Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Almost New Year!

Source: via Pinterest

Just wanting to wish everyone a very happy end of 2011 and a bright start to 2012! M comes down to visit for the weekend tonight, and I can't wait to see him. We're having a mini-Christmas, just the two of us to celebrate, and then ringing in the New Year (and our anniversary) with close friends for a fun party. I'm so excited! You can find me over at Emily's blog today and at Meghan's blog!! Happy New Year friends!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Secret Santa Blog Swap

Back in November, Summer and Melina announced that they were going to be hosting a Secret Santa Blog Swap. Obviously, I had to hop on this band wagon, but little did I know that my partner would be a resident of Paris! So I thought I should share what my fabulous Secret Santa partner got me! I had NO CLUE who she was, but do now. 

I came home to find a bubbly package!

And obviously ripped open the package to find...

...a pretty little box and post card!

Doesn't she have lovely hand writing?!

A gorgeous scarf from one of the best macaron places in Paris!

Rocking my new scarf. (Ignore the puffy eyes. I was crying when I got home because I missed M.)

Didn't she do such a good job?! I love it! Thanks again, Secret Santa ;) And thanks to Summer and Melina for hosting such an awesome Christmas swap!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pinteresting Munchies

If you follow me on Instagram (aromaniello), then you probably saw some NYE fun posted. So today's Pinterest choices are some of the candidates for what we'll serve at the NYE party that we're throwing this weekend. I'm linking up with Michelle for "Oh How Pinteresting!" Wednesday.

Pigs in a Blanket
Source: Deelicious Sweets via Pinterest
Crispy Parmesan Potato Puffs
Source: How Sweet It Is via Pinterest
Baked Buffalo Chicken Rolls
Source: Taste and Tell Blog via Pinterest
Sausage Cheese Balls
Source: The Girl Who Ate Everything via Pinterest
I've actually only made one of these recipes before, and I might be a little over ambitious with all of this, BUT it's worth a shot! Any appetizer recipes that you would recommend? 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I am like a turtle.

I define myself as a writer, and most of my writing comes to me as I'm attempting to drift off to dreamland. Usually, I push the words back to where they came from and fall asleep. Well, a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't keep the words from coming. So, I turned on my light and wrote.


I happily would spend my days doing what I want,
Or eating what I like,
And strolling where I please.
I am like a turtle.

But sometimes, life happens.
Sometimes something hurts my feelings
Or I become scared, insecure;
So I seek the safety of my shell.
I am like a turtle.

I retract inside,
Letting my hard shell become walls
That seem to have grown harder and stronger
To protect me from that familiar pain.
I am like a turtle.

It's not until time has passed
And that hurt subsides
That I peak out of my shell to carry on.
So I go back to my merry ways.
I am like a turtle.

Lately, I feel hurt more easily.
So I retract more often and even longer
And I don't know why
Maybe it's just easier...
I wish I wasn't like a turtle.

- Written by Amanda Romaniello, December 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011


Happy Monday all! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend. I certainly did and am feeling extremely blessed. I've been up since 5AM, on my day off, to go to boot camp, then came home and have been cleaning and doing laundry nonstop. I'm getting very excited for the party this weekend! And to share something that's making me happy...


Friday, December 23, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Edited using the Camera+ App on iPhone!

Now that I'm living on my own, I was so excited to have a real Christmas tree. My dad and I went to Home Depot and picked me out a very fluffy tree and loaded it up in my mom's Lexus to bring back to my house.  After several attempts of trying to get it straight, there was no luck. So, I have a crooked tree. And you know what? I love it!

One of my new ornaments, all the way from Madrid! 

Newspaper-wrapped gifts all tied up with string!

My newest ornament from Jess! Thanks so much!

And just so you can see how crooked my tree actually is...


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fun with My Sister in Paris

After climbing the Eiffel Tower, my sister and I took a break to take some fun pictures. I loved laughing and spending time with her in such a beautiful city and landmark.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Extravagant Christmas List

Happy Wednesday friends! Can you believe Christmas is only a few days away? I've seen too many of you to count with great lists, so I thought I would link up with Michelle at The Vintage Apple for "Oh How Pinteresting" Wednesday with my extravagant Christmas list, which includes items that would be amazing, but quite unrealistic at this time. Ready?

First, and foremost, I would like a cute little Dalmatian puppy. Santa, you can leave him under the tree! And it's a joint gift, so don't worry about bringing anything for M.
Souce: Pinterest
Next, I would love this KitchenAid Professional Stand Mixer in Chrome.
Source: Williams-Sonoma via Pinterest
Then I wouldn't mind a new winter coat, in pink, from Kate Spade!
Source: Kate Spade via Pinterest 
And how about a sparkly dress just because?
Source: Rachel Gilbert via Pinterest
And then a dream gift would be one of these babies...
Source: Apple via Pinterest

But in the end, all I want for Christmas is to be with M. 

What's on your holiday Christmas list?

P.S. Go check out Lauren's blog today! I'm guest posting about my New Year's Eve tradition!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Be Yourself.

via Pinterest
I'm being honest and myself, which means I'm writing this on Monday evening. I've been sick as a dog, so instead of putting together a fun post for you all, I'm giving you a great quote, going to bed, and hoping to wake up brand new. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 19, 2011

2010 Roxbury Half Marathon

Holy cow was that hard as heck. That's how I felt after running 13.1 miles in 20 degree weather on the most insanely hilly course. I found the Roxbury Half Marathon online and had been training for months, despite knowing that it might be too soon to run a half marathon after less than a year of recovery from a severe knee injury.
         My goal was to run it under 2 hours, but that absolutely did not happen.  I, with 90 other runners, got up on this early December morning to run. I made a few friends before the start of the race, while we bounced around trying to stay warm. Everyone that had previously run this course told me I was crazy for having this as my first half marathon. Not only were the temperatures less than ideal, the hills on this course were torturous, which I soon found out.
         I started out at a pretty good pace and settled in feeling great. I was ahead of where I needed to be with no knee or hip pain. I felt excited that I might actually reach my goal. Then around mile 8 the all too familiar dull aching pain started. It would start out small and eventually spread throughout my legs. I walked a little, then jogged again. And walked and jogged.
        By mile 10, where I passed the start line/finish line, I waved to my parents and tried to smile. I wanted to quit, but didn't. The last 3.1 miles were torture. I power-walked. Yes, I power-walked. And I cried. I tried to jog down some of the bigger hills, but it was excrutiating.
        Finally, I reached the last quarter mile, which happened to be up a crazy steep hill. I shuffled through the finish and sobbed. I hurt more than I could describe. I should have felt proud and excited, but I felt like I wanted to die. Where were those endorphins? Well, they came about two hours later when I took a steamy hot shower and didn't feel numb anymore.
        I ran my first half marathon! Me! Amanda! And I was going to do another one, just maybe not in December. 
        It has been exactly one year since I ran and finished my first half marathon. When I step outside in this cold New England weather, I'm reminded of what an accomplishment that was to complete. A very small piece of me wants to run it again, just to see if I can beat my previous time... That's the crazy runner in me. That's the kind of crazy that's the best kind of crazy.

Friday, December 16, 2011

You Had a Good One, Belle

Belle on the left; Tiggre on the right (He's almost 18 years old!)
Eight years ago on New Year's Eve, the thermometer outside read below 30 degrees. My cousin, sister, and I were hanging out and decided to take Winston for a walk. Little did we know that when we approached the bushes at the end of the driveway we would be adding another fur friend to our family. 
        Old snow covered the ground, but when Winston started sniffing around, we spotted something white as snow with little eyes and a very pretty face. She was tiny and frightened. We told our parents about the cat in the yard, and with temperatures soaring close to 0 degrees, we decided to bring her in. 
        After a trip to the vet and days spent waiting to hear if anyone would respond to the posters we hung up saying that we found a cat, no one called. And our house of two cats and a dog became three cats and a dog. 
         As pretty as she was, she wasn't the most friendly of cats. She didn't like to cuddle, be held, or pet, but she still was part of our family. 
         Unfortunately, her time here on earth came to an end this week. After a seizure and breaking two bones in her leg, the vet thought she had a brain tumor, so we did what we had to do and let her go. Even though she wasn't the most friendly or loving, it's still hard to lose someone who was part of the fur family. (Pets are people too.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meet Meagan!

Yesterday, I posted about the awesome swap package I received from participating in the Cold Hands Warm Hearts swap. Today, I wanted to introduce you to my swap partner, Meagan. She and I emailed back and forth a lot and ended up sharing some fun facts about ourselves with each other. So as a fun way for you to learn more about her, here are a few questions that she answered!

Meagan and her daughter
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Let's see, I'm a wife and mother, trying to figure out my place in this world.  I am a daughter of the Lord and can never be thankful enough for all that he has done for me.  I'm a small town Texas girl that the Army thought it would be hilarious to transplant me into California.  It's different, but we're making the best of it and even starting to enjoy it.  I'm really short, less than 5' tall, and I have often been mistaken as my husbands younger sister (which is weird because we look nothing alike?) but I find this hilarious.  I love to cook, craft, and am passionate about going green.  My dream is to buy an old farm and renovate it to be as off grid as possible and have our own homestead, unfortunately my husband doesn't share that dream-but I am working on him.  My life, it's crazy and hectic, but it's all mine.

2. What made you decide to start a blog?
I started my blog as a place to put my thoughts, that's still pretty much what it is since.

3. What do you hope readers get from reading your blog?
My blog is a mixture of everything-I talk about my family, faith, crafts, cooking, and going green.  It doesn't really follow one direction because I don't really follow on direction, I go where my heart leads me and my blog follows.  I guess I want people to know that I am real, and that even though everything might not be perfect it is the fact that I try and the process I go through that really matters.

4. What's your favorite (and least favorite) food?
Favorite: Chicken and dumplings, but only with my Aunt's recipe.  Least Favorite: steamed broccoli, I love it raw though!

5. If you had to choose one nail polish color for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
Black, I love it because you can dress it up or down and it doesn't have to look depressing or gothic at all.

6. If you could snap your fingers and travel to anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? Anywhere in Europe, I have a dream of planning a year long family vacation and just traveling around Europe at some point.

Her daughter on Halloween!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Meagan a little better! I've certainly grown to enjoy getting to know her and reading her blog.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cold Hands Warm Hearts Swap

So the wonderful Sandy and Ilene hosted another year of the Cold Hands Warm Hearts blog swap, and I was so excited to participate! I was paired with Meagan from Moogie Mama and couldn't wait to find out what goodies she sent along! I received my package the night before I left for Europe, so I was spending some quality time with my bestest (see red head below) when we found out what was inside! 

Inside, I found lots of fun goodies wrapped in pink tissue paper with owl stickers covering them. (Note: Meagan's cutie patutie daughter loved the owl stickers and felt that I must have them when they were shopping together.) When I opened up the packages and card, this is what I found!

One of my all-time favorite candies. Some very warm finger-less mitten-gloves (I just made up that name). And some pretty note cards. It's not unknown that I enjoy sending snail mail.
Thanks so much, Meagan!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Eiffel Tower: Part 2

Last week, I posted about the first part of our trip to the Eiffel Tower. So this week you'll get to see the second set of photos on a very hazy day. Let's pretend like we're back in Paris, shall we?