Over the last couple of days I’ve been incredibly quiet on social media. Between twitter, instagram and facebook, I’ve kinda ‘stepped away’ and taken a breath. Because we got hit with some pretty rough news on Wednesday. Our beloved Oscar Pants — the pup I’ve had since he was 8 weeks old — hadn’t eaten in a few days and on Wednesday morning, he couldn’t walk. So we took him to the emergency vet. After realistic talks with the vet and some blood work, the vet came back in with some not great news. To be honest, we were expecting not great news.

Call it a hunch. His red blood cell counts were scary low. Conclusively, it’s cancer. Likely in the spleen. But so terminal that doing any further research into the exact “where” was not advised. He would immediately need a blood transfusion, chemo and surgery to give up a chance of living three months. Otherwise? Just a few days.

So we’ve been soaking up the moments. He’s on a steroid to get him to eat/drink/gain some mobility back. But otherwise? He just isn’t our same puppy anymore.

It’s hard to think that just a week ago Moosh was stealing Oscar’s toy and running through the kitchen while Oscar chased him and Moosh giggled hysterically. Seriously. Just over last weekend. It’s insane how quickly things progress. Also? It’s scary.

I’m heartbroken to think that we will have to soon say goodbye to my furry best friend, Chad’s furry best friend, and — most devastating — Ari’s only best friend. My heart aches utterly and completely for this dog. And this kid. The kid that calls him “My Ockie!” and the kid who naps with “his Ockie” in his crib. They are two peas in a pod. And I don’t know how to tell him that his Ockie is… no longer around.

But some perspective: Yes, my dog is my first baby; but every day people are affected by cancer and other life-threatening diseases; every day people are given terrible news; every single day children are suffering through the horrors of cancer. If anything this was a wake up call: We are LUCKY. We are LUCKY to have had such an amazing dog in our lives for ten years. We are LUCKY that he was the epitome of a perfect dog for a baby/toddler/family. We are LUCKY to have had a dog that touched so many lives and was loved by so many people.

Sure, it’s nowhere near the ideal situation; and we are devastated that our furbaby is so sick. But I am grateful to have had a couple of extra days to snuggle with him and to say goodbye. And I’m grateful for the outpouring of love and support from all of our friends and family. <3


A week ago from Sunday I had the privilege to attend a meet and greet style event at Jim Alesci’s Place in their new Solon location with the Ohio Blogging Association gals! I arrived before anyone else because apparently I overestimated how much time it would take to drive to Solon from Akron (PS. only 25 minutes). My early arrival provided ample time for me to do a little exploring of the store on my own beforehand.

I had not visited the old location so I have little point of reference in that regard, but I can say from the moment I began wandering, I felt like I was home. See, my Italian mother no longer lives nearby, so I’m no longer receiving my daily dose of Italian family stuff. Ha!

But in all seriousness, this place is incredible. The staff (comprised of mostly family or “extended family”), were the most hospitable group of people (outside of my own family, obvy), that I’ve ever met. They did the very thing I’ve come to expect from my own family — go above and beyond to make sure we were well fed, comfortable and above all, happy.

I loved hearing about how Alesci’s really is a family store. Jim Alesci’s grandfather started baking bread in the states shortly after arriving from Italy. From there, the family opened up a storefront in the 90s. And Alesci’s has grown into a Cleveland tradition.

First things first… let’s talk cheese. Or as we say in Italian, Antipasto. I loved them all. Every last one of them: soft cheeses; hard cheeses; new and old. Every. ONE.

But one in particular stood out among the crowd — Frank’s Gouda. At least that’s what I think it’s called. Cause I was in a cheese coma. In fact, just thinking about this cheese right now? Makes me delusional. No joke.

Just when I thought my belly couldn’t be more full (PS. you can never have too much of this gouda), we were led on an official tour of the store. I loved meeting the whole family and hearing each of them give their personal spin on the store. Each of them has a unique story that truly gives Alesci’s that family feel that is insanely special.


[Pictured clockwise from upper left: Italian Beef Slider;
Pancetta Pasta Salad; Eggplant Parmesan; Roasted Beet Salad

But let’s get to the food. Gah! All of the family-style food! Fifteen “tasting” courses. I say “tasting” because honestly, it was all family-style. I feel deprived of real Italian food, so I really, really, indulged in the courses. Like, I gave it my all to try and finish each course.

[Pictured clockwise from top: Sicilian Pizza; Roasted Veggies; Chicken Pot Pie]

One of the woman who was helping to serve us is not technically family; but she is definitely Italian. And as she checked on me several times to make sure I was satisfied with the meals. I think she uttered something along the lines of I’m sorry about the portions… to which I replied “are you serious,” and followed it up with a comment about how that is SO typical Italian mother of her. Ha! Italians always, ALWAYS, make way more than they actually need for a crowd of people. In fact, I’ve come to expect it from my own family. Every function. Every party. Every big event.

Aaaaand then they came out with “dessert.” Really?? This was INSANE. I am definitely particular about my canoli’s (because I make a badass canoli), and the Alesci canoli definitely knocked it out of the park. Plus? The napoleon. Wow. Wow, wow, wow.

I will tell you that I actually walked out with two bottles of montepulciano, pepperoni rolls (made with homemade bread) for dinner, and several, several, desserts. Oh, and a totally full tummy and happy heart. I loved every second of my experience at Alesci’s and I cannot wait to go back. Also? I need more Franks Gouda… already. Ha! #allthecheese

Thanks, OBA and Alesci’s for hosting us!


Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Ohio Blogging Association meet-up at Jim Alesci’s Place. We received complimentary food and drink, as well as gift cards to Alesci’s and a t-shirt. As always, all opinions are 100% my own


TRUTH. We are all doing the best we can. And we’re not giving ourselves nearly as much credit as we deserves. So today, moms (and dads), I pat you on the back. You deserve it. And you’re not screwing it all up. xo


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weekly mantra //

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It’s weird to think about life this way, right? I mean, things get so hard sometimes that we’ve all been guilty of thinking we’ll never survive whatever curve is thrown our way. Until seeing this quote it didn’t hit me… I’ve survived 100% of everything in my life thus far. That. Is. LIFE CHANGING to […]

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