Favorites: Sunshine, Weddings, Coconuts

It’s Friday the 13th and you bet it’s a Friday Favorites kind of day.

1. Long or short walks outside. I’ve noticed my pace has slowed down a bit (mostly when I go uphill) but I am still getting out for a walk nearly everyday. It is so peaceful.


2. Weddings. It is definitely wedding season! We had the NY wedding last weekend and this weekend we have two (although we can only attend one). I love dancing, I love seeing two people in love being united in front of their friends and family, I love being with friends and family, I love dresses…so basically I love weddings. I love being dressed up for the occasion. I’m glad the laser hair removal miami prices aren’t too steep, or else I’d have had to forfeit my whole wedding season.

melanie and dana new york

3. Sunshine. I mean, is there anything better than basking outside in the sun with a book and a refreshment? Vitamin D oh how I’ve missed you.

sunshine reading book

4. My anxiety reliever: lavender.


5. Greek feasts out on the patio with my favorite coconuts (crazyforcoconuts.com). This is a group of us essential oils ladies who have joined together to start a business that helps us get the word out about the goodness of essential oils. Check out our website and our blog! They were both recently launched! www.crazyforcoconuts.com

greek dinner

6. And speaking of coconuts, I received a sample of Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil. Their oil is never heated above room temperature and goes through a slow manufacturing process to ensure the highest quality coconut oil. Their oil is 100% raw coconut oil, natural, full of vitamins and minerals and anti-bacterial components.

I use coconut oil as my lotion after showers (often with lavender eo mixed in) and I was thrilled when this company reached out to me. I really can tell the difference with this oil. It has a more subtle coconut fragrance and a smooth feel on the skin. It doesn’t leave me feeling greasy. I really like this stuff and it definitely deserves to be a Friday Fav. For more info: www.skinnycoconutoil.com

skinny coconut oil


Happy Friday my friends! xoxo

P.S. I know I need to get another pregnancy update on here again. I will soon! Our little man is doing great!

What’re some of your Friday favs?

Are you superstitious when it comes to Friday the 13th and full moons?

I would have to say that yes I am superstitious. The kids at work are always crazy hyper during the weeks of a full moon and sure enough, it didn’t fail this week. Friday the 13th—I’m usually lucky. We will see (knock on wood!).

Oh and I’m linking up with Katie for Friday Favorites!!

Continue Reading Favorites: Sunshine, Weddings, Coconuts

The Dress: Wedding Flashback

It’s wedding flashback time! I really need to do this more often because it makes me so happy reliving my wedding day. Today we’re going to talk about…


There was a lot of “Say Yes to the Dress” being watched in our household before I picked out my wedding dress. For those of you who may not know, I am a terrible decision maker, so the thought of picking out the perfect wedding dress for myself terrified me like no other.

My original thoughts were that I wanted a halter top dress because I wanted to be able to enjoy the day without yanking the dress up, I wanted lace, and that was about all I thought I wanted.

The first dress shopping was very casual. My mom and I went to a small boutique, I tried on a handful of dresses, some of which I liked, but I couldn’t get over the price tags. I wasn’t about to spend a fortune on a dress that I was going to wear one time. I am a die-hard bargain shopper and that title wasn’t going to be put on hold while shopping for “the dress.” We left the store feeling pretty happy to have had the first dress shopping trip out of the way. I knew I wasn’t going to find my dress the first day, but you’ve got to start somewhere!

For the next endeavor, we headed over to The Wedding Shoppe in St. Paul. This time mom and I brought along my maid of honor, Betsy and my mother-in-law, Sue. This time I meant business. 🙂 The Wedding Shoppe has the largest selection of dresses around the Twin Cities, PLUS they honor your dress budget and have dresses that accommodate all price ranges.

I tried on halter top dresses, I tried on princess dresses, I tried on lace dresses. At this point I was starting to realize that what I had in mind as my ideal dress prior to dress shopping wasn’t all that practical for me.

Some of the dresses I tried on were SO heavy that I felt claustrophobic and I did not want to be tied down by a heavy dress. So, we got rid of the heavy dresses. Next was the lace. I loved the lace dresses but they weren’t giving me the “this is it” feeling I was hoping for, plus the price tags made my stomach churn. So, we got rid of the lace dresses. The halter tops weren’t flattering, so I ditched that idea. I was starting to get nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to find my dress because I didn’t know what I wanted.

The stylist pulled some dresses for me that she thought I might like based on what she had seen that I didn’t like, and heard that I didn’t like. The dresses she pulled would not have been ones that I would have chosen for myself, but I was open to trying them on. Many of them were strapless and I had told her my concern about worrying I’d have to yank my dress up all day. She told me that the dress is going to be so well-fitted to my body, that it will not be an issue whatsoever. Okay, the strapless dresses are back in the running now.

Sure enough one of the dresses that she pulled was the one that made everyone cry and which made me feel the most beautiful. But even with the reassurance of my family, my indecisiveness was getting the best of me. I’m a fairly emotional person, and I thought I would absolutely bawl when I found the perfect dress, but I didn’t. I got a few tears in my eyes but I think it was mostly because I saw my family members so choked up. So I worried that I wasn’t reacting how I thought I would.

I couldn’t let my lack of self-confidence and indecisiveness ruin this experience and keep me from getting this dress that was perfect for me. I knew this was THE ONE, and I knew I needed to commit, and at that moment, my stomach settled, and I knew it was right. The dress was sweet, beautiful, soft, and perfect.

The decision was made, the credit card was handed over (xoxo M + D),  and the dress was mine. I never looked back. I did make myself stop watching Say Yes to the Dress or I would have driven myself crazy thinking I had bought the wrong dress. Everyone told me once you buy your dress, STOP looking at dresses or you WILL drive yourself crazy. I took their advice for it as the textil is amazing, she also helped by choosing the textil for the tablecloths so we bought linen tablecloths bulk so we could be prepared for the day.

The dress I chose was ivory, organza fabric, mermaid fit, and stunning.

Like most brides, I was concerned that once the wedding day arrived I wouldn’t be able to zip up my dress, but she zipped up like a charm.

I never had to worry about yanking the dress up because the stylist was right, it fit me like a glove and never budged. My dress tailor did a superb job of fitting my dress to me so that it wasn’t so snug around my mid-section where I felt I couldn’t move comfortably, she left a little bit of wiggle room. I needed to be able to DANCE after all, and I surely did.

Anyway, without further ado, I present to you, my dress.

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And my shoes!

wedding shoes wedding dance


dance wedding

Yup, I need to do these posts more often; such amazing memories. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!

Off I go now to enjoy my Saturday in a very good, lovey dovey mood.

Continue Reading The Dress: Wedding Flashback

Fitness Shoes and News

What a FANTASTIC weekend!

A quick summary of the weekend: I PR’ed in Hale to the Bird 5k, successfully hosted my first Thanksgiving, cleaned the house, took down the  fall decorations, put up the Christmas ones, got our Christmas tree, decorated our tree, put lights up outside, hung our wreath…I’d say it was a productive weekend. Now it’s over…waah waah. 🙂

So to catch you up…

Moose started his Saturday morning off with a very special treat: the few remains of a Parkers peanut butter container.

He licked that thing clean! Happy holidays to Mooser! Lucky duck.

The holiday decorations are up in full force in our house. I am realizing that I don’t have as many decorations as I would like. This may be my year to get out to the stores after the holidays and stock up on some clearance items!

Our decorated Christmas tree…

I mentioned that this year we went with a white pine whereas in years past we have gone with the Frasier fir. The needles are a lot different (longer) but I love how full the tree looks compared to the Frasier’s.

Here are a couple of photos from a few years ago…

2009 at Dana’s old house–before we were engaged

Our first Christmas in our house together–2010. This photo was taken right after our professional engagement photos, so I thought I would flash a couple of those for you too for the sake of good memories!

Awwww! 🙂 Our engagement photos were taken a day after a huge snow storm and it was absolutely freezing the day of our session. The snow made for some pretty great photos though!

Back to reality…

After Thanksgiving I have been on mission veggie load to get back on track. I’ve been getting in a whole lotta greens the past few days…

Saturday night dinner: mixed greens with tomato, black beans, feta cheese, broccoli, and hummus

Sunday morning: omelet with fontina cheese (we discovered this awesome cheese in Italy), spinach, mushrooms, onions, and tomato

Sunday dinner: mixed greens with tomato, broccoli, black beans, corn, cheese, green olives, and light ranch dressing

I think it’s safe to say I’m back on track in the veggie department. I’m feeling better already.


Fitness News

First, remember those snazzy Asics I bought a couple of weeks ago? Well, they weren’t fitting my foot quite right, so I exchanged them for another pair thinking that it was maybe just a faulty pair. After trial two with the same model of shoe, it turns out that whatever changes they made to the Asics Kayano 19 compared to the past couple of models don’t agree with the shape of my foot. So yesterday, we made a trip back to Marathon Sports yet again to find me some shoes. While browsing, we came across some really long lasting work boots that I really wanted for times when I dabble in gardening in my backyard.

I tried on a different style of Asics, but they weren’t right. Next, they tried me in a pair of Brooks. I took them for a test jog outside of the store. I really like how light they are, they seem to have enough cushioning, and are very comfortable and fit well to my foot. I decided to go with Brooks Ravenna 3; my first pair of Brooks. We’ll see how my first run with them goes tomorrow.

Speaking of running, on to the second part of my fitness news. In order to keep myself in check and keep me running over the holiday season, I have registered for a 10k on January 1st. That means not only will I need to continue to run, I will need to train outside in the Minnesota cold. It’s time to toughen myself up. I will be learning about safety precautions when running in the cold, experimenting with layers and warm gear, and amping up my mileage weekly. I will be keeping you posted on my progress as I go along.

The race is being put on by Team Ortho which is the same organization that puts on the half marathon and Get Lucky (to name a few), both of which I completed this past year. I really like their races. They are always very well organized and participants and spectators really seem to enjoy themselves at their events.

Team Ortho’s Get Lucky 7k: Race Recap

Team Ortho’s Minneapolis Half Marathon:

I am excited to start training! Dana and Kevin will be running it as well.

I am off to get loads accomplished today (hopefully). Have a great day my friends.

Continue Reading Fitness Shoes and News

Mediterranean Dinner Table for Two

Happy Friday to you all!

Last night, I was not in any type of cooking mood believe it or not, and neither was Dana. We made the decision to go out and spent the next 20 minutes trying to decide where to go. I was beyond hungry so couldn’t really pinpoint what sounded good.

We ended up at an old favorite, The Mediterranean (<—-another word I need to learn how to spell) Cruise Café, aka Med Cruise. We still had a gift card from our wedding there and decided this would be the perfect opportunity to use it up.

The restaurant offers original creations from Jerusalem, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Italy, Turkey and Greece [according to their website]. Besides having AWESOME food, their restaurant is beautiful and has an open spacious floor plan, full of red, gold, and neutral colors and chandelier fixtures, they offer hookahs out on their back patio, and to top it off, they have belly dancers Thursday-Sunday!




Photos courtesy of Mediterranean Cruise Cafe

We like the place so much that we actually held our groom’s dinner there the night before our wedding. I thought it was kind of neat we decided on the Med Cruise last night since we just celebrated our one year anniversary at the Holiday Inn and relived dinner at Rudy’s Redeye there, now we can relive our groom’s dinner here.

Groom’s Dinner: September 30th, 2011



Dinner Last Night

Once we were seated both of us were ravenous. We each ordered a Greek side salad to start with tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, olives, feta cheese with a herb dressing. We split a small order of hummus which was the equivalent to an entire package you would buy at the store! Hey, I’m not complaining.


For dinner we split an entrée whose name I cannot remember, but it had seasoned chicken and sautéed vegetables and was served over yellow rice. It sounds so simple but the flavors were just outstanding. I have never ordered anything from their menu that I haven’t liked.


We made it through about 2/3 of the plate and both were comfortable after we were done. I usually leave this place feeling stuffed because everything is SO good, but I controlled myself and stopped when appropriate last night. Open-mouthed smile If you’re in the area, I highly recommend the Mediterranean Cruise Cafe if you like Mediterranean food. Delicious.

Obviously, my belly is back to normal. The stomach flu is out of my system (nearly a week later). Blech, so not fun. I can feel that strength-wise, I am not 100%, but I will get there soon. Now that I am feeling better I am anxious to start up the workouts again. Today I’m planning on going for a walk with one of my best girlfriends who is in town for the weekend!! Hint..one of my bridesmaids.

I don’t have too many plans this weekend which is something I am actually really happy about. Since I was out of commission last week I feel like I have some catching up to do around the house, and I am hoping to tackle some organization projects. Also, I am anxious to get cooking again. I have squash and brussels sprouts calling my name from the kitchen. We’ll see what I come up with.

I’m off for now! Happy glorious Friday friends.

Continue Reading Mediterranean Dinner Table for Two

Dance Like No One’s Watching

I love to dance.

I began taking dance classes when I was three years old at a community center in the area. At my first recital, the girl standing next to me during the routine literally stood next to me the entire time. She was terrified. I was in my glory. Sure the only reason I knew what I was doing was because my dance teacher was off in left stage dancing the routine for us to copy, but I still did my best to hold my own. I was shy, but there was something about being on that stage that really made me feel confident.


I continued to take classes at the community center for a few years, and then took a couple of years off to give gymnastics a shot. I love that my parents encouraged me to try many activities, and then gave me the freedom to decide which ones I liked and wanted to continue. Gymnastics was great and all, but after a short while I knew I wanted to go back to dance.

My aunt Marie (aka my second mom) who lived just a block away from my family growing up, had her daughters Betsy and Steph (my cousins) enrolled in a dance studio in the neighborhood. I had gone into the studio to watch my cousins dance and my mom and Marie got to talking. The next thing I knew I was enrolled at the same studio!

I had to “audition” to determine which level to be placed in. All I wanted was to be in Betsy’s class even though she was a year younger than me. At first I was placed with girls my age, but talked to the owner of the studio and eventually she put me in the same class as Bets. At the studio we took tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop, musical theater, and more.

Getting into the studio was the best thing that could have happened to me at that point. I fell in love with dance. And so began the millions of memories…

  • Dance camps
  • Nutcracker
  • Recitals
  • Competitions
  • Red lipstick
  • Costumes
  • Endless hours rehearsing
  • Choreography
  • Blood, sweat, tears…




And the best part of it all is that I shared these memories with my best friend. Throughout the years my friendship with Betsy grew stronger and stronger as we continued our dance journey together. She was always there for me to show me steps I wasn’t quite understanding, keep me focused, laugh with me, cry with me, and stand up for me.

Our friendship has only gotten stronger over time. I was ecstatic when I found out she would be joining me at Mankato State for college, she was my Maid of Honor in my wedding, and my lovey bug to this day. Whenever we get together even just to hangout in our sweats and eat puppy chow, I am just the happiest gal ever. I love that girl so much.

We continue to shake our groove thing whenever we get the chance.




I am so lucky to have so many wonderful memories of dance and to have been able to share them with Bets. xoxoxo

So speaking of shakin’ it together when we get the chance…

On Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to walk down memory lane and take a dance class offered at my studio for alumni. I was extremely hesitant about going being that I hadn’t been to an actual dance class in about 8 years (not including Zumba, aerobics, etc.), but Bets and my other cousin Emmy had taken the class the previous weeks and convinced me that I had to join them. They said not to worry, just come have fun and I promise you will not feel silly if you can’t touch your toes or do a pirouette.


I pulled out my leotard and dance shoes and headed to class with the girls. We jumped right into the warm up full of stretches that used to be a lot easier. Then, we moved into strides and leaps across the floor just like old times. Finally, we began some choreography. The theme for the week was Michael Jackson and we were taught a jazz dance to “Smooth Criminal.” I picked a great week to go, huh?! Love me some MJ.

I was very appreciative of our teacher (also an alumni) who took the steps very slow for us folks who were kicking the dust off of the old dancin’ shoes. I was sort of able to remember the steps and crank out the routine. What a great way to keep the mind sharp! By the end of the class I felt enlightened, nostalgic, and very sweaty. I proved to myself that I can still do it. Sure I may not be as flexible but I still have rhythm and can move, and you better believe I won’t stop dancing!

You can find me on the dance floor at every wedding, dancing around the house like no one is watching, Zumba’ing, and now, taking classes time and again at my old dance studio. Dance gives me such incredible energy and is a great stress reliever too. There’s a song for every mood you’re in. It’s powerful.

“If you get the choice, to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”


I am off to enjoy the weekend! Have a wonderful day my friends. Much love to you all.

Continue Reading Dance Like No One’s Watching

Relive the Memories

Wow, we had the most amazing one year anniversary. Thank you for all of the anniversary wishes! We celebrated mostly on Sunday. Here is a run-down of the glorious day.

Morning Massage & Coffee

We headed to Spalon Montage for our 9:00 am couple massage. We were given huge plush robes to wear and then were escorted to our room where two separate massage tables were set up. We each enjoyed a 55 minute full body massage. It was heavenly!

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Afterwards we made a stop at Einstein Bros for a morning cup of coffee. They had a vanilla hazelnut blend which was oh so good.



We made our way home to eat a quick lunch, pack, and bring Moose over to Dana’s parents place for a sleepover. I made myself a mixed green salad with bacon, tomatoes, Muenster cheese, salsa and a runny egg on top.


Dana’s parents gave us a marital bliss chocolate bar which I had to share with you all. Too funny and too perfect. That sounds about right, huh? Winking smile


Hike at Ritter Farm Park

Once Moose was all settled in, Dana and I headed over to Ritter Farm Park which is the park we went to after our wedding ceremony to take pictures.


Of course I asked Dana to play along with my girlish self and reenact some of our wedding photos. The things he does for me I tell ya. BTW this is when the camera battery died. Thank goodness for the iPhone.

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We went for a walk through the park and I remembered it was the last day of the September push-up challenge. I dropped down and did my final 10 push-ups for the month right there in the dirt. Even though the month’s challenge is technically over, I don’t plan on stopping the push-ups. I do plan to continue and progress, I just may not do them everyday. I have a new challenge this month that I will tell you about tomorrow.

Drop it like it’s hot.


The Holiday Inn

After we were sweaty and smudged with dirt, we made our way to The Holiday Inn which is where our wedding reception was held one year ago. (“Whatchu doin’ ? Nothin, chillin’ at the Holiday Innnn…”).

Upon entering our room we were greeted with this sweet sight: a bottle of champagne, chocolates and a note from the staff including the woman who helped us plan the details of our reception. I thought that was VERY nice of them.


We decided to pop the cork, pour ourselves a plastic cup of champagne, and head down to the hot tub (no glass in the pool area of course).

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When we first sat down in the hot tub the atmosphere was quiet and relaxing. That lasted all of about 6 minutes because the gates from a birthday party were opened and little ones flooded the pool and hot tub. It’s a good thing we both like kids; we thought it was hilarious. I can’t handle hot tubs very long anyway so it was a short lived visit.

We continued with the relaxed theme the rest of the evening.  We poured ourselves a glass of wine from a bottle that a friend of ours had given us we think as an engagement present; either that or it was a wedding gift. We used our chalices from the wedding.


Next, off to dinner at Rudy’s Redeye Grill. They catered our wedding and did a fabulous job.


Excuse the poor lighting, but I started off with a side salad with balsamic dressing (croutons removed and not eaten).


For my main course I had the almond crusted walleye and their infamous green beans (photo on the left)  which is the same meal I had at our wedding minus the mashed potatoes (photo on the right). I enjoyed my meal a little bit more this time around…a little less commotion and we didn’t have to get up and kiss every 4 minutes like we did during our meal at our wedding reception. Smile

With a little help from Dana, we polished that walleye off in no time. I probably could have polished off the beans too but decided not too feel miserable and saved them for my lunch the next day.

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Next onto cutting the cake top that we saved from the top tier of our wedding cake. We wrapped it in saran wrap and aluminum foil a million times and freezer Ziploc bagged it twice. We stored it in the freezer for a year.

On Saturday we took it out of the freezer, unwrapped it, rewrapped it in loose parchment paper and saran wrap, and let it defrost in the fridge. An hour or so before we were ready to cut into it, we removed it from the fridge and let it sit out on the counter. It was perfect by the time we cut into it Sunday evening.

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It tasted JUST AS GOOD as it did on our wedding night if not better. I have to shout out to the wonderful Ms. Arna Farmer of Arna Farmer Catering & Cakes for doing such an incredible job on our cake. Out of three cake places we taste-tested, hers was by far the most delicious and to top it off, hers was the most affordable of them all. I recommend her to anybody. Amazing.


We had so much fun reliving all of the beautiful memories of our wedding day. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year already. I love reliving the memories, yet living life in the present, and am thrilled to see what our future holds. Thank you again to all of you who helped make our day so special. Love you all.


Back to the grind now….I still need to share a peanut butter banana cookie recipe with you all! I’m hoping tomorrow I will share that with you.

Oh, and in case you missed it, I’m hosting a LARABAR giveaway. Check it out here.

Have a great day friends! Catch up with you real soon.

Continue Reading Relive the Memories

A Very Special Day and a GIVEAWAY {CLOSED}

One year ago today I married my best friend. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to call him my husband. He defuses my stress, teaches me how to be patient, reminds me to stay positive, and loves me unconditionally. We accept challenges that life throws our way and work through them together.

We have had such an incredible first year of marriage full of love, travel, races, and so many other wonderful memories. He is the love of my life and I am thrilled I get to celebrate a lifetime of anniversaries with this man. I am so blessed.


We celebrated our anniversary yesterday with an extremely relaxing “us” day. I’ll fill you in more on that later. Open-mouthed smile



When following the SCD or Paleo diet, it can be a little challenging finding any pre-packaged foods whose ingredients actually fit into the “allowable” foods list. There is one however that I have been in love with for quite some time that does fit the mold, and that is the delicious LARABAR. Their ingredients are natural, simple, and I can pronounce and understand what each and every one actually is.

They are a perfect pre-workout snack, afternoon pick-me-up, on-the-go breakfast, or any time snack. I always keep one in my purse so that when hunger strikes, I can refuel.



They come in so many awesome flavors from Peanut Butter Cookie to Lemon Bar, to Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte, so there’s sure to be one that is perfect for everyone’s taste. I personally haven’t met a LARABAR I haven’t liked. You can check out their flavors here.

Do you want a chance to win some free LARABARS to put into your purse or pocket for when hunger strikes?! Here’s your chance. I am giving a way a caddy of 16 mixed LARABAR flavors to one lucky reader (courtesy of LARABAR).



Enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post with your favorite LARABAR flavor or one you would like to try.
  • Earn an extra entry by liking Beautifully Nutty and LARABAR on Facebook. Then, post another comment on my blog that you have liked us.

Giveaway ends Wednesday Oct. 3rd at 9:00 pm Central Time. Winner will be announced Thursday Oct. 4th. Open to U.S. residents only (sorry to all of my international readers!).

GOOD LUCK my healthy friends!

**Disclaimer: All opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. LARABAR has provided me free bars for this giveaway.

Continue Reading A Very Special Day and a GIVEAWAY {CLOSED}

When in Rome

Wow, I really enjoyed having the day off yesterday. I went to the gym and did a 20 minute warmup on the elliptical before hitting some weights. I focused on biceps mostly.

  • 3×10 lat pull downs (60 lbs but then progressed to 75 for one set)
  • 4×10 push-ups
  • 3×10 bicep curls (20 lbs)
  • 3×10 seated incline press

Then I needed to head out because I had errands to run including a trip to TJMaxx before driving over to meet mom at my Grandpa’s house. It was great to visit with mom and Grandpa, and mom had brought Miss Abbie along as well. Abbie absolutely loves Grandpa and it is the cutest thing ever. I think he really enjoys when she comes over, plus she is a little vacuum cleaner and gets every last crumb that may have fallen. I hung out with them for a bit and then headed home to finish up some laundry and clean a little.

Lunch was a whole lot of snacks here and there (not all snacks captured):


For dinner we had plans to meet up with our Priest, Father Mike, at Chianti Grill, which is a great local Italian restaurant. The inside of the restaurant has a very cozy feeling with a red, tan and brown theme throughout, along with the lighting, decorations, and fire place. What made it even more cozy was when we were at dinner, it started snowing outside. It was beautiful. I had the spinach and mushroom ravioli with red sauce and basically licked my plate clean. We also got a delicious mixed green salad with house balsamic.

Besides wanting to catch up on what’s new in eachother’s lives since the wedding, Father Mike also really wanted to hear about our trip to Italy, most specifically, getting blessed by the Pope in Rome.

Backtracking to pre-wedding…we met up with Father Mike to talk wedding plans, ceremony decisions, etc., and we got to talking about our honeymoon plans. As soon as he found out we were going to be in Rome, he asked us if we were planning to to go to see the Pope, for a blessing as part of the papal audience in Vatican City. We told him that we were absolutely planning on it. Father Mike then proceeded to tell us about a blessing for newleyweds. He said that there is a special blessing for newleyweds (I believe within 1 or 2 months of getting married) and it required a formal invitation. As soon as we showed our enthusiasm for this amazing opportunity, Father Mike contacted the appropriate members of the Vatican and requested formal invitation for us to attend. He needed to send them some basic information about us, and got it all set up. All that was left for us to do was bring a copy of our marriage certificate from the church, our I.D.’s of course, and pick up our tickets the day before the blessing when we were in Rome.

We were informed before we left for our vacation that one of the requirements of this newleywed blessing was that the couple needed to wear wedding attire. My initial plan was to lug my big wedding dress out there but decided against it and went to a consignment shop to buy a lighter dress instead. I wore a cardigan because it was required that shoulders be covered. Picture in St. Peter’s Square when we arrived. We had to arrive a couple of hours early hence the lack of people present at this point.

Our seats were unbelievable.

There he is seated in his chair and giving blessings to different groups of visitors. We were about 20 yards away. We couldn’t believe we were that close to Pope Benedict XVI! It was a very surreal moment for us. When he was all done with his blessings he walked back towards his mini automobile, which was back our way a little bit. He gave a wave and Dana captured such an amazingly priceless photo! Isn’t that truly amazing?!

He drove around and then did one more final good-bye wave and we were even closer for that moment.

We were officially blessed by the Pope as newleywed’s. Talk about a great way to start your marriage! After the blessing, we also received rosaries that had been blessed by the Pope. We made our way over to the special doors where we were to receive our rosaries, found our way inside this beautiful building and each got one to take home with us.

If you are planning to visit Rome, I highly recommend going to see the Pope whether it is as part of the general audience, or as a newleywed. It was the highlight of our trip and such a special way for us to begin our life together.

We cannot thank Father Mike enough for enabling us to be a part of this special event. Without him, we would not have gotten to sit in the special seating up so close, and we would not have received the formal blessing as newleyweds. Thank you times a million Father Mike. It is a memory that will last forever.

This was the abbreviated version of our experience but it gives you a good idea of what it was like!

I’m off to work! Happy Fat Tuesday…today is my last day for sweets.

Continue Reading When in Rome

Four Months Ago

It’s February?! Ohemgeee! Holy cow time flies! Did you know that four months ago from today I married the love of my life? Well believe it!

Melanie + Dana = Love Forever

October 1st, 2011.

According to Dana it’s been the best four months of his life. I believe him and I agree. It has been an amazing first four months. Married life was kick-started with a wonderful, beautiful honeymoon to Italy where we visited Rome, Montalcino (and surrounding areas in Tuscany), Florence, and Cinque Terre. It seems like a dream.

Florence: view from the top

Cinque Terre: Photo in front of the Ligurian Sea

Once we returned home we started tackling thank you cards, writing reviews for our awesome wedding vendors, and unpacking/reorganizing our home with all of our wedding gifts! It took a little while to get back into the swing of normal life and felt very strange to not have a wedding to plan for anymore. It is crazy how much it really consumes your life when planning a big wedding, but in a good way!

Next events to follow were Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, friends and family’s birthdays, New Year’s, work…..life. It’s been busy but such is life. I am the luckiest girl to get to spend the rest of my life with  my best friend!

Okay, I’ll stop. I know it’s only a four month anniversary but I am a sappy kind of a person. What kind of shenanigans will I post on our one year anniversary? Oh boy, you’ll be in for a treat I’m sure. But really, I am so happy. I love you, Dana. 🙂



Breakfast tasted better than normal today. It may have been because I woke up really hungry. In the bowl was blueberries, blackberries, plain non-fat greek yogurt, honey to sweeten it up, and chia seeds. A good breakfast is a sign of a good day ahead. Hope everyone has a happy Wednesday!

What did YOU eat for breakfast this morning? 

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