Monday, July 30, 2012

Running & Writing, One in the Same

So much to say and so little time! I hope you all had a great weekend like I did. I'm still pretty tired, but I'm so excited to share all the photos with you! To start the week off on the right foot, I thought I'd share something that my editor at HooplaHa sent me in an email mid-afternoon last week. She knows that I'm a runner, along with a writer, so this really hit home.
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“Running! If there’s any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can’t think what it might be. In running, the mind flies with the body; the mysterious efflorescence of language seems to pulse in the brain, in rhythm with our feet and the swinging of our arms. Ideally, the runner who’s a writer is running through the land and cityscapes of her fiction, like a ghost in a real setting.”
- Joyce Carol Oates

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Friday, July 27, 2012

How 'bout them Yankees?



Happy Friday! Tonight, M and I are off to see our third Yankees/Red Sox match up at Yankee Stadium. I bought these tickets back in April as a spur of the moment purchase, which is something I never do. We went twice last year and are excited to go again! Despite being rivals in all sports, we still end up having lots of fun together - eating hot dogs, drinking too many beers, and laughing a lot. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Give it All or Nothing

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Today isn't just an ordinary day..it's "All or Nothing Day!" If you want to know more about what this day entails, or is supposed to entail, click here! And head on over to HooplaHa for your daily smile!
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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Hannah


Dear Hannah,
Happy Birthday! Today is a day we would have spent at the beach, drinking Captain Morgan from sippy cups, and laughing for no reason at all. You would have worn one of your pretty, girly bikinis and turned even tanner than imaginable.

Maybe we would have re-created our camping trip from six years ago with Anne.



Or maybe we would have just spent time at your parents' house cooking dinner and enjoying family and friends' company. Either way, we would have been happier than kids in a candy shop. That was the thing about you...you lived life to the max. And no matter how much you taught me, you taught me that I need to live life


You would have been 27 today. I can't believe it's almost been three years that you've been gone. Your beauty in some pictures doesn't even begin to capture how magnetic you were in real life. I miss you more than you know, but I know you're smiling down on all of those you love. I hope you're laughing and dancing in heaven today wearing bright prints.
Happy Birthday!
With love,
Amanda


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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Instagram Living

I haven't done a post based solely around Instagram photos (username: @aromaniello), so I thought I would link-up for the Instagram Blog-Hop hosted by Ashlyn and friends.

I'm reading two books at once right now. This and One Thousand Gifts....

I threw this amazing meal together a few weeks ago. I'm going to be making the spaghetti squash cakes again though so I can actually post a recipe...

Louie has mastered the art of sitting, but still has some more training to do...especially with leave it and drop it.

M bought me Fruit Roll-Ups as a special treat since he knew they remind me of my Grandpa. I may or may not have finished the entire box in four days.

I finally got the earrings that I won from a giveaway on Ruthie's blog from my fabulous bloggy friend Krista. Go check out her shop!
And I made this for lunch last week. Super simple recipe: one jalapeno chicken sausage, tri-color rotini, olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese, to taste!

Go link-up with these fabulous ladies! What have you been taking photos of on Instagram lately?

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Swappin'


I signed up for The Book Swap in an attempt to start reading more, and I guess I would say it worked! Because I'm currently reading two books! I ended up purchasing a second book while buy my swap partner, Sarah, her book!

She sent me a sweet little card plus the book I've been wanting to read One Thousand Gifts

A lot of people in the blogosphere have read and rave about this book, so I'm excited to really dig in. I've only read a little bit so far, but I'm looking forward to reading more! Thanks for hosting this swap, Heather and Katie! And thanks for the book, Sarah!

P.S. You can find me over at Amy's blog sharing my thoughts on the Truth About Moving!
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Catchin' Fireflies

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I'm not sure if you've noticed, but this summer is absolutely flying by! Pun intended? Anyways, I thought I'd do a little investigating about fun facts about fireflies. Check out my story on HooplaHa! And if you find yourself outside at night this weekend, have some fun and catch some fireflies!
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bought and Wanting

Last Friday, after I got out of work, M and I head to the local sidewalk sales in my hometown. These sales bring in tons of out-of-state people, but there are quite some great deals.

First, I bought this Lilly Pulitzer dress (yes, it's kids, but for $44, how could I not?). I didn't buy it though before getting a text approval from Clare. I still haven't worn it yet, and I'm debating returning it. What do you all think?

Then we hit up two running stores. I ended up getting a second pair of running shoes since I'm going to need to switch soon. I "downgraded" from the Nike Vomero to the Nike Pegasus, but I can't seem to find a picture of them online.

Thanks to everyone who gave their input on which Garmin to buy. I'm leaning towards getting the 110 or 210, since they are on the simpler side. And I've decided not to get a heart rate monitor since I already have this Polar one.

I also am looking to buy an epilator...TMI? I'm just sick of having to shave all the time, and my co-worker highly recommends getting one. Any suggestions on that would be appreciated!

So that's my randomness for Thursday.
And what would a blog post be without some cuteness of Louie?
On our way to puppy school last night
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Balancing Act!


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Do you ever feel like you might lose your actual balance when life gets insanely crazy? Me too! Yesterday, I talked about balance, or lack there of, in my life lately. Head on over to HooplaHa (Mom, click here!) to read about what brought balance back to my life. 
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Calling All Runners!

Happy Tuesday friends! This week kicks off my marathon training, however, after doing a run last week, I learned how very inaccurate the MapMyRun app for iPhone was.  I now realize why I didn't do as well on my half marathons in April...because I wasn't running as far as I thought!

So I'm asking all of my runner friends to help me out today! I polled a few of you on Twitter the other day, but I'm trying to figure out which GPS watch to purchase still.

I'm hoping to not spend more than $250 and am willing to go the eBay route, if necessary. I've narrowed myself down to a Garmin, but still am unsure of which one. Any and all recommendations welcome!
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Monday, July 16, 2012

My Two Guys

The morning after we picked up Louie from the airport, around 7AM, I looked out the window to find M and Louie in the parking lot. Louie was giving him kisses while M knelt down beside him. My heart is full. I feel unbelievably blessed to have such an amazing boyfriend and now puppy. Even a month and a half after adding Louie to our lives (and my how he's grown!), I still am feeling incredibly blessed to have our little family of three.
Lucky, I am.
Walking together after we picked Louie up from the airport
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." - Roger Caras
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Friday, July 13, 2012

National French Fries Day!

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Hells yeah, it's Friday! And guess what? It's National French Fries Day! We all know what this girl is going to be chowing down on tonight. Anyways, I pulled a bunch of fun recipes and shared them on HooplaHa, which may inspire you to go get some or even make some fries! Have a great weekend friends!
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Third o' July

I know I'm a little late in the game here, but I'm going to finally start recapping our trip to Maine and Massachusetts. Even though the third of July festivities came after Maine, I had to post a comparison of last year versus this year's photo of M and I. Last year is one of the best photos we've ever taken. This year, I was being goofy and awkwardly am flashing you all my arm pit and muscles. Enjoy!
Last year versus this year
Another fun time was had by all at the annual third of July party. I'll spare the details of the drama of the night because I'm honestly too emotionally drained right now to go into it, but here's some fun pictures from the evening that I thought you all might enjoy! 


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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thank You

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Each week Joelle posts a new mantra, and I thought of how highly appropriate this week's was for how I'm feeling. So I just wanted to say a giant thank you to all of you, not just this week, but for everything. I know people write posts like this all the time about how grateful they are for the sense of community and strong friendships they've built, but I mean it. Coming back to reality this week was tough. Because even in those moments where you start crying out of the blue, reading supportive comments, getting tweets, receiving sweet emails, or random text messages, kept bringing a smile to my face. So all I want to say again is thank you
Your support means more to me than you could imagine, and I hope you know how grateful and appreciative I am.
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Craving Normal

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After spending five days on vacation, turned extended vacation, but not really vacation because it was filled with grieving, funeral planning, wake, funeral, and mostly crying, I'm craving normal. I've been through loss before: a great aunt, a former boyfriend, a best girl friend, and a professor. I know I can cope, get through this time, still function, and yet, I'm just wanting everything to feel normal. 

I guess I had blocked this part from my mind. The part where even little things cause you to burst into tears. The part where you simply go through the motions, but aren't really there. The part where you look fine to the people around, but inside your heart is aching. 

In real life, right now, I'm very sad. But this need to be normal again takes a lot of time. I forgot that going back to doing regular life things doesn't turn you back on to your normal self, it just forces you to be doing again, whatever doing may be. 

There's a fresh hole in my heart, to add to the other holes that have healed, but left scars. I don't know how long it's going to take for me to not randomly cry, or lay on the couch for hours, or just stare into space, but just know that even when my blog posts do go back to the happy things, I still hurt, despite my happy-go-lucky appearance. 

Until then, I'm just going to keep craving normal.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

RIP Grandpa

8/24/1923 - 7/4/2012
This is a post I haven't been looking forward to writing. One that I had hoped and prayed wouldn't come as soon as it did. Some openly talk about familial life and death on blogs throughout the heartache, yet I've never gone through something like this while being a part of the blog community. 

When I posted that I was going to MIA, I read comments from you all hoping that I was doing something fun. I was not. Early Wednesday morning (yes, July 4th), my Grandpa passed away. He was a huge part of my life, so I took the rest of the week off to be with family and help with whatever needed to be done.

I have to admit that I wrote the hardest piece of writing that I've had to write in my life so far: his eulogy. Instead of talking about him, I just thought I'd share it here.


The brown shag carpeting made the perfect blanket for the four of us to lie on our stomachs while sitting far too close to the TV.  It was Sunday afternoon at Grandpa’s house, where our dads, aunts, and uncle would spend time in the kitchen with Grandpa talking about grown up stuff, like sports, and we would spend hours watching Nickelodeon.  Every Sunday, without fail, Grandpa would make what we now call buttery rigatoni: pasta with not one, but two sticks of melted butter. He also made a separate bowl of rigatoni with meat sauce, because we each preferred something different.  It wasn’t until after we ate our pasta that we’d be allowed a helping, or two, from Grandpa’s stash of fruit roll ups or fruit by the foots; sweet treats that were always stocked in the house because he remembered our favorites.

That was something we could always count on, Grandpa remembering what each of us liked, specifically when it came to candy, cookies, or anything in between. We know that our sweet teeth came from him. 

It’s hard to easily capture a man we looked up to who was just 88 years young, but based on the many photos that decorated his refrigerator and walls family was his number one priority. 

A man of few words, but a big heart, his patience was unfailing with his grandchildren, and he never yelled as we desperately tried to pet the stray cats that only came into the house for him. We will always remember how quietly he spoke on the phone, his clever sense of humor, the money sorters, mechanical pencils, animal figurines, and overflowing bags of goodies that we received at every family event.  We’ll always remember seeing him in the audience and stands at sports games, dance recitals, or cheerleading competitions.  We’ll always remember his love of Dean Martin and listening to “That’s Amore.” We’ll especially remember how fondly he spoke of Grandma Lily, his unfailing devotion to his family, and his reliability.

Yet there’s one moment that stands out in my mind. It was the second to last time I saw him, just the two of us, sitting by the window in the hospital. We talked about tomato plants that are now growing in the garden, about cooking, specifically Italian food, and about family. We laughed and chatted, something I’ll always treasure, but it was something that he said that will be forever imprinted in my mind.

“I’m proud of my family,” he said while staring out the window. “You know, some have made mistakes, but I’m really proud of this family.” Not one to make a strong statement like that, I knew that it came straight from the heart.

Grandpa, you will be missed, but we’ll do our best to continue to make you proud.


I apologize for my absence from this social media and blog world, yet I needed alone time. It took days for me to even make phone calls to tell my friends because I just didn't want it to be real. But after the funeral, it felt real. So I slept for hours, drank some sangria, and cried...a lot. 

I go back to work today, and I crave the normalcy, yet after loss, I know that it takes a long time for everything to really be normal. 

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Friday, July 6, 2012

National Hot Dog Month

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Did you know that July happens to be National Hot Dog Month? Me neither. But this doesn't just mean eating hot dogs for me, it means celebrating a tradition with my Dad. Head on over to HooplaHa to find out more about that tradition!
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Thursday, July 5, 2012

MIA

I'm going to be missing in action for a few days, but I'll be back to regular blogging next week hopefully.  Don't worry about this girl! I'll fill you all in on Monday!

Hope you all had a wonderful July 4th holiday!

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy America Day!

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We're still up in Massachusetts for the day enjoying the summer sunshine and relaxing for our last day of vacation! I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July!
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Monday, July 2, 2012

June's Lack of Progress


G0 For The Goal


6 months down and another 6 to go... Time is not on my side. As I drove into work last week, I was thinking about how M and I were talking about Christmas gifts the night before. I know, Christmas. But the more I thought about it, all I want is more time. Time to relax. Time to read. Time to myself. Time to run. Time just to be. Maybe that's what I'll try to work on in July. I'm linking up with MeghanLoriMeghan, and Whitney again to share what I've accomplished for the month. Here are my posts for JanuaryFebruaryMarchApril, May, and the year.

  • Be happy. I've barely cried since we moved. I think I've cried like twice, which is HUGE considering how much I normally cry. Needless to say, I'm one happy camper. 
  • Relax more. I knew I needed to relax when I got sick right before vacation, so I went home early and slept the whole day, plus we took a real vacation, which we're currently on right now.
  • Write. Still a contributing writer for HooplaHa and loving it, but I also am in the process of starting to do more freelance writing from another friend. Facebook friends from college definitely help make connections!  
  • Read at least one book a month. BIG FAT FAIL. I didn't read a single book, notta one.
  • Cook a new recipe once a month. (No-Bake Cake Batter Truffles)
  • No shop months. June was a pseudo no shop month. I didn't buy anything for me, only apartment and Louie things.
  • Give once a month. I donated money to some of the causes at the checkout in stores.  

I'm going to try harder to hit these goals more in July, plus cross some of the things off my 25 Before 25 list. It's terrible how I haven't even looked at some of those items. I hope you're all enjoying the summer so far! 

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