Tag Archives: birthday

Losing a Year.

tealcollageHow I lost a year of my life in the span of one dinner:

As I celebrated my birthday with my mom’s side of the family at a fancy dinner, I sipped my first bellini and felt great. You see, for the last several months, I had been saying, “I am 27” so that when I turned 27 in February, I wouldn’t be at all emotional. I would be prepared, you see.

In between my first and second bellini, I told my family this. They paused, forks in the air. “Nina,” they said seriously and levelly. “You are turning 28.”

“No, I’m not,” I replied quickly. But truth be told, I was already panicking because who would know my real age better than the woman who labored for hours to bring me into this world, my aunt, and their mother? Also, math isn’t my forte so if I had to take a wild guess as to who was incorrect, I would have to put my money on myself.

They tried not to laugh at me as they explained that I was turning 28.

For about four to six months, I have been emotionally preparing to turn the age I already am.

Gee, I am so glad I worked so hard to be at peace with the age I will be for less than a week longer.

So for the rest of this week, if I slip, “I’m 28” into a conversation or an email unnecessarily, please know that I am just trying to get to the place where I am cool with being 28 in less than a week.


PS I have really been working on upping my instagrami game. Honestly, I do it because it is fun for me to curate a collection of photos about my life. Through that I am trying to figure out just how the rebrand here will eventually go down (yep, that’s happening this year!).

Love you guys,




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Birthday by Numbers.

birthday by numbersLife is funny sometimes or most of the time, actually, if you are looking for it. I was dreading this birthday for a few reasons or maybe I was just trying not to have expectations and it was the best birthday I have had in the longest time. It was so good that I had to share it with you too (all of you who instagrammed and tweeted me wishes and everyone else too!) because this is more than a recap. This is a cornucopia of the best people, food, things, and feelings. Paint by numbers? Please. This is Birthday by Numbers.

2: The Number of People in my Bed This Weekend

My mom came and stayed with me (you know, the woman who gave birth to me many moons ago) and we went out on on town. One night, I made her wear my favorite lipstick (MAC’s Damn Glamorous…and we were). I got her hooked on Parenthood. She helped me with one project (which is great because usually when she comes I put her to work but I did all the work before she came). After she fell asleep, I woke her up and made her tell me the story of the day I was born. We did not even fight one time. I like her very much. I think I will keep her.

7: The Number of People Around the Birthday Table (Mom, Dad, Stepmom, Little Sister, Aunt, Nonna, Me)

God is crazy and He is good. These people sat around a table and enjoyed delicious food while laughing. My little sister was ecstatic to be around my mom (she has a special thing for her…she always has). “Who are you sitting across from her?” Ava asked me. “I am sitting across from Miss Sandi.” I laughed so much. I felt so loved and cherished–exactly how one should feel on her birthday. I was so aware of how far God has brought us and I felt His joy at watching us around that table.

1: The Amount of Times We Felt Nostalgic for San Francisco

Whenever my mom visited me in San Francisco, we always ate at Umami Burger. Chicago got one in the summer and Mom and I stumbled upon it on accident. She was all about it. It felt good, a full circle kind of moment.

3: How Many Times My Love of Leopard was Mentioned on my Birthday

I typically don’t share presents here–like ooh, look what I got! But I was fortunate enough to receive these slippers that are going to help my all over body pain when I have to stand and cook and clean and wash dishes. “And look, they are leopard!” Ava told me. She also said, “Nina, look at this wrapping paper. It’s leopard.”

Finally, Ava met two little girls having dinner after their Daddy Daughter Dance and on the way out, as they put on their coats, Ava told one of the girls: “My sister would love your coat because she loves leopard.”

So there’s that. I teach her important things. (I also told her that of all the sister God could have picked for me, He picked the best one. She replied, “He picked the best one for me too!” And then: “Miss Sandi, look I can draw a heart!”

127: How Many Times We Said This is Amazing When We Went to Eataly

We ordered a bottle of wine–Barolo–which always feels fancy and grown up to me. But I mean, two glasses each equals a bottle which is fair over a large meal. Still, two glasses for my mom and me is kind of a lot but we ate so much delicious food. And we went to a Nutella Bar after. And I brought super fresh things from Italy. And I found STAR COOKIES. Or as they are called Pan di Stelle. They are basically chocolate shortbread and I have not been able to find them anywhere for years and years, except Italy, and I called my friend and shrieked and she shrieked (all over the cookies) and then I bought her a bag too. I also bought some amazing espresso, cheeses, olives, meats. It was seriously like an extremely authentic Italian Disney World.

I am so filled with love and joy. There is no number or amount I could use to describe it.



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Happy Trails to You

On Friday, I mentioned I would be hiking for my birthday and I received all sorts of texts and calls asking me: what? where? you? Yes, me. I don’t know what is so strange about it….just because I have never hiked before. “Never?” Alissa asked me.

I told her: “I’m sure that I walked through nature before but never with the purpose of hiking.”

Whatever. I definitely plan on getting Alissa back later in the week with a whole new segment to this blog called “California Girls.” It’s going to just be quotes that only girls born and raised in California would ever say. (Example: Isn’t there like a river in Chicago? Yes but I think you’re talking about Lake Michigan. So when you’re at the lake, is there sand? Yes, there is sand. So, do you call it the beach? Yes, what else would you call it? *hysterical laughter* There’s sand and water and waves so what would you call it? *laughs hysterically*) Tip of the iceberg, people.
Nonetheless, it has become tradition that Lis and I do something outside the city for my birthday. We are Lucy and Ethel. We are Thelma and Louise. We are…dumb and dumber. So yes, this year: we hiked.SONY DSC
We went up these hills and on the other side found the ocean. I’ll show you that later in the week, along with some California Girl quotes.
SONY DSCI took a picture of this because LITERALLY in the Bay Area, dogs are in the supermarket, dogs are next to me in restaurants but we are outside in nature and no dogs allowed. Explain this to me. ??????
I still have these moments where I cannot believe I live here. The hills alone are shocking to a girl from Illinois (not a joke) and when you add in the beach and water and cliffs…It’s surreal and I don’t know if it ever stops being surreal.
I look at this photograph and I can’t believe that I am a part of this, that this isn’t a postcard.SONY DSC
It’s awfully hard to get it through my thick skull that this is my second birthday spent on the shore of the pacific ocean.SONY DSC
Until we meet again,

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Five on Friday | Birthday Edition

First, thanks A. Liz AdventuresThe Good LifeCarolina Charm, and Hello!Happiness for hosting five on friday, as always!five on friday





Sometimes I feel pressure on birthdays and holidays to have major plans. When you move across the country, this kind of changes things. Yes, I spent New Years with my family this year because I was home and I normally don’t get to see them. And I celebrated my birthday last week with my mom and in another week with my dad when he visits. I had an amazing birthday eve dinner with a friend that came into my life in the craziest of ways, a relaxing thursday night with drinks followed by birthday facial soiree with a friend, and this weekend I am going hiking in California (which I’ve never done.) I guess I’ve learned that having expectations on holidays is a good way to be disappointed when you’re a transplant. It’s just a normal day that is supposed to be special but everyone you love is spread across the world.SONY DSC

A different facial, another time. We are weird.





I was having a quiet time and doing a Beth Moore lesson I’ve already done about peace and how it is directly related to God’s authority in our life and it smacked me in the face. I really lose patience with myself and how often I need to be smacked in the face.






Have you joined? Read this post to see how you can.SONY DSC






Really need to get my butt into gear. Also I am reading “The Goldfinch” and it is so long. I read four books in January. February…not so much.





Resolutions Revisited.

So, we’re recapping how we are doing on our resolutions on Tuesday which is the same day as Tuesday Tea so Heather and I are both suggesting that if you want to be a part of this once a month link up, that’s your tea for Tuesday. Read here for more info. Please join us.CoasttoCoast

Happy Friday,


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On the Eve of Twenty Six.

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 2.18.31 PMTo be honest, my twenty fifth year flew by. Maybe that’s what happens when you take everything day by day when it comes to moving across the country. I remember exactly where I was a year ago today and it’s strange to realize where I am right now. So, for today, here are 25  things I know for sure, as of today, right now (as in, I am sure there will be lots of things I change my mind about).

1. God’s plan is the best plan.

2. There are just some people that you are supposed to meet in this world, especially when you are away from your family. There are unexpected hugs and kindness everywhere.

3. Distance ain’t nothing but a word. But it’s still a word.

4. Adventures are hard. It isn’t always a fairy tale. But it’s still an adventure.

5. San Francisco is a fantastic city and I love her.

6. The internet is actually not a horrible place! Sure, there is meanness but social media…it can be used for good.

7. Becoming an adult is painfully difficult and awkward and I would like to know when I can drop the becoming from the front of this sentence.

8. There is nothing like laughing with someone who knows you deep down in your soul.

9. There is nothing like laughing period.

10. God is good.

11. I might be able to do something well, perfectly even; but that doesn’t mean that’s what I should be doing.

12. I am terrified of settling. I am terrified of fear holding me back. I am scared of regrets.

13. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” Psalm 56:3

14. There is something to be said about reading a child a book.

15. “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

16. Facetime/Skype make my life happier.

17. A good book written by a good writer is priceless.

18. Rainy days are like sighs. Sometimes they feel awfully good.

19. Blogging is hard work but very much worth it.

20. I was meant to be a writer.

21. Coloring helps me relax.

22. I want to marry a man like Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights, a molder of men. 😉 #ClearEyesFullHeartsCan’tLose

23. There is nothing like singing at the top of your lungs with your friends with the windows rolled down.

24. Curly hair is a blessing and a curse.

25. So many things will change in the next year. Maybe even some of the things I’ve listed here.

Anything I missed? Help a girl on the verge of 26 out here.




P.S. Want to enter to win a mug of your choice? Go check out Erin’s awesome blog, Living in Yellow. One day left.

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