This One Italian Girl

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas



I cannot believe Christmas is here.  Well, in a few days.  It is one of the most exciting, happy, and stressful times of the year.  The one time of year that you want to slow down and enjoy but always seems to be hectic and fly by.  Thankfully I got all of my Christmas shopping done early and was able to enjoy this holiday season, for the most part.  Aside from the wedding planning craziness.  But that is almost over too.  We have to turn in our final counts and everything to the venue at the end of the month.  After that there’s no changing things and I can just wait for the big day.


This year I will be celebrating Christmas multiple times.  Normally it’s Christmas Eve with friends and Christmas day with family.  But this year it is the day before Christmas Eve with my Dad’s side of the family, Christmas Eve with the fiance’s family, Christmas Day with my Mom’s side of the family and the day after with friends.  Four days of celebrations and parties.  It will be fun but also exhausting.  I’m really excited to be able to see everyone this year though.  As we get older and everyone’s families get bigger, it gets harder to see everyone.  But such is life.


I am very lucky to get some time off for the holidays and am able to spend time with family.  I know there are a lot of people where holidays don’t exist at their jobs.  My fiance is one of them.  He works as an EMT on an ambulance and that is just one of the many jobs that never stop.  He is very lucky this year the way his schedule is that he gets Christmas Eve off and was also able to get someone to cover his Christmas Day shift so we will be able to spend those days together.  It will be a first for us, as the last few years he has always had to work.  I am happy that he gets time off, but also extremely grateful that there are people out there willing to give up their holidays to help others.  And not just on the holidays, but everyday because that is their job.  I could never do that kind of work but I’m glad that there are people out there that enjoy it.  Without them a lot of people wouldn’t be here.  My personal heroes.

Wherever you are, and whoever you get to spend these next few days with, I hope you are happy and spirits are high.  Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!

So Much To Do, So Little Time


Remind me again why I thought getting married right after all of the major holidays was a good idea??  I feel like all I have been posting about lately is wedding stuff.  But I can’t help it when it’s on my brain ALL.THE.TIME.  During the beginning of this whole wedding planning process I kept telling myself not to sweat the little things.  In the grand scheme of things, those little details are really not as important as I might think they are at the time.  But that has been a lot harder to remember lately.  Now that it’s getting closer to the big day, all I have left to do is figure out and decide on all those little things.  And it’s been a lot harder than it probably should be.


Our deadline for RSVP’s is this Friday and we have only received a little over half of the responses.  I am really hoping the rest pour in this week because I do not want to have to call all of those people asking if they are coming or not.  So far we haven’t gotten any no responses which is good and bad news.  It’s good because I am happy that everyone is able and wants to come and celebrate with us, but it’s also bad because we have maxed out the venue.  Which means the tables will be tight and we have to fill every single seat.  I’m starting to think we should have left ourselves a little wiggle room.  Once we get all of the responses we have to do the seating chart.  Which I am absolutely dreading because there has been a little drama within my extended family over the last year so we can’t sit certain people together.  So that should be fun…


The next minor decision on my list is the table numbers.  We have picked the florist and centerpieces will be a combination of tall and short vases.  However, since we will be maxing the tables at 12 people, there won’t be a lot of room for extra stuff on the tables.  For the tall centerpieces we are going to use picture frames and the short centerpieces we are going to use wooden sticks with the numbers on them.  I bought wooden sticks with the intention to spray paint them, but that means I have to decide on a color.  The other big decision is the name cards.  We are offering either a meat dish or a vegetarian dish and a lot more people are choosing the vegetarian than I thought.  Which is totally fine, but that means I have to come up with some way to distinguish on the name cards which dish people are having.  I will also need to distinguish if any of them are kids and want a kids meal.


One more minor but kind of big project is finishing our party favors.  My future mother-in-law has so graciously offered to help make our party favors.  They will be little hand-stitched bags full of jordan almonds.  She made the same bags for her wedding and jordan almonds are a traditional Italian wedding thing.  So it’s a perfect combination of family traditions.  I am helping her stitch bags, but I have done maybe 50 while she is already over 100.  Clearly she is doing most of the work here.  Once we are done stitching, she will sew the sides of the bags shut and then we can fill them.  We plan to have a little get together with whoever wants to help stuff the bags.


While all of these things may be minor and not that important in the end, they are all things that need to get done.  I have a feeling these next 4 weeks are going to fly by.  Which I am totally okay with.  I am ready for this wedding to be here.  I am ready to celebrate and I am ready for the planning to be done.  I think I am starting to stress more because I know that there are also 3 major holidays happening right before the wedding.  Thanksgiving has come and gone, Christmas is right around the corner, and New Year’s is the final countdown to the wedding.  The end of the month is when we have to give our final counts to the final.  No changes can be made after that which will actually be perfect because then I don’t have to think about anything for the last 2 weeks.  We got a gift card for a couple’s massage at one of my bridal shower’s and I’m starting to think we should use that before the wedding…

Weekend Recap – What a Mess


Where do I even begin?  This weekend was kind of a hot mess for a lot of reasons.  It all started on Thursday morning.  I got into a little car accident.  I was driving to an inspection for work and merging onto the craziest freeway intersection where I live at prime morning traffic time.  I turned left to merge onto the freeway and I didn’t see anyone coming.  Well then I heard his horn so I slammed on my brakes causing him to run into the back of my car.  It was a stupid mistake, and looking back, I probably should have just sped up to get out of his way.  But since I didn’t see him I slammed on the brakes and now my rear wheel is messed up.  Not a good way to end the week.

We exchanged information and both cars were drive able so we parted ways, but I was still pretty shook up.  I had never been in an accident before and I was feeling guilty that it was all my fault.  So I went a parked my car, had a little melt down on the phone with my fiance, and he calmed me down.  Thankfully I went over to my parent’s house that night to help decorate their Christmas tree, so that made everything better.


Friday was spent on the phone with my insurance and an auto body shop trying to get my car taken in to get this fixed ASAP.  Unfortunately, the car shop isn’t open on weekends so I had to wait until this morning to take it in for an estimate and then it will probably take another week to get fixed.  The fiance had the day off so later that afternoon we tried to go get our marriage license.  Turns out that’s the one thing they don’t do at the county office in town, so now we have to go to the main county office which is like 30 minutes away.  Such a let down.  After that we went to the grocery store and cooked a nice dinner to eat on our brand new table.  Then we had our final meeting with the pastor to go over the ceremony.

The fiance’s mom was having some stomach pains on Friday and ended up at the ER on Friday night, so after our meeting we went and visited her and picked up his dad’s car.  The fiance had to work early the next day so I had the whole day to myself.  I took the pup for a walk with my Dad and their dog, I ran a few errands, wrapped some presents, and started setting up our Christmas decorations.  I wanted to wait until the fiance got home to decorate the tree, but he got held over and then we ended up visiting his mom in the hospital again Saturday night so the tree had to wait.

The fiance had to work again on Sunday, and I had book club.  I got up early to finish my book and then headed to the meeting.  The book was a pretty easy ready and I enjoyed it so I might do a book review.  After book club I headed to my parent’s to pick up the pup and then headed home to check on dinner.  We bought ourselves a crock pot last weekend and used it twice this weekend!  Friday night we had a beef stew cooking overnight and then Sunday we made stuffed peppers.  Both were delicious and I can’t wait to keep trying new recipes.  We plan to make a lot of stew and soup this winter!

Mailing Invitations


Our invitations finally arrived last week!  Which means I’ve been frantically trying to get them in the mail this week in order to give our guests plenty of time to RSVP.  There is a lot more work that goes into mailing invitations than I realized.  First of all, because our ceremony and reception are at two different locations, we have multiple things to include with the invitation.  We have to include the invitation, RSVP card, directions to the ceremony, directions to the reception venue, nearby hotel recommendations, and a gate pass for the reception because it’s inside a gated community.  I’m tired and confused just thinking about it.


With the RSVP card I had to be as specific as possible because we need people to know exactly how many are invited.  We are maxing out the venue, so not many people are getting plus ones, unless they are married.  There is a spot on the card for them to then let us know exactly how many and who will be attending.  It was important to include all of this so they don’t assume they get to bring a date.  We also had to mention that the reception venue has a strict dress code, so people better not show up in jeans.  Which I don’t think would happen anyway, but we had to put it out there just in case.  We had to include a gate pass to help speed up the gate entrance process.  I am sure this is going to confuse a lot of people and most of them won’t even remember to bring the pass with them anyway.


A little trick I have learned along the way is to number the back of the RSVP cards and match it up to your guest list.  This is important because some people will forget to write their names on the RSVP card and won’t put their return address on the envelope.  If this happens you will have an easy way to figure out whose card it was.


The biggest task of all is going to be addressing all of the envelopes.  We went back and forth with the option of hand writing or buying stickers.  We bought a stamp for the RSVP return envelopes and stickers for the return address, but decided to hand write the regular envelopes.  Since my Mom has the best handwriting, and she has a lot of free time right now, she has so graciously offered to hand write them.  So this week has been a team effort to get them all completed.  I went over Monday night to print out the gate passes and put everything that needs to go in the envelopes together.  Tonight I will go over and help stuff envelopes, stamp envelopes and seal them up while my Mom writes all the names.  It is quite the team effort, but we are slowly making progress.  My goal is to have them in the mail by this weekend.  Then we just patiently wait for the responses to start coming in so we can create a seating chart.  It’s a never ending to do list.

October Favorites


I am sad to see October come and go so quickly.  It is one of my favorite months of the year.  Probably because of all the birthdays and candy that happen in this month.  October seems to be a popular month for my family to have babies.  Some of the birthdays in October include myself, my Dad, the fiance, 3 cousins, my Nonno, plus a few friends.  And I’m probably forgetting somebody.  It is crazy.  So October is always an exciting month.  The only good thing about it being over is that still means we have Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to.


Here are a few things I have been loving this month.


  1. Halloween decorations.  I have noticed more this year than ever before, that people are putting up lights on their house to decorate.  Like they would for Christmas, but with orange lights for Halloween.  And I am loving it.  Halloween often gets forgotten about with all the Thanksgiving and Christmas excitement.


2. Customized sign.  We got this sign as a gift from my sister-in-law and I absolutely love it.  I was actually looking on Etsy to order something similar for myself once we got married, but now I don’t have to.  It is perfect and yet still kind of weird to think of myself with a new last name.  Still adjusting to that one.


3.  Running.  Growing up I used to hate running.  Then in college I started running and fell in love with it.  Once I graduated, moved, and started a new job I got too busy and let my running slip.  I have been trying to get back into running this year, and this month has probably been one of the longest stretches that I have actually stuck with it.  And I am loving it again.  So hopefully I can keep up through the winter.

4.  Bridal/Baby showers.  This month I went to 2 bridal showers (1 was mine and 1 was a friend’s) and 2 baby showers.  It is so fun to get dressed up and celebrate love and life with other people that want to do the same.  I love all the silly games and delicious food.  It’s always a good time and just a good excuse to get people together.

5.  New kitchen stuff.  Although getting all these shower and wedding gifts makes me feel slightly like a spoiled brat, I can’t lie – I kind of love it all.  It has been so nice to have brand new stuff that actually works and I know we will get use out of for a long time.  We recently got a new knife set and the fiance has been so excited because all of our old knives were a collection of hand me downs and beyond dull.  Now we have a matching set and they work!  Plus all the new baking sheets and pans that aren’t rusty, the measuring cups that aren’t broken, and the dishes that actually match and aren’t chipped.  Everything in our kitchen was hand me downs, which worked while we were in college and started living together.  But now that we are growing up and will be hosting parties, it is nice to have matching stuff that will last a lifetime.  It is very exciting and makes us forever grateful that we have such amazing friends and family that are willing to help support us.

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!

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.

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.

Summer Recap


Back in June I posted my summer wish list that included all the fun things I wanted to do this summer.  Well now that it is September and all of the kids have gone back to school and the weather is starting to cool down, I think summer is officially over.  That, and the fact that tomorrow is technically the first day of fall.  I thought I would take a look back at that list and see how many things I was able to cross off.


  1.  Go backpacking.  Unfortunately, this one did not happen this summer.  All this wedding planning is really taking up all my free weekends.  But since the weather stays nice here until late October, I’m still holding out hope that we can squeeze in one little trip before it starts raining.
  2. Go hiking more.  We did go hiking a few times this summer.  Although not as much as I was originally hoping for, some is better than none.  And we even got Stella out on a hike one time which was so fun.
  3. Take engagement photos.  We can cross this one off the list.  We took photos back in July and I absolutely love them.  We already picked one to use for the save the dates and now we just have to decide on which ones to use for our guest book.
  4. Find a new apartment.  Yes, we did this one too!  We moved in to our new place early July.  To be honest, I don’t love it as much as our last place, but we signed a year lease so I’m stuck here at least that long.  I will say that I do love the location though because we are right across the street from downtown.
  5. Attend some country concerts.  We went to one country concert back in July which was amazing.  We got to see the group that sings the song we chose for our first dance, so that was pretty special.  We also went to a country concert at the county fair which is always fun.  I do have tickets to another concert in early October, which will probably the last one for this year, so I am definitely looking forward to that.
  6. Go camping.  I am so happy that I got to go camping this summer.  I usually go at least once with the fiance’s family but when I wasn’t able to make it this year I was worried I wouldn’t go at all.  But thankfully my best friend was willing to go with me.
  7. Finish a scrapbook.  Sadly, this still hasn’t happened yet.  Between getting engaged and wedding planning and my Mom’s treatments, this one has lost it’s priority.  But hopefully next year we will have more free time and be able to focus on finishing it.
  8. Go floating.  This one was done on the camping trip.  The river was pretty shallow this year and the water was freezing, but it was still a lot of fun to be outdoors all weekend.
  9. Go on more bike rides.  This one has not happened yet.  When we moved my bike got brought over to the future in-laws house because they had the truck that the bike would fit in.  And it’s been sitting there ever since.  So I need to borrow a bigger car to get my bike back.  But once I do I would love to go on more bike rides.
  10. Bake.  I did a little baking this summer, but I will say that I tend to do more baking in the winter.  I think with the heat of the summer I never want to turn on the oven.  This summer I made cake pops, zucchini bread, cupcakes, and cookies.


Well, all in all I think I did pretty good with my summer wish list.  I will say I accomplished 7 out of the 10 items.  Not too shabby.  I plan to create a fall/winter wish list next.  It will give me something to look forward to between all the rain.