Everything’s Coming Up Roses…

It’s my birthday today!  Hooray~

I’m having a very musical theater birthday this morning and listening to Ethel Merman’s Everything’s Coming Up Roses.  It feels fitting, especially because on this milestone of birthdays, I surprisingly don’t feel old.  There’s no big age crisis going on over here, and to be honest, I kind of feel like sh*ts just getting good.

Listen to good ol’ Eth –> Everything’s Coming Up Roses

This past weekend, Matt surprised me with a quick trip to Vermont where we stayed at an awesome culinary resort.  We took a cooking class where we learned to make homemade pasta from scratch with mushroom alfredo sauce, grilled romaine salad, chicken, and mini chocolate lava cakes with homemade banana ice cream.  We had a great time checking out Vermont and getting into the culture out there, which is very laid back and a refreshing break from the chaos of New York.  We hit up the little shops, and checked out the beer brewery Magic Hat, which was very cheeky and fun.

On the ride home, I begged Matt to stop in Connecticut so I could see Yale and the theater that I performed at a million years ago when I was in Les Miserables.  So, we took a little detour and walked around CT for a little bit.

Of course we hit tons of traffic on the way home and of course there was tons of rain to boot, but we’re back in Brooklyn and it’s my birthday and I took the day off from work but I still have lots of homework because next week I have finals and that kind of stinks but that’s ok because it’s my birthday and everything’s coming up roses so hip hip hooray.

Well hello, Vermont.

Well hello, Vermont.

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And hello, ice cream. Vermont is where Ben and Jerry’s was birthed. They even have a road called Cherry Garcia. Awesome, right?

Where we stayed

Where we stayed.

The hotel

The hotel

Our instructor for the cooking class.  He told us lots of celeb gossip about people he's cooked for.

Our instructor for the cooking class. He told us lots of celeb gossip about people he’s cooked for.  Shhhhhhhhh….

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Shopping

The Magic Hat brewery

The Magic Hat brewery

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Inside the brewery

Getting crazy.  Not really.

Getting crazy. Not really.

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Goodbye Vermont.

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Hello, Yale, nice to meet you.

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Yale campus at night.

So, this is 30, eh?  I’ve got to tell you, I’m hopeful about 30.  I think this is going to be my year.

And as Ethel would say…

“Curtain up, light the lights, you’ve got nothin’ to hit but the heights.”

~The End.

Holy Sh*t! Airplane Manners, People!

It leaves you speechless alright, and sometimes not in a good way.

So, yesterday I flew back to New York after a week and a half with my family in Detroit.  The flight from NYC->DETROIT is typically a quick hour and a half flight, and relatively painless: key words being “relatively painless.”  Yesterday’s flight was anything but.

I seriously cannot believe the array of stupidity that I saw yesterday.  People have actually survived in life thus far being so completely unaware and clueless?!  The sh*t show of bad manners was ridiculous, both through normal airport protocol, and simple airplane etiquette.  C’mon these things we should all know by now, people!

First Offender:  The So-Called “I Didn’t Realize I Just Cut in Front of You…” Person:

By now, you have all probably had your own run-in with this type of person.  It’s the person who cuts in front of you, and pretends that they didn’t see you there.  This person might also pretend to be looking at something, than casually inch closer and closer, until they downright step in front of you.  It’s a sneaky little tactic, and most of the time these people get away with it, because the person they cut in front of, is too embarrassed to speak up and say something.

So, yesterday I didn’t have one, two, three, or four people cut in front of me.  I had FIVE!  Yes, you heard me right, FIVE.  It all started when a young woman with a giant suitcase cut in front of me while I was waiting in line to check into my flight.  It bugged me, but I didn’t say anything, because I was there very early and I decided to give the girl the benefit of the doubt.  I kept seeing her look over her shoulder as if she was waiting for someone, and I thought that was odd.  Suddenly a man and a woman, whom I’m guessing were her parents, joined her in line with two enormous suitcases in tow.  Before I even had the chance to process the stupidity of these people, two more young women joined the crew of three.  Each of these girls had enormously stuffed suitcases as well.  As the group stood there, loudly chatting about, I decided to say something.  “Excuse me,” I said trying to match their collective volume, “I was here first, and you…” It was no use, no one even noticed me talking.  They were so engrossed in conversation with each other that I didn’t even get a second glance.  I gave up, but it didn’t stop me from angrily brooding over it for the next twenty minutes, and posting multiple rants about it on Facebook and Twitter.

I watched on in horror as one after another stepped up to the check-in counter, and had to be told that each one of their bags were overweight.  They bitched and moaned about the additional charges of a bag over fifty pounds, and luckily the woman behind the counter  stood her ground.  The whole debacle added close to thirty extra minutes onto my schedule, and I was livid.

When it came time to go through security, I saw the party of five making their way in the same direction as me, so I hauled a** as fast as I could, and managed to successfully get in front of them.  A small victory for such an annoying fiasco.

Second Offender:  The Dreaded “I’m Going to Perform all of my Gross Rituals in Public…” Person:

Being a regular commuter in my daily life has taught be a lot about reading people while traveling.  For example, I can spot someone who wants to talk for the whole flight, and I’m good at predicting whether someone will be considerate.  The minute I saw this man approaching I just knew I was in for it.  I prayed he wasn’t going to be the one to occupy the seat next to me, but of course he was.  It’s always like that, isn’t it?  First of all, he stepped on my toe while getting to his seat, and also hit the woman in the head who was sitting behind us.  He never apologized to either of us.

It could have been an accident, so I chalked it up to an honest mistake.  That is, until he proceeded to get himself very comfortable, and one of the ways he accomplished that was by taking off his smelly sandals.  His feet reeked of vinegar, and everyone around us turned to see who was creating the stench.  If that wasn’t enough, he picked and prodded his smelly feet for at least a half hour, while I tried not to gag.

Eventually he passed out into a peaceful slumber, but he was the only one who found peace.  The rest of us had to listen on as he noisily snored, and I personally had to deal with his elbows as he slept with both of his arms up above his head.  Don’t even get me started on the offensive body odor that emanated from his pits.  When he finally awoke, he got up to use the restroom, and stayed in their for at least fifteen minutes.  When he finally resurfaced, I decided to use the bathroom as well.  It wasn’t a surprise to me, when I walked into the cramped space that he carelessly left the toilet seat up, and may or may not have urinated all over the bathroom floor.

The flight ended up being terribly delayed because of rain storms in New York, so we circled around for close to an hour, and until it was safe to land.  For the rest of the flight I tried my best to tune him and all of his bad manners.  I think I actually succeeded at it for a little bit, too, but by that time the flight was over anyhow.

I really thought I had seen it all between the subway in New York, and traveling on the Long Island Railroad.  However, yesterday it became obvious to me that there is clearly still a lot more to see.  Lucky me.

Does anyone else have any bad manner airport/airplane experiences to share?!  Is anyone else disgusted by how some people behave?

~The End

Photo by Pinterest.

Don’t Mess With Texas…

Well, tomorrow Matt and I are off to Houston, Texas for about 6 weeks, where Matt will attend a Kaplan retreat, to prepare for his big medical school exam in March.

I'll be sure to let you know if this is true...

We had an extremely busy holiday season, and it’s hard to believe it’s already time to jet off to the Lone Star State.  To be honest, I feel a little guilty…This will be the third consecutive New York winter that I’ve managed to avoid.  Since we’ve been back in the States, it hasn’t even been that cold, but already I’ve noticed myself daydreaming about the spring and summer in a few months.  I am looking forward to enjoying some sunshine again, and also just seeing Texas in general.

When I traveled in the national tour of Les Miz, we went to Houston, and also Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Dallas.  Because I was so young, though, I really don’t remember much about it, other than the fact that it was extremely clean there, and sweltering hot.  I’m interested to see if it’s how I remembered it.

I have a feeling we are going to enjoy our time in Texas, and for some reason, all week I have hummed tunes from the play Oklahoma (I played Ado Annie in a high school production of Oklahoma.)  Okay, so they’re obviously two different states, but they’re both country, so it felt fitting.

Have a listen and see if you agree..(P.S. This song has a special meaning to me, because a high school friend of mine who played Curly in Oklahoma passed away a few years ago, and this song always reminds me of him.)

02_-_oh_what_a_beautiful_morning_-_oklahoma_(original_soundtrack)

I have every intention on getting a pair of these during my stay…

You can't go to TX and not wear cowboy boots...

I’m also really looking forward to embracing the country culture, and possibly eating some cheesy grits and fried chicken…

Not exactly healthy, but definitely worth the calories...

I may even try out a southern drawl and bust out a “y’all” or “bless your heart” here or there…

Here’s another one…lollygagging…that’s southern, right?  Either way, I better quit lollygagging and get to this packing, because the truth is, I haven’t even started yet!

So, off I go.

Stay tuned for more Sarah Smiles Awhile…Southern style.

~See ya.

Home In The Mitten State!

Hey!  Long time, no see!  Sorry I’ve been a little MIA for the last couple of weeks, but there has been so much going on!

First things first, I finally wrapped up this semester at school, and made the Dean’s List again!  Woo-hoo!

Then, Matt and I spent Christmas in Michigan this year with my family, and have had so much fun for the last week.

Christmas Eve was the big family celebration, and my whole family came over to celebrate.  Matt and I made up for time lost, and ate a ton of food.  I’ve probably gained about five pounds since we’ve been back in the States, but boy oh boy, it feels good!

My Mom's famous Gnocchi

We spent some long overdue time with my nieces and nephews…

Ain't they sweet?

They even got a visit from Santa Claus (aka my dad!) on Xmas Eve!

Rocco (my youngest nephew) with my dad (Santa). He totally bought into it, and thought it was Santa!

Santa's lil' helper, Tootsie (my parents dog.)

I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus…

My mom and dad. P.S. Santa asked her what she wanted for Christmas, and she told him "diamonds."

From the left...Rocco aka the Roc, Dylan aka Dyl-Pickle, Kayla aka Kooks, and Logan aka Logi-Bear.

My beautiful nieces, Allison and Kayla.

The next day, Matt and I opened presents from my parents and each other on Christmas morning…

A very special gift made by my mom. She saved my bridal bouquet, dried it a special way, and then framed it with our wedding invitation. How cool is that?!

We also got tickets to see my very favorite show, Wicked!

We went and saw the show today, and it was absolutely amazing!! P.S. I had to restrain myself from belting along to Defying Gravity!

My Christmas gift to Matt for our first married Christmas together.

Matt’s Christmas gift to me…

Isn't it gorge?! I LOVE it!

We’ve had such a blast in Michigan for the past week.  We’ve done all kinds of fun stuff!

We went to the Henry Ford Museum…

And we got to see the actual bus that Rosa Parks rode when she refused to sit at the back of the bus!

According to the tour guide, this is the actual spot that Rosa Parks sat in.

We saw the infamous car where Kennedy was shot…

And saw many, many more interesting and fascinating things.

Today we went to the Greektown casino in downtown Detroit…

We didn't win big or anything, but we didn't lose any money either!

And tomorrow we say goodbye to a wonderful and fun-filled week with family and friends in my hometown.

It’s been a good trip, and I’m happy I got to spend such quality time with those who are so special to me.

And…

It’s still good to be back in the States, and no, I don’t miss Grenada one bit yet at all!

So, tell me…

What did you get for Christmas?!

P.S.  I will be back to my regular blogging schedule after the New Year.  I’ve missed you all!

~The End

It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want to.

That is, happy tears of course!

So listen to this…

Matt and I flew back to New York on my 29th birthday this past Saturday.  We had a rough night the night before we left, complete with Matt accidentally punching himself in the eye…No, I’m not kidding.  It was crazy, Matt was weighing one of our extremely heavy pieces of luggage, when the luggage scale snapped, causing his right hand to shoot up, hitting himself in the eye!  He had to go down to the university clinic on campus to get bandaged up, and he still has a black eye! 

Thankfully, though, the next morning when we left, everything went very smoothly, and we had a really great flight.  We got off the plane, got all five pieces of our seventy pound luggage, and made our way to ground transportation, where Matt’s parents were picking us up.  When we walked out, I saw Matt’s mom and dad waving to us.  They made their way toward us, and we said our hello’s.

Matt and his Pop.

Then, suddenly something or someone caught my eye…

I looked…

Then, I took a double take…

It was my parents!

My dad is not in the picture, because he was the one taking the pictures!

They came to New York all the way from Michigan and surprised me for our U.S.A homecoming, and for my birthday.

The craziest part is…I had NO idea.

When I saw my mom in her red coat, I didn’t believe it.  For a second, I thought I was just seeing someone who looked like her, but then I saw my dad smiling as big as his mouth could smile, holding his brand-spankin’ new movie recorder, and that’s when I knew it was real.

I was beyond surprised.

Matt's mom, my mom, and me.

Let me say this, it really is hard to dupe me.  Naturally, I am a very inquisitive person, I ask lots of questions, and I easily pick up on discrepancies.  My parents told me a host of lies to pull this thing off, complete with forwarding their house phone calls to their cell phone, so that I wouldn’t catch on.  Last Friday my parents went into the city for a viewing of Regis and Kelly, when I called, and they told me they were out Christmas shopping.  Somehow I fell for everything, and to be honest, I am a little shocked that I did!  P.S.  I am convinced I didn’t catch onto the scheme, because I had been so busy packing and getting ready to move, but everyone else says that they just fooled me really, really well.  Maybe they’re right!

The best part was, Matt’s mom had orchestrated the whole event months ago!  She invited my parents to stay at their house, and my parents took her up on it, and had been visiting for days, before Matt and I even got home.  How cute is that?

I’ve literally never ever been more surprised in my entire life…not even when I got engaged!!

It was my best birthday ever.

Here are some other shots from that day.

Homecoming and birthday dinner.

That's a big bowl of pasta, eh? That's how we Italians do it up.

Did you notice that the name on the bottle says Palma? That's because Matt's dad makes wine. Cool, right?

Birthday cake! My absolute favorite, Baskin Robins Oreo cookie ice cream cake.

Opening birthday presents! That's my dad sitting next to me, and my mom sitting on the floor.

My parents went back to the Mitten State on Monday, but Matt and I have enjoyed some long overdue time with his family, including his twin nephews James and Joseph.  I even had the honor of doing their very first haircut!

Joe-Joe Bear

Sweet Baby James (like the James Taylor song.)

All I can say is, it’s good to be back in good ol’ New York, New York, and on American soil.  Just yesterday, Matt and I walked into a grocery store, and I’m not even kidding, I felt like I was entering the gates of heaven when I saw the enormous variety of food.

I have to admit, it is quite cold here, and I already miss that Caribbean sun, but not enough to give all this up.

Nope.  Not even close.

~The End.

So Long, Farewell, Grenada…

What can I say, it’s been real, Grenada.  We’ve had our ups and downs that’s for sure, but I appreciate the experience.

When Matt and I moved to Grenada in January of 2010, we had just got engaged a few weeks earlier.

December 22, 2009

It was such an exciting time for us, with Matt starting medical school, and the beginning of planning our wedding.  Sometimes I can’t believe that two years flew by so fast, but then I stop and think about all that’s happened since we first got to Grenada, and then I can believe it’s been that long.

As we say our final farewell’s to Grenada tomorrow, I thought I’d leave you with…

Ten Things I’ve Learned Over The Last 2 Years While Living Abroad in Grenada

1.)  I learned how to cook! 

It’s kind of funny because prior to getting engaged, I had maybe cooked Matt a real dinner one or two times.  I know, it’s kind of crazy considering we dated for about 2.5 years before getting engaged!  I guess I never needed to learn, we lived with his parents, and his mom cooked delicious meals every night!  Why learn?  It was kind of a rude awakening when we landed in Grenada, and Matt looked at me to fill the shoes of his mom’s cooking (and trust me, those aren’t easy shoes to fill!), but I tried my best, and somewhere along the way I learned a thing or two.  Here I am now, whipping up all kinds of different meals, like chicken parmesan, lasagna, chili, chicken fajitas, an array of fish dishes, roasted whole chickens, homemade banana bread, pumpkin pies, meatloaf, minestrone soup, etc.  (P.S.  I just got really hungry talking about all of those foods.)

2.)  You never want to get sick in 3rd world country.

Matt and I learned this the hard way.  Matt got e coli the first semester we were down here, and it was not a good situation, to say the very least.  We ended up at St. George’s General Hospital in the city of St. George’s, and let me just tell you, it was the stuff nightmares are made out of…cockroaches on hospital beds, extremely UN-urgent medical care, dirty equipment lying around, and generally stuff that you might see residing in Dr. Giggles’ office…Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t want to get a head injury, or anything extremely serious like that in Grenada.  Get my drift?

3.)  I’m not a very outdoorsy.

I’m pretty sure that I mentioned this already in a post, but here it is again; I don’t like nature.  Okay, that’s not exactly it, I love nature, I just prefer to not be thrust out into it.  Instead, I prefer to observe it from afar, and not be involved in activities such as, getting my make-up/hair messed up, getting sweaty/and or dirty, anything requiring me to trudge through rain or dirt, or any activities involving the ocean (other than lying on the beach and also observing it from afar.)

Exhibit A.

After looking everywhere for me at the Kauai Coffee Plantation on our honeymoon, Matt found me in the tiny section in the gift shop where they sell soaps and perfumes. It goes without saying, that I was not very interested in the coffee beans, but very engaged in the pretty things. P.S. He took this picture without me knowing.

4.)  You might have to bond with a local in order to understand the culture in Grenada.

It’s kind of ironic, that the first time I really started to understand the Grenadian culture was just about a week ago.  Matt and I have had a taxi driver named Bernard for nearly two years now, and he drives us around on the rare occasions that we go out to dinner. Bernard has lived in Grenada his entire life, and has never left the island.  EVER.  Recently on a trip to the Immigration office, it was just me and B-nard (as I fondly like to call him), and we had quite a nice little chat.

Before I get into that, let me explain that Bernard and I often have awkward encounters when it comes time to pay him for the rides.  Usually he says something like, “Just give me whateva you tink (tink is “think” in Grenadian), Saaaaaaaahhhh-rah.”  This inevitably confuses me, and I have no idea how to respond to it, so I usually say something like, “Well, I have no idea, Bernard!  You have to tell me how much!”  Then, we go back and forth, until I get flustered to the point where I throw money at him (not literally), probably over paying him.

So, on our trip to the Immigration Office, we were chattering away, and Bernard revealed to me that he has no intention to ever go to America.  When I asked why, he said it simply.  “In America you don’t get nothin’ for free.  If yer hungry in Grenada, someone will give you some callaloo (a vegetable) for free if you need to eat.  You have to pay for everyting in America.”

So, there you have it.  I finally understood why Bernard and I had all of those miscommunications about paying him for his services.  Perhaps if I had offered him some callaloo a time or two, we may have understood one another a long time ago…

Me, Bernard, the fam, and the infamous taxi van.

Matt and Bernard's child, Jerome. He loved Matt, as all children do.

5.)  You should never go to a foreign country and expect it to be like America. (I learned this one the hard way.)

If I could pass on these words of wisdom to any American traveling abroad, this would be it.  I had a quite the eye opener when I got to Grenada.

Me:  “Wait, there’s no milk for two weeks straight?  Or eggs?  Or chicken?  And this is normal?! Waaaaaahhhhh!! <– (Snookie style.)

Especially when we first got down here, I found all of these things very frustrating.  I didn’t expect Grenada to have the same abundant supermarkets as in America, but I at least thought they would have the essentials.  The lack of food options has been one of the hardest parts about living here for me.  I’ve had to really let go of a lot of my expectations of what I think is normal, and try to improvise more with our meals.  I think if I would have come to Grenada free of expectations, than I might have been pleasantly surprised. Instead, I thought it was going to be something it wasn’t, and it made it that much harder to adjust.

And other non-American things to adapt to in Grenada…

No hot water (or no water at all for that matter, for days at a time), laundry shut down due to water droughts for weeks on end, humongous spiders, centipedes, lizards, and frogs (yes frogs!) in your apartment from time to time.  Ick.

6.)  To be patient.

Okay, so this is probably a blatant lie, but I wish I had learned to be more patient while living down here.  In my defense, I think I’ve definitely had a few break-through moments, in the patience department, but for the most part my New Yorker self (I can call myself a New Yorker since I’ve been living there over 10 years) was astonished at how slow it can take to do a simple task.  I’d be lying to you if I told you that it didn’t frustrate the hell out of me, but I think this also goes along with what I said earlier about expectations.  On a side note, one time fire alarms were going off on campus, and the fire department came two hours later after the students had already put it out themselves!  Now do you see what I mean?!

7.)  How to KIT

Prior to moving to Grenada, I’ll admit that I wasn’t always the best about keeping in touch.  I was always working, working, working, and it was typical for me to not see or speak to my girlfriends for weeks, or even months, at a time.  I’ve always made a point to call my parents every day, but I didn’t always go that extra mile for my friends.  So sorry friends!

When I arrived in Grenada, I realized how much I needed those people in my life, though.  I began working harder to bridge those gaps, and found that it was essential for me to do so.  Thankfully I had Skype, to stay connected with family and friends for the entire two years we’ve been in Grenada, and I also utilized Facebook to send little messages here and there, or an email just to say hello, a postcard, or a phone call.  I really do think that all of these things help you to stay grounded when you are so far away from home, and I would recommend it to anyone traveling abroad.

8.)  To not be alarmed if you cross paths with a cow…or goat…and one time, a bull.

Yeah, I just stand in fields in wedges and mini's while bulls are a few feet away. <--Not so much. This photo was taken by a good friend and photographer named Ashley Willis, somewhere in upcountry Grenada. P.S. Yes, that's a bull. When he started charging me, I ran like wild banshee away from that sucker it as fast as I could.

When we first got to Grenada, seeing random cows crossing the road, alarmed me.  I was sure the bus drivers were going to hit them, and each time, I would clench my eyes closed and pray I wouldn’t hear a thud.  Poor cow-ies.  Instead, I never heard anything, but I did feel my head jolt forward, as the driver swerved to maneuver the bus around the huge cattle.  Cows, and array of other animals crossing busy roads, are as common as deer running out in front of you on a highway in the dead of winter in Michigan.  It took me at least three months to get used to it, but when I finally did, I had a peaceful bus ride.

9.)  It’s totally normal to see machete’s.

People walk around wielding machete’s like they’re Rambo here!  It’s kind of rad, actually.

Oh you know, just a little ol' machete...

The first time I saw a Grenadian man with a machete, I was out for a run.  I totally thought I was about to murdered, but when I saw him happily chopping down some kind of pickery bush, and paying no mind to me whatsoever.  I realized then, that he was not interested in killing me at all, so I let out a huge sigh of relief.  I blame all of the shows like Disappeared, Dateline, and 48 Hours Mystery, for my hysteria.

10.)  How to Write!

It all started with a little blog called “Sarah Smiles Awhile…and sometimes not so much.”  (By the way, I recently asked Matt if I should change the name of my blog, and he said, “Well the ‘and sometimes not so much’ part sounds a little bit like you’re depressed.”  I thought that was so freaking funny, and brutally honest, that he would say such a thing!  Then, I explained to him that the ‘and sometimes not so much’ part is supposed to communicate my sassiness to the reader, to which Matt replied, “Well, you are quite a sassy little broad.”  Bwaaahahaha!  Love him.)

Anyway, I learned to write, by writing on this blog…and taking two novel writing classes in one semester (<–P.S. What was I thinking?!)  I really, truly don’t think I would have ever started writing if it hadn’t been for Grenada.  Like I said, before living here, I rarely ever stopped to smell the roses.  Grenada gave me the opportunity to discover new hobbies and ambitions.  (Hint, hint: More to come on that later…)

I think my entire experience in Grenada can be summed up in these lyrics to the Paul Simon song…

“You Can Call Me Al”

A man walks down the street
It’s a street in a strange world
Maybe it’s the Third World
Maybe it’s his first time around
He doesn’t speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man
He is surrounded by the sound
The sound
Cattle in the marketplace
Scatterlings and orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says Amen and Hallelujah!

Have a listen…23 You Can Call Me Al

So, Grenada…

Here we are.

What can I say?  It’s been real.

We’ve broken up and gotten back together quite a few times.

But I’m sure at some point, somewhere…

I might even miss you a little bit.

xo

Sarah

~The End

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas…

I can’t believe it’s already December, and that Christmas and my birthday are right around the corner!

On Saturday, I am getting the best birthday gift of all, which is to fly back to New York…ahem… first class.  Woo-Hoo!  I seriously cannot wait!

It’s crazy to think that today I spent one of my last days in Grenada soaking up some sun, but by Saturday, we’ll be back to the blistering cold again.

Here’s a shot from the beach today…

Grand Anse Beach

And how appropriate that we should return back to a New York winter, considering the first time we arrived in Grenada, we were escaping one of the worst New York winters ever!

January 2010. One of our first days ever in Grenada.

I guess you could say, we are coming full circle.

I’m definitely looking forward to some snow, which I can’t believe I actually just said, but I truly am.  I think what I’m really excited about is just being back in the great U.S. of A, and being with our families for the holiday season.

I have to give it to Grenada, they really do a great job bringing the holiday vibe to the island, despite the uncharacteristically hot, balmy weather.  Since mid October (yes, mid-October) all the workers in the local shops have been sporting red Santa hats, and everywhere you go, they play Christmas music.  Get this, one of the most popular albums they play is Dolly Parton’s “Home For Christmas!”  If that’s not random, I don’t know what is!  Let’s just say, I’m thrilled about it!

Snazzy outfit, Doll.

I have to admit, though, it definitely hasn’t been easy to get into the holiday spirit, even with Dolly on my side.  That is why I cannot wait to soak up all the holiday season has to offer in New York with Matt’s family, and Michigan with my family.

I fully intend on watching some of my favorite holiday flicks like…

1.)  Serendipity

This movie captures the holiday’s in NYC perfectly, complete with a glove war at Bloomingdale’s, and ice skating at Rockefeller Center.

And maybe Matt and I might finally make it into the city for some frozen hot chocolate at  the famous Serendipity 3, where we’ve meant to go since we started dating 4.5 years ago!  We haven’t made it yet, but here’s hoping.

Serendipity 3, where the film Serendipity was shot. P.S. It's right around the corner from Bloomingdale's, too, which could be dangerous...or fantastic!

2.)  Little Women

Don’t make fun!  This is one of my movies ever, mostly because I remind myself of Jo.  By the way, I took a Facebook quiz not too long ago called, “Which March sister are you?”, and I got Meg!  I was seriously so mad, I took it 3 more times, until I manipulated it to tell me I was the most like Jo.  True story.

Oh Marmee...P.S. I think I might have my future children call me Marmee, how cute is that?

3.)  Love Actually

Does anyone remember the scene from this film where Keira Knightly marries her husband, and he surprises her with a gospel choir singing the Beatles tune “All You Need is Love?”

Well, Matt and I thoroughly looked into getting a gospel choir our wedding, but after some in-depth research on YouTube of other people who apparently thought it was a cool idea too, we decided against it.  Let me just say, some things are just better relayed on film than in real life, but I fully intend on reliving that moment watching “Love Actually” this Christmas.

4.)  A Christmas Story

This movie is such a gem.  If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend it.

“You’re gonna shoot yer eye out!  You’re gonna shoot yer eye out!”

Poor Randy...

5.)  Meet Me in St. Louis

Come on, you knew a theater nerd couldn’t resist a musical to get into the holiday spirit, right?

Wasn't Judy G. a total betty in her day?

I don’t know, there’s just something about the way Judy sang “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” that gets me every time…

Anyway…

Hmmm…other things I’m looking forward to this holiday season…wearing my new down coat, sporting my Uggs with chunky sweaters, getting my huuuurr did, eating lots of cookies (particularly the sugar cookies with frosting that my sis-in-law makes), spending time with family and friends, eating my mom’s stuffed peppers, eating my mother in law’s meatloaf…I’m starting to notice that most of the things I’m looking forward to revolve around food…not done yet, though…drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream, pumpkin spice Coffee-Mate coffee creamer, Starbuck’s chai lattes, the sugar cookies with the Christmas tree’s and bells in the middle, my dad’s egg “mcmuffins”, pizzelle’s, and maybe some banana pancakes (made by Matt hopefully!).

So…

What are you all looking forward to this holiday season?

~The End

Photos by Amazon, IMDB, Wikipedia, and bytesdaily.blogspot.com