Three years.

Here I am again apologizing for the lack of time that has passed since my last blog post. I saw today that almost three years have passed since I started blogging again. Then I got disappointed with myself. I have a degree in marketing, I’ve had jobs in social media, and sales. I actually feel really confident that I could be great at this, given the time/energy but as of now, I’m not. I started asking myself “what have I been even doing!?”.

:: bear with me here::

Then I started scrolling… oh you know, the dreaded Instagram scroll where you get lost and then an hour goes by. Except this scroll was different, I did it on my own page. Then it hit me, I’ve done A LOT in the last three years and I started jotting these things down. I have…

Planned a wedding

Got married

Got laid off

Was on unemployment

Started a new job

Traveled to Jamaica, Hawaii, Michigan, Deep Creek Lake, West Virginia, Niagara Falls

Lost a friend

Gained new friends

Bought a house

Got pregnant

Moved in the house

Morning All day sickness, yet gained extra lbs

Made a house into a home

Birthed my son

Became a MOTHER

Cried a lot

Laughed a lot

Breastfed for 7 months

Navigated ridiculous hormone shifts

Had a migraine for a week straight… multiple times

Found myself

Lost myself

Let go of little things

Held tighter to bigger things

Rode in an ambulance

Somewhat successfully mind read my tiny human 24/7

Became an aunt for the third time

And the list goes on…

 

You get the idea. The point is that a lot has happened for me. Probably less than some and more than others. Instead of feeling sorry for myself and my hobbies falling short, the idea is that I should be feeling gratitude. Gratitude for the things that I’ve experienced and lessons I’ve learned in the last three years. There have been many highs and many lows as I pick myself up and navigate my newest role as a mother all while trying maintaining pieces of my original identity. This process alone can feel overwhelming, time-consuming and confusing. So my thought to you is the next time you are feeling low, start jotting down everything you’ve done the last three years whether it be big or small, if it comes to mind write it down. Then you’ll see how much you actually are doing.. and living!

Xo, Anna

3 Ways To Get Out Of Your Fashion Rut (New Mom Edition)

Hello, world! I’m back! I’d love to be better with blogging but honestly I’ve been lacking inspiration. My life is basically all about Henry which is amazing, but I always find myself questioning just how much I was to share his life with the world. I keep trying to find a delicate balance so thanks for your patience!

Anyway, the other day I found myself staring into my closet and feeling so bored. I know we all feel that way at times, but I really took a step back and tried to figured out why I was feeling this way. I have built a closet full of basic and classic pieces that I would always have then play with accessories to liven them up or give them a more trend-forward look. But now… my hair constantly has to be up in a ponytail and jewelry has to be minimum to none because Henry will just pull everything he can get his little hand onto! After he broke my smallest necklace that I didn’t even realize those tiny fingers could grasp, I’ve basically given up on the jewelry game for now. Does anyone else’s little one like to grab on to their hair too? So what’s a mom on a budget to do in order to liven things up in this situation and feel a little more trendy again? I’ve found three quick and easy solutions that are also new mom friendly aka little effort. Hah, enjoy!

1.Headbands!

This trend is back and I couldn’t be more thankful. It’s a great way to liven up a messy ponytail full of dry shampoo. Plus, they are great for summer! I just bought this pack from Amazon.

2. Kimonos!They are always so colorful with fun prints and in my opinion the best summer layering piece to have in your closet. It’s so easy to throw one on over a solid tee or tank to liven things up. They often can also be used as swim suit cover ups. I found this one at Marshalls, but I’ve seen them everywhere lately!

3. Go shopping with this specific goal in mind or schedule a Fix!

As you may know I’m a stylist with Stitch Fix which allows me to style my own fixes if I so choose… but its a blessing and a curse! Having a new set of eyes on your style is sometimes all you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Though I still styled myself in my most recent Fix, this time I really tried to style myself as an actual client asking for fun details/prints/accessories to get out a fashion rut. I’m excited about my choices and I ended up keeping 3/5 pieces. Two printed tops and one with super cute embroidery detailed top now have been added to my wardrobe!

If you’re interested in trying Stitch Fix, sign up here… https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/6126849?som=c&sod=i

Do you have any ideas I’m not thinking of? Talk soon!

Xo

Anna

6 Tips for Online Dating

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Hi, guys! Happy Tuesday! So February is one of my favorite months because it’s just such a LOVE month.  Not only is there Valentine’s Day, but it’s also the month that Nick and I started dating AND got engaged (he would want me to tell you that it wasn’t all on the same day). Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, Nick and I actually met online! I know, crazy, right? I still can’t believe it. We always get a million questions after someone finds out. I’m pretty sure it’s because we are normal adults (kinda) and we found love on the internet. Online dating seems to have a negative stigma sometimes and it can be overwhelming, frustrating, but also very rewarding! It’s not for everyone but it is for you if you want a different way to meet people. It’s 2017 and we use technology for just about everything else, why not this? An algorithm gave Nick and I a 97% match. Mind. Blown. And my biggest reason you should try it is simple… What if it works!!!

Here are my 6 tips for a successful online dating experience:

  1. The username
    • You finally talked yourself into this and now you have to think of a username? Eek. Don’t stop here. Because I would constantly delete and remake a profile, I used a few different names. The last one that I used was song lyrics that I liked at the time. I was “LittleTalks” and it was one of my better ideas because it attracted people that liked the same music as me. Try thinking of a hobby or interest you like when coming up with a name.
  2. How to pick your profile photo
    • Use current photos! Catfishing is real, folks. You can ask Nick about his story. Thankfully, it never happened to me.
    • Don’t go overboard. Post one head shot, one body shot, and one with family/friends.
    • Keep your clothes on ladies and gents if you’re looking for the real deal.
  3. What to say about yourself
    • Don’t give everything away! This makes it easier to ask questions in messages so that you can get to know one another.
    • Be honest! I remember rolling my eye’s at Nick’s profile when reading that he taught his grandma how to golf, funny story… he actually did!
    • If you have a sense of humor, try to show it! If you’re serious, show it!
    • If there are questions offered from the dating service, answer them. This is how their algorithms work in finding you the best matches.
  4. Messages
    • Who messages who first? Blah, I know. If you’re interested show it, but be a little creative in your first impression. If you can sense their sensor of humor and you’re attracted to that, compliment it. If they are a foodie, ask what their favorite place to eat in the city is.
    • Don’t overthink it, just be yourself.
    • This is the point where it’s okay to be picky! If you met everyone you messaged with, you’d be very busy.
    • If you’re not interested at any point, let them know.
    • If you’re interested after some messaging, get their information for one of their social media accounts if it makes you feel more comfortable. No, this isn’t creepy, they shouldn’t have anything to hide. Add them on Facebook, that way they can see you’re somewhat normal too.
  5. Meeting
    • Are you still not sure about this whole online dating thing? I wasn’t either. Though I knew I was interested in Nick, the whole idea of meeting him was very intimidating. So I highly recommend Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, whatever to see each other’s faces and talk for a bit. This makes the first meeting feel so much more normal.
    • Don’t meet someone unless you are comfortable with it and genuinely want to meet them. This makes the whole experience way more fun!
    • Be smart! Go to a public place and tell a friend what you’re doing, ya know, just in case… or have your sister stalk you on the Find my Friends app (Heather!).
    • Grab a coffee or a cocktail. Don’t commit yourself to an entire meal or activity for the first time meeting. If cocktails lead into dinner, then perfect, things are going well!
  6. Happily ever after… or not… but maybe!
    • Be patient, your dream man or women isn’t always online waiting for your profile. It’s like real life dating still, you’re just using a website to help introduce you to people. If it doesn’t work out for you, at least you tried!

Are you considering online dating, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet? Here are some other things you should know:

  • Online dating can be like a second job. There’s a lot of people out there. If you’re serious about it, it can take a chunk of time to weed through the masses.
  • Do you want to wait until you meet someone in person? Yea, I did too. But, just do me a favor and keep in mind that when you meet someone at a bar you know nothing about them. When you meet someone from online, you at least know something about them! It should be less intimidating.
  • Try a free online dating website to see how you feel about it. There is no harm in canceling it.
  • You are going to see someone you know on the site, maybe even an ex… and maybe even your ex’s best friend who will message you. That’s a true story. But, get over it, everyone wants to find their love!

I want to conclude and give a special thank you to OkCupid for allowing me to find the man of my dreams!

Have you had success with online dating or not so much? What advice would you share?

XO, Anna

The Unknowns of Motherhood

The Unknowns of Motherhood

Where are my mama’s at? As I think about the last three months with Henry, I can’t help but giggle sometimes. I think about all the different things that nobody told me about having a little one. I’m not sure that I would’ve listened, cause ya know, preggo hormones, but still. Join me in finding some of the humor that is motherhood.

Nobody told me…

  1. The amount of lint in hands and toes. Seriously, where’s it coming from and why does it keep coming back!?
  2. Be quick or you may be dodging pee… or probably just getting peed on. #boymomproblems
  3. You will never go to the bathroom or eat a meal in peace again if your child is awake.
  4. That you will analyze every color of their poop.
  5. You are now a germaphobe. Wash your hands before touching my baby or else… but seriously, I’ll send you the hospital bill. #fluseason
  6. You are also now a walking side show. Everyone, I mean everyone, is trying to sneak a peek at your baby in public.
  7. Whether it be pee, poop, or breastmilk, you’re always smelly now.
  8. That a very tired babe does not sleep go to sleep without a fight. May the odds be in your favor!
  9. How hard, yet satisfying breastfeeding is. And you’ll be in the kitchen at 2 am looking for a snack after that middle of the night feed.
  10. The cute outfits spend most of the time hanging in the closet. Sleepers always win. Bonus points if it has a zipper!
  11. You will be comfortable sucking boogers out your child’s nose with your mouth. #nosefrida
  12. That the nurse hotline at the pediatricians office will be on speed dial.
  13. You will probably cry as much as your babe while they get their shots.
  14. That a stretch of 3 hours of sleep can suddenly feel like you slept for 8. The sleep deprivation is so real, you’ll feel a little crazy.
  15. The love you feel for them is so intense it can bring you to tears thinking about it!

What are some of the things about having a baby that nobody told you? Comment below!

Xo, Anna

Pregnancy Must Haves

Pregnancy Must Haves

It feels like not long ago I was yelling “Nick!!!! I think I’m pregnant!” in our apartment all while feeling extremely overwhelmed and excited. Then came the decision to quickly buy a house and make it a home before baby Hinkle’s arrival in November. Fast forward to now, I must say we are killing it in the productivity over here! I always thought I knew what pregnancy would feel like, but it’s truly so different for everyone. Coming from someone who had no idea what they are doing, I would not have been able to survive without my pregnancy must haves that I’d love to share with you!

  1. PSI Bands
    • When that first trimester hit, it was hard. I was so nausea and had no appetite. Functioning was legit hard, I was so miserable. Then one day my BFF, Katy, showed up with an amazing gift basket that had the PSI Bands in it. She explained her sister used them for motion sickness so I should try them… and they worked! I mean worked enough for me to function. Did it make all the nausea go away? No, nothing did, but I was able to go house shopping and act like a normal human when sleeping all day was not an option! Thank goodness, for these bands and the second trimester. Pregnancy Must Haves- PSI Bands
  2. Maternity Clothing Basics
    • Lucky for me, I have a wonderful SIL that gave me a large bin of clothes to borrow. It allowed me to find some favorite styles and then buy some my own. T shirts, a great pair of jeans, leggings, comfy shoes and a few “nice” tops are all must haves. I found being comfortable during this time is the key to happiness! Read more about it on Maternity Clothing Must Have blog post coming soon.
  3. Cravings
    • Girl, treat yo self! You are growing a human! I’ve never craved sweets like I have the last six months. I could literally have a glazed donut, all day, every day.
  4. Pregnancy books for you and your partner
  5.  Babycenter.com or app
    • If books aren’t your thing, you may find some comfort on the BabyCenter website and app. There is SO much useful information to reference on their site along with a community of expecting mom’s due the same month as you. I personally use the app and look at it every day with updates on the baby and pop into the community every once in awhile for support. A favorite update in this household is how big the baby is each week. Every Friday, we are laughing at references in the size of our little one! He is the size of a large eggplant this week, haha!
  6. A pregnancy buddy
    • Whether you find this within the online community on the BabyCenter app (or many similar sites out there) or in real life, it’s so nice to have someone going through the same things as you right now. Shout out to my friend, Kara, for the endless texts and check ins! She’s a month ahead of me, so her little bundle of joy is almost here!!!
  7.  Smelly Things
    • Like really good smelly things! I treated myself to a little shopping spree at Bath and Body Works to get some plug ins around the house. With a crazy sense of smell, you want to stop and smell something good, not pick up on the slight smell of the garbage. At one point Nick was taking the garbage out every day, this solved that problem.
  8. Boppy Pregnancy Wedge Pillow
    • This was a hand me down that I didn’t know I needed (thanks for saving the day, yet again Heather!). Basically once that belly of yours starts growing, it feels nice to wedge this thing under it while sleeping to alleviate some pressure on your belly and hips. I’ve also put it behind my back to keep me from turning on my back at night, one thing I had no idea was bad for the baby until my doctor told me to make sure I’m laying on my side to help with the babies blood flow for growing. Now that I think of it, I’ve also used it to elevate my head for those glorious acid reflux sleepless nights! So yeah, basically, just get it. You can find it here!

Boppy Wedge Pillow

Like I said before, pregnancy is so different for everyone! It’s just a testament to how every women’s body is so different, it’s a wild, yet beautiful thing. What saved you through your pregnancy? I’d love to know if there is something I am missing out on!

Wishing you a smooth and healthy pregnancy! Until next time…

XO, Anna

6 Things My Mom Taught me

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Hello, again!

I wrote this blog post a few years ago on my old blog, it was one of my favorite posts. I edited it a little, but ultimately, it all still holds true! What better time to share again than with Mother’s Day right around the corner? It’s so important to pause sometimes and appreciate the people you have and have had throughout your life. This blog post is dedicated to my mom who is very special to me in many ways. She has taught me 6 very important things… okay probably way more than 6 things, but this is a good start!

1. The importance of creativity.
No project is too small to take on. See it in a store? We can do it that better. Doesn’t look like the one in the picture? That’s your creative spin on it. The amount of creativity and talent my mom has always impressed me. As I grow older I have more of an appreciation for it and strive to be like her in this way.

2. Better to be overdressed than underdressed!
Self-explanatory, and always held true in any circumstance. If you know my mother, you know she is always looking her best!

3. Live life to the fullest.
Follow your heart, go for it if it feels right and don’t miss out on any adventure… just go! (but be safe!)

4. Family is everything.
My family, we all have each other’s backs and have so much love for one another. Who do you think is at the heart of that? Mom. She treats us fairly (though my brothers may disagree for the one time I had a later curfew and don’t have to cut the grass… don’t blame me for being the baby) and will treat the deserved like our family. She always reminds us to accept one another despite any differences because we’re family. When things get tough, I think of family because I know they will always be there. The person who makes me realize that is mom.

5. Always be honest.
It’s always better to tell people how you feel and to talk it out. This will lead to the best relationships and will show who matters. Honesty can hurt, but it’s the best route. I was taught at a young age to practice this and growing up I realized this isn’t always something people’s mothers teach them.

6. Mom’s know everything.
They really do. She gets protective towards those she feels will end up hurting me, she knows where I can find that one pair of shoes, and she knows how to do just about anything else I end up asking her. Who needs Google? Mom knows. Lucky for her I use Google so I’m not bothering her all the time!

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I appreciate you mom and love you very much.  Happy Mother’s Day!

What’s something your mom has taught you?

XO,

Anna

We’re moving… Again!

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Hi guys,

Life has been super hectic lately! I never realized that buying a house would be so time consuming! It’s not like HGTV makes it out to be, that’s for sure. The area we were looking at, along with our budget, new houses were few and far between. With that being said, when one did come on the market, we had to drop everything and get there right away to see if we wanted to make an offer. Luckily about after a month of endless trips to the suburbs, we found a new home to call our own. This on top of trips to meeting with the bank, home inspection, packing and other things, we can’t wait to move in at the end of the month!

I always find myself getting super sentimental when moving day comes up. Nick and I have now lived in two different apartments, each with their own set of memories. I guess this blog post is a little selfish, as I wanted to recap our apartment living, while we move forward in purchasing our first home.

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For those that don’t know, Nick and I first lived together in Bridgeport, West Virginia. It was a leap of faith when I moved there after only 6 months of long distance dating Nick. And guess what, it was worth it! One of my biggest concerns was that I wanted to make that apartment ours instead of me just moving into his bachelor pad. Nick of course agreed and the golf ball collection over the toilet was taken down, and we bought a new comfy couch together. At first, it had it’s moments where it was an adjustment living with one another, but all in all, Nick was the best roommate that I ever had! We spent days hiking through WV, nights drinking at the local pub and many evenings cooking with each other in the kitchen. We called this apartment the “Tree House” since it was on the top floor of a big wooden outdoor staircase. It held so many firsts for us as a couple and was a place where we became closer than ever.

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As time went on, we knew West Virginia wasn’t our forever home and we started to think about our different options. It was between Columbus, Ohio to be between both of our families or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania near my family. As time went on more job opportunities came about in Pittsburgh, so we decided it was our place to start the thought process of putting down some roots. I had been to the Aspinwall Borough of Pittsburgh a lot due to some friends living there previously and had loved it. It was close to the city but still felt like we’d have our space and safety. After looking at some apartments, thinking about his short commute to work and the fact that there was actually sidewalks, Nick was sold on the area!

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So that leads us to where we are today… our Aspinwall apartment! This apartment has been so good to us. It’s a big old house split into two different apartments with a ton of character. We have the entire second and third floor, so it’s spacious! We love our landlords and this area. We got engaged and married while living here, along with countless memories on our amazing front porch. Seriously, we love this porch aka “Bar Hinkle”. We’ve walked to the coffee shop and restaurants here more times than I can count. It has been so nice to be close to people we love again and showing our Michigan family the city!

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I’m so excited for our next chapter in our first home! The TV channel here has changed from countless episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress” to now “Fixer Upper”. We are ready to get in our new home and get settled. The thought of making something ours excites us and I can’t wait to share more with you soon!

Until next time…

XO, Anna

Our trip to Nashville, TN

Our trip to Nashville, TNHi, guys!

Todays’ blog post is a flashback Friday, because well, life has been crazy busy! This post is from the original blog that I had a few years ago and I always find myself referring to it when people ask for recommendations. Nashville was one of our favorite trips! Now thinking about that, we may say that about all the places we have been. But, this one isn’t too far away from PA and is a perfect trip for a long weekend. Funny enough, Nick was then just my boyfriend and looking back, this was the trip that sealed the deal for me! I wasn’t letting him go after how much fun we had on our first road trip together. Read on for the whole story!

May 4, 2014

If you know me well, you know I always talked about going to Nashville. Last spring, I was telling Nick all about how I wanted to go and to my surprise my non-country listening boyfriend said, let’s go! By doing some research we found that Nashville has a “Music City July 4th” festival every year with all kinds of free music, fireworks and more! So we decided to plan our trip during that time and I waited patiently for July to come.

July was quickly approaching and as always I was on my computer doing research on bars, restaurants and other things going on in Nashville. I stumbled upon the Grand Old Opry and realized that Carrie Underwood was in town performing one evening during our stay. Of course, I got really excited and then went to work asking the girls if they thought I could convince Nick into going to see Carrie with me while we were there. Their response was, “What guy wouldn’t want to watch Carrie?”. Knowing that I’d see Nick that evening, I had my speech ready to try and convince him that we needed to go to the Opry! In the middle of my begging, he had a big grin on his face and asks me why I always ruin my own surprises. Which is true, I accidentally always do this! Apparently, he had already gotten the tickets and was going to surprise me when we got there!!! Have I mentioned how great of a guy Nick is?

The day we were leaving arrived and I had my cowgirl boots packed up ready to go! The drive there was pretty easy and not too. too long. As always, we had fun killing time listening to the 7 mix CDs I had made for the trip. We stopped for a while on Kentucky Bourbon trail for exploring and got to our hotel in no time!

I’m pretty sure the rain started as soon as we arrived and would only stop for short amounts of time during our entire trip, but we tried not to let it damper our moods! We booked a hotel within walking distance to Broadway (strategically) and did a lot of exploring. I’ll break it down by the three best parts of Nashville.. the food, the bars and the music!

Food:
We ate very well during our long weekend. Some of our favorites were Merchants, 417 Union, and Jack’s. All of these places were downtown and were recommendations from others. We ate at 417 Union twice during our visit because it was so close to our hotel and delish! I would recommend their breakfast AND dinner. Jack’s had awesome barbecue food and we got there just in time before there was a line out the door waiting! Merchants had a throwback-cool vibe with awesome specialty drinks.

Bars:
The best thing about Nashville bars is the live music. The second best thing about Nashville bars is that there is NO cover charge. We did a lot of bar hopping down Broadway, which is what you are supposed to do right? Every bar not only had live music, but each of these cover bands were really good. Our favorites were Tootsies, Whiskey Bent Salon, and Silver Dollar Saloon. To say the least, we had a good time drinking, dancing and listening to the music. Not that into country music? That’s okay because a lot of these bands were playing rock too! The only thing I didn’t like about any of the bars is that when the bands were taking a break, they come around practically begging you for any cash you have. I guess that’s what will happen when they aren’t charging a cover at the door. We made plenty of friends from all over the states and we all agreed on something… we loved Nashville!!!
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Music:
We were there during the Music City July 4th festival hoping to spend the day in the streets listening to band after band. Unfortunately, because of the rain, practically everything was canceled. Understandably so, because I sure didn’t want to stand outside in the pouring rain all day. They kept the main event scheduled which was The Band Perry and fireworks! We braved the crappy weather and joined the massive amounts of people and could pretty much only hear The Band Perry. It was still fun and we weren’t too bummed because they were playing with Carrie Underwood at the Opry the next night. Add in all the other music from the cover bands we had been listening to the entire time we were there and we were musically satisfied. I couldn’t wait to get to the Grand Old Opry. Talk about a cool experience. They have been recording live shows there since forever and playing them on the radio. All of the artists play a few songs then the next one comes on. Of course, between the artist’s commercials played. There were plenty of older country artists that we didn’t know, but the whole experience was unlike any other. The Band Perry was fantastic, but I was just so excited for Carrie. When she came on, the old people left and the young went wild. She is so unbelievably talented! While visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame, she was the featured exhibit. We got to see all of her stages costumes as well as some other things. The museum wasn’t my favorite compared to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, but still interesting. Anyway, after visiting Nashville it is very clear on why it is called Music City!

As you can see I have a lot to say about this weekend that went by way too fast. Nick and I still talk about how much fun we had there. We also continuously talk about how we can’t wait to go back! That’s all for now! XO

Pasta Making with Yvonne

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Hi, guys!

I am still feeling the high from Yvonne’s pasta making class last night because we had so much fun! Nick and I have always enjoyed cooking together and are always trying something new. My family is Italian and I’ve been making pasta sauce for years now. I never really thought about taking the leap into the noodle making, but Nick had been saying he wants to try making them. I would kind of just roll my eyes and tell him the amount of work it’d be! When thinking of ideas for Nick’s birthday, I thought to myself if he wants to make noodles, let’s learn how to do it right! After some research, I came across Yvonne’s website. Pasta is her specialty so I gave her a call right away. After talking to her about her class, I was SO excited and booked us a class right away!

We were really excited the day of and found our way to Handmade Pasta by Yvonne, in the North Hills area of Pittsburgh. We were greeted by Yvonne and her husband, Jim. It’s a small shop that Yvonne makes her pasta in, but they also sell bags of their pasta, as well, as olive oil and some other goodies. Shortly after two other couples arrived, Yvonne handed us our aprons (that you take home!) to begin our pasta making journey.

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First, Yvonne gave us a quick rundown of what to expect for the evening. She then demonstrated how will we make the dough and learned some technical tips along the way, like using room temperature eggs. Then it was our turn. She walked around to each individual, helping as needed. After this quick process was done we had to let the dough rest.

She had a table set for us and had us sit while opening some Prosecco to welcome us all to their shop. Then she brought out an antipasto plate for each of us. Little did we realize that she would keep coming out with more food! She said wanted the experience to be similar to what it would be if you went to someone’s house in Italy to learn how to make pasta.We didn’t stop eating once we stepped through the door. We tried about 8 other various Italian appetizers she made (not all photographed due to chowing down), all while she talked to us about their families time in Italy and the different foods we were eating. We were already stuffed!

Then it was time to burn off some of those calories and get back to the pasta making! Yvonne demonstrated, then just has you go for it. We were taught how to prepare the pasta by hand cutting and machine to see which way we prefer. She then cooks up some of your noodles served with the olive oil flavor of your choice (she’s hooked up with Olive Tap ). And mangia, again! I actually preferred the hand cut noodles, but they were a lot more work (of course). But holy moly both ways were goooood. Handmade pasta is just out of this world compared to boxed pasta!

After that, it was time let the pasta dry a bit before packing it up to take home. Which also meant time for dessert! Yvonne brought out various different cookies and homemade gelato with strawberries and balsamic glaze, along with espresso to drink! We were stuffed and basically in food heaven. We had such a good time with the others in our class and making new friends. So much that we all signed up for the advanced class, which is ravioli, in July together!

I can’t say enough positive things about our experience!  Yvonne was so patient with us and fun to learn from. Her husband, Jim was doing his share of work in the background by cleaning up after us to make each transition extra easy so we could concentrate on pasta making. If you have any interest in learning how to make pasta this class is worth every penny! If you don’t have any interest in making pasta, I still recommend stopping by her store to pick up a bag to enjoy.

Thank you, Yvonne and Jim for a wonderful pasta making class and meal!

Xo, Anna

6 Tips for Online Dating

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Hi, guys! Happy Friday! So February is one of my favorite months because it’s just such a LOVE month.  Not only is there Valentine’s Day, but it’s also the month that Nick and I started dating AND got engaged (he would want me to tell you that it wasn’t all on the same day). Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, Nick and I actually met online! I know, crazy, right? I still can’t believe it. We always get a million questions after someone finds out. I’m pretty sure it’s because we are normal adults (kinda) and we found love on the internet. Online dating seems to have a negative stigma sometimes and it can be overwhelming, frustrating, but also very rewarding! It’s not for everyone but it is for you if you want a different way to meet people. It’s 2017 and we use technology for just about everything else, why not this? An algorithm gave Nick and I a 97% match. Mind. Blown. And my biggest reason you should try it is simple… What if it works!!!

Here are my 6 tips for a successful online dating experience:

  1. The username
    • You finally talked yourself into this and now you have to think of a username? Eek. Don’t stop here. Because I would constantly delete and remake a profile, I used a few different names. The last one that I used was song lyrics that I liked at the time. I was “LittleTalks” and it was one of my better ideas because it attracted people that liked the same music as me. Try thinking of a hobby or interest you like when coming up with a name.
  2. How to pick your profile photo
    • Use current photos! Catfishing is real, folks. You can ask Nick about his story. Thankfully, it never happened to me.
    • Don’t go overboard. Post one head shot, one body shot, and one with family/friends.
    • Keep your clothes on ladies and gents if you’re looking for the real deal.
  3. What to say about yourself
    • Don’t give everything away! This makes it easier to ask questions in messages so that you can get to know one another.
    • Be honest! I remember rolling my eye’s at Nick’s profile when reading that he taught his grandma how to golf, funny story… he actually did!
    • If you have a sense of humor, try to show it! If you’re serious, show it!
    • If there are questions offered from the dating service, answer them. This is how their algorithms work in finding you the best matches.
  4. Messages
    • Who messages who first? Blah, I know. If you’re interested show it, but be a little creative in your first impression. If you can sense their sensor of humor and you’re attracted to that, compliment it. If they are a foodie, ask what their favorite place to eat in the city is.
    • Don’t overthink it, just be yourself.
    • This is the point where it’s okay to be picky! If you met everyone you messaged with, you’d be very busy.
    • If you’re not interested at any point, let them know.
    • If you’re interested after some messaging, get their information for one of their social media accounts if it makes you feel more comfortable. No, this isn’t creepy, they shouldn’t have anything to hide. Add them on Facebook, that way they can see you’re somewhat normal too.
  5. Meeting
    • Are you still not sure about this whole online dating thing? I wasn’t either. Though I knew I was interested in Nick, the whole idea of meeting him was very intimidating. So I highly recommend Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, whatever to see each other’s faces and talk for a bit. This makes the first meeting feel so much more normal.
    • Don’t meet someone unless you are comfortable with it and genuinely want to meet them. This makes the whole experience way more fun!
    • Be smart! Go to a public place and tell a friend what you’re doing, ya know, just in case… or have your sister stalk you on the Find my Friends app (Heather!).
    • Grab a coffee or a cocktail. Don’t commit yourself to an entire meal or activity for the first time meeting. If cocktails lead into dinner, then perfect, things are going well!
  6. Happily ever after… or not… but maybe!
    • Be patient, your dream man or women isn’t always online waiting for your profile. It’s like real life dating still, you’re just using a website to help introduce you to people. If it doesn’t work out for you, at least you tried!

Are you considering online dating, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet? Here are some other things you should know:

  • Online dating can be like a second job. There’s a lot of people out there. If you’re serious about it, it can take a chunk of time to weed through the masses.
  • Do you want to wait until you meet someone in person? Yea, I did too. But, just do me a favor and keep in mind that when you meet someone at a bar you know nothing about them. When you meet someone from online, you at least know something about them! It should be less intimidating.
  • Try a free online dating website to see how you feel about it. There is no harm in canceling it.
  • You are going to see someone you know on the site, maybe even an ex… and maybe even your ex’s best friend who will message you. That’s a true story. But, get over it, everyone wants to find their love!

I want to conclude and give a special thank you to OkCupid for allowing me to find the man of my dreams!

Have you had success with online dating or not so much? What advice would you share?

XO, Anna