Beers to get us through the rest of winter

Only 16 more days until spring! Plus, March is as good a time as any to try some new brews. Here are some that I’ve enjoyed…

1. A new one, and a very, very expensive buy: Bell’s Hop Slam

2. This is one of my summer favorites, but…it’s still awesome in March: Nugget Nectar

3. A good standard IPA: Deschutes Red Chair IPA

4. And all you beer snobs out there, don’t laugh…Sam Adam’s Cold Snap

5. This might be my all time favorite: Bell’s Two Hearted Ale


Most of these have hefty %’s so I like to share. Enjoy…and don’t worry folks, springtime will be here soon and we all can enjoy a beer outside instead of curled up on the couch!




how to fail and then succeed in wedding planning

YOU GUYS! i got married this summer. i also cancelled my wedding and uninvited 250 of my family and friends.

the wedding that actually happened

it had become an over-the-top affair that escalated quickly. to get out of it, i had to un-invite everyone who had already received our save the dates; back out of contracts with a dozen vendors; and pay/lose a lot of money in deposits and contract obligations.

at the time, it was hard and sad and tough and awkward for everyone involved, but it was right for my husband and i.

how i knew it wasn’t for me / us:

  • i couldn’t even open a wedding planning book, because every book looked exactly the same, and none of them felt like “us.”
  • wedding planning meetings were torturous. how long can i discuss the color of cloth  napkins before wanting to punch a wedding planner? for zero seconds.
  • i couldn’t picture myself going through with it. my vv good and honest friend couldn’t either, and she told me so. her honesty was immensely helpful and helped me see what i couldn’t, ultimately leading to the cancellation.

so my advice to all yee who become betrothed:

  • first and foremost — avoid succumbing to pressure of expectations — your parents’, the industry’s, our culture’s. it can be hard, but know how to say no.
  • you’ll see no fewer than 1 million pictures of “perfect” weddings. if yours doesn’t look that way, it’s no less perfect. [this applies to many things in life, imo.] don’t compare your vision to what you see on pinterest.
  • do what feels most like you and best represents you and your person. ask yourself, what would your wedding look like if the wedding industry didn’t exist? what if there was no precedent? then do that.
  • be sincere – follow your gut!

– e

A Toast

Well, I didn’t want this blog to become a Mommy Blog. I made lots of snarky comments about Mommy Blogging when we started this endeavor. However, that’s where I’m at – as we say in Pittsburgh – so another Mom post it will be. Maybe the next one will be about wine or something from another part of life 🙂


Arlo was born one week ago, almost exactly as I’m writing this. It’s been a fairly easy transition so far, if i’m being totally honest. But the reason it’s been easy goes beyond the good weather, good natured baby, and the knowledge you have with a second child that you don’t with the first. The reason it’s been easier really is because of Wes. I can honestly say I couldn’t do this without him.


A few reasons to be grateful:

  1. He’s a shift taker. Right now, there’s not much he can do in the way of feeding, but when he offers to hold the baby for an hour so I can sleep, at 3 am, I’m grateful.

  2. Cleans the stuff I can’t get to right now.

  3. Spends extra time with Ronan so he doesn’t feel too left out.

  4. Switched his schedule to be around.

  5. Calls just to check in.

  6. Did laundry. And folded it! This one is particularly helpful, since I can’t bend over or carry stuff for a while.

  7. Set up and clean up for visitors – one of the perks of coming home early was having people to our house instead of the hospital. A perk for me…but W had to do lots of dishes in the meantime. He did it with a smile.

  8. Took me to the mall to walk around and get out of the house. He then remained cheerful, even though the whole trip involved sitting at the food court, trying to nurse, then sitting at the play place, then sitting again, at a chair by JC Penny’s, because the baby actually wanted to nurse at that point, and then driving home.
  9. Spends time with me just staring at the baby, reveling in the gift we have in our arms.

  10. And then, he goes to work!


Some of you are thinking – well moms do all the work, really. And maybe sometimes, that’s true. Some of you might be thinking, this is stuff your husband should do, what’s the big deal? Maybe that’s true too– but no one has to help another person. Let’s toast to all the things Fathers do that go unnoticed or unthanked while we are transitioning a new life to the world.

How my morning routine has changed since 25

I fill in my eyebrows (and legitimately feel fierce after). I use Anastasia brow wand, a good friend’s suggestion. I like to think of it as the beauty boost I do for myself. And because doing many little strokes looks far better (and less scary) than drawing a solid arched line, it forces me to slow down in my morning routine.

I stopped buying and accessorizing with so many damn scarves. At $10+ a pop, I do NOT need scarves for all seasons, puh-lease.

I use the time it takes to brew a pot of my own coffee at home in the morning to also tidy up briefly before work. This way, I don’t stop at Starbucks, nor do I spend my ENTIRE morning cleaning my apartment when I should be worrying about the bags under my eyes and whether or not my pants are wrinkled.

I pay Spotify $10.99/month just so I don’t have to listen to commercials while getting ready. Every minute counts (especially if you hit the snooze for 20 minutes like I do) and I will not spend it listening to marketers  – I do that for a living. Small pleasures like good music are important!

I FINALLY figured out how to incorporate blazers into my casual wear! I must thank my mother – who rocks blazers like a champ – and Pinterest for this one. Good to know those endless, zombie hours scrolling through a sea of models finally paid off.

I take multi-vitamins – albeit, gummy vitamins. Hanging onto childhood by a thread and staying healthy at the same time.



We may enjoy looking at Johnny Depp, but we actually go for Jim Halpert.

There’s a soft spot in my heart for the meek, humble and vulnerable, and it’s no different when it comes to guys (friends or otherwise).

In case anyone out there is still buying into the “Nice Guys Finish Last” motto, while online shopping for an after-Christmas leather jacket to better subscribe to the bad-boy look, we wanted to make it known that we (and humanity in general) DO notice and appreciate the small, kind things that guys sometimes do.

These things in particular, though minor, really melt our hearts:

 Helping elderly people…getting out of their wheelchair, carrying a grocery bag, etc.

Unloading all the groceries (and carry them up 3 flights of steps, in my case)

Texts or emails throughout the day to make you laugh

Noticing something is new or different

Talk about things their mothers do/did

Mouthing something to you across the table/room

Asking you for advice

Doing something unwarrantedly nice for their friend(s)

Holding doors for strangers

Giving you a bite of their sandwich


Stay sweet, gents.


More thoughts on being pregnant.

Every pregnant lady comes to terms with 9 months of carrying another life in their own way. Some of us go full force into healthy-mama mode. Some ladies eat gallons and gallons of ice cream. I’ve tried to stay somewhere in the middle. True Confessions below!



  1. I take the elevator to my cube every day now. I didn’t for the first few months. But now, at week 33, day 6, I don’t even care!
  2. I drink coffee. I try to keep it to one cup. One large cup. But I’ll be honest, some days I’ve had 2. Large  cups.
  3. I think I am less patient with people. This was a doozy this time around. Maybe it was the tired-ness. Maybe it was being 2 years older. Or maybe it was just pure hormones! I’m not sure what the cause but my co-workers and husband have been EXTREMELY patient with my much-shorter fuse  these days. Thanks, by the way.
  4. I ate 5 sandwiches over the course of the last few months with, wait for it, lunch meat! And they weren’t even warm. Now some of you might say, “That’s just stupid. What if you got a worm??” But you know what? I was hungry. And sometimes, there aren’t many other choices. So I did it.


  1. I take my vitamins! With the last one, I was totally lax on this one, and maybe only took them once a week. But I’m in a pretty good routine this time around, so this baby should be all iron and DHA full.
  2. Sleep. One benefit of being tired all the time (way more this time, still), is not really being able to stay awake even when I want to. So this body has gotten a good 7 hours of sleep a night, if not more!
  3. I gained less weight this time (so far ha!).
  4. A little bit in the same vein, I limited the sweets this time. I’m not saying I totally avoided any food just because it was bad for me, but I did deny that donut I didn’t really want a bit more than usual.

So anyway, I’m about ready to meet this new little guy. Wes and I finally agreed on a few names. The baby clothes are washed. But, I think I’ll continue to take the elevator as much as possible the next few weeks! – A


****DISCLAIMER: I am NOT advising that anyone shun the advice of professionals to stay away from lunch meat and too much coffee, among other things. They are much smarter than I. I’m only rattling on about cheating to make myself feel better.


small accomplishments call for big celebrations

Some of you already have all your Christmas gifts purchased and wrapped. Kudos! Others – like me – are still online shopping on their lunch breaks in hopes that the Amazon elves work their magic and get my packages to Pittsburgh in time for the holiday. No matter the pace or measure, though, don’t discount yourself the everyday, seemingly small victories you’re undoubtedly achieving.

Maybe you… brewed your own coffee this morning, dropped a few coins in the Red Kettles, restrained yourself from yelling at the customer service rep from the cable company, or simply passed up an offer to have cookies for breakfast.

Either way, these are big feats and deserve to be celebrated – you have my permission to go buy a bottle of champagne!

Here are some of mine from this month:

I joined a gym. It’s got all the bells & whistles yet all I use is the treadmill to run and watch VH1 music videos (yes they’re still on there in the morning). I may not end up looking like Beyonce, but at least I end up channeling her sass.


My house plants still have not died. In fact, the Christmas cactus on my window sill is about to bloom! Perhaps it’s just confused by the weather pattern – or maybe my black thumb has turned to green, let’s go with that.


I re-watched The Office Jim & Pam love story again. Okay, this isn’t really an accomplishment; rather an obsession with RomComs but it was just as great the second time around.



I attended a neighborhood dinner event solo, where I didn’t know anyone. This proved to be frightening yet resulted in a few new acquaintances.


Finally, I survived the GOP debate (over wine).


Cheers, friends.