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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 In Review


Well, according to the 2015 best nine automated collage, my selfies, Italy trip and newborn niece were the highlights of the past year, which is pretty spot on. With the addition of 10 pounds, bad decisions, a new job, a new apartment and the beginnings of wedding planning, 2015 was a kick ass year. So enough with the explaining, because I have lots of good pictures and highlights to show off during my yearly recap.  


January
URI Alumni
Remember that time the first of many Average Girl Chronicles' posts went viral? Me neither. But this was the closest thing to it, my post on 50 things a University of Rhode Island alum might miss. Go Rhody Rams!
 
As a small blogger, blogging out of the smallest state with the smallest chance of being recognized as a "Blogger to Watch in 2016," getting 7,000 views on a single post is unheard of. And I was, and still am, loving it. Be sure to click and share this link a couple thousand more times because I'm itching to go viral.

That sentence sounds so wrong on so many levels. #yolo

February
 
Anyone living in New England remembers where they were during Blizzard Juno. Although the blizzard was in the end of January, the aftermath lasted for months which allowed me to frolic in the snow well into February. For me, it was the first declared state of emergency where I could make Bloody Mary's, breakfast pizza and make snow angels in the yard of my very own apartment. Ahhh, the life. Plus, I wrote this post. Why is this post so memorable? Because I wrote it. That was pre-weekly blog posts for the AGC so new posts were few and far between. 

Blizzard Juno
 March
 
This was a big month for us because my crazy sisters and I took this photo. It's hard to get a good one of the three of us so when we captured this guy at Julia's birthday, I knew I had to share it. Don't I look more like my older sister than my twin? We are still trying to figure out where she came from. 


April
yellow lab
Lou Dog's first birthday was in April. This beast of a Labrador is the most lovable, sneaky, curious, snugly, cutest companion one auntie could ask for. Just look at him! He sure does love his ice cream. Yes, sometimes he chews on my bun on the top of my head and yes, sometimes his breath doesn't smell the greatest but seeing this giant of a dog turn one year old is one of the happiest moments of 2015, minus going semi-viral and getting engaged.
 
Rounding out the top three, Louie, you have a real special place in my heart and earned a spot in my new king bed. More space for you to sleep over! Now get your mom to let me take you... I mean borrow you. 

May
 
May. The beginning of wedding season. Jake and I had five weddings in 2015 and this was the first. There is nothing like heading north to Vermont for a family wedding on a lake resort with lots of laughs, dancing, wine and singing. Gotta love my soon-to-be in-laws. 

Between the lake, love, my strong selfie game and Jake's bow tie, this wedding takes the cake for my May highlights. Plus, it was the first time I started to think of specifics for me and Jake's wedding, even though we weren't engaged for another two months after this wedding. Foreshadowing much? 


June
twins

Me and this chick celebrated our quarter century birthday this month. I couldn't resist with this picture. Look at that pose! I'm a natural. And Sam? Effortless. 

Back to our birthday.

Contrary to popular belief, twins don't do everything together 247, well at least until their 18th birthday. Now, with our own lives blossoming into something completely different, on June 14th we get together, share a cake and open the same gifts just in a different color. I have to say though, this year we FINALLY got our own individual cakes. Look, I love my chocolate and no one or nothing can get in between that....until you have a twin sister who likes vanilla cake. Then we have to "compromise" and get marble cake. SOOOO STUPID. Thanks to our older sister who took the initiative and finally got us our own cake, probably because I bitched about it for 25 years. Hallelujah.

July
 
Something very special happened this month. In case you didn't hear, Jake made all of my engagement dreams come true by proposing on top of a castle in Itri while I was on a family trip in Italy. Since I haven't stopped talking about since the day it happened and to stop sounding like I am bragging about how awesome my fiance is, just read about it by clicking here.

italy

August
 
Del's Lemonade
 
Nothing beats a summer in the Ocean State. With the endless amounts of seafood and ice cold Del's (spiked with vodka) sitting on a beach with not a cloud in the sky, those are the signs of a damn good summer. It's tough having a full-time job during the week because the only times I can hit up the beach was on the weekends. And of course, most of the weekends weren't ideal beach weather. But I made it, and I got somewhat of a tan so I didn't look like Casper, which I currently do now. #thestruggleisreal

September
 
Tying into the seafood theme, Rhode Island has so many iconic festivals revolving around seafood. It always boggles my mind when I meet a Rhode Islander who doesn't like seafood. It's like sacrilegious. Our state's official appetizer (which is apparently a thing) is calamari, dammit. I can't get enough of it and in September, Jake and I were able to hit up the Seafood Festival in Providence with plenty of local fish, beer and food trucks. Who doesn't love food trucks? Add a Narragansett beer and you, my friend, are in the making of becoming a true Rhode Islander. Plus, this photo I took in September screams everything Lil' Rhody.  I just HAD to represent. #401
 
Rhode Island seafood

October
 
October was the month of #Anderoni2017. We booked our venue, set a date (10.8.2017) and took our engagement photos. I didn't do a post dedicated to our very awkward engagement shoot, but I did do this post as a teaser to our pictures. Since our awesome photographer's wedding package included engagement pics and because I wanted a good save-the-date— which I think we got— we went against everything I said and did the damn things. See this one? It's a contender.
 
 
November
 
This was the month of added pounds. I probably gained five pounds in this month alone. In fact, I split not one, but TWO, pairs of pants. Seriously. But like I've always said, there is no such thing as diets during the holidays.
 
Also this month was our second annual friendsgiving which a friend of ours hosted. There is nothing better than cooking a Baffoni's Farm turkey with all of the fixings, plus booze and these turkey hats during a cold night in November. Plus, my brother came straight from the airport after a work trip to New Orleans and what did he bring? Beignets from Café du Monde. Damn, were they good.
 
No wonder I split two pairs of pants. 
 
friendsgiving

December 

 
Last, but certainly not least, this chunky monkey turned one. Ava has been the cutest bundle of joy that I've had the pleasure of seeing grow up. With her and my sister living on the second floor above us, I can play with her all I want and there is nothing more than I love laying on her floor while she crawls over me, trying to walk. Did I mention she is a drool monster? But I love it.
 
She got her first dose of cake at her birthday party and it was the CUTEST thing I've seen in a while. Well, everything she does it the cutest thing but this is close to the top. She is growing up so fast. Next thing I know, she will be knocking on my door in the morning wanting to play with Auntie NeeNee (that's me) and eat all of my snacks. I can't wait.
 
For some resolutions for 2016: learn how to suck it up and change a nasty dirty diaper because some of Ava's were too bad for me to do. I know, I'm a bigger baby than she is.
 
Some others may be to put more love into the Average Girl Chronicles, which is a common resolution among bloggers. 2015 was a great year for the AGC though, and I am looking forward to see what else is to come. Maybe, just maybe, I'll start making money off this thing.
 
There is lots to come in the New Year, what they are, I don't know. What I do know is that I'm going to have to start a diet (a resolution I should probably keep) because it's crunch time for #teamweddingbod since I'm going to start wedding dress shopping in summer 2016. If it's one thing I'm good at it, it's forgetting about New Year's resolutions. Let's see if that will change. Probably not.
 
Also on the preliminary agenda for 2016 is another trip to Europe. Maybe Paris and Amsterdam? Hmmmm. Another blog post on those plans to come.
 
With all of that said, enjoy the last few days of 2015 and may 2016 bring you all lots of success, smiles and achieved goals.
 
See you next year!
Monday, December 21, 2015

The Average Girl's Guide to Last Minute Christmas Shopping

Guide Last Minute Christmas Shopping
 
Holy shit. Christmas is in four days. 

This happens every year when Christmas is one week away. The holiday pressure is at an all time high and then you realize, you have no shopping done, zero. Last minute Christmas shopping, it's something I and all my fellow procrastinators know well. The struggle is very real so anything I can contribute to help those brace the crowds, long lines and traffic that comes along with shopping less than a week from J.C's birthday, I will gladly do so. 

Here is the Average Girl's Guide to Last Minute Christmas Shopping. 

1. Patience

If you are foolish enough to go to a mall t-minus six days from Christmas, patience will be your best friend. Take a deep breath when you start to get swallowed by traffic that takes 20 minutes to get off the highway ramp, less than a mile away. Channel good thoughts when you accidentally pull into a hotel parking lot where you get blocked in by valets (like I did when attempted to do my Christmas shopping two days ago). Stay calm while you are sweating inside Newbury Comics, waiting in line to buy a "coffee makes me poop" mug. 

F.Y.I. I am the farthest thing from patient, so I would take my above words lightly.
  
2. Car charger
 
Because while waiting to get into the death wish of a parking garage, the last thing you want is for your phone to die, especially since you know you will need something to occupy yourself while waiting in line at Newbury Comics. 

3. Parking lot etiquette
 
Perfect. Your phone will be fully charged because you'll be on the hunt for a parking spot for the next half hour. Now, I understand finding a spot in a parking garage is tough, but don't be a douche. If someone has their blinker on, don't sneak up and steal their spot. Your just asking for some hot tempered Italian Johnstonian to go bat shit crazy in the middle of the garage. That shit happens in Rhode Island. So don't be an asshole.

4. A small purse
 
Leave your massive purse at home, ladies. Whip out your handy dandy cross body bags with the bare essentials because on top of bags of heavy presents, you won't want your clunky purse. 

5. Know your plan
 
If you go to the mall without any idea what you are going to get for someone, you might as well pitch a cot and spend the night. Get in and get out, because you will start to go on a shopping spree since there are the irresistible holiday sales. At least I have a killer dress for my work's holiday party. I know, I'm terrible. 

6. Lay low
 
When I'm last minute Christmas shopping, I take out my hipster wide-brim, floppy hat and lay low. With the amount of people crowded in the Providence Place Mall, it is guaranteed that you will run into someone you know. It always ends up being someone you totally didn't want to, like an old co-worker or your homecoming prom date. Keep the hat on and keep your head low. People will be too busy admiring your hipster hat that they forget to look at your face. #RhodeIslandproblems 

7. Resist food court temptation

After standing in lines and dodging people who walk ridiculously slow, you're probably hungry. You're bound to walk by the food court and get temped with the smell of Johnny Rockets and the sound of a milkshake being made. DON'T DO IT. You'll wait even longer and pay much more than what it would be at a location outside of the mall. Yes, eating the delicious Route 66 burger and chili cheese fries will be easy going down, you will 100 percent regret it while sitting in traffic on your way home. Get a snack and hold off until you get home.

I never said anything about free samples, though. Do a quick food court round and keep it moving.

And most importantly...

8. Don't forget the real meaning of Christmas

The holiday season can bring out the worst in people, unfortunately, especially when last minute Christmas shopping is going on. Everyone is miserable because it's like a million degrees in the stores and you just dropped $300 on who knows what. Regardless, all of those Newbury Comics gag-gifts won't mean as much as getting together with family. I know, super sappy. I can't help it, IT'S CHRISTMAS.

As a side note, you can probably get all of your Christmas gifts for everyone on your list at Newbury Comics. At least I do. #truth

I'm soaking in the glorious 2015 Christmas joy. My internal holiday spark is igniting and I'm feeling the Christmas love in the air, and I can't get enough. Mariah Carey Holiday Pandora radio is playing constantly at our apartment (Jake isn't too thrilled about that) and I find myself getting lost in the glow of my Christmas tree and overpriced crystal angel candle holder with my pine tree scented candle. So much Christmas tree smell!

Admiring my tree, I get a glance of my childhood handmade ornament that brings me back to the good ol' days, when I used to make Christmas crafts and tried to glue my lips together with Elmer's because my older brother dared me. Oh, there's nothing like family.

With that said, get your shopping, wrapping, baking and whatever else done because the clock is running out.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!
Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Walk Down Baffoni Christmas Lane

90's Christmas card
^^^ I'm the one cheesing towards the top right

As with many Italian families, tradition lives and breathes through Christmas. From the annual baking of the Italian cookies to preparing the elaborate feast of the seven fishes, to even going to the same Christmas tree farm for the family Christmas tree hunt, us Baffoni's have all of our quirky traditions, and my mom made sure to always have her disposable camera ready. 

Since there have been so many good throwback 90's Christmas pictures popping up all over social media and on my blog feed, I figured I join the fun. And duh, it's throwback Thursday.

Any chance my parents could, they would take pictures of us in front of anything holiday, especially when we got our Christmas tree. It was usually involved us  looking directly into the sun and us not being able to keep our eyes open. Perfect shots for a 90's Christmas card. 

Each year we go back to the same tree farm in Connecticut, full of hayrides, hot chocolate and photo ops for families to cherish for many years to come. This year was the first for my niece so it really brought this sometimes silly tradition, full circle. 

Oh, and the outfits us four sported thanks to my mom, Fran, speak for themselves. 

                                                              ^^^ in case you can't tell, I'm furthest to the right


Another apparent common denominator that I found while searching in our family picture box, we always took a group photo in front of anything holiday. Until this day, the four of us usually don't huddle together for a posed picture unless it is Christmas, and it usually takes 10 takes for us to get one "good one". Mainly we do this just to amuse my mom. Oh, you want to know what Frannie is like during the holiday's at our house? Click here. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. 

I'm sure she could probably tell you where we were headed in any of the insane ensembles, but for this next photo, all I remember is it being referred to "the muffin man outfit". My poor brother; he was dragged along with his sisters who are six years younger to take these damn pictures. He never looks too amused. And for my twin, she looked like a walking Christmas wreath. Shit, her bow looks better than the wreath's. #winning

^^^ bottom right

It wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't take a picture in front of the tree right before our house was filled with family, food, chaos and LOTS of toys. I look so miserable, probably because this was most likely after I had to iron, yes iron, three dozen cloth napkins for my mom's Christmas table. That shit was the worst. After sweating through my t-shirt from slaving away prepping the house and cleaning the seafood, we found our Sunday best and smiled big. Except, I always forgot to smile. 

But those silk shirts though? AND the Mary Janes?! Killing it. 

^^^ I think you can figure it out

Not much has changed since our silk shirt days. We always get together at my parents house for Christmas Eve. Although the chaos has dimmed and there aren't as many Barbies getting thrown around, this family gathering is near and dear to all of us. Now, we are passing on the traditions to each of our lives, with Jake and I in our second year getting our very own Charlie Brown Christmas tree for our place. Years from now, I plan on bringing my children to the very farm that I grew up at during this glorious season. 

So much Christmas nostalgia this glorious Thursday morning and I am looking forward to all of your embarrassing childhood Christmas pictures. 

P.S. my lack of presence on social media is due to my new job as at a local news talk radio station as a reporter. Going from a crazy schedule to working 9-5 is such a change and I'm not adjusting too well. For my lack of Instagram's, I figured I'd overload you with lots of throwback pictures. 

Good news, it's almost Friday! 


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Letter To The Men Whose Ladies Are Obsessed With Bravo Television

A Letter to men whose ladies are obsessed with bravo


To Whom This May Concern:

If your lady is obsessed with anything Bravo, this letter is to you. So listen up.

Bravo is in the midst of some of the best concurrent reality television series and we are freaking out. There are only so many episodes that we can DVR until the anticipation kills us where we have to watch the nail biting new episode of Vanderpump Rules where James makes a fool of himself and we start to feel bad for Kristen, then we realize she is still bat shit crazy, with you home. 

It's not JUST another episode. It is the one episode that we have been preparing ourselves for mentally all week. In some cases like last night, it was the start of the second season of Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce (which is arguably the best scripted Bravo series of all time) where it is close to impossible not to watch tonight. Because how else would be live tweet the episode's twist and turns? I mean, for the first episode, shit got cray. Yes, the petty drama is silly and probably not good for a developing girl to watch, rather a 20-something year old with a bottle of wine on the coffee table, but there are things in these bitches lives that encourages ourselves to be better, believe it or not. 

For example, Abby McCarthy's writing career, I envy. Like I would do or write almost anything to get to the point where she is at during the show. Not only does she do and write what she loves regardless of what the "norm" is, she makes $$$ doing it. I mean, do you see her red bottoms? And house? And wardrobe? And success? While I'm watching her sleep with her supposed-to-be ex-husband Jake (coincidence, I know) when her potential job is riding on her divorce as her newest segment and she is able to still be a beloved writer, I think to myself, damn it, I want that. I want Abby McCarthy's career, minus her divorce of course. She can juggle it all, so can I. 

Let's use an analogy, shall we? 

It's the Patriots vs. Bronco's and its the fourth quarter right before Gronk injured his right knee. For argument sake, the NFL decided to make this game, the first in 10 games they lost, into two part episodes. You only know about Gronk's knee injury because there have been a million previews to the episode all week. Right before he hits the turf, the "next time on the NFL" sneak peak comes on and the you yelp in the thought that you have to wait one week, seven days, 168 hours until you see what happens next and if the Patriots will win and Gronks injury status. But then you realize, your lady hates football. She thinks the all-male sport is misogynistic and poses no benefit to those who religiously follow the game and won't shut up for the entire hour-long episode. But since we are so kind and understanding, we will use my iPad to catch up on reruns on the Bravo app. 

We mustn't forget about the Real Housewives. With all of the petty negativity and consumerism on all of the different seasons of the show, Bravo manages to encourage women to be independent and strong willed, partly thanks to Andy Cohen. No matter how juicy the reunion is, which they always are, Cohen reinforces their positive female roles in society, which is so critical of women. Think about it. Half of the cat fights that take place are at these women's charity events, some of which these ladies founded. Although the episode's gossip takes away from the charity, at the end of the day, thousands of dollars are raised. 

What I'm getting at is for you men, to take a look at the deeper message of girl power underneath all the petty housewife trifles. That means it is good for us to watch this stuff. Do you believe us now?

Yes, watching the endless amounts of drama that takes place is kind of gross, it is our guilty pleasure because its drama that we aren't involved in. For the only time ever, we have no consequences for talking about these women, or blogging about them, as if we are in their inner circle. 

Bravo isn't for every women. In fact, there are a significant amount who refuse to watch reality television, and I feel bad for them because it is so damn entertaining. It makes an otherwise mundane weekday into something to look forward to. So do us a favor, stop giving us so much grief about watching our shows because if a show meant this much to you, we would let you watch them in peace. Return the favor. 

With this, I end my letter, from the wise words of the Countess, the one and only LuAnn de Lesseps in all of her glory...



Sincerely, 

One of Bravo's most loyal viewer

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