Dec
22

It’s my special day today.  Twenty-three years ago my parents didn’t know what to name me.

They finally settled on Monique Noella. 

It’s feminine version of my Grandfather’s name. He’s a pretty cool guy!

Noella, is a combination of Noel in the spirit of Christmas, and Ella, my great grandmother’s name.

Just some birthday facts.

This past year has been completely amazing! To make the next year just as great, I’ve thought up 23 new things to do.

23 things to add a little more spice in my life.

Take a look at my list.

1. Remind myself that it’s okay to be a kid sometimes and bake more things with excessive frosting and sprinkles. Watch out, donuts are next.

2. Take a vacation with my best girl friends. Asians, Gingers, and Blondes have way too much fun. Obviously.

3. Buy a stranger coffee everyday for a week. It might just make someone’s day. Plus, it’s good karma.

4. Become a Yoga instructor. Namaste.

5. Go to a baseball game. Drink beer and eat a ballpark hot dog.  I don’t drink beer or eat beef, so this will be new!

6. Bungee jump! This scares me like no other. Thinking about it is making me sweat.

7. Go camping! Like real camping. But only if I get to make these babies.

8. Start a food business. I’m not sure how I’ll find time for this… but it’s my dream.

9. Be active everyday somehow. I say power shopping counts!

10. Take the train to New York or Boston all by myself. Visit amazing friends from Australia. I miss you all.

11. Meet someone who has been on Top Chef. I’m leaning towards Spike or those cute twin brothers.

12. Bake a unique banana bread every month for someone new. Totes best idea ever.

13. Go see Beauty and the Beast 3D.  This is serious!

14. Try every new cereal that comes out. Multigrain Peanut Butter Cheerios… I love you.

15. Stay up all night and watch the sun come up at least 10 times. Preferably on an exotic beach or mountain.

16. Go out and pretend I’m turning twenty-one again. Great idea. Period.

17. Try karaoke again. Even though I know I’ll more than likely be awful at it.

18. Have conversations with random people everywhere I go. Listen to their experiences. Learn from their stories.

19. Go surfing more often. Take lessons if needed.

20. Read at least 17 books. Find something unique, don’t read everything on the bestseller list.

21. Go to the ballet. Watching Black Swan doesn’t count.

22. Order dessert more! Life is short and should be sweet. I know you agree.

23. Look around, smile, and genuinely appreciate everything in my life. Every single day.

 

This birthday girl is happy. It’s been a phenomenal year full of opportunities.  The older I get, the wiser I become.

I’m excited to be 23 and to see what the next year brings.

May you live all the days of your life.

As always, thanks for reading.

 


Dec
17

You know why I really love the holiday season? Parties!

Eating obscene amounts of Hors d’oeuvres  and matching my nail polish to my lipstick is completely normal.

Dressing up in things that sparkle and sipping chocolate peppermint beverages make cold nights divine.

Eating cookies for dinner? You bet!

I’ve been to three holiday parties in the past week. Not to mention several breakfasts and lunches with my co-workers. I love the fact that these people know how to eat! Our brunch the other day consisted of Dunkin’ Donuts (I even got the pumpkin one!), cinnamon-peach whole wheat French toast (totes good), apple filled croissants, sausage egg bake, and three different types of breakfast burritos.

It won’t be long until I’m putting sweets in the office kitchen. In the meantime, I’ll continue to eat my co-workers peanut M&M’s out of her automatic candy dispenser. I’ve decided I want an automatic cinnamon roll dispenser.

Another thing that lights up my holiday season: Pie. Creamy, sweet, crunchy, dreamy, fruity, nutty, warm, chocolatey! Pie can be all things.

Pie + Booze? Oh my. Let’s devour it! Read more.


Dec
11

It’s Christmas shopping time and I haven’t even gone yet! I’ve got lists to make and things to do. I need to stop dyeing my hair and get serious about my holiday shopping strategy. Standing in line just isn’t my thing. I’m also traveling for the next week, so I need to get it together soon!

In order to be successful in my shopping endeavors, I’ve got to resist the urge to bake pies and buy adorable baking pans for myself.

I know you know what I’m talking about.

Read more.


Dec
05

Being busy has its perks. Like drinking too many vanilla lattes and making really awesome pies late at night. My creativity is buzzing all day. I love being engrossed with a long to-do list. I enjoy being barely able to pencil a hair appointment in.  I don’t know what to do with myself if I don’t have an activity, or something pressing. I actually need to stop checking my Blackberry while driving.

Throwing it into the backseat might be the only solution.

I have to remind myself that a little relaxing is good sometimes. A girl needs some time to herself.

Did you know that baking to relieve stress is called ‘stressbaking’?  You can find it on Urbandictionary. It’s totally real and happens a lot to me! Another great stress reliever is yoga. I actually went to a yoga sculpt class tonight. You do yoga with weights in a heated room with lots of lunges, squats and sexy ab moves. It was perfect because I think I finally sweated out half the pie I ate the last week. Hehe.

Read more.


Dec
01

Lettuce wraps in December? What’s up with that?

They happen to be really incredible and despite my efforts to use Turkey Day leftovers, it didn’t happen.  After my battle with the flu, I didn’t want anything heavy. I know your body needs a break from that comfort food too! Lettuce wraps with sassy sauce and delicious toppings might do the trick.

I made these lettuce wraps once before for some guys. There were not any leftovers. Why do guys love buffalo sauce so much? It’s a little mind boggling.

Read more.


Nov
28

Dear Flu,

I’d like to tell you that you are quite rude! Showing up on Thanksgiving uninvited… only you would do that.

I couldn’t sleep, eat, or even laugh. Drinking chicken broth and watching people eat pie isn’t a way to spend the holiday.

This is the second time you’ve tortured me on Turkey Day.  Mean.

I’m glad you are gone now. Please don’t ever come back, I’m begging you!

Thanks for your consideration.

Love,

Monique

Read more.


Nov
22

An extraordinary little place called Vegas happened to me this weekend.

I ate at a place called the Pink Taco. Questionable name, but okay Mexican food.

I have at least six blisters on my feet. This could be a result of  wearing high heels or possible swing dancing. Not sure.

I had a Pumpkin Margarita with a nutmeg powdered sugar rim! Wolfgang Puck is a genius margarita inventor. He should probably cater my wedding someday if I get married.  Also his french fries are ridiculously addicting. I’m upset about it.

I went to the Marine Corps Ball. I know you are going to ask, so I’ll just tell you now that I didn’t see Justin Timberlake or Mila Kunis.

Besides this, I gambled a bit and I did a lot of other things that probably shouldn’t be mentioned on this blog. I am an angel.

Another interesting note: on my flight back home someone passed out in the middle of the plane aisle.  That’s when you know you had  too good of a time in Vegas. Tsk Tsk.

Besides Vegas, I’ve been incredibly busy. I was in California for a week vacationing, laughing, eating good food, shopping, living the good life for a bit.  I’ll post pictures soon!

Read more.


Nov
17

Thanksgiving comes with family chaos and a ton of laughter.

The end result is learning that no family is perfect.  You’re not either.  Yep, we’ve got some pretty funky quirks! It’s all apart of Thanksgiving though – The crazy aunts. Drunk uncles. Awkward cousins.  Happy bellys. Warm pumpkin pie. Catching up.

What were you thankful for last Thanksgiving? Chances are this year is different. You’ve had 365 more days. Things have changed for you and me, big time! Did you get a new job? Did you meet someone special? Did you have a baby? Did you live through a tragedy? Did you reach a goal?

Write it down! Savor it. Close your eyes, reflect and smile for just a moment.

The truth is, you’ve got to appreciate it all. Cherish it even. This is your history; these will be your memories forever. Celebrate with turkey, wine, and good pie!  Drink and eat for your accomplishments and other’s ambitions! Don’t forget to take plenty of snapshots. Be sure to remember it.

These moments will never come again. Maybe that’s what makes them so beautiful.

Read more.


Nov
14

Let’s talk about eating healthy.

Well, I’ll be honest with you, it’s hard. Like really hard!

It can be difficult even knowing where to begin.  There are temptations everywhere you go! Especially when you’re waiting in line for your morning cup of joe at Starbucks.  Next to the register awaits buttery banana walnut bread screaming to be paired with a salted caramel hot chocolate. I’m totally guilty!  After munching on this, a headache and guilt ensues.  My eyes were bigger than my stomach. Again.

I’m here to tell you that eating healthy takes a lot of experimenting.  Some days you’ll eat beautiful colorful salads, quinoa, and everything labeled organic and natural.  Other days you’ll feel as though your car drove itself to the McDonald’s drive thru as you barely remember chomping on salty french fries.  You’ll eat these Poptarts for breakfast simply because you love them. You’ll give yourself excuses too. Maybe your boyfriend and you broke up and you ate a pint of Ben and Jerry’s plus six chocolate chip cookies. (Okay you might have good reasoning here– that jerk)!  Of course we all have that love/hate relationship with Chinese buffets.

I’m obsessed with Berets.

No matter what the case, we all have downfalls!  Most of the time we feel regretful and guilty, but learning from those indulgences and moving on is the only thing you can do. While giving into your cravings is okay every once in a while,  the trick is realizing that your body is happier eating eggs and oatmeal for breakfast. Chocolate chip muffins bigger than your face are awkward to eat and big no-nos.  Oh, and that inhaling that box of Oreo cookies isn’t going to solve a crisis.  Even though I really wish they would.

But where do you begin with this health chaos you’re in?

Read more.


Nov
06

I’m leaving on a jet plane…

Eeek… I got a new job!  I’ll be moving to the Washington DC area.

Anyone from DC who reads this?  Give me all the details. Where to go, what to do, good restaurants — everything!

A celebration is in order.

Want to ditch calorie counting and giggle over the Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries scandle with your besties?

It’s time to break out the pie pan. You know it’s my favorite.

Biscoff cookies. Yes, these are ones you eat on airplanes. So lovely. Like a sweeter, crunchier graham cracker.

Read more.

 
 
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