IF you're familiar with my flying track record in the very least, you've likely already come to a quick conclusion about my next statement. My flight home Friday got cancelled; flight was lacking a pilot (naturally?) - then the seriously unhelpful staffers at Delta located a replacement volunteer to fly the plane (also: a bit alarming) - for us to eventually find out that our plane had mechanical issues and was unable to do the whole 'wheels up' thing necessary. 

I will always cheers to #patioparties with the parents.

I will always cheers to #patioparties with the parents.

So my Friday night plans changed quickly and involved a dirty martini and wine, and the quick turn up that comes along when hanging with Lizzie Q and co. 

My second attempt at making it to Cleveland on Saturday was a success (although a far longer trip than necessary after being rerouted to Michigan) thankfully. 

My parents, P + S, picked me up, and to avoid any hangry mannerisms, we went straight to a late brunch at Spice in Ohio City. 

Ohio readers: You guys have got to try this place. First of all, the place has a strong outdoor seating game; umbrellas + couches included. Secondly, the apple beignets are to die for, and come paired with a goat cheese frosting of sorts. 

Our afternoon was spent at Laurentia Vineyard with two of my very closest friends and the bride-to-be, Danielle, and her family and friends. These kinds of people make the world a better place. They're also the kind of people who will gladly teach you a lesson or two in drinking (when you have an afterparty at their very own stocked bar in the basement).

Also: In case you were curious, the term "demolished" properly conveys what happened here ^ 

Who said you need to travel to Napa for the #vineyardviews we all covet?

Who said you need to travel to Napa for the #vineyardviews we all covet?

As for Sunday? It was spent showering Danielle at The Kirtland Country Club. Danielle looked absolutely radiant; she's got the glow right now heading into the final weeks before she ties the knot. Her bridal shower was truly elegant with a pianist, champagne and a cake frosted with thick buttercream.

Truly, so damn elegant. 

Friendships that took roots during those (seriously) awkward middle school years. That's how you know, these ones >  

And finally, I got to spend my last few hours at home on Riverwood Drive; a place I find myself easily able to fall into the present moment; a place I am able to conquer cooking goals and quite simply, calm my restless self that needs to learn the definition of do (so much) less.

Beyond the meal, let's just talk about that color game. Lucky diners, we were indeed. Skewer assembly by moi. 

Beyond the meal, let's just talk about that color game. Lucky diners, we were indeed. Skewer assembly by moi. 

Some of my most favorite memories at home are spent on our back patio, while grilling and drinking wine with cheese, crackers and dips. So that, my friends, is exactly what my Sunday evening looked like. Our menu featured charred vegetable skewers (#summersquashaddict) and a large mixed greens salad. And apparently, at our house, no meal is complete without some ice cream and a chocolate chip cookie to top it off.

This was, certainly, a far quicker trip than anticipated, yet all still fell into place. And for that, I am grateful. You win some, you lose some (for me, flights - always) but you've just gotta make the most of what you're working with, and the time you have. And to that, we did. 


College; it’s one of those places where you utilize very few of the skills actually taught in the classroom and all of the skills acquired while delving further into those mythical next steps of growing up.

It was a bit mystifying, heading back to Ohio (yes, again, back-to-back weekends) for the last Martillotta kids'  commencement. Time continues to tick on quite quickly these days. Everyone in the family is on that #grownup grind.

But that said, being back, it was very exciting to spend that mere 36 hours in the Midwest with my family; while of course drinking gin and tonics, toasting with copious amounts of Chianti -- all while celebrating my sister's accomplishments.  

This one right here? She's resilient. She's strong. She's determined. What more of a reason to celebrate? 

But, alas, it was a weekend where my parents perhaps deserved the biggest celebration of them all. They raised four children, who yes, have now all received college educations. But further, and far more importantly, they have raised four children who have looked to them every single day for guidance; and every single day this guidance was reciprocated. They have raised four children, who have sought them out as role models from day one; they have raised four children who have constantly looked up to them; they have raised four children who grew to understand the unspoken value in putting forth the effort to pursue passions, to really pursue them.

They continue to encourage us to push boundaries; to be bold; to be brave when the next steps are unclear; to be aspirational; to simply do things.

You - Mom and Dad - have raised four of us to understand that nothing worthwhile comes without rigorous effort, and therefore, have taught us to wake up every single day in pursuit of accomplishing something more.

At the end of the day, graduation really is one of those things that does deserves proper celebration. It lends itself to the next phase, where finally, you begin to understand that the whole learning-thing has only just begun.

Albeit cliche, it's a pretty damn exciting thing to think about. 


Illustration by Patricia Van Essche 

Illustration by Patricia Van Essche 

After some of the most merry days here in the city, today I'm finally heading home so I can complete the holiday season with my family. 

And you guessed right; I cannot wait. 

This season is always filled with so many warm moments, and this go 'round has proven to hold true to the feels. I'm pretty sure it has to do a little something with the fact that I have been doing something from sun-up (well, earlier actually) to sun-down every.single.day for the past three weeks straight... so yes, as you can imagine, lots of memories have been made.

Hope your Christmas (or whatever you celebrate!) is filled with lots of love, quality time spent with family + those people who elevate you, and of course, all of the homemade #eeeeeats that (for once) you don't need to make excuses about indulging in - it's all about balance (one lesson learned this year, check).

Lastly; try to actually engage yourself over the course of the coming days. Sounds simple but let's not pretend we don't struggle with this. Why is it so hard to just take time and be present? At the very least - I dare you to try.

After all, it really is the most wonderful time of year. Why wouldn't you want to remember it?  

X am

TBT | Thanksgiving with My Fan Club

Just a hot second ago, we were all turkey this and squash that - and literally, a week later all pumpkins have been replaced by wreaths... by me. Jokes. 

Anyways, let's reverse quickly. Last week was above all necessary because I got to spend a few days on the old Martillotta stomping grounds in good ole Ohio. 

Knowingly knowing (ha!) that I can definitely dive way too deep into the details of what happened, I am going to try and just hit you with the highlights. Ready? Let's do it. 

I arrived on Tuesday afternoon to be picked up by my dear friend, Danielle. Checked out her house (so cute, DG) and also stopped stopped for a mac'n cheese grilled cheese at one of my favorite Cleveland spots: The MELT. 

Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is. 


Highlight? She asked me to be in her wedding this summer. So full of love for her and her fiance. 








Another highlight.01: being home with my family and just being

Sounds crazy, eh? But let's be honest. I don't sit for very long and have plans from my 6am spin until I head to bed most nights of the week. So simply staying put was just what my tired bones needed. 

Insert: lots of time with my dog. 

Another highlight.02: for once, I got to spend time cooking + creating. 

These are two things I miss a lot about my lack of time (and space!) in New York. I re-created a few of Michelle's insanely delicious recipes - one consisting of a sweet potato hummus and the other a fall harvest salad - which wow'd the whole clan. Check out The Secret Ingredient Is... if you want to win best dish award this holiday season. 

x3 the layers. x3 the calories. x3 the satisfaction.

x3 the layers. x3 the calories. x3 the satisfaction.

I also made a dense sour cream and chocolate coffee cake that I stole from Food & Wine's December issue. Another success, all while playing around and styling our dining room table for the big feast (okay one of many feasts) on Thanksgiving day. 

Another highlight.03: spending a hot second to reflect on the copious reasons I have to be Thankful this season, and year, really. Starting off with the kids in that pic above ^ 

Scroll through for more of our Thanksgiving day together. So much love sitting around the dining room table for hours on end just drinking wine and telling stories. I guess that's the Italian blood in us, yeah? Peeps that just simply heart a delicious food and a good laugh.

As you can imagine, this includes the days spent in the family room with the fam, listening to my grandparents' stories as we went through their beautiful 60th wedding anniversary book P put together and then the obvious - drinking copious amounts of wine throughout our time together, dinners out together AND time with my puppy love Champ. He has my whole heart.

Lastly, got to spend my last night with some of my closest high school gals + one of my college faves over, yes, wine (and tekilla) again. 

This past trip chalks up quite the deck of points for being perfect.

Life is beautiful, truly. Kiss. 


BREAK | Breathing in that OH Goodness...

So as you can imagine, many activities ensued throughout the six day stretch spent at home. Two days down, four to go. 

Highlights include:

- Transiberian Orchestra with ma familia. 

- Catching up with friends (from Colorado to the ole Chardon clan). 

- A night with the sibs and Ash at Hofbrauhaus, Cleveland. 

- Lots of feasting at the dining room table. Lot’s of travel talk.


Time always goes quickly, but this time around, it really seemed to fly. Thankfully, every moment was spent with the people I really wanted to see. And the fact that so many note-worthy festivities happened simultaneously when with these people, really helped to make every minute count. 

Next up: 2014. The year that changed me. 

OK'ay so... Let's Rewind | Merry Merry Eve + Day

It’s been a bit, but that’s what happens when you’re loving on family and soaking up serendipitous moments. So apologies for absence and let’s get down to business. 

Bottom line: Christmas is magical. It’s magical and it’s overwhelming. Where to begin? My departure from LaGuardia was delayed (per usual, are you shocked at all?!) so I made it home to Ohio about 8 hours later than initially expected. Just know, I am eternally thankful I made it home for Christmas Eve. 

Christmas Eve is probably one of my favorite days of the year. The buildup. The excitement for what the next day will bring, etc. etc. At the end of the day, there is really no place like home with your loved ones when it comes to this holiday. 

The two days went by in the mere blink of an eye. Breakfast the morning of Christmas Eve consisted of chocolate chip pancakes, followed by wrapping of gifts, loitering in the kitchen watching the dinner be prepped, and church. After church, the family did a major take down of bubbly and vino; essentials to a warm night. We laughed and sat around the table for hours. There is something to be said about the memories had around a dinner table. 

Christmas day was pretty great as well. Lot’s of exciting gifts. For me? I received lots of gifts to kick start the new year with a healthy jolt. My parents essentially must think they have an athlete in training: athlesiure gear from my fave brands, workout credits to my favorite classes and a juice cleanse to name a few. It was a solid morning. My only one (tiny, small) complaint? No snow :( 

Below is a picture story of some favorites:


^ Wrapping is so therapeutic. Such instant gratification when using beautiful papers and ribbons. (almost as exciting as the actual purchasing part!)


^ I mean… the tree-pose pic before church? It’s tradition over here. 


^ Love them each so much. x4 to the moon.


^ Christmas Eve dinner set up. I think our home peaks during this season. And so does the wine (proseco, vodka, beer) consumption…


^ What I would give for a repeat of these flavors. #salivatingsallyoverhere


^ Life is really good… really


^ It’s tradition. Sisters sit together (always) on the couch for the present festivities… and such. #youcantsitwithus


^ New David Yurman ring (now Aud and I are twins). Snowflake cookie break mid-morning (TG I didn’t keep track of the cookie monster consumption. YIKES). And the most beautiful earrings from John (which I might have worn almost every day since receiving…) - he knows me too well.


^ Oh he is just the CUTEST. It’s funny because Christmas morning brings about this alter-ego puppy side of Champ. And I can’t get enough… I don’t think any of us can. 


^ This pic sums it up. Had to break from present festivities to chow down… what can I say? This six pack loves to eat. Fasting and this fam would never mix. 


^ What’s a day without dessert at this time of the year? #carrotcakechowdown


^ From my Papa’s restaurant Marti’s back in the day, this classic (large) pink bulb will forever be the family favorite. 


^ It’s always a blur at the end of the night. But it’s the kind you can hold onto for a while, and that’s a good thing. Nothing beats returning home and seeing that evergreen glow. 

Always a bit disappointing when the hype comes to a close. But then you can look back at the moments had, and revel in that happiness. Each of us had much to be grateful for this holiday season. Specifically? Two days spent together, which for us, spread all over the place, was definitely the best gift of them all. 

Hope your Christmas was very merry in many memorable ways. 

Next up: more moments from the holiday at home. 

Fall's Like Home |

While I may have only been ‘home’ for just over 12 hours this past weekend, it felt refreshing to be back. There is something about North East Ohio around autumn, that’s so crisp. 

Everyone has different preferences and tastes, but this is one flavor I am happy I didn’t miss. One novelty I thoroughly enjoyed, was the fresh apple crisp that Ash and I picked up from Eddy’s Fruit Farm. Maybe I will have fruit stand one day. Seems like such a simple life (lol?).

On a side note: trying to figure out when to host a fall gathering. Pumpkin ravioli appetizer and pumpkin tarts… basically what I am envisioning. Side of colorful feathers and pumpkins. Insert: roof scene. People sitting on cement… possibly a blanket if lucky. Done. 

Can we call this a #tbt? 

This Weekend | OH-IO

Remember how I said I had a little surprise? Well if the above didn’t give it away, I took a little weekend jaunt to Buckeye town to surprise the twins for their 21st. The entire fam, minus key member Sammy, was in attendance and it was – it was a weekend on point. The crazy thing? Everything happened seamlessly (flight included, which… never happens for me). We sure know how to celebrate. 

Looking for a bit of calm respite this week. Happy Monday. Seven new days ;)

Two Hundred.

When I first started writing this blog, in the fall of 2010, it was meant to document my travels and experiences while abroad. For those of you who read this way.back.when, or if you are just getting to know me now, that was one of the best adventures of my life thus far. So many moments of sagacity. Firenze changed me. I mean, I even got the Flor de Lis permanently stamped on my wrist… so that must stand for something important right? Anyways, today is a big day. Today marks my 200th post on The Crossroads of Serendipity.

This blog has translated into a virtual diary of the past 3 years of my life. In the given course of time, I have traveled to Europe not once, but twice, graduated college (or some might say heaven) and moved to New York for its great paradox. It has been such a blessing to have this written and visual blog to reference the incredibly unique experiences that have fostered my growth thus far. The moments that ignite my inner flame. My trials and tribulations. My joys. My reflections.

As I look back, I find it such a merry experience to read about so many carefree adventures that have come to rest in shaping my life. The moments that have rekindled my inner spirit. As I look forward, I look with greater ambitions and undefined ideas as I pursue attainable goals.

I found this from an old entry: “I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” Desolation Angels ((my life today))

And then I remember more recently reflecting on this: "We can develop gratitude for all conditions, good or bad. Each has its necessary place in our development as healthy, happy people. We need the sorrows along with the joys if we are to gain new insights. Our failures keep us humble; they remind us of our need for the care and guidance of others. And for every hope dashed, we can remember, one will be realized.” Life is a process. Each variation, in its own way, blesses me. (and again, this was sent to me by a reader, but more so a mentor)

I also want to share with you words from a post I wrote in November of 2010. Yes, I realize it is well over two years later, but my feelings have not changed:

“i am thankful for…

[family] something often taken for granted. something i easily forget to take a step back and appreciate. family: my most vital organs. something i must continually be reminded of: they were there when the first page of my story began. they’ll always be my heroes. we’re so tightly woven. so goofy. each of us so different but so connected in every way. the ones who support me in my crazy search to do something more with my life - to do something with meaning.

[friends] what keep me going. the people who keep me grounded. the few who i will cherish more than anything for the rest of time. the ones who make me hysterically laugh until i can’t breathe. but most importantly, the ones who face the same challenges as i do daily, who are just as curious and confused when it comes to figuring out their futures, who help bring me back down to earth every single time. and the very few who are just simply inspiring…

-opportunity— being able to travel for a semester. being able to see the world, being able to broaden my horizons, and being able to finally grow up on my own. to finally see things in a new perspective. to share new experiences with people i love and to learn from our mistakes. to see some of the greatest works of architecture and art in the entire world, evidence of a past that was so long ago but stands so close before our eyes. opportunity to become distinguished individuals.

To celebrate Two Hundred, I went through my archives and pulled out some of my favorite photographed memories from past posts that still make my heart flutter and my brain tick. Hope you enjoy the captured serendipitous moments.























I want to conclude this post with words from my very first:

Here Goes Nothing & Something

Serendipity. Who knows what it really means? Who cares. Maybe nobody. But I do. Horace Walpole, in the 1700s, created the word from a Persian fairy tale called “The Three Princes of Serendip” where the heroes were always making discoveries by accidents and sagacity. They found things they were not in direct quest of. Sadly, the meaning of sagacity is often times overlooked. It means to be able to link together “innocuous facts” and come to a conclusion. Come to a “conclusion”.

So here goes nothing to some. Something to others. Making conclusions. Leaving things open-ended. And most importantly [taking the time to seek out what life dishes out] what shapes us constantly. And sadly, what many never see.

I hope the next 200 posts will carry just as much adventure, challenge & love.