Guest post by BryGuy: Suit up

Sorry for taking so long mi gente. I am so proud of Marissa and all the hard work she has done since my last post. She really is doing a great job (+2 brownie points). But, in the words of the great Randy Quaid, from the film based on true events depicting why we celebrate our Independence Day...

As opposed to just dumping my random thoughts on to the page (like my last blog takeover), this post will have a sold, cohesive message...SUITS! So, I was feeling kind of down about my suits. I have this awesome custom-made tux that I can only wear after 6 p.m., but I didn't have an everyday suit that felt as good. So what is a man to do?!

Okay, enough of my favorite YouTube videos. To remedy this issue, I went over to Henry A. Davidsen to consult with my tailor. Before, I even get there, I send him some info of what I am looking for i.e. style, fit, color, budget. 


Ten happy moments of the week

Image credit: Found on Pinterest, original source unknown. If you know the original source of this image or own rights to it, please let me know and I’ll credit/remove as appropriate.

1. Feeling proud that I put a little thought into what costume I would wear for Halloween so it wouldn't be such a last-minute disaster! 

2. A smooth drive to catch the train this morning. It's been total chaos to get to the train this week (they're doing construction and it's causing all kinds of traffic) and I was so grateful that this morning it was smooth-sailing with no anxiety or cursing in my car. 

3. Spending time with Boston friends over the weekend and having a wonderful dinner with them at Taqueria Feliz - check out my Yelp review.

4. Feeling so happy about where I work. Next week is "United Way Week" and there are so many fun things planned -- a chili cook off, quizzo, and more! It's really refreshing to work for a company where the culture is relaxed and down-to-earth. 

5. Spending a little quality time lounging around the house in pajamas with my sister (and gossiping.) Sisters are the best. 

6. Finding the final piece of furniture that will complete my dressing room! Decor photos to come soon. I've been stalling on that for way too long. 

7. Making time for me this week. My bath was relaxing and therapeutic (I don't think I've had a proper bath since high school) and this week I was all about curling up under a cozy blanket with a book and a cup of tea. 

8. Grabbing a glass (or three) of Pinot Noir with a friend at our old "spot" where we shared the most delicious baked brie in the city! 

9. Getting my Christmas wish-list organized early this year and feeling great that I'm going to get a jump start on my holiday shopping! 

10. It's FRIDAY and that is always a reason to be happy :) 

This weekend we're heading to Jersey for Bry's cousin's wedding! Then on Sunday we're enjoying a little quality Sunday Funday time and tailgating for the Giants/Eagles football game. 

What have you got going on this weekend? Also, share some happy moments from your week with me! 


Me time. And how to have a relaxing bath.

Sometimes you just need a time out -- time away from the television, away from technology, to sit back and really relax. I'm pretty bad about doing that. I'm the person in front of the computer, with the television on in the background, with my phone on the coffee table next to me. I rarely give myself time to just unwind and stop thinking/doing. 

Last night I decided that I was in desperate need of some "me time." We moved into our new place almost a year ago and I've yet to use our beautiful tub. I'm not typically a "bath" person. They make me sweaty (which defeats the purpose of getting clean in a bath) but since there's a chill in the air at night now, I thought a bath would make me feel all warm and cozy before hopping into bed. 


Ten happy moments of the week

Image credit: Found on Pinterest, original source unknown. If you know the original source of this image or own rights to it, please let me know and I’ll credit/remove as appropriate.

1. Sunday Funday with my CrossFit Manayunk crew. We take Sundays very seriously and they always have me questioning my life decisions come Monday morning, but they really are a great time. Oh, and we played a pretty sick game of quarters. When was the last time you played quarters? ...had to be college for me, and for good reason, it's the most unsanitary game to exist.

2. Finding out I'm a curated artist! Well not really, but there's a funny story here. Last night Bry was walking down the street and happened to glance into our neighbors window (creepy right?) You'll never guess what he saw there! This print of my photograph that's currently hanging in our living room! We had put this photo out for garbage pick-up a few months ago because the glass broke during shipment. We reordered it from the company and have its unbroken replacement in our house. Apparently, our neighbors don't mind the cracked glass. One of these days I plan to knock on their door and tell them that I am the arteest responsible for that lovely work hanging in their living room.

3. Splurging on the Pietro's ensalata mista with sauteed chicken for lunch and stretching it out to make two lunches. It's like the most delicious salad and chicken on this entire planet. It is also quite expensive.

4. Getting the most adorable video of my friend's son texted to me, it had me laughing hysterically. Specifically because he calls everyone, man or woman, "he" or "him." Kids say the darndest things.

5. The nice train conductor who helps an older woman down the stairs every morning. Chivalry is not dead!

6. Starting a new book (CyberStorm - only $2.99 for the Kindle) that I don't want to put down! I haven't read a book like that in a long time.

7. Checking off some pesky items on my "to do" list at work. There are always those items that just aren't that exciting and loom over you for weeks. Well sometimes it's best to buckle down and get 'er done.

8. Warm cider donuts with apple cider is the most wonderful food combination. I ate way too many donuts this week, but I don't feel guilty about it one bit.

9. Celebrating the success of writing this blog for a full year. It's hard to believe how far it has come.

10. Seeing In the Heights with BryGuy for our datenight. I love that he will do that kind of stuff with me. Plus, the show is great and then I proceeded to listen to the soundtrack at work all week and attempted not to dance in my chair.


Delicious and hearty bolognese

Some of you might know that Bry and I try to follow a paleo diet Monday through Friday. But last week was a little exception, as you can see by the photo. We threw caution to the wind and decided to inject a full-blown dose of gluten poison into our systems. Actually, my sister and her boyfriend were stopping by Philly for a mid-week visit and I needed to cook something quick and easy for them, so this is what I came up with. It was so delicious and hearty and oh my, how I miss pasta in my life. 


Picking apples in West Chester

Despite the forecast last weekend, it turned out to be a gorgeous couple of days! On Saturday, we woke up to a surprisingly sunny and dry day and decided that we should take advantage of our good fortune and make the drive to on of our favorite apple orchards! Well actually, it's the only orchard we've ever visited outside of Philadelphia. We discovered Highland Orchards last year on our quest for cider donuts last year and decided that we needed to make it an annual tradition. 

This year we also decided to pick some apples, but I think it was a little late in the season since the pickings were slim (or maybe we're just spoiled from growing up in Upstate New York.) After we picked our apples, we ventured by the Highland Orchards antique shop, and then headed on over to the market and bakery. 

We went home with some pumpkins for carving, a bag of apples, some spicy mustard, a dozen of the most delicious cider donuts you could ever lay your tongue on, and a gallon of fresh cider. Are you drooling yet? 


"Marissa says..." blog is one year old today!

It's my blogiversary! It's been one full year of hearing my joys, concerns, bitching and ranting. How are you holding up over there? 

In my first blog post ever, I explained that I started Marissa says... as a source of therapy -- it was something to keep me occupied since I was no longer planning a wedding. It's really has been quite therapeutic, I feel like I've let you into my brain and heart. Sometimes, I feel a little vulnerable putting it all out there, but I always have received positive and encouraging words from family, friends and readers. 

With that being said, I've learned a lot in this first year, so I've created another post for this here blogiversary: Tips for starting a personal or lifestyle blog

If you're considering starting a new blog, I shared some insider tips so that you don't make the same mistakes I did when starting out. 

Year two of Marissa says... is going to be focused on continued growth. For the next year, I'm going to try and get more involved in the Philadelphia blogging community and expand my blogging network. I also want to continue to improve the caliber of my photography. 

In year two, I have some homework for you too! Since I tend to post links to new posts on Facebook, a lot of time the discussion and feedback happens over there, which is cool. But if you can manage, I'd love for you to comment on the blog posts too!!! Tell me what you love, tell me what you hate, feel free to disagree with me (I love a healthy debate.) Did you try any recipes out? How'd they go? 

I want to hear from youuuuuu

How to start a lifestyle or personal blog

As I celebrate the one year birthday of this here blog, I thought I'd provide some unsolicited advice to those of you that might be thinking about starting a blog. There are a few things I've learned along the way that might be useful in helping you avoid making the same mistakes that I've made! 


Ten happy moments of the week

Image credit: Felix Meyer

1. A surprise visit from my sister and her boyfriend on a random Wednesday night. 

2. Middle of the night snuggles. 

3. Spaghetti dinner with homemade garlic bread, since we rarely eat pasta or bread, this was an unbelievable treat. 

4. Spending quality time with my family last weekend for Oktoberfest and laughing way too hard at Cards Against Humanity. 

5. Catching a dude rocking out in his car...using actual drumsticks on his steering wheel. 

6. Enjoying a quiet night to myself at home with a book and a cozy blanket (because BryGuy was out gallivanting with a friend.) 

7. Finally, new episodes of How I Met Your Mother are available on Netflix!

8. A new apple pie candle (birthday present from the bro) that smells divine even when it's not lit. 

9. Scoring a whole bunch of new clothes for the fall at Marshall's while in New York. It's so much easier to shop in suburbia!

10. Picking up some pumpkins and gourds at the market to add a little fall decor to our house.


Sautéed peas with bacon and onion

sauteed peas with bacon and onions
Whenever I'm planning my meals for the week, I tend to think primarily about the main protein and how to mix that up, rather than side dishes to accompany it. I usually end up in a rut of just making a quick salad and a sweet potato to go along with it, but sometimes you just want something different! Peas sautéed in a little olive oil with crispy bacon and sweet onions, and then finished with a fresh squeeze of lemon is quick and easy, but a totally flavorful option -- and it works well with almost any protein! 


Oktoberfest 2013

It was another successful Collen Family Oktoberfest this past weekend (read about last year's party here). Although the drizzly weather caused the event to be a little smaller than usual, we had a great time playing lawn games and hammerschlagen, trying new beers, eating brats and franks, and spending quality time with friends and family. This year, we added a new feature to the festivities -- fireworks! The little kiddies were particularly impressed. 


Ten happy moments of the week

Image credit: Tanya Berestova

1. Not thinking I could do a particular workout at the gym (105 lb thrusters) and then totally killing it -- it felt especially good after having a week of workouts where I seemed to have no strength or energy. 

2. The nice guy at the Green Street Cafe who is always so cheerful in the morning and serves up a delicious cup of joe. 

3. Receiving a gorgeous leather jacket for my birthday from the marvelous BryGuy.

4. A sweet voicemail from my bestest gal pal across the ocean!

5. Discovering a new salad that I love at Honey Grow.

6. Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of birthday love received from new and old friends. 

7. A new Top Chef season started on Wednesday and the cast looks really impressive!

8. Hearing the news that my little bro passed his driving test. Do you think he'll be my personal chauffeur this weekend? I hope so. 

9. A catch-up lunch with former co-workers and the most delicious mussels from Monk's Cafe.

10. Listening to the barbell shrugged podcast on our drive to New York. Those guys really make me chuckle. 



Stephen Starr's newest Philly restaurant, Serpico is receiving a flurry of positive attention lately (Review by Craig LaBan and Philly Mag Article) and I'm going to jump right on that bandwagon. Bry and I visited Serpico for a little birthday celebration

We ordered almost everything on the menu. Not really, but we ordered a lot of food. And left in pure food-coma blissfulness. Upon first entrance it's a dimly lit room, the walls are decked out in subway tiles and giant chalkboards filled with beautifully written menus. We took a seat at the chef's counter so we could be on the front lines of all the happenings in the kitchen.

Happy 28th to me!

Yesterday, I rang in my 28th year of life! It was a marvelous day, that involved lots of love from family and friends via phone calls, texts, and Facebook notes, a few too many cocktails, and a feast of a dinner at a fabulous Philadelphia restaurant (a separate post on that meal to come shortly). 

I'm not going to lie, 28 is a little scary. I still feel like I just barely turned 21, but I guess I'm supposed to act more grown up and mature now. Lots of people my age are getting married and starting families, and while I occasionally experience a little baby fever, the idea of having a real live one to call my very own is terrifying! It seems like 30 is just around the corner and while I don't really fear the idea of turning older, I think I was in denial about it actually happening. 

What I really want to say is that I love my life at age 28. I have a wonderful husband, a career that I enjoy, family and friends that are supportive, and probably too much fun. I'm feeling really blessed and humbled by it all. I'm especially grateful for BryGuy, he keeps me young and smacks me when I'm being all girly about getting older. I knew I married a younger chap for a reason!

Also, in case you were wondering, my anti-aging secret is to eat one gold-plated apple a day. Oh, you don't have golden apples readily available? Too bad for you. 
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