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Twenty Twelve

Can I just start by saying how OBSESSED I am with my new blog design?! My main squeeze Erin (sorry Dom!) gave me my first makeover in months and it is so exactly what I wanted! I literally get giddy every time I open up to my page and remember this is all mine. If you're looking for an amazing custom design go to Erin! She could be charging a million times more than what she is, so go book her before she realizes just how fabulous she is!
Back to scheduled programming...

This is why I love having a blog.
Even though I didn't start this blog until the end of March, I love that I can look back and remember all the fun, exciting, life changing things that happened over the past year.
I'm already wishing I could fast forward and look back at my 2013.  I know this coming year will be so defining for my life, and I'll be so thankful to have it documented!

Dom and I headed to Oahu, Hawaii with his family and two other big fun Italian families.

Dom and I spent our last Valentine's Day at our favorite date spot!

I started this blog! After months of reading them, I finally sat down and and started my own.  I literally had no idea what I was doing, and couldn't have imagined how much I would fall in love with the blogging community!

 My mama and I had a girls weekend in DC and went to Easter service at the National Cathedral.

Dom graduated from the University of Rochester with his Biomedical Engineering Pre-Med track degree! {Subtle brag. What are girlfriends for!?}

The girls and I headed to our annual Rascal Flatts concert! Nothing says summer to me like a tailgate and country concert! The rest of the month was full of Organic Chemistry. Not exactly blog worthy. 

I got LASIK and partied with my sunglasses on...

...and celebrated Felicia's engagement!

 We packed up our lives and moved to Florida. :)

We explored our new state and found all the gems South Florida has to offer.

Dom and I traveled to Italy with my family, and then road tripped through Europe for a week...just the two of us!

My best friend came to visit, we cooked a feast with my family for Thanksgiving, and went to our first Miami Dolphins game!


 We flew up to New York and spent the holidays with both our families and so many loved ones! It was an incredible week!

I hope you all have a great New Year's Eve! Dom and I are heading to Siesta Key to ring in the new year with our best friends.  I really can't think of a better way to start the year!


Nutella Cocktail Shooters

This is one of those things I see on Pinterest that stops me in my tracks.
Seriously y'all (I've always wanted to say that), these are unbelievable!

If you need something quick, easy, and delicious to bring to your next holiday party, these are absolutely perfect. These shooters take less than 5 minutes, and disappear in even less time!
They look all sweet and innocent, but don't be fooled...this is definitely an adult bevie.
Believe me, I'm writing this after taste testing the whole batch.  But it's okay.  It's for the blog.

What You'll Need:
  • Nutella
  • Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur 
  • Milk
  • Ice
  • Chocolate chips (optional)
Combine 1 cup of shaved ice (or 2 big handfuls of ice cubes if you're like me), 1 shot of Baileys, and a 1/2 cup of milk in a blender until smooth.  Then, add 3 heaping spoonfuls of Nutella and blend again until smooth.  Pour into shot glasses and garnish with chocolate chips if you so desire!

Heaven in a shot glass.  When was the last time you could say that?

Tip: After having a few shooters (solely for quality control reasons, of course) Dom suggested adding a banana and blending it up. It was delicious! So feel free to experiment, you really can't go wrong!

Recipe adapted from here



Getting Lucky in Luxembourg.

You all are bad.
I know why you clicked on this post.
Too bad for you, I just needed an exciting title that sounded good with Luxembourg.
But! We did get lucky.
Lucky that one of Dom's fraternity brothers is studying abroad there so we had someone to show us around!
Luxembourg is seriously gorgeous. Who knew?  I think that's what I loved so much about our trip; we got to visit places we probably wouldn't have ever thought to vacation.  Now we know the places to skip, and places we have to go back to and never leave!

We got to Luxembourg around noon, and started our day by making our parents proud and touring the historical castemates.
You know you're old when you chose to do something educational...and pay for it. It was so great!
Kind of creepy too.
I wish I had pictures to do the city justice, but there was a weird haze that made all my pictures really washed out.  You just have to use your imagination a little!
We walked around Luxembourg City (didn't take long), saw the Palace, toured the cathedral and finally met up with Sam!
We got dinner and drinks with him, and then something happened that's not supposed to happen when you're with a local.  We got lost.
Sam works in Luxembourg City, but lives outside of it, so once we got down into the city he got disoriented! Per usual it turned into an adventure, as we tried to find our way up.

You can see in pictures that the city of Luxembourg is in kind of a valley of sorts.  They built it that way to protect the city, but when you've found your way's hard to get back up!
Eventually we made it, but not before Sam informed us that Luxembourg has the highest rate of lost landmines.
Or before we followed a path we thought would lead us up, but turned out to be a government building that took our picture when we stepped on the property.
We may be wanted in Luxembourg now...come to think of it.  
Luckily, Luxembourg is even more gorgeous at night.

See other trip recaps: Rome / Florence / Date with The Pope



Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
I hope each and every one of you has an incredible day filled with love, family, friends and blessings.

And maybe a few cocktails.


GFC Blog Hop!

It's Tuesday again which means it's time for the GFC Blog Hop!
When I want to follow a blog the first thing I look for is GFC (Google Friend Connect), it's so easy and  nice to be able to go and see all of the blogs you follow in one spot. It's really a great tool to have. 
One side note- Did you know you can follow through GFC using your Twitter Account? TRUE, it's definitely an option!
Ok, so let's get to the party, shall we?
RULES are simple:
1. Follow your host via GFC
The First link below
2. Follow your co-hosts via GFC
The Next 8 links below
3. Link up below using your main blog url not a specific post.
4. Make sure to visit some of the blogs in the link up and follow them via GFC 
and if you want to leave them a comment, I'm sure they'd appreciate that as well.
5. Tweet about this blog hop
6. Share about this blog hop by grabbing a button and putting it on your sidebar!
Post Sponsor Ad: 



Strasbourg, France

Merry Christmas Eve!
Today I am helping Dom and his mom prepare for the crazy Italian Christmas Eve party that is happening tonight.  There will be lots of friends, family, and laughs, all enhanced by a little Christmas "punch!"
This will be my second time taking part in the festivities and I can't wait.
At least this year I know what I'm getting into!

Without further adieu, here's a little but about our day in Strasbourg, France!

Just like every other part of our time in Switzerland, our trip from Zermatt to Strasbourg turned out to be quite the adventure!  Instead of being able to go up and over these mountains, we actually had to drive our car onto a rickety train that took us through the mountain.  It was 15 minutes of pure darkness and actually spooked me a little! But soon enough we got back into the sunlight and headed on our way.

We got to Strasbourg in the early evening and explored before finding a real french crepe!
Gluten free shmuten free...when in France right?
Then, we found the cutest restaurant on the water to eat.

 Getting back to the hotel was the shock of the trip.  It was shocking then, but absolutely hilarious to look back on.  The hotel was practically falling apart and reeked of cigarette smoke.
When we got to our room? Once we got the suitcases in there was no room for us! We had to crawl over them and onto the bed.  There was no shower, just a broken spout that half sputtered some cold water if you asked it really nicely.  Don't forget the TV!  It was a whole 12 inches. Except, oh didn't work.
Thankfully we didn't plan on spending any time there! As Dom repeated many times...
"It's all about the story babe."
See other trip recaps: Rome / Florence / Date with The Pope



Dear Happy Hour and Syracuse

Dear Kristine: I had the most amazing time at our dinner last Tuesday! I have missed you so much, and love that I can write this here and know you will read it. :) I think you should come back so we can get more dessert shots. Deal?  

Dear World: Please don't end today! Especially while I'm flying.  I'm already scared enough as it is.

Dear Syracuse: I am on my way to you right now! If all went as planned my flight from West Palm took off around 6am taking me back to the cold! First thing on my agenda? A Gyno appointment.  Nothing says home for the holidays like getting your hooha and teeth checked out. Sigh. After that, it's all about Christmas! I'm so lucky to get to spend the holidays with my family, and to have such understanding bosses!  

Dear Happy Hour with Coworkers: You happened last Friday, but you still get a delayed letter.  Thank you for being so fun! I'm starting to feel at home at my new job, and going to the happy hour was so much fun.  Slowly but surely coworkers are becoming friends, and even if we're all different ages, it still makes this place feel more like home.  

Dear Connecticut: My heart and soul are with you.  I haven't spoken about you much on here, not because you're not on my mind every minute, but because there just aren't words.  I pray each day you get closer to finding peace.  

Dear Mom and Dad: I am so excited to spend Christmas with you.  Even though I won't be waking up in my bed Christmas morning, I will still feel all the excitement I felt when I was little the minute I walk in the door.  

Dear Dom: I hope you're ready to leave your house by 7am Christmas morning! Guess we can't do tequila shots with Nana this year ;).  

Dear Dom's Nana: I can't wait for you to be our roomie for a few weeks/months. I've been resting up so I can hopefully keep up with your party animal ways!  

Dear Blog Followers: I can't believe how close I am to 500! I really never thought I would see the day. I am so thankful for each and every one of you. Special love to Erin, who loved me (or at least pretended to ;)) when I had barely any followers, and new loves Kayla and Alexa whose posts always make me happy, and whose comments and emails always bring the biggest smile to my face!

Happy Friday, friends :)




Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

This pin had me at red velvet.
And then again at cheesecake.
And especially when I realized I only had to replace one ingredient to make them gluten free!

They are fun, festive, and perfect for the holidays (or Valentine's Day, or any day for that matter)!


Brownie Layer
  • 1/2 cup butter 
  • 2-oz baking chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp red food coloring
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour (substitute King Arthur Gluten Free Flour for GF brownies)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Cheesecake Layer
  • 8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line your baking pan with tin foil and lightly grease.
2. In a small bowl, melt butter and chocolate together.  Mix well and set aside to cool.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and food coloring.  Then, add the chocolate mixture until smooth. Add flour and salt and stir until everything is mixed well.  Pour into pan and spread evenly.
4. To prepare the cheesecake layer, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth.  Drop by the spoonful onto the brownie layer.  Use a butter knife to swirl the layers together.

{I trusted Dom with the dropping!}

 Bake for 35-40 minutes until both layers are set. Cut, serve, and devour!

Tip: As you gluten free ladies know, desserts made with gluten free flour can get very dense.  While these tasted great, they did come out with the distinct gluten free dense texture.  To combat that, I would recommend only baking for about 30 minutes, so as much moisture as possible can be retained!

P.S. I'm guest posting over at Erin's blog today! Telling you about my 10 best tips for traveing with your significant other!



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