Hello and welcome!

Thanks for stoping by! That's me, and my super cute and spunky 1 year old, Nora. When we're not laying on the floor taking selfies, we also like to bake, take lots of pretty photos, and practice yoga. Aside from posting way too many pictures of Nora on instagram, I also take pretty wedding picures and make pretty baby items. So browse around, and keep up with all the latest.
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Am I allowed to say those words on my blog? I know the NFL owns all sorts of crazy copy rights to that phrase, so maybe I should just say The Big Game. Anyway, we’re totally not football fans in this house, so today will be a fun day of cleaning and laundry and all that good stuff you just don’t have time for during the week. This morning, I used Leo for part of my 365 pic, and I thought this pic was just too cute not to share here, too (in its unedited form. For the edited version, check out the link above). I hope you all have a fun “big game” day today and I hope *your* team wins (who ever is playing…)!!


Last summer my husband and I got married and like any girl, I was giddy with anticipation for the big day. Oh sure, I’d *finally* get to put on my big poofy white dress, see all of my hard work and meticulous planning come to fruition, marry the man of my dreams… yes yes, all the things little girls dream of. But secretly, deep down inside, I was excited for a whole other reason. You see, after we got married, my wonderful hubby promised me we could adopt kittens! And if you know me, you know how head over heals I am for cats.

I’m talking big time. Like if it were cool I’d wear cat sweaters and hang cat paintings in my house. As it turns out, those things are *decidedly* not cool.

Nevertheless, I do adore kitties. So much so that Greg totally teases me that when I’m old I’ll be one of those ladies with a million cats in her house. ::shudder:: Well, I wouldn’t go that far.

So when the big day finally came, we said our vows, we partied till our toes hurt, we went on our honeymoon, and then when we finally settled in back home, I set out on the hunt for our new babies. We adopted two cute lil kittens in July of 09, and I can’t believe it, but my babies celebrated their 1 year birthday in May of this year! They’ve gotten so big I can’t stand it. Here they are at about 11 weeks old, the first few days after we brought them home. The little grey cuttie is Vespa, and the gorgeous long haired black one is my baby Leo.

Eventually, we brought them outside for their first adventure in the wild (well I’m sure they had many adventures in the wild, they were feral after all). Leo loves to be outside, but Vespa hated it. So much so, that she wouldn’t go on the grass. She just stayed in the garden and hid under the deck for most of the time she was out there, only peeking her head out here and there when she thought it was safe. She is your typical “scaredy cat.” Very timid and shy, where as Leo is outgoing and so friendly and curious.

I snapped these around their 1 year birthday this spring. I must say, Leo is quite the dapper cat now, and Vespa just looks so much like an adult cat its hard to believe she started out as a tiny little fluff ball.

And still, one year later, she wont go on the grass! But Leo will, in fact he even tries to hunt the bunnies in the yard.

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Today I’m 21 weeks pregnant with our little girl Nora, and sometimes, I can’t believe how fast this time has gone. We’re now into the 2nd half of this pregnancy, and October is coming fast!! :) I’ve been documenting, in a notebook, all of the milestones, feelings, symptoms, and up’s and down’s of this pregnancy so far, and I plan to go back and create a journal of sorts (when I have some free time… ha!) to remember it all. For now, I’ve been snapping pictures where I can, and keeping my notes in a little pink (how appropriate!) notebook that I keep in my bag, so that if something huge happens (like, feeling her kick/move around for the first time on Wednesday, May 1st), I can write it down and make sure not to miss a single amazing experience!

21 Weeks

As I sit here and think about the last 20 weeks, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with just how blessed Greg and I are. I mean, we’ve created this life, its growing and thriving, and in another 20 or so weeks (theoretically) we’ll meet this little peanut. It’s amazing. It’s also amazing how right and perfect this all feels. I wont lie, before we decided to start a family, both Greg and I had serious thoughts about becoming parents, and what that would mean for us. We’ve been together for 8 years now, and it’s been just the two of us for most of that time.

When we adopted Vespa & Leo, sure, our lives changed a bit. We were now responsible for keeping two cats alive, but that’s easy. A baby represents a whole new and challenging set of responsibilities. And we were questioning if that was something we were ever going to be ready for.

Making the decision to go ahead and start our family was scary at first, because that meant making a lot of changes in our life to make sure our kids have the best that they possibly can. We know how we want to raise our kids, what we want to do to be the best parents we can be, and what we have to change about our lifestyle in order to achieve that. And it’s a big change. But we feel so ready, so excited, and so right about it all. And that is an amazing thing!

In other fun news, I thought it would be neat to journal out how my first half (and specifically first trimester) was. Lot’s of women write down their experiences by answering fun questions about their pregnancy, and I think it’s cool to see how different and unique each pregnancy is. Mine has been so different from how I thought it would have been, which just goes to show you, you really can’t base your future experiences on what other people have experienced when it comes to pregnancy. It’s just SO variable! Check out how my experience has been so far:

*When is your due date?
– October 17th, 2013

*What week are you in?
– Started my 21st week today

*How much have you gained so far?
– About 14 lbs

*What was your first symptom?
– Bigger boobs. lol

*Weirdest pregnancy symptom so far?
– I’ve had an increase of saliva production since about the 8th week. Like, I seriously spit into a sink anytime I can because there’s so much there. It’s so gross and I had no idea this was even a possibility in pregnancy! It makes the nausea worse too :(

*Have you had an ultrasound?
– 3 so far, maybe 1 more before delivery!

*Are you in maternity clothes yet?
– Yes, I was quite surprised to find out that my pants and shorts stopped fitting very early on. I haven’t worn pants since February.

*Is it a boy or a girl?
– Team pink!

*Do you have a name picked out? What?
– Nora [something]

*Is the child being named after someone?
– Yes. A cat we saw 4 years ago when we were adopting Vespa & Leo… don’t laugh.

*How are you sleeping through night still?
– Not anymore, due to my sore hip :(

*Any aches/pains yet?
– See above

*Do you have stretch marks?
– I’ve always had stretch marks on my hips and boobs. lol. But they aren’t getting worse because my awesome hubby got me Burt’s Bees Belly Butter cream and I put it on every day (most likely it isn’t doing anything, but I like to pretend)

*Belly button in or out?
– In, and I hope it stays that way…

*Are your hands and feet swelling at all?
– Only the usual amount for this time of year

*Any food cravings?
– I’ve had cravings for buffalo chicken, and mustard. Like, from out of the yellow squeeze bottle. Don’t judge me.

*Anything you loved before that you absolutely cannot eat anymore?
– In the first trimester, dairy made me so nauseous! But I can thankfully eat it in small quantities again, now that the nausea has subsided a bit :) I can’t eat wheat (gluten probably) because it makes me really sick… kind of like an intolerance. Boo :(

*Have you felt any movement yet?
– Yes, I felt it for the first time on Wednesday, May 1st, when I was just 15w6d! It honestly felt like my uterus twitched… much like your eye would… but I just knew it was her!

*Sum up your experience so far
– When you haven’t experienced something before, you really don’t know what to expect. Earlier in this post, I talked about all the wonderful feelings I’ve felt since becoming pregnant, but let’s face it, pregnancy isn’t always sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Getting through the first trimester nausea and exhaustion was, at times, unbearable – never mind the extreme bloating, the food aversions, and breaking out in pretty bad acne. There were weeks in February and March where I would wake up, go to work, come home and lie on the couch like a helpless child (Greg was amazing at taking care of me, making sure I ate at least a little bit of dinner, and got me water when I was too tired and sick to get up and get it myself) because I was just so tired and felt awful. Although I never threw up ::knock on wood::, my nausea was really bad, and it started pretty early, at 5w3d, and really hasn’t fully gone away, even at 21 weeks. I was surprised by that because almost everyone says that the nausea went away once they hit their second trimester, and that has not been the case for me. But I will say that it’s a lot better than it was, and I think I’ve also learned how to manage and handle the uncomfort of nausea a lot better as the weeks went on.

The biggest thing I learned when dealing with the less glorious side of pregnancy is that you have to stop waiting for this or that to happen and just live your life. I got caught up in the “once I reach the second trimester, I’ll [fill in the blank]…” and I basically stopped living. I didn’t cook, I didn’t clean… my laundry situation was, let’s just say, out of control… The only thing I focused on was making it into the 2nd trimester, where I thought magically everything would just be perfect and I’d feel so magical and 10000x better. And you know what? I do feel better, but I still feel tired sometimes, I still feel nauseous or just generally kind of yucky. But you have to push through that stuff and enjoy what is going on around you. That has been my biggest struggle and my biggest ah-hah! moment.

I’m now excited for the next half of this pregnancy, to get the nursery ready, to make her cloth diapers, to make a quilt for her to sit on and play on and even puke on. And even if I feel nauseous while doing all that, so what? It’ll all be worth it in the end.


I haven’t done a Sunday Afternoon Baking post in a looooong time! But I have been baking like whoa! I’ve recently found a love for making delicious, chocolatey, baked goods, especially cupcakes and cake pops. And Whenever I get the opportunity to make something, I jump on it! Someone graduated from college? I’ll make cupcakes for that! You’re baby turned 1? Cute cake pops coming right up! It’s Saturday afternoon and you’re bored? Don’t worry, I’ve got some cupcakes to cheer you right up.

No occasion is too big or small. In fact, I tend to bake cake pops lately whenever my family comes to visit. Maybe I’m trying to entice them to visit me more often :D

Here’s a whole bunch of recipes I’ve recently tried out. Some were major flops, but some turned out to be fantastically delicious! Everyone’s tastes are different, and what I absolutely love, you might not but if you love to bake, and try new recipes, I encourage you to try out some of these, because its so fun to experiment, and to eat delicious delicious cake (in any form!).

The Brownie-Cookie
This past fall, my brothers came to visit and whenever we get together, we always seem to make delicious foods. Whether its strawberry filled crepes, or lemon ricotta pancakes (no pics, sorry), it seems my oldest brother, Eric, is always finding new recipes to try. He did graduate from Johnson and Wales (though he is not a chef. He owns his own business welding… go figure… hey, it must run in the family, I graduated with a BioMedical Science degree, and I take photos!!).

So on this particular visit we decided to make not only brownies, and not only cookies, but a brownie-cookie hybrid. This was just as I was starting to get into baking seriously (now I have a whole slew of recipes with crazy combinations of baked goods I’m just itching to try), so whereas this isn’t my most favorite recipe, it was still fun to make! I’ve also found other [better??] cookie and brownie recipes since making these, but I’ve included the recipes I used here, since they were still really really good!

For these recipes, I didn’t bake the brownies in an 8×8 dish, as it calls for… as you can see, we made little pumpkin brownie-cookies, as it was fall and we were in the pumpkin mood! We tried two different ways to make these brownie-cookies; half with the brownie batter and cookie dough baked at the same time, and half with the brownie batter cooked half way through, and then adding the raw cookie dough on top. As you can see, adding the cookie dough half way through yielded a better result, although both were equally as delicious. If you want clear definition when making a brownie-cookie, definitely wait for the brownies to be half way baked before adding the raw cookie dough on top!

Brownie-Cookies Sunday Afternoon Baking

Brownie-Cookies Sunday Afternoon Baking

Brownie-Cookies Sunday Afternoon Baking

Brownie-Cookies Sunday Afternoon Baking

Brownie-Cookies Sunday Afternoon Baking

Brownie-Cookies Sunday Afternoon Baking

Brownie-Cookies Sunday Afternoon Baking
Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Raspberry Buttercream
I made these cupcakes for my mom’s birthday this year, and they were really really delicious! I used this recipe from the Cupcake Project, toted as the BEST vanilla cupcake recipe, test baked by 50 different bakers. I was excited to try this recipe because I’ve been searching for a go-to vanilla cake recipe for a long time now and I thought, this must be the ultimate. I didn’t make them right (I didn’t measure the flour accurately, and they were doughy and heavy), but since making these, I’ve honed my baking skills considerably, and I have to say, the last time I made these vanilla cupcakes, they really were pretty fantastic. I’m still curious if there is a better recipe out there, or maybe a better list of ingredients, so I’m always looking for a new recipe to try. If you think you have one, or want to try this one, let me know what you think!

I topped these with a pretty good vanilla buttercream frosting. Now, the thing about buttercream frosting and me is… well… we don’t get along. I just don’t like it. Well, not buttercream I’ve made before, anyway. But this recipe from Our Best Bites intrigued me because I (for the most part) don’t love buttercream frosting made with powdered sugar, either. I’m very picky. So when I saw that this recipe called for granulated sugar, I was really interested! Its realllllly good. It’s also reallllly sweet, so if you don’t like sweet, you might not like it. But I think the sweetness over-flavors the butter flavor, which for me is ideal because I do not like tasting butter. ICK.

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes - Sunday Afternoon Baking

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes - Sunday Afternoon Baking

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes - Sunday Afternoon Baking
Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream and Butterscotch Filling
These cupcakes were just okay. I mean, I used the “Best Vanilla Cupcake” recipe again, which was pretty good. I made a generic butterscotch filling by taking an old bag of butterscotch chips I had in the cabinet, and basically melting them and adding some cream or something (I can’t even remember really)… and I made my favorite vanilla buttercream frosting (see the Vanilla Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes recipe above for that) to top them, and then drizzled caramel sauce on top – making caramel was a fiasco and a half! If you’ve never tried making caramel, I encourage you to read up about it before trying. There is a specific method to the madness that I won’t get into here, but let’s just say you really really have to follow a specific method in order to not A. burn it, and B. end up with solid rock candy. Suffice to say, by try #3 I got it. I now have a little jar of home made caramel sauce in my fridge that I use only for very important occasions!

There wasn’t any chocolate, so in my opinion, I could have taken them or left them, and it really wouldn’t have made a difference to me. But everyone else who tried them seemed to like them, especially my dad who likes butterscotch, so I consider them a hit! ;)

Vanilla Caramel Cupcakes with Butterscotch filling

Vanilla Caramel Cupcakes with Butterscotch filling

Vanilla Caramel Cupcakes with Butterscotch filling
Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting and Peanut Butter Mousse Filling
I made these cupcakes for a family party, and used the “Best Vanilla Cupcake” recipe yet again. I’m still not sold that this is the absolute best recipe out there, and I’m planning on experimenting with different vanilla substances (pastes, maybe a whole bean, if I feel daring), etc. to see if that helps take this cake recipe over the top! However, I have definitely honed in on my baking skills and I can really appreciate this recipe now. I think its a great one, and maybe if I can find some really top notch ingredients, this will win me over once and for all.

The chocolate frosting I used here was a generic buttercream frosting recipe I found online somewhere (can’t remember where). Since making these cupcakes, I’ve found the ULTIMATE most AMAZING chocolate frosting recipe on the planet. I’m talking heaven in a piping bag! Now here’s the thing. I don’t like butter. I know I know, how can I not like butter? Who doesn’t like butter?? I don’t. I hate it. It’s gross. I hate tasting butter and so, its no reason I didn’t like the buttercream frosting I found online because well, it tasted like butter. So, I’m going to give you the ULTIMATE most AMAZING frosting recipe instead, because it’s to die for good. If you like the taste of butter, and you like buttercream frostings, you might not agree that this is the best recipe, but if you like rich chocolate flavor, with just a hint of creaminess, then this is the recipe for you!! Chocolate frosting lightly adapted from this Annie’s Eats recipe.

After baking the cupcakes, and making the frosting and PB mousse, I cut out little triangles from the tops of each cupcake and piped in some PB mousse inside the cupcake, then I cut off the pointy part of the triangle (it was more of a cone really), and put it back on top of the cupcake before frosting them with the chocolate frosting. Finally, I roughly chopped up some Reese’s PB cups and sprinkled them on top. That right there really made the cupcake! I think next time though, I’m going to make these with my favorite chocolate cake recipe (I’ll be blogging about that later, when i show off my sexy cake pops!!)

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting and PB Mousse Filling

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting and PB Mousse Filling

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting and PB Mousse Filling

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting and PB Mousse Filling

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting and PB Mousse Filling

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting and PB Mousse Filling

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting and PB Mousse Filling

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting and PB Mousse Filling
Banana Crumb Muffins
I made these yummy muffins as part of a thank you package for Greg’s parents. They helped take care of Vespa and Leo while we were away in Disney last month. I wanted a simple muffin, with a nice flavor that would be good for a quick on the go breakfast, and knew a banana muffin was the way to go. I kind of looked at a few recipes, and then picked what I liked best from each of them… so I suppose you can say these are my own creation!

I topped them with a crumb topping, though it kind of melted, so I think I used too much sugar and not enough flour… but they were still pretty good!

Banana Crumb Muffins

Banana Crumb Muffins

Banana Crumb Muffins
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I can’t believe its December 29th. Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had a great Christmas! I sure did. I’m off from my full time job until the 3rd and I’ve been taking full advantage of my time off… and that of course means my days have been spent in my pj’s cuddled on the couch with Vespa and Leo… obviously.

I’ve got a ton of posts to throw on here, as well as a couple of weeks in my 10 week workout challenge to update you all on (I’ve been a bad blogger, and haven’t posted a week 6 or week 7 recap yet, but don’t worry, it’s coming!). But for now I’m taking full advantage of my time off and am taking a much needed break from all things social media. So, this will be my last post of 2011!! Geez, I kinda feel like I should leave you all with something so much more then just this. Well, since pictures make a post a 1000 times better, I’ll leave you with some pictures from the last few weeks. This has, in a nut shell, been my wonderful life. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa (and anything else I forgot!) to everyone and I’ll see you in the new year!!!

A Christmas photo shoot of my adorable niece, Julia Grace! (more pics of her to come!)

Christmas 2011

Leo and Vespa in their Santa hats

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

I baked a bunch of sugar cookies for Christmas, and spent something like 5 hours decorating them with royal icing. I’m a freak, I know! But they came out super cute!!!

Christmas 2011

Christmas Eve at my parents house, where we decorated the table with home made tissue paper poinsettias…

Christmas 2011

laid out said sugar cookies + a glass of milk + a letter for Santa with my nephew…

Christmas 2011

And then, after showing him that the tree was bare, and that Santa was on his way, threw all of the presents under the tree after he went to bed. My sister and little bro helped me capture this beautiful picture of my parents tree by running back and forth in front of my camera and popping my flash + shinning a flashlight along the bottom of the tree to illuminate the presents! This was shot at: f/22, 15sec, iso100 on my 35mm lens.

Christmas 2011

Happy Holidays everyone! Here’s to an amazing 2012 :)

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June is a busy month, with birthdays and father’s day to celebrate between Greg’s family and mine, so I find myself doing a lot of baking this time of year. Note: a lot of baking for me is probably nothing for the average person. I LOVE to bake, but just don’t do it often. This past weekend, we owed Greg’s mom a cake for her birthday, which was a few days ago. Unfortunately, Greg tried to make a chocolate cake and it “failed miserably” (his words, not mine!!). I think his downfall was substituting chocolate bars for cocoa powder… good idea, but the conversion didn’t translate.

So, I sat down and googled recipes until I found one that seemed easy, yet really delicious. Enter Godiva. ::angels singing::

Who doesn’t love Godiva? They have a TON of really delicious looking recipes on their website; some use cocoa powder, and some use bars of chocolate. We really wanted to try and make the chocolate bars work, as we only have Hershey’s cocoa powder and well… we wanted something a bit more… “luxury.”

I finally settled on this recipe, and a couple of hours later, we had one tasty looking cake.

Some notes: From the last attempt, we had some Ghirardelli’s chocolate left over, and our grocery store didn’t have dark Godiva chocolate bars, so we mostly used the Ghirardelli’s.

Greg made a delicious raspberry coulis, but we forgot to bring it with us to dress up the cake :( We DID try it tonight with the last bits of cake that were left over from this weekend, and I have to say, it really *does* make the cake!

We used a mix of milk chocolate and dark chocolate for the ganache, but I think it would be best to use dark chocolate – the milk seemed to stay thinner then the dark.

I didn’t exactly read the directions – it called for one 10″ pan, and I used two 8″ pans… it then had you put the cooled cake back into the 10″ pan with saran wrap, so you can pour the ganache on top, and cool it to harden. So, we improvised and just poured the semi-hard ganache on the top and let it drip down the sides. Not the prettiest cake in the world, but it sure was delicious!

Vespa and Leo were great helpers!


There are days when I’m driving home from my 9-5, where I’m absentmindedly thinking of a million things at once, and before I know it, I’m pulling in my driveway and Vespa and Leo are greeting me at the door. Where everyone is nice to each other, no one rides my *ss in the right lane (of a 3 lane highway, mind you!!!) as I cruise at my normal 65 mph. Where people stop and let you into a long line of traffic rather then keepin on the bumper of the guy in front of them. It’s days like these that I can peacefully drive the 20 mile commute each way and not want to poke my eyes out with a hot fork.

Then there are days. Days where everyone is mean. Days where people DON’T let you in, and so you sit for 10 minutes with your blinker on until the traffic finally spreads out enough for you to squeeze your way in. Days where someone rides your tail so close you can see their pupils in your rear view mirror (BUDDY, there are TWO other lanes that you can drive faster in!!! gahh!). It’s days like that that make the 20 mile commute each. way. so painful.

But every now and then, if I’m really lucky, a little bit of magic happens to turn those *bad* commutes into a little peace of Heaven. I don’t know what goes on near exit 3 on 91 in New Haven, but every so often, when I’m driving with my windows down, as I approach exit 3 there is the most heavenly, most devine aroma of cookies being baked that wafts through the air and into my car. It smells like grandma is baking something so fantastic, and my mouth actually starts to water… and I don’t even *like* sugar cookies! But they smell soooo good. And it’s like an instant mood shifter. My shoulders relax just a little bit. My breathing slows, my heart rate steadies, and a smile spreads across my face. I’m instantly put in a good mood… all because of sugar cookies.

** So tell me, what puts *YOU* in a good mood??


Hello and thanks for stopping by my blog!

I’ve often thought about the journey that people take to get where they are in their lives today, especially the people I just meet.  Hearing their stories makes it feel as though you’ve really gotten to know them, and what makes them who they are.  Sure, you can tell a lot about a person just by spending a few minutes with them, but to truly get to know them, you have to listen to all of the in-between’s.  Where they’ve been, what they’ve seen.  The little things.

My journey started in New York where I was born and raised.  I believe so much of my personality was molded where I grew up, and although I love being able to say I’m a New Yorker at heart, I’ve grown to love living in Connecticut.  I’ve built a beautiful life with my husband and our two cats Vespa and Leo (who you’ll see plastered all over this blog!).  My journey continued in Connecticut as I started my first full time job.  Whereas I can’t say that I love what I do, science has always had a special place in my heart, and I’ve enjoyed the journey that’s brought me here, but right now I can not ignore the calling I’ve been feeling for photography.

Which brings me to my newest journey in life… photography.  Though I’ve only recently piqued an interest (I bought my first Canon Rebel in the summer of 2007 and instantly fell in love), I feel an enormous connection to it.  I’ve always been an artistic person, from painting and sketching, to scrap booking, and even knitting and crocheting, however, no artsy hobby has ever left me feeling so creative and fulfilled.

I hope that I someday get to learn about you and your journey in life, so please look around and enjoy peeking into the corner of my life that brings me so much joy!

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