Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The perfect papa

 

I hope you have all been enjoying your holidays. Christmas is such a special time, and I love being able to spend that time of year with both Bob and my families.

When I was home my Papa, my Dad’s father, was put into the hospital. He suffered a mini stroke and heart attack about two months ago and had been in and out of the hospital ever since. He had started to show signs of getting better, and then it happened- he got worse. We watched helplessly and prayed for two days, spending the good majority of our time with him in the hospital. He passed peacefully in his sleep, on the 28th at the age of 91. He would have been 92 next month, he truly lived so much more than many get to in their whole lives.

 

He was born in Iowa to Sicilian immigrants and was one of five children. His father owned a coal mine, and died at a young age leaving him to be a young patriarch.  He served in World War II and advanced to become a master sergeant. When he finally returned home from the service he entered into pharmacy school before opening his own store in an Italian neighborhood in Chicago. He married a fellow small town transplant, and had three children together. He leaves behind my Nana, who he loved in good times and in bad to for 59 years. They had 5 grandchildren and played such a great role in forming our young minds.

I had the privilege of being their oldest grand daughter, and my cousin Jamie followed a few years after I was born. Jame and I spent countless days and nights at my grandparents where we were taught “The Italian way” by Papa. My first memories include him teaching me how to “twirl spaghetti like a real Italian” and how to make homemade meatballs and grow grapes. He made the best air popped popcorn I’d ever tasted, and I only just perfected it about a year ago. It was as if he used the precision he used as a pharmacist to create a chemical reaction of the perfect amount of butter and salt. I was so proud when I was able to share with him that I’d mastered his special treat.

 

When my Papa found out Bob and I are having our wedding in a barn he was astonished. “You’re paying MONEY to have a wedding in a BARN?”

“Yes, it’s just meant for weddings though, Papa,” I tried to explain.

“Are there going to be animals in this barn?” He then questioned.

I know he will be there with his dancing shoes on either way, and I am so grateful he got to meet and love Bob. One of my final times with him he was having a hard time remembering things, and I asked him if he knew who my fianc├ę was. His eyes popped open and he stated rather matter of fact, “Robert”.

He had such a zest for everything and so much passion for his family. He always pointed out how I was the only grandchild who looked Italian, and I will always treasure that. I hope to carry out so many of the special things he did for us. His entrepreneurship, his passion, his ability to love so deeply and care so much. This week we have his wake and funeral, where I hope to cling to the ones I love and celebrate the life of one of my greatest heroes.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wedding Update and more...


To say that wedding planning has kept me busy is an understatement. Suffice it to say I am often feeling like a chicken with her head cut off, but I can't wait to be married to B. I'd love to share our vendors with you, they're all so amazing and I can't wait to have them come together to make our wedding day truly special. I thought I'd share my list of things we've done so far, looking at this helps me to realize how much has been accomplished, and not to just focus on what is ahead.



  • Chosen our venue
  • picked a date
  • booked a church
  • chosen our colors
  • completed pre cana
  • asked wedding party to take part
  • booked a florist
  • booked a photographer
  • booked a dj
  • booked a videographer
  • booked a cake baker
  • asked our priest to preform the ceremony
  • found my dress
  • found the bridesmaid dresses
  • showed the bridesmaid the dresses and had them measured
  • found flower girl dresses
  • submitted an announcement into local papers
  • completed our registry
  • taken engagement photos
  • created our wedding website
  • booked a block of hotel rooms
  • chose rehearsal dinner date
  • created guest lists
  • purchased a custom return address stamp
  • chose our preferred meal options
  • selected invitations
  • picked honey moon location and booked resort
  • chose bachelorette party weekend and location
  • selected color of suits 
Can't wait to get more into detail about all of this, I feel like there is a lot to share.
I hope you are all ready for the holiday season, I am so excited to spend Christmas with our families and get to just bask in being with each other. In light of what has happened in Newtown, I wanted to share a link with you. There is an amazing college student that thought to send Christmas cards to a local church in Newtown. The church has agreed to distribute the cards to the families and friends of those who have suffered a loss. I think it's an excellent way to show our support and love for this tiny town that has gone through so much.  Tigers for Sandy Hook Elementary
If you simply want to send the cards without looking at the link, the church's address is:


Grace Christian Fellowship174 Mount Pleasant Road Newtown, CT 06470


Please, spread the word about this great way support the Newtown community. 


Monday, November 5, 2012

Pure Michigan

This weekend was the first time B and I have gone away to a hotel for no reason since 2008. To say we needed a bit of a get away would be an understatement. Amongst wedding plannin', remodelin', and a whole lot of work, Michigan was calling our names.



We ventured up to New Buffalo, Mich. It was only an hour and a half from Chicago, and the perfect distance for a quick get away. We decided to stay at The Harbor Grand for a hotel with a quaint feel. 

1. The fire place in The Terrace Room. 2. Breakfast waiting at our door in the morning. 3. Vosges Chocolate in the lobby. 4. S'mores kits available every night at their bonfire (for free!).

The hotel was full of so many personal touches that won us over from the start. Every night you fill out what foods you would like delivered to your door for breakfast, and at what time. They have Ben and Jerry's ice cream available 24/7, countless DVDs to rent for free, complimentary s'mores kits, etc. I can't wait to go back! 

The only shopping B and I both like to take part in involves antiquing. After breakfast we ventured out down Red Arrow Highway and hunted for historic hidden gems. 

1. Wooden taxidermy, 2. Vintage wine bottle holder, 3. 1930's Shipping trunk turned coffee table, 4. Braided rope wrapped vase. 

After an afternoon full of antique shops we found Soe Cafe. Soe uses locally raised produce and has an extensive list of cocktails. Soe has such a beautifully decorated dining room that I may have inquired about what color the walls were painted. You can take the girl out of the remodeling but you can't take the remodeling out of the girl. 

1. Soe dining room. How about that painted horizontal paneling? 2. B and I in a self portrait. 3. Drinks and sweet potato chips. 

We headed out to the casino in New Buffalo and I had my first experience with gambling. A gambler, I am not. It was a great time, but I can't say I'll be heading back any time soon. 

The following morning, after our breakfast in bed we headed to local Round Bar Winery for a tasting. The wines were delicious and my personal favorite had to be their Gew├╝rztraminer. 

1. Outdoor patio overlooking the vineyard, 2. Wines on display in the tasting room, 3. B and I at our tasting, 4. The barn ceiling, it reminded me so much of our wedding venue. 

Let me tell you, Tim Allen isn't lying when he depicts Pure Michigan. Even in the Winter months Michigan is such a great escape, if only for the weekend!


Friday, November 2, 2012

A Spot of Tea

There is something so simple and soothing about a warm beverage on a cold day. It's like it can go right to your heart and warm your soul to the bits. While I am a regular daily Starbucks frequenter, there is nothing I love more than a pot of tea at home. 

I adore when people have an eclectic tea set, mismatched and full of character. It's like so much of life, built over time and not just store bought in one sitting. Though I wouldn't mind going to an antique store and picking out a large selection of tea cups and saucers. 


My love of tea stems from my childhood. My mother was obsessed with tea. The way some people collect fine vintage wines is how she was with purchasing new teas. I used to be obsessed with the idea of tea parties and finger foods. As in, I would turn laundry baskets upside down and balance my Mom's china on it with sugar cubes and milk. It was just the right height for me to sit on the floor and enjoy my tea time.


I have grown up completely obsessed with historical movies and shows, which means I am a huge fan of Downton Abbey. I can't wait till the next season premieres in the United States. In one episode I saw the most beautiful tea pot I had ever seen, a tilting tea pot. I find myself searching ebay, rather often for them. Have you seen one before? Pure historical genius! 
 [source]

I've been lucky enough to do tea at some of the beautiful hotels in Chicago, but how much fun would an adult tea party be? 


Here's hoping your weekend is wonderful, and you have time for a spot of tea! 


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