My boss thinks it's hilarious that every weekend I'm either at a wedding or a baby shower ... but that's just the typical life of women in their late 20's! Love is in the air ... over the weekend, my husband John's Best Man, Ryan and his fiance, (who we adore!) Linda got married in New Jersey! They are such a sweet and loving couple ... and I married into an AWESOME group of friends because John's friends know how to have a good time! The wedding was beautiful, full of love, everyone was beaming with joy ... but I just had to share this adorable idea! These were the table numbers!
The table numbers were photos of the bride and groom at the age of the table number. So these were photos of them when they are 7, for table 7! How sweet is that??? An awesome idea for any brides-to-be!
Lots of exciting things are happening and I'm trying to be better about sharing the good news! I speak often about Candy's Place in Forty Fort and the wonderful services they offer to local cancer patients throughout their treatments, but for those who don't know, I am also a member of the Board of Directors at Candy's Place. It is a great honor and priveledge to be a part of such an incredible organization. Candy's Place is a home-like setting in Forty Fort, providing FREE wellness services to local cancer patients. Excercise classes, massages, Reiki, Yoga ... there is always something new going on and all of the services are provided free of charge to cancer patients ... thanks to annual fundraising and donations. Candy's Place survives on donations ... which is why I wanted to take a moment to thank EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU who purchased Jeff's most recent Wackjobs cd, Radio Clowns. Jeff donated 100% of the proceeds from the cd to Candy's Place ... and just presented the check for $9,049! Pictured with Jeff and the oversized check is Chris Ostroski, the director of Candy's Place. How AWESOME is that?! So cool.
If you want to support Candy's Place while having a good time with friends, please join us at our next fundraiser at Susquehanna Brewing Company - Happy Hour - Thursday, March 12 from 6-8! More info here! Admission includes beer and wine tastings, brewery, tours, beverages, and food courtesy of area restaurants!
One thing I love about awards shows is live-tweeting and facebooking with all of you while watching! It's so fun to have thousands of friends at your fingertips to chat with during the lulls & exciting times. Overall, the #Oscars were good. As with most awards shows, it went on WAY too long and by the end, I lost steam ... and gave up after Lady Gaga's performance. About that - girlfriend NAILED it! We always see her in elaborate costumes ... so it was really refreshing to just see her BELT IT OUT in a beautiful gown, no gimmicks. Another really nice moment happened earlier on the red carpet when an interviewer asked where her fiance Taylor was. She said he was watching from home because he had to work in the morning. What a wonderfully refreshing answer. How normal. Like they're just like the rest of us ... with obligations and can't always go party out on the town. Loved this side of Lady Gaga, hope there's more where that came from!
... kind of sad that award season is winding down ... especially because The Bachelor has almost picked his wifey too. What the heck is a girl to do on Sunday/Monday nights anymore?! Oh yeah, hit the gym. That's probably a good idea. ;) -A
If you're tired of hearing about all of the negative things going on in NEPA ... the good news is ... there are GOOD things happening in NEPA! While it's necessary to report on the bad, it's equally as important to highlight the good! I was recently introduced to an incredible Arts in Medicine program called Beads of Courage! The Palermo Heart to Heart Foundation is a regional program sponsor of Beads of Courage, helping to bring the program as locally as Janet Weis Children's Hospital in Danville. Beads of Courage helps children battling cancer and other serious illnesses tell their courageous stories!
I offered to cook Thanksgiving dinner. You're probably thinking ... WHY WOULD YOU DO SUCH A THING? ESPECIALLY WHEN WE ALL KNOW YOU CAN'T COOK! I'm starting to realize that wasn't such a bright idea. I thought it would be FUN. Then I started googling HOW to cook Thanksgiving dinner and realized there are WAY more steps involved that I originally anticipated. My husband also requested REAL mashed potatoes, so I can't even skimp and use instant. My plans this weekend include making a list and shopping for everything I will need to prepare Thanksgiving dinner ... so here's where you can help.
I'm looking for EASY side dishes and mayve some tricks/tips for preparing/cooking a fresh turkey. No tip is too simple ... thanks in advance!
I hope you have a great turkey day with friends and family. Pour yourself another glass of wine when the family drama kicks in, wouldn't be the holidays without it! ;) XO -A
After weeks of Jeff taunting me with carbohydrates … I’m happy to report that it’s been 5 weeks on the diet plan I’ve been following and I haven’t cheated a bit! It hasn’t been easy, especially because of my LOVE of pizza, but it’s been doable and I feel great. Many of you have emailed me for the title of the book I read and the plan – it’s the Metabolism Miracle and it was actually written by a woman originally from Taylor, PA! A friend of mine followed the program and had great success … and as a self-proclaimed Carb-aholic, I knew I needed to cut back on the processed foods and carbs. While I miss PIZZA and the convenience of throwing pierogies in the oven with a salad for dinner, I feel so much better laying off of the carbs ... even if it's temporarily to follow this program which limits you to 5 net carbs every 5 hours. If you want more info. on that - check out http://www.themetabolismmiracle.com/
Hope you have a great weekend! John and I are going away to Niagara Falls, Canada to celebrate our first wedding anniversary! Can you believe it's already been a year?! Nuts. I also beat Jeff's guess that we'd be expecting a baby within the first year ... he refuses to believe we're waiting a little bit! ;) XO
Hi! Hope you had a great 4th of July weekend! I tweeted a photo of my famous Jell-O shots and had so many people ask how I made them, so that's what you'll find in this blog. I've been making these red, white, and blue Jell-O shots for a few years and EVERYONE loves them. If you prepare a few days in advance they are REALLY easy to make.
All of the little cups and lids are found at Party City ... it's the Jell-O that's the problem. Finding WHITE Jell-O is a chore, but if you're willing spend a little extra, I found Pina Colada Jell-O on Amazon and that's what I used! (It takes awesome too!) The trick to these jello shots is to let each layer color set in the fridge for an entire day before adding the next layer on top! For first timers - make jello like you normally would, but replace the COLD cup of water, with a cup of vodka or rum! I used a different flavor vodka for each color Jell-O!
In all, it takes 3 days to make these ... but trust me, it's totally worth it. They are a total CROWD PLEASER on the 4th of July! Save for next year! :) XO
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to SUMMER and after this LONG freaking WINTER, I'm bringing in the SUMMER FUN ASAP! John and I were talking about having nothing to do Memorial Day weekend and VOILA, his parents texted us that they are going to have a BBQ. Perfect! I was assigned drinks! My favorite! His family has come to expect over-the-topness from me, so I can't disappoint. I quickly did a PINTEREST search for festive beverages for the party. If you're doing it up this weekend - check out these drinks ... perhaps be the party starter and bring them to the party you're attending!
For the grown ups (I still think it's weird that I'm considered one of those) a sangria ... and for the kiddos (I'm totally trying one of these too) a red, white, and blue drink!
For the kids: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/202662051956591429/
For the adults: http://welcometomontalvocountry.blogspot.com/2012/06/red-white-and-blue-sangria-white-wine.html
We all live very busy lives. We make choices every day that determine our tomorrows. We often ignore things that don’t affect us and some of us only care about things that we or loved ones are passionate about or affected by.
May is Melanoma Awareness Month. If I can inform just 1 person of the dangers of the sun and how SCARY it is to face melanoma, I will be happy.
When it comes to cancer, we all know someone. When they are diagnosed, we google it, learn all about the kind, and hope for the best possible outcome.
Before I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, I didn’t know what melanoma was. I had heard the word few times, but never really knew what it was. Skin Cancer wasn’t on my radar AT ALL. I was in my early 20’s, focused on my career, and living in my own little bubble. It never crossed my mind that I would be faced with a potentially deadly cancer. It also never dawned on me that a little mole on my breast would turn my life upside down. I try to share this story with anyone who will listen because the fact that I had no idea what melanoma was, means there are other people walking around without a clue too.
It seems like until many people know someone personally that has been diagnosed with melanoma, it’s still one of those things that they think won’t happen to them. Until I share the details … the painful, sad, scary details … the words don’t leave an impression.
If you don’t know someone who has been diagnosed with Melanoma, LET ME BE THAT PERSON. Let me be the person you have a direct connection to … the reason you educated yourself what to keep an eye out for. If you're going through it and need a friend, reach out. I'm happy to talk with you! XO
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It is the least common form of skin cancer, but the deadliest. Never did I imagine that I would be the one dealing with it … especially in my 20’s. If I knew THEN what I know NOW, I would have done many things differently.
Before: I tanned here and there, but never regularly. I just didn’t have the time. I grew up in New England and while I don’t remember having horrible sunburns growing up, I’m sure I had a few. (One blistering sunburn early on in life doubles your chance of developing melanoma later in life) Sunscreen was something I used when it was around, but I didn’t seek it out. Sunglasses were purely a fashion statement, never a necessity. Hats, same thing. I didn’t think twice about the time I spent outside in the sun and often complained that I could never get a tan. Looking back, all of that was stupidity and ignorance. The reality of it was … I didn’t know better. I didn’t know anyone who had melanoma … it was never a topic of conversation ... so I knew nothing of it.
What is that? I’m not even quite sure what made me realize that a new mole on my breast was something to be alarmed about. I noticed a small dark dot on my breast when I was getting out of the shower one day. I was 24. I noticed it and carried on. A few months later, I noticed it again and this time it seemed to be a little bigger. Again, I carried on with my life and thought nothing of it. It was a 2 months later than I noticed it was changing. It was darker, bigger, and had edges that were a different shade of brown. The center was almost black. While I didn’t think “skin cancer,” I did wonder if that was normal. (Skin cancer didn’t even cross my mind once – that terrifies me for other people who like the 24-year-old me, know nothing about melanoma)
I showed a friend. Showed her again weeks later. Again a month after that. Finally she insisted I show my doctor. I had a gynecologist appointment coming up, so I waited until that appointment to bring this mole to a doctor’s attention. The moment she saw it, she told me I needed to call a dermatologist and tell them I needed to be seen immediately. I didn’t even have a dermatologist! I called, waited 3 months for an appointment (more waiting – meanwhile the cancer could be spreading) and was finally seen. That’s when a mole changed my life.
Diagnosis: My dermatologist performed a biopsy and confirmed the diagnosis of malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. (Those results took weeks to come back) When he told me I would be needing to schedule an appointment with an oncologist the next day, I THEN started to understand what was happening. The word melanoma meant nothing to me, but I did know what an oncologist was. I teared up, but knew I just had to face it a day at a time. He told me not to go home and google melanoma … which of course I did. He warned me it was going to say scary things, which it did. Everything I read talked about it being the most aggressive skin cancer and how fast it spreads. I have a hard time expressing how scary this was. I went from blissful ignorance to being face with all of this scary information very quickly.
The treatment: Days later I was undergoing multiple surgeries to remove scoops of my breast (leaving about a 4-5 inch scar) and surgery to remove lymph nodes from underneath my arm to determine whether the cancer had spread. (The survival rate for melanoma that has traveled to distant organs is only 15%) I’ll spare you the details, but one thing I will NEVER forget is how PAINFUL some of the injections were before the surgery. Thankfully, my melanoma was discovered at an early enough stage that there was no evidence that it had spread to other parts of my body.
Now: It was a terrifying experience. It didn’t end there, but I’ll end the story there. Ever since (the past 4 years) I’ve undergone many other tests (countless MRI’s) and biopsies for fear that the melanoma did in fact spread. I’ve had MANY more suspicious moles removed (all of them being pre-cancerous or non-melanoma) and continue to teeter on the fine line of being vigilant and paranoid.
Prevention: Wear sunscreen. (Check the expiration date, they DO expire quickly) Reapply often. Cover yourself. Wear a hat when you’re outside during midday hours. Wear sunglass – melanoma CAN develop on your eyes … and avoid indoor tanning! Embrace the skin you’re in. You don’t need to cook it for it to be beautiful!
What to look for: Everyone should know the warning signs of melanoma, which are as simple to remember as A, B, C, D and E—
“A” stands for asymmetrical. Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?
“B” stands for border. Is the border irregular or jagged?
“C” is for color. Is the color uneven?
“D” is for diameter. Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?
“E” is for evolving.