This One Italian Girl

Book Review – The Silent Sister


I skipped last month’s book review because I didn’t actually finish the book.  But sometimes that just happens in life.  The thing with being in a book club is we end up talking about the whole book, which makes it hard for me to go back and finish it later when I already know what is going to happen.  I didn’t really love that book anyway though, so it wasn’t that big of a deal to me.  This months book was different though and I loved it!  I was bad and didn’t start it until last weekend, but it was so good that I finished it in 3 days.  It was a mystery book which are my favorites.  The book we read was called The Silent Sister by Diane Chamerlain.


The book was about this girl, Riley, who grew up her whole life believing that her older sister committed suicide as a teenager.  Riley was only 2 years old at the time so she doesn’t remember anything.  Twenty years later, her Dad passes away and she is forced to clean out his house.  It is there that she starts finding evidence that life may have been very different than she thought growing up.  Her sister is still alive.  And she is not exactly who Riley thought she was.  Why has she been in hiding all these years?  Her parents are both dead and her brother hates their older sister for some reason, so Riley spends the majority of the book trying to figure out the truth about her family and her past.

The author goes back and forth between the perspective of Riley and her sister.  When Riley is narrating, the story is being told in the present with her trying to figure out what happened to her family and why her sister has been a mystery all these years.  When her sister is narrating, the story is being told in the past of how she left the family and made a new life for herself, but also not completely letting go.  It was those slight connections the sister held on to that led Riley to her evidence of still being alive.  The book had so many twists and turns that made it hard to stop reading.  Although some of them got to be a little unbelievable, it was still really interesting and a well written book.  If you like mystery books, especially ones that revolve around families, then this is the book for you.

Weekend Recap – Bridal Shower


This weekend was my second (of three) bridal shower.  I know what you’re thinking.  Three bridal showers, are you crazy?!  Well, probably a little bit.  But I have a really big family and to avoid having a 50+ person bridal shower, we split them up into three.  Plus, I also have a really amazing family and they were all so excited to help throw these showers for me.  The first shower was mostly my Dad’s side of the family, this second shower was my Mom’s side and the third will be mostly friends.

The shower wasn’t until Saturday afternoon though, and some other fun stuff happened before that.  So Friday night my parents were supposed to have a softball game, but it turns out the other team forfeit.  Since my brother and sister-in-law were already in town for the game we all decided to order pizza and play games at my parents house that night.  We played this racing car board game that we got for Christmas last year.  My Dad is determined to win this game.  We have played a handful of times, and everyone has won except for him.  It kills him.  Sadly, his losing streak continues.

Saturday morning I got up early and went for a run.  I have been slowly getting back into running and I am really loving it.  I want to sign up for some type of race soon, but I know that as soon as I put pressure on myself to commit to training for it, that’s when I fall off the wagon.  So for now I just want to enjoy the running and see where it takes me.  Back to the story.  So after my run I had an appointment to get my hair done for another possible wedding style.  Last time I got it done it was more of a loose bun and this time I wanted to try a tighter bun.  I am really happy with how it turned out and I’m thinking this is the hairstyle I will be going with.


After I got my hair done I had to race home to change and pick up my soon to be MIL and my Mom to head to the shower.  Three of my cousins hosted the shower for me and they went above and beyond on the decorations.  It turned out so cute!  They had a banner made with pictures from our engagement session, there was a mimosa bar, and the table decorations were adorable.  We played one game where they read a story about the me and the fiance where anytime they said left or right we had to pass a bag in that direction.  It was hysterical to watch my family get so flustered with their lefts and rights.  I ended up with one of the bags so I won a prize!  To eat we had Chinese food and they made homemade won tons for appetizers.  For dessert they made cupcakes and this delicious coconut-pineapple pudding thing.  And of course I got plenty of wonderful gifts.  I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful family that supports and loves me like they do.


When I got home from the shower, the fiance was just getting home from wine tasting with some of his old coworkers.  I could tell they had had a lot of fun if you know what I mean.  We all went inside and hung out for a bit before everyone started getting hungry.  We decided to walk downtown and eat at a local Mexican restaurant.  After dinner, the fiance’s friends left and my best friend came over.  The fiance went to bed because he had to get up and work the next day.  My best friend and I were planning to bake cookies and watch a scary movie, but then we remembered that this haunted house at the fairgrounds was still open.  So we went to that instead.  It was so much fun.  I don’t know why, but for some reason I like getting scared in haunted houses.  It freaks me out walking through them and I always scream, but for some reason I always go back.


Sunday was the most perfect lazy Sunday.  I slept in and kissed the fiance goodbye as he left for work while cuddling the pup in bed.  Then my Mom texted me that my Dad was getting them donuts and coffee for breakfast and asked if I wanted one.  Um, of course!  So I got dressed and rushed over for breakfast.  The rest of the day was spent reading my book club book, taking the dogs for a walk, taking a nap, and having dinner.  After dinner I went back home to meal prep for us for the week and finished my book.  It was the perfect way to end the weekend.  I always like to relax on Sunday’s because it really lets me calm down before the stress of another week hits.

Rattle Cupcakes



As I mentioned in a previous post I recently attended a baby shower where I made these mini rattle cupcakes.  I found the idea on Pinterest, and thought it was just too cute not to try.  Turns out we already had a dessert provided through the restaurant so it’s a good thing I made these mini so people still ate them.

I knew I wanted to do chocolate cupcakes because the Mom to be loves chocolate and I also wanted to color the frosting so that had to be vanilla.  I used this recipe for the chocolate cupcakes, which already included instructions for mini cupcakes at the bottom.  The recipe said it would make about 36 cupcakes, but I got about 44 out of it.

To make the rattles I bought short sticks – like the ones used for cake pops, life saver mints and purple ribbon.  We were going with a purple theme for this baby shower, but obviously you can use whatever color you like.  First I hot glue gunned the mints to the end of the sticks and let that set.  Then I tied the ribbon into bows on the sticks.  Once the cupcakes were cool it was time to assemble.  I forgot that the cupcake had paper liners so I had to figure out how to get the sticks to go through.  I ended up cutting little slits in the side of the cupcake papers to fit the stick through, which worked perfectly.



Now the fun part – the frosting!  At first I was just going to do white frosting and top with sprinkles, but then I realized I didn’t have any purple sprinkles and I really didn’t want to go the store.  So I made purple frosting instead with no sprinkles.  To get the right color I just kept adding blue and red food coloring until it was the right shade of purple.  Then I put the frosting in a piping bag and made circles on top of the cupcakes.  And that was it.  It was not difficult to make, but I will say it was a long process.  The most time consuming part was gluing the mints and tying the bows.  But it was well worth it for how cute they turned out, and everybody loved them.  Such a cute idea!


Weekend Recap – Bridal and Baby Showers


This weekend was full of showers, and not just the weather.  We did actually get a lot of rain this weekend.  It started raining on Friday which cancelled my parent’s softball game.  I was happy about that though because it meant we got to go out to a nicer dinner to celebrate my Dad’s birthday.  We all went out to a Mexican restaurant and shared a pitcher of margaritas.  After dinner we went out for frozen yogurt, even though it was freezing outside, then we went back home and opened presents.

Saturday it didn’t rain but it was super windy all day.  So windy that it knocked an umbrella over and shattered a glass table in my future in-laws backyard.  My Saturday morning was pretty lazy.  It started with puppy cuddles in bed, followed by breakfast and a walk.  Then it was time to get ready for a friend’s bridal shower.  Thankfully the shower was just in town so I didn’t have to go very far.

After the shower I went back to my parent’s house and did all of my laundry while making mini cupcakes for the next shower on Sunday.  I decided to make mini chocolate cupcakes and make them into baby rattles.  I think they turned out pretty cute.


Sunday was the baby shower, but not until the afternoon, so I was able to have another lazy morning.  It rained all day Sunday so I wasn’t able to take the pup for a walk.  But I have been loving just staying in bed and having lazy morning cuddles.  Unfortunately I couldn’t stay in my PJs all day, so I got up and got ready for the baby shower.  We had it at one of our cousin’s restaurants and it turned out great.




After the shower I dropped my Mom off, picked up the pup and headed home to spend the evening with the fiance.  He got home early from work so we went out to dinner and then cuddled and watched a movie.  My favorite thing to do on a rainy day.  This week is the fiance’s birthday so we are going to go out to dinner one night. Then next weekend I have another wedding hair trial and my second bridal shower.  Lots of exciting things happening this month!

Dress Fitting


I bought my wedding dress way back in May and it got here by July.  So it has been sitting at the shop for a few months now.  They always tell you to order your dress way in advance because you never really know how long it will take to ship and you also don’t know how much alterations you will need.  It’s better to give yourself extra time than be stressing at the last minute.  Which is exactly what I did.


Well now that we are getting closer, my tailor suggested we start the fittings and see where we are at with the alterations.  I did get to try my dress on when it first arrived, and I don’t think it will need too many alterations.  But I am no seamstress, so we will leave that up to the tailor.  I do know that I will need it shortened because I plan on wearing flats.  I also know we will need to figure out a bustle because I don’t want the dress dragging all night while I’m dancing.


I had my first official fitting last night.  I brought my Mom with me because I didn’t want to go alone.  And Mom’s give the best advise.  As I assumed, the dress will need to be hemmed.  It’s amazing how they figure out out to hem a wedding dress.  My dress has a lace hem, so she is going to have to detach the lace from the dress, remove some of the bottom of the dress to make it shorter, and then reattach the lace back on the dress.  It sounded impossible to me, but she assured me it’s doable.  She also showed me how she plans to do the bustle which I think is going to look absolutely gorgeous the way that the lace falls on the bottom of my dress.  The dress will also need to be taken in a little at the waist and at the top to give me some shape and really fit me like a glove.

We plan to meet again next month after she makes these alterations and see how it is fitting.  Since I still haven’t bought a veil yet, I tried on a few with my dress and I think I may have found the one.  I was decided between one with a beaded border and one with a lace border, but I think I know which one I want now.  I can try it on again at my next fitting and if it feels right then I will get it!

I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy doing the fitting as much as I did.  I thought it was going to be awkward having this stranger moving my dress around and pinning things all over me, but it was nothing like that.  It was really cool to watch her make these minor changes to the dress but then watch the dress look even better than it did before.  My favorite part though is just getting to wear my dress again!  I always thought it was ridiculous to buy this expensive beautiful dress that you are only going to wear one day, but now I get it.  It’s more than just the dress, it’s the way it makes you feel too.  And I have already gotten to wear my dress 2 times and there’s going to be another 2 times before the big day, so I am getting a lot of wears out of this thing!

Weekend Recap – Bachelorette Party


This past weekend was my bachelorette party and my fiance’s bachelor party.  I’m really glad it worked out that we were able to both go on the same weekend.  We didn’t go to the same place or anything, but this way it kept us both busy while the other was away.  My fiance took his groomsmen to Tahoe and I took my bridesmaids to Occidental.  The boys went Thursday-Sunday and the ladies went Friday-Sunday.

Friday afternoon, two of my bridesmaids met at my place to pick me up and carpool to pick up another girl.  We all got to the house around 4:30pm which gave us plenty of time to unpack and explore the house a bit before starting dinner.  Two of the other girls weren’t going to get there until after 7pm because of work so we had to wait until then to eat anyway.  The house was technically a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom place, but it had 2 beds and a pull out sofa bed.  There was also a pool and a hot tub in the backyard.  Friday night was pretty relaxing because we all wanted to be well rested for the Saturday adventure.  We spent the evening playing games and decorating T-shirts.


Saturday we woke up and made a buffet breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon with mimosas.  Then we all got ready, in our custom Tshirts, and headed off to go Ziplining.  We went to this place the next town over and we got to do about 7 or 8 zips through the trees.  It was so fun.  The best part was getting to repel back down to the ground.  After that we were all starving so we stopped for lunch on the way home and got burgers and beer.  The original plan was to go back to the house and get dressed up to go wine tasting and out to dinner that night.  However, we were all pretty tired and wine just did not sound good.  So we all put on our swim suits and laid by the pool for a couple hours.  It was so relaxing.




Once the sun started to go down we all went back inside.  For dinner we just had leftovers from the night before and lots of appetizers.  Then we spent the rest of the night playing cards against humanity and opening gifts.  Sunday morning we had to be out of there by 11am so we had to get up and pack.  For breakfast we had a quiche and fruit salad.  It was hard to believe the weekend was already over, but I was excited to get home and take a nap.



We got home early afternoon, and the fiance was already back from Tahoe too.  So we grabbed some lunch together and then took a nap.  The rest of the evening we looked up Honeymoon ideas and ordered a pizza for dinner.  Perfect way to end the weekend.


Another Meeting


Last month we met with the Pastor that will be officiating our wedding.  We left with some homework in hand to complete before our next meeting.  That meeting was last week.  Our homework was to decide on how we wanted certain things said during our ceremony.  When we first met with the Pastor we were given a generic outline of how typical wedding ceremonies flow.  This outline included multiple options on how to say each part of the ceremony.  It was then our homework to read through these options and select how we wanted things to be said, and also to pick scriptures to be read during the ceremony.


To be honest, I wasn’t all that excited about this part of the wedding planning.  I feel like the actual ceremony is a guests least favorite part of a wedding.  Everybody gets excited for the food, the dancing and the free drinks.  Ceremonies can be long, too religious, or just plain boring for some people.  And I was afraid that ours would be all of the above.  But the more we started reading through the options and thinking about making it our own ceremony, the more I realized how important it is to make it our own.  We will be including a few cultural things in our ceremony that will have a special meaning for my fiance’s side of the family.  We will also be including our own music and vocals from friends that will have special meaning to my future in-laws.  The fact that we have decided to get married in a church will make my Dad very happy.  As it turns out, the church we are getting married in is the church my fiance grew up attending, but also where I went to preschool at.  Also, the song we will play as I walk down the aisle is the same song that my Mom walked down to.  It’s all of these little details that will make our ceremony special.


Now that we have completed our homework, I must say it was actually pretty fun.  My favorite part was deciding on how we want our vows to be read.  Neither of us want to write our own personal vows, so we had to select a generic vow.  Reading that part out loud to each other made all of this feel so real to me.  Also deciding on how we want to be introduced hit me pretty hard.  I plan on changing my last name once we are married.  Which was my decision, and obviously my fiance supports it.  But it still feels a little weird knowing that this name I have had for almost 27 years will all of a sudden be different.  I will have to learn how to sign my name again, I will have to introduce myself by a new name, and I will have to get all new credit cards and a license with my new name.  I was talking to my Mom about this because I wanted to know how she felt when she had to change her name.  She was finishing college at the time and wanted to make it easier with paperwork so she didn’t change her name right away.  She got a little more time to ease into the name change.  But now she has had her ‘new’ last name longer than she had her maiden name.  So I guess it’s not so weird for her anymore.  And it makes me kind of excited for when I can say that. Although that also means I will be about 55 years old by then.  On second thought, I think I can wait for that moment.


I am really enjoying these meetings because we get a chance to talk about other important things besides just wedding planning.  There is so much more that goes along with a wedding.  It’s also a marriage, and a commitment to each other.  It has forced us to talk about important things we may not have talked about before like finances and babies.  Up until now I have always tried to be an independent person.  A marriage takes more than one person though, and I am realizing that I can’t do everything by myself anymore.  And I don’t want to anymore.  I have this amazing partner now that is willing to put in the time and effort to make great things happen for us.  We are a team now and that is such a good feeling.

Weekend Recap – Country Concert


This weekend was the perfect balance of fun and relaxation.  It started the same as last weekend, with a softball game on Friday night.  This time the game actually happened, but sadly we lost.  I went out to dinner after with my Dad and brother while we watched the Giants win.  At least somebody won that night.

Saturday morning was a pretty relaxing one for me.  I got up and had some breakfast with the fiance before he left for work.  Then I took the pup for a walk and to the dog park.  We used to take her to the dog park almost every weekend, but we haven’t been in a while so I thought it would be something fun for her again.  There were only 2 other dogs there, but she still had fun and chased them around.  After that the pup was exhausted so she took a nap while I went for a run.  Then my friend came over because we were going to a country concert that night.  I had to drop the pup off since we decided to spend the night near the venue.  Better safe then sorry when we knew both of us would be drinking that night.

We got to the hotel just in time to grab some food and get ready.  Then it was time to head to the concert.  The main performer was Florida Georgia Line, but they had 3 other openers.  The only other one I knew though was Cole Swindell.  It was such a good concert!  They played the perfect mix of old and new songs.  My only complaint was that they didn’t come back out for an encore.  Which I had never seen before, so that was kind of a bummer.  After the concert we walked back to the hotel and went straight to bed.



The next morning we got up, had breakfast, and headed home.  I was planning to pick up the pup on my way home, but grandpa had just left with her to go disc golfing.  So I went home and did some cleaning while I waited for them to get back.  Once they got back I picked up the pup and headed to my parent’s house to do laundry and watch the Giants game.  My parents were actually at the game, so it was just me and the dogs.  It was cloudy and cold all day, so I stayed inside and took a nap.  It was the perfect lazy Sunday.  Which is good, because I have a feeling next weekend is going to be a little wild.

September Favorites


Here we are again with another month gone.  But it’s okay because we are going into my favorite months of the year.  Before we can get into all of that though, let’s recap on a few of my favorite things from this month.


  1. Coffee with cream and sugar.  Normally I am a black coffee kind of girl.  But this month the fiance introduced me to a black tie coffee at Peet’s which has condensed milk in it and it was delicious!  Ever since then I started putting cream and sugar in my coffee and it is so yummy.
  2. Warm weather.  Although I hate sweating, and am getting kind of tired of the warm weather, I am trying to soak it all in while it’s still here.  Soon the cold weather will be here and I will crave the warm sun.  So I have been loving these last few days of warm weather and pools day while I still can.
  3. Simple face scrub.  I have been using the Simple brand face wash for a while now, but just recently tried the face scrub.  I like to do a face mask about once a month but thought I would add this into the mix too.  It is supposed to help remove the dead skin and keep your face feeling fresh and smooth.  Which I am glad to say that it does.
  4.  Men’s deodorant.  This may sound weird, but I have started using men’s deodorant.  I have tried just about every time and scent of women’s deodorant and it does not work.  For my body at least.  I sweat easily so I need something that will help prevent me from sweating but also smell nice in case I do start sweating.  And men’s deodorant does that for me.  I use a clean scent so I don’t smell too much like a boy.
  5. Excel.  I know that probably makes me sound like the biggest nerd ever.  This has been a life saver with wedding planning.  You can use excel for everything, it’s amazing.  I am using it to keep track of our guest list, our budget, our decorating ideas, and possible honeymoon places.  Being able to have everything all in one place and organized has been such a help.


Not a very exciting list, but that’s about all I have been loving and using this month.  Hopefully next month will be more exciting with Halloween and fall treats.  Now that it is almost October, it’s acceptable to start decorating for Halloween, right?  I think that’s what I will be doing this weekend.

Fall and Winter Wish List



It is officially fall.  And it is still 80 degrees outside.  If we had actual seasons here in California I would separate these into 2 different wish lists for fall and then winter.  However, fall and winter are pretty much one season here, so I decided to combine them into one list.  Fall is my favorite of all the seasons and I do wish it lasted longer here.  I love when the leaves are changing colors and the air gets cold and crisp.  But it’s still not raining quite yet.  That is the best time of year, in my opinion.


Before the summer, I made a wish list of ten things I wanted to do during those summer months.  I decided why not do the same thing now but for fall and winter?  Well that is exactly what I did.  Here is my fall and winter wish list:


  1.  Bake more.  I put this at the end of my summer wish list, but I realized it would make more sense going on this list instead.  There are so many October birthday’s in my family that I have way more opportunities to bake.  Plus when it’s raining and I don’t want to go outside, baking is the perfect thing to do.
  2. Carve pumpkins.  My Dad and I do this every year so I am not worried about completing this one.  But I’ve never carved pumpkins with the fiance, so it might be fun to carve some for our apartment this year.
  3. Go to a corn maze.  I went to a corn maze the past couple years and I loved it.  But the corn maze in town is made mostly for kids, so this time I want to try going at night when it might be a little less crowded and a little more scary.
  4. Take more pictures.  A couple of years ago I bought myself a nice DSLR camera, and I hate to admit I haven’t used it nearly as much as I had hoped.  With all the leaves and colors about to change around town, I think it would be the perfect time to pull out the camera and really get some use out of it.
  5. Go to the snow.  The fiance and I went to the snow for the first time together last year and with the pup too, and it was so much fun!  I am not sure we will have time to go this year with our wedding in January, but if we can squeeze in a quick trip I would be so happy.
  6. Go to a haunted house.  My town puts on an annual haunted house around Halloween time.  It’s actually multiple haunted houses and I went for the first time last year with my best friend.  It was a lot of fun and for some weird reasoning I like being scared.
  7. Go to a marching band competition.  Yes, I was in marching band in high school.  I graduated 8 years ago (yikes!) and I haven’t been to a competition since.  Rumor has it, the band has continued to get bigger ever since I graduated, and I think it would be really fun to see how far they have come.
  8. Make homemade soup.  I love soup but I rarely make it at home.  With the cold weather approaching, I think homemade soup will be the perfect remedy.
  9. Burn candles every night.  I have a love for candles.  All the candles.  I love the look of burning candles and I love the smell it adds to the house.  Maybe not burn candles every single night, but any night that I home.  I have plenty around the house to use.
  10. Watch scary movies.  I am probably biased with my birthday on Halloween, but it is my favorite holiday.  I love the fall, the candy, and the scary movies.  My ideal birthday is dressing in costumes, watching scary movies and eating candy all night.


And there is my fall and winter wish list.  I will look back at this after the new year to see how many things I crossed off.  Happy fall!  Now bring on the colder weather please.