Happy 21st Birthday, Nicole! Here’s a drink!

A birthday drink recipe

Today my little sister is turning 21. This means that for 21 years she’s been stealing my clothes, singing too loudly and talking over my favorite TV shows. But 21 years also has brought great things like shared responsibilities of the parentals, bringing Catan into my life and lots and lots of laughter. I think the trade off is worth it.

In honor of her momentous birthday, we’re kicking off a new line of posts here on WLB- drink recipes! We’re starting off with one that’s sweet, cold and definitely worthy of a birthday celebration.


strawberry manilow- homemade strawberry milkshake & whipped vodka

Strawberry Manilow- a strawberry shake & whipped vodka


  • 1 cup fresh strawberries (~6 whole berries)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup ice cream
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 shot of whipped vodka
  • (topping: whipped cream and sprinkles)


  1. Put everything in a blender and pulse until all ingredients are crushed and mixed well
  2. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles

strawberry manilow- strawberries,ice cream and vodka

strawberry manilow- strawberries,ice cream and vodka

Let’s all raise our glass and cheers to Nicole and her birthday weekend celebration. Long Island- we’re comin’ for ya! Happy birthday, sister!


PS- Oh and while you’re going to buy strawberries, here’s my favorite strawberry shortcake recipe.

25 while 25 Recap


I know you all have been waiting on this- the final installment of my “25 while 25” post from my last birthday. I did a quick check in on my half birthday, but let’s do one final one, shall we?

1- Go on a real vacation  We did a beach trip over the summer with Dean’s family, and then we did a road trip to Florida in December to see some of my family! It’s the best we’ve got.
2- Put together our apartment to a point that I can be truly excited to sit at home. I definitely made a solid dent on this. Although I’d love to hang some more pictures up, the living room is but together. My lady’s cave is a nice sanctuary. Our bedroom…. isn’t great. But we did buy a new duvet and sheet set which makes things feel pretty new. The bathroom is great and the kitchen is good enough for the first year.
3- Stop procrastinating. Maybe next year?
4- Read at least 7 books.  I really wish I had been writing these down for you, because I can’t remember what I read in the first half of my year. In the recent weeks I’ve read Bossypants, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, & Cinderella Ate my Daughter. I’m currently reading BJ Novak’s new book and Lean In. (and a textbook)
5- Learn more about the proper use of social media  I do all of the social media pieces at my day job, so it’s been a great push to do some research! While I’m far from an expert, I do think I’ve done a lot better with paying attention to social media changes and expectations.
6- Create a spending budget – FAIL!
7- Visit a new country – Again, my summer trip to El Salvador covered this one.
8- Teach Allegra to stop jumping on visitors – While Allegra has gotten a lot better, she’s still not great with this. She just wants to be friends with everyone! But we did get the name and number of a new trainer to try, so there is hope yet!
9- Eat at 5 new restaurants 2 in Scranton: Girabaldis, Vincenzo’s, 1 in NJ: Pinky’s, 1 in NY- Spiceys, a bunch in El Salvador, and a few in Florida.
10- Be brave – As I said 6 months ago, I think this is something that will forever be evolving.
11- Make more things! Thank you knitting obsession!
12- Treat my business travel time more like leisure travel time  This one has proven to be one of my favorites this year. New restaurants, new fun activities, new sight-seeing adventures- what’s not to love!
13- Be a go-getter- Same stock answer as no. 10.
14- Make it to at least 1 new state- While I did a lot of traveling this year, unfortunately I don’t think this one happened for me. However, I’m heading to Ohio for the first time in a few weeks! I’ll take what I can get.
15- Do more activities! I’ve made a big effort this year to get more involved, to see more friends, and to have more fun!
16- Be a better communicator– same as no. 10 & 13. I picked a few life long growth options here.
17- See an outdoor play-Man. This is something I still really want to do!
18- Be healthy
19- Go to more concerts & festivals- While I think I could have done a lot more, I did make it to a bunch of new festivals, events, markets, and other fun things in my local area.
20- Stay in better contact with friends and family While I’m still far from perfect, as I said in another goal, I’ve been a lot better with keeping up with my friends. If I was to do another goal list, planning semi-annual friend events would be at the top of my list!
21- Graduate (well. get pretty darn close)Guys. I only have 6 more credits to finish up and 3 of them will be complete in just 4 weeks! I’ll be done before July!
22-Go skydiving (NESE- I’m already nervous!)- whyyyy didn’t this happen?
23-Get ahead in blog posts and stay ahead!– this is almost laughable. Actually, every few weeks I’d do a really good job with writing ahead of time… but then there are Sunday night’s like tonight, where I’m finishing up my homework, watching revenge, and writing a post to go live in ~8 hours.
24- Attend some kind of blogging event I’ve been to a few local wordpress meetings which I think counts.
25- Do 25 random acts of kindness  While I’d like to do a blog post involving random acts of kindness in the future, I’ve been pretty proud of myself over the past year. I’ve volunteered with our local soup kitchen. I’ve worked with students on local service events. I spread (and received) a lot of kindness in El Salvador. Plus some other, smaller things here and there. Even though this wasn’t my original goal for this one, I still think I can count it.


So all together it looks like I got 13/25 complete. While building this list was a great reminder of who I want to be, I definitely found it difficult to constantly keep up with all 25 things. Have you ever made a list of goals like this? How did it work out for you?


happy birthday to me!

I loveeee birthdays. I feel like everything just seems that much more exciting on your birthday. The sun shines a little brighter, my alarm clock seems a little kinder, and my Facebook notifications make me feel pretty popular. I get to eat cookies and cake at my leisure– and can we talk about how many restaurants will give you free food? Love!

You know what else is awesome? My birthday falls on the first day of spring, which means EVERYONE gets to enjoy it! Flowers start popping up around you, birds chirp a little louder, and Rita’s offers a free ice to everyone!  So, happy first day of spring! Go have a fantastic day!

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