This Friday marks my 33rd year on this cool ass planet and as usual, I am very much looking forward to it. It’s a pretty simple celebration. A little self pampering, a visit to mama June and a nice dinner with The Mister Project and The Knife. It’ll be a perfect little day. I’m truly excited to turn another year older. I find the saying is true, the older I get, the wiser I become…for the most part. This past year had it’s fair share of great moments, some not so great moments, lots of good times and some really hard times. As the year and days went by, things slowly began to fall back into place, allowing us to cope with the changes of life. I am extremely blessed and try my hardest to live life to the fullest. Each day I work hard to focus on the positive and see the good in all life has to offer. However, unfortunately, I still suffer from road rage…working on that. I thought it’d be fun to look back on this past year and focus on all beautiful, positive moments and lessons I had along the way. Making way, of course, for another year filled with love, good people, great food and amazing experiences. Buckle up buttercups!
1. TSP…making a dream become a reality. Where do I start? This blog has been both a challenge and an incredibly exciting adventure all at the same time. I am so proud of my sisters and my commitment to a little idea we dreamt up over a year ago. With determination, consistency and letting go of the fear of failure, we have been kicking ass and loving every moment of it. Sure we have our ups and downs, some posts kill it and some don’t, but every day we learn more about this business and strive to succeed in it. I love my business partners and being part of this cool ass thing we call, The Sister Project.
2. Making Egon’s giant head. This was a very aggressive DYI project I decided to undertake and I did it all for our friends. I decided to make a giant sign of our cat’s head because it is such a gigantic process keeping our friends together at all the music fests we attend. I figured this would definitely keep our friends intact as well as provide less stress of keeping everyone together via text. It worked and made for some super amazing photo opts as well. #brainvein
3. Nurturing my friendships. I take pride in the effort I put forth to keep my friendships together. Just when I think I have my fill of friends, I took on a couple more really special friendships this year. One friendship was an old one, but me and this goofball hit the ground running this past year spending more time than ever together and laughing our frigging faces off. A couple other friendships come by way of my mama. As mom has gone thru this life changing journey, we have had to reach out to her close friends and a couple in particular have offered their friendship now to me, maybe without even knowing it, but just by being there. My mom is so lucky to have such loving, beautiful friends and I am honored to be able to now call some of them my friends as well. These types of friends she has, says a lot about what kind of a friend my mom was. A good one.
4. Dying my hair blue, gray and brown. For two years, maybe more, I have been wanting to dye my locks all sorts of different colors. This past summer I finally took the leap and wondered why I waited so long. I learned if there is something you want to try or do, just frigging do it. Why wait?
5. Meeting more babies this year. There were SO many babies born this year on both mine and The Mister Project’s side. We even had to make a special trip out to the west coast to meet some of our new little friends, five in total. I was asked after that visit if I have baby fever…I definitely don’t. However, I’m more into the idea of having a kid more than I ever have been in the past. I used to be at a zero on a scale of 1-100, now I’d say I’m more at a thirty-three. I still need some time in this department.
6. Moving on. This past year I made a very big effort to move on from some stuff from the past and ditch the whole anxiety thing. I feel they go hand in hand, to a degree, so with the help of a little sweet therapist, I was able to look forward and not behind me any longer. I gathered the tools I needed to release some baggage and say adios to that asshole, anxiety. Having this new knowledge has helped me feel more in control and able to understand my emotions and reactions better than ever. Still working on it…but we’re getting there. PS. To help you save a few bucks, meditate. That’s part of the secret.
7. Catching some seriously amazing sunsets. I can barely keep track of all the insanely, colorful and vibrant sunsets I witnessed this year. From Florence and the Arizona desert to the cotton candy colored skies of the midwest, I am extremely fortunate to have seen some of the most beautiful sunsets of my life. Sunsets are truly a gift.
8. Going to the Palio. This was hands down the coolest public event and display of enthusiasm/craziness I have ever seen in my life! Watching thousands of Italians cheer for their team’s horse was more insane than any horse race I have ever seen, I have seen MANY.
9. The winter blizzard. Oh man, I just LOVE a good blizzard. After moving into our home, Chicago got hit hard. About 19 inches hard. Ok that sounds way perverted. My bad! Lol. It was so fun to bunker down, drink rose and watch the snow settle in as we had no where to go. Even if we wanted to leave, we couldn’t.
10. Growing my first garden. Who knew I had such a green thumb?! Holy shit, my garden was on fire this season! I put so much TLC into my little urban garden and could not be more grateful for all of the herbs and tomatoes that have come from my first attempt at gardening on my own. Do you know how tomato vines have that certain smell to them? That smell brings me back to being a kid and gardening with my Grandma Manos. I love picking my tomatoes and thinking of her…it’s our little bond we have even though she is no longer here.
11. Making a home with The Mister Project. When I first moved in with Anthony, it was in his bachelor pad and it had blue walls. Need I say more? This past year, we moved into our first home together and have had such a wonderful time making it our own. It’s our little love nest and I am beyond grateful for it.
12. Speaking of grateful. Each day this year, at some point in the day, I think of my three things I am grateful for. It is honestly the easiest way to add a positive spin to your day and realize, truly, how fortunate you are. Do it…you won’t regret it.
13. Seeing my family in Italy. Ten years had passed since I last saw my cousins in Italy. For my younger cousins, the time that passed is not that big of a deal. However, for my eldest cousin, Elena, ten years was a bigger deal, as she was 73 the last time I was there and now is 83. A part of me was really sad I had waited so long to go back, but a much larger part of me is so grateful to have spent an entire week with her. What makes me even more happy is that after Christmas my father and his siblings will also be going to visit our family. It was a little promise I made to our cousins that I would do my best to get more of the family to Italy and some how, some way, they’re all on their way.
14. Throwing some bad ass parties. Another thing I love – hosting parties. We have had many small gatherings and big ones too. It doesn’t matter to me, the more the merrier. I love watching people sit back, relax and enjoy the evening. However, I did learn to not drink almost a bottle of rose leading up to a big party. The results are gibberish and an early bed time, waking up at 3am ready to rally again then realizing the party is over. Lesson learned.
15. Seeing the 90210 beach house. This was like seeing a movie star. Anyone that remembers the beach years on 90210, remembers this house and everything that went down in it.
16. Reading more books. I ripped thru more books this year than I have in the past and that is because I chose to make the time to do so. My father always says, “no matter what you read, you will always learn something.” Couldn’t be more true.
17. Caught my first fish. My awesome little brother helped me bring in my very first fish. I was so excited!!! After that first catch though, I was hooked, no pun intended. I kidnapped his fishing rod and kept going back for more. Besides the whole catching a fish part, it was really fun to do something with my brother that he loves so much. Sibling bonding at it’s best.
18. Tried some good medicinal marijuana. #legalize
19. DePaul Blue Demons, Class of 2005. Typically, this crew gets together once or so a year. But this past year I found myself with my Blue Demons on many occasions and it fills my heart up with so much love. These people are my people and any moment I get to spend with them, I cherish it. They are my friends for life and I love the hell out of them.
20. Three words: Formento’s Eggplant Parmigiana. Run, do not walk to get this incredible dish. Hands down, favorite meal of the year.
21. Getting caught in the hurricane of Pitchfork 2015. Oh my God, I have never laughed so hard in my entire life. The rain came out of absolutely no where and was coming at us sideways and hard. If I could replay that ten minutes of hilarity and cry laugh like I did that day, I would do it over and over again. These are the type of memories I live for.
22. Spending quality time with my family. Our family puts in a good effort to spend time together. Several times this year the whole gang was together and when that happens, my heart is filled with so much love and happiness, it could explode.
23. Decorating my house for Halloween. I have had so much fun decorating! From my graveyard in front to my skulls all over the house and a couple DIY’s, I can’t seem to get enough of Halloween. This could mean I am going to go bonkers decorating for Christmas. Clark Griswold anyone???
24. Becoming a member of the Chicago International Film Festival. The Mister Project and I love going to the movies. I figured what better way to support our community, city and the arts, than join this organization. We’re seeing our first film of the festival tonight and can’t wait!!!
25. Going to the Christmas carol with my dad. I took him for his birthday and he just LOVED it. It made me tear up a bit because I really treasure the times we have together and I could tell he truly was enjoying himself, maybe even more than he thought he would. He’s my best friend.
26. Wearing my vintage dress for Easter. I had been dying to wear this dress for ages. Nicole said it was the ugliest dress she had ever seen, but I was hell bent on giving it a go. Turns out, it wasn’t so ugly after all and Nicole can kiss it. It was one of my favorite outfits of 2015.
27. Wearing black lipstick. When I saw photos of the Kardashians wearing black lipstick, I knew I wanted to try this trend. So I did. And I LOVED it. I plan on doing it again real soon.
28. Proud sister. Our sister Andrea participated in her very first fitness competition this past year. I was so inspired by her determination and commitment and so extremely proud of her. She did such an incredible job, regardless of place, she is truly a winner in my eyes. #badassbitch
29. Learning to communicate better with my family in an honest and open way. The older we get the more real life issues happen. And as I’m sure we’re all aware, not everyone may agree and there may be times of distress, aggravation and hardships. This year I learned a lot about how I react, how I communicate and how I handle situations. I’m lucky to have such a supportive family that will call me out on my bullshit, give me second chances and take the time to talk things out.
30. Enjoying a second year of marriage. Sure we argue and disagree sometimes, but we do both agree on one thing….we’re still in our honeymoon phase of marriage. Every single day this guy makes me laugh and gives me enough hugs and cuddles to last a year. He’s my biggest supporter and best friend. This second year has been nothing short of a blast.
31. Staying with a beautiful friend’s beautiful family in Tuscany. We stayed with our dear friend’s family in Siena for a week and had the most beautiful experience of our lives. They opened their homes and dinner table to us, welcoming us in as if we were family. I will never forget those moments with them for as long as I live. That’s what being a human is all about…showing love and breaking bread with strangers who eventually become part of your heart. #thosesmiles
32. Expectations. My therapist helped me in this department. I would sometimes find myself saying, “I would never do something like that” or “If I were them, I’d….”. That’s the thing, though. I’m not them and they are not me. Expectations are some times set up for disappointment, so it’s better to not hold people to certain expectations and just focus on yourself. That’s the only thing you can be held accountable for and should worry about.
33. Capturing a really beautiful family photo. We had a birthday party for our mom’s 64th birthday with everyone there. I took advantage of the opportunity and arranged for what will go down as one of my favorite photos of our entire family. I love each and every one of them more than they know. #ohheyMargot
Live life to the fullest. This is my motto in life. You only have one, it can fly by and at the end of the day, I want to think I lived life to it’s absolute capacity. I think it’s safe to say that this past year was filled with copious amounts of stunning experiences, lots of love and unforgettable moments.
Love it. Live it. Share it.