

The weekend definitely had it’s hiccups but it was still a fantastic time with some of my absolute favorite people. A weekend full of laughing, and gossiping and reminiscing and painting and drinking and eating and dancing. And living. And loving every second of it. Because I’ve learned to not take advantage of my time with the people I care about anymore. It may be less frequently but it doesn’t lack in quality. That’s for sure.

this is your life – so live it.

live the life of your dreams

All too often, we let life get in the way of living. I know I do. I see dishes that need to be washed, bills that need to be paid, to-do lists that need to be finished. I see paychecks disappearing quicker than they come in as I struggle to pay back my disheartening amount of student debt. To pay for gas and car repairs and groceries and health insurance. These responsibilities can eat you alive… if you let them.

Until the start of this new year, I was being swallowed whole by myself – my stress, my anxiety and my self-doubt. My friends and family didn’t like the person I had become. And to be honest, neither did I. Instead of trying to blame it on my job or not liking my new city or the stresses of post-grad life, I realized I needed to take responsibility for my own unhappiness. I was at the center of it. The one creating it and letting it manifest itself. I was the problem.

So I decided to come up with a solution. The 213 in 2013 Project. A list of things I’ve wanted to do my entire life that I’ve been putting off for years because I was always so full of excuses. Because I was too afraid or told myself I didn’t have the time. That it could wait. Until I realized that it can’t – because this is life. It’s happening right now. And you only get one shot to do it right.

I’m three weeks in to my project and I’ve already crossed 8 things off my list and have a queue of others already planned in the weeks and months ahead. I’m waking up every morning so excited about the potential each day holds. I’m letting the unimportant little messes like a sink full of dishes sit on the sideline while I revel in the messes that will leave a permanent mark on my life like getting paint under my nails or pizza flour all over my clothes. I’m letting my DVR fill up with TV shows I used to watch while I’m out exploring new restaurants in the city or strapping on a pair of skates to go ice skating under the stars instead.

My biggest wish for this project, besides regaining my own passion for life is that others who are experiencing similar ruts will find their passion for life again too.

Stop making excuses.

Stop telling yourself it can wait until tomorrow, or next month, or next year.

Stop letting your fears hold you back. From trying something new, chasing your dreams and achieving greatness.

This is your life and the time is now.

The time to become the best version of yourself.

To challenge, push, fail, and succeed.

To unlock your potential.

To do more of what makes you happy.

To seize the day.

To live exquisitely. Boldly. Fearlessly.

To live.

Happy New Year!

I can’t believe it’s now 2013. 365 days lie ahead with so much potential in each and every one of them. I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s Eve last night, celebrating with friends & family and hopefully not indulging in one too many cocktails (as I did…thank God for Advil).

Mike’s currently whipping up pancakes in the kitchen while I cuddle up on the couch, next to our Christmas tree one last time. 2012 was a wonderful year for me — a year full of old endings & new beginnings. New friendships, new achievements, graduating from Temple, leaving Philadelphia, new home in a new state, new job, new life. Things to be proud of, things to make changes for, things to learn.

Call me overly-optimistic, but I just know 2013 is going to be even better.

Happy New Year, to you and yours.


Highs & Lows

Before I moved to DC, I would try to go home every weekend for Sunday dinner with my family. Every weekend, my dad would wake up early to put the Sunday gravy on the stove and we’d spend the next few hours drinking wine, sneaking spoonfuls of sauce and filling up on bread and olive oil.

Around five o’clock, after the gravy had been simmering for at least six or seven hours, we’d gather around our old, worn dining room table and break bread together, telling my dad how he had managed to outdo himself again with the amazing feast he had prepared for us.

My favorite part of Sunday family dinner was when we’d go around the table and each share our highest moment of the week and our lowest moment of the week. Whether we had won an award at school or hadn’t done as well on a test as we had hoped, everyone around the table would share in each person’s triumphs and moments of defeat. With a heaping bowl of pasta in the middle of us, we’d create a circle of strength and support, sealed with Sunday gravy and a glass of pinot grigio.

While I may only make it home once every few weeks now, I still want to carry on the tradition of sharing my weekly high and low every Sunday. I figure what better place to share than this blog, where I can find support in friends, both old and new.


My low this week was how beat up and broken down I felt after coming home from work a few days this week. The workload was at times overwhelming and left me feeling drained and defeated.


My high this week was the quality time I spent with Mike, which I do not do nearly enough. I’m incredibly lucky to have someone like him who gives me the space I need and understands and accepts that I am a bit of a workaholic. I tend to put him last way too often and this week we made time to go explore DC and go out for a romantic dinner. We are getting better every day at finding ways to make our relationship a bigger priority. I’m thankful for the stroll through Adams Morgan, the candlelit dinner and the nights curled up in PJs, watching a movie. Each of those moments far outweighed my “low” of the week.

What about you? What are your highs and lows of the week? I’d love to hear them!