Back, back, back it up.

Yesterday, my husband said, "You should just write a blog post. It doesn't have to be anything great, just write from the heart." First things first, husband, it does have to be great--because I have standards. And secondly, my heart doesn't have anything special to say right now! As some of you may know, I've been struggling to keep this blog going. Not due to a lack of desire, passion or content, but mostly because other priorities are just that, taking priority. 

Also, there is this one super infuriating thing that happened to me (and it's totally my fault) and if one more person gives me sh*t for it, I'm going to scream. 

...My hard drive crashed.

The hard drive that held all of my photos and videos of Lulu's first year. 

The one that had the album of all her "firsts" so I could make a Year One photo album right after her first birthday. 

The one that I hadn't backed up to my external hard drive in over, oh.... 11 months or so. 

So, on the morning of Luisa's first birthday, when my computer wouldn't boot up and there was a horrible clicking noise coming from the hard drive (*gasp* platters were off, for you techies.) And I lost it. Tears, shaking, clenched fists, the works. Then, because I was afraid to find out that I did actually lose the photos and videos that were most dear to me, I proceeded to do nothing with my laptop for three solid months. Three months of no photo editing software or a computer that would accept my SD card. Three months of not taking my nice camera places because I couldn't do anything with the photos anyway. 

In some ways it was liberating. We took Lulu to the aquarium for the first time and while I snapped some cell phone pics of her, I wasn't distracted playing with the settings on my fancy camera trying to capture the perfect shot. 

Well, I finally bit the bullet, I followed a lovely YouTube tutorial instructing me how to remove my hard drive. I ordered a new solid state drive (thanks friends, for all of your sound advice during this process) and sent my sad HD off to a recovery company to see what files could be restored. 

About two weeks and $800 later, it looks like I'll be able to get most of my stuff back. I really wouldn't wish this experience on my worst enemy and if you learn anything from this blog post, it's that backing up your files is important. I can tell you from experience that you won't realize just how important it is until your stomach drops to the floor and you think everything is gone.


My First B&E

All my life (okay, since I was nine) I wanted to get into this house. My camera phone doesn't do it justice, but when I was a young kid running around in the woods at the end of my street, It seems like a mansion. Something about it was mysterious but approachable, and I always had the secret desire to peek inside. It wasn't always in this state of disrepair. In it's glory days, it had a perfectly manicured lawn and smoke from a warm fall/winter fire billowing out of the chimney. 

The house sits on a nine-acre estate with another farm house and was owned by the late Judge John E. Holt-Harris. It's been uninhabited for quite some time, and both time and weather have taken their toll on this once stoic residence in the woods. 

Well, the university near my parent's home recently purchased the estate and with that, they are demolishing the homes (there's a barn house on the estate as well.) Upon hearing the news, I saw my childhood dream of sneaking a peek inside, flash before my eyes. So I did what any law abiding citizen might do, I planned a little B&E (breaking and entering, for all of you squares.) 


Turkey Mango Picadillo

This meal is everything. It's comforting, hearty, flavorful, fresh, easy-to-make, it's just damn near perfect. Which is exactly why it's become a part of my regular dinner rotation. Seriously this spice combination? Bomb dot com. This version of the recipe uses ground turkey  although the original recipe called for ground pork. I've tried it both ways and you can't go wrong with either. Get the full recipe below. 


My living room statement wall

Gallery wall?!? That's so last year. Statement wall? Totally on-trend. So, we had this wall. This big plain white (well actually, Ivory Mist) wall. Our full sofa sits against this wall flanked by two very old and beat up side tables that actually belonged to my father-in-law back when he had a bachelor pad in college. I had it in my mind that this wall needed to be filled with a collage of our most prized and selectively chosen framed works of art and photographs. Well, do you know how hard that is to actually pull together? It's damn hard. I suppose if you're a person that doesn't care about planning ahead you could just nail up your first frame and gradually build it out as you went along. But this girl? Hell to the no. I needed to have all of the pieces picked out and the layout determined before the first screw was drilled into the plaster. So after four months of careful thought and deliberation I have assembled...the living room statement wall. Horray for no more big blank wall! Check out more photos and product info below. 


Happy 2016!

Well we did it. We've survived another year. It was a wild one. Shall I dare say the wildest one yet? 

New baby. Check. 

New house. Check. 

New job. Check. 

Was it tough, you ask? Um, hell yes. 

Would I go back and do anything differently? Hells to the no. 

I am SO looking forward to 2016 for so many reasons. Lulu will be turning ONE soon, she's probably only a few weeks away from taking her first steps so, watch out everybody! I'm so excited for her first birthday. While she will have no recollection of the affair, I'm throwing her a birthday party. And if I'm being completely honest, it is really a party for me. To say, "Congratulations Marissa! You survived year one of parenting. Here's to many many more."

I am so excited for the spring and summer with a toddler (holy crap, I'm going to have a toddler.) I can't wait to see all of the fun things she learns and discovers and I can't wait to run around with her at the playground or on the beach. Fingers crossed she likes the ocean a little bit more than she did last year.

Well, I don't have any grand resolutions for the year. I have some little changes or priorities that I have been focusing on over the past few months. So I'll continue to work on those and soak in all of my wonderful baby cuddles while I can still get them. It sounds so cliché but the biggest change or "resolution" I'm making is to take some time to focus on me. I spent much of 2015 catering to the demands of a needy baby and in 2016 I need to free myself of some mom guilt and take some time to do the things that make me feel good about myself. 

I want to wish you a fabulous 2016. I also want to thank you for reading this blog. Whether this is your first time or whether you read every post that I put up (do those people exist?) I appreciate you taking any time out of your busy life to tune into mine. 



The baby's "new" room

You might remember the nursery reveal from earlier this year. Well, about three months after the baby was born, we bought a new house! Unfortunately, that meant that she spent very little time in her nursery space in our former house (she basically took like one nap in that room.) However, in the new house, she received a serious upgrade in space and I'm so excited to reveal her new-ish room! I think this room is one of my favorites in the whole house. It gets great light all day long and it is spacious and airy. I loved the color that the former owners had painted the room, so we kept it and it totally worked with all of our existing furniture. 

This is pretty much the one room in our new house that is "finished" for all intents and purposes. All of the other rooms are sort of a slow evolution and need a few pieces of furniture or a project or two. I'll be sure to provide updates as we actually get the other rooms throughout the house more finished. Check out more photos of the baby's room below. 


Marissa says...not much

It's been quiet on here for a while, and I'm sorry. I don't have a good excuse. I have plenty of lame excuses like, "I have a baby. I'm still trying to get settled into my new home. I just started a new job. I haven't been cooking because of items A, B, and C above." But I really believe that you make the time for the things that you love to do and I haven't been making time for this. I love this blog, I really do. I love having a place where I can go all "stream of consciousness" and no one seems to mind. (Well, at least you don't tell me if you do.) But over the past year, sometimes it has felt like a burden. Like a thing I have to do, instead of something I want to do.

Three years ago when I started this thing, (good Lord, I can't believe I've had this blog for three years!?) I had no idea how it might turn out. Of course, I had grandiose dreams of turning it into a sustainable career with awesome paid advertisers and free merchandise coming to my front door. But in reality, I knew that was unlikely. While I have been approached by various companies/individuals over the years inquiring about paid content and advertising, I've never been tempted by an offer that seemed too sweet to pass up. Plus, I always kind of felt that if I went down that road that I would taint this thing that is perfectly mine. This sacred space that is completely and utterly in my control. I don't know, maybe I'm just being dramatic. Maybe I'm just scared about what would happen if I really actually tried to make money from it.

Anyway. I don't know where I'm going with this...with this post and with this blog. I'd love to say that I'm recommitting, that I'm promising to post X times a week moving forward, but I'm not going to do that. What I will say, is that even though it's been quiet on here, it still matters to me. I still take photos that I want to share with you, I still cook delicious food, I still want this to be a safe space for me and I really don't intend to let this blog die. 

That is all. XOXO, 


Marissa's Best of Philly List

I love eating (and drinking) around the city of Philadelphia (and it's neighboring suburbs) so I thought it would be fun to keep track of my personal favorites in a variety of categories. I realize you may disagree with me, I realize that you might think I'm totally bonkers for my "Best of..." list, but I don't care, because this is my blog and I'm entitled to my own opinions. So, without further ado, ***drumroll*** I now present my Marissa Says 2015 Best of Philly list... 

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