My (humble) Advice for the First Year of Marriage…

Matt and I recently celebrated our first anniversary back in July, and since then I’ve gone back and forth about doing this post.  I’m no expert on marriage and I don’t pretend to be.  I mean, we’ve only been married for one year, but during the year I think that we’ve both learned a lot.  I’ve heard people often talk about the first year of marriage and how it’s the hardest and blah, blah, blah.  I’m not really sure if that’s true…I’ll have to let you know in ten or so years.  What I am sure about, is that marriage is a wild ride filled with twists and turns and highs and lows.

I don’t want to get too preachy in this post, so please keep in mind that these are simply things that I’ve learned.  No marriage is the same, and each relationship has its own dynamic.  What might ring true for us, might be completely different for another couple.  I can honestly say, though, that the following list are all things that I will genuinely take with me in the future.

5.  When in Doubt, Shut the Hell Up.

No, seriously.

I can’t tell you how much trouble I’ve gotten myself into just by running my mouth.  I’m the type of person that just has to say how I feel, even if that means regretting it later.  In the moment it feels good to get it all out there, but do you want to know what doesn’t feel good?  Wishing that you hadn’t said whatever it was afterward.  In fact, it feels terrible.

The point is, sometimes when you just shut the hell up, you realize later that whatever was compelling you to go on a rant, was probably something that would’ve blown over anyway.  So, is it worth it to say something that you might regret later just because you’re mad in the moment?  Probably not.  So, shut the hell up and wait for the storm to blow over.

4.  Do Not, May I Repeat, Do NOT Talk Smack.  Like, Ever.

Just say no to gossip.

Gossiping about your husband or wife to friends, family, strangers, etc. is not good.  Period.  Yes, you will eventually forgive your spouse (at least I hope so), and you will likely forget whatever you said, but do you want to know who won’t forget?  The person that you talked smack to!  Oh yes, that person will always remember, and most likely the gory details, too.

Be conscious of how you portray your loved one.  You should build them up in others eyes, and never put them down.  One of the things that I love most about my husband is that he brags about me.  How do I know this?  Whenever I meet someone new, they’ll ask about my blog, or school, and let me know in some way that he was talking about me in a positive light.  I do the same for him, too.  I’m constantly talking about how brilliant he is, and all of his accomplishments.  Matt- If you’re reading this, I think you’re awesome, and now everyone else knows, too.

3.  Live by the Mantra: Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner.

You tell ’em what’s up, Johnny.

Hey, remember when Patrick Swayze aka Johnny Castle tells a table full of people that nobody puts Baby in the corner?  Well, in a marriage, you can’t ever let anyone put your spouse in the corner…figuratively speaking.  You have to always have each others back no matter what.  You have to be each others greatest defender ’til the end of time.  Why?  Because you’re married and because you’re a team that sticks together through thick and thin.  Why else?  Because nobody puts Baby in the corner.  Period.  It’s that simple.

2.  You Don’t Have to Agree on Everything.

Hey, that’s one way of looking at it.

In a relationship, you’re not going to agree on everything.  Think about it, you’re two different people with different ideas and thoughts.  How could you possibly agree on everything?  It’s impossible.

Matt and I are alike in many ways, but we are very, very different too.  For instance, I like to go to bed early and get up early, and Matt is a night-owl.  I love trashy reality television, and Matt loves the news.  I like to listen to pop music on the radio, and Matt likes to listen to classic rock.  Matt doesn’t like to have stuff lying around the apartment, and I’ve been known to leave my sunglasses, purse, shoes, etc. anywhere that I put them down.  The list could go on, but you get the point.

Throughout our first year of marriage, though, I think that we have found a good way of dealing with our differences.  For example, when Matt’s around I’ll turn the Kardashian’s off, and when I come into the room Matt turns the news off.  Then, we find something on television that we can both agree on:  FOOD.  Because we can always agree on the food network.

I think early in our relationship, we used to try to convince each other more about things that we were passionate about as individuals.  After we got married, I think we both realized that it takes way too much energy to try and change the other person.  Now we just let one another be, and things are much more peaceful.

So, you can say tomato, and he can say tomahhhto, but isn’t it more fun to just say bloody mary?  Because who can’t agree on a bloody mary?

1.  Love to Give.

There was a moment during our wedding where my father-in-law was giving a toast and he said, “It’s not about how much you give, but how much you love to give.”  Even on that day, when there was so much going on around me, it made me stop and think, “Do I love to give?”

Anyone who has known a student in medical school is aware of how busy they can get.  Matt is no exception.  Most of the time, I am the one who takes care of all the household chores, amongst lots of other things, and it’s not always easy doing it on my own.  When he asks me, “Hey, can you iron this shirt?” or “Hey would you mind running to the store for me?” or “Can you take care of this phone call?” or “Can you run here or there?”  I ask myself, “Do I love to give?”  It’s easy to give when you have nothing else going on, but between my job, school, blog, chores, etc., it’s not always convenient.  But do I love to give?

In all honesty, yes.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to scream, “I don’t want to iron another freaking shirt!”  But for the most part, I can say wholeheartedly that I love to give.  Why is loving to give so important?  I’m not sure that I fully grasped it the first time I heard it in the speech, but after one year of marriage under my belt, I think it’s because when you love to give, you’re not doing it because you have to, or it’s expected of you, or you’re obligated to.  You’re doing it because you genuinely want to do something kind.  When you do something because you have to, it’s easy to become resentful, and when you become resentful it can create a whole host of other issues.

Next stop…the two year mark…and so on and so forth.

~The End.

Pictures by IMDB, Pinterest, and Anne Taintor.


It’s a Nice Day for a White Wedding…

Things have been so hectic lately, and I know my blogging has been sporadic, but I’m planning on getting back on a regular blogging schedule very soon.  Lots of stuff has been going on.  My parents came for a visit to Brooklyn last week to see me and Matt, but also to attend Matt’s younger brother Mike’s wedding.  The wedding took place in Long Island, and was beautiful.  Like any great wedding, it was filled with so much love and laughter, and I think everyone attending felt the love.  That’s the thing about a fantastic wedding, it can make you fall in love with your other half all over again.  Don’t you just love those kinds of weddings?

I was a bridesmaid for Mike’s wife Lauren, and Matt was Mike’s best man.  Can I please take a moment and brag to world?  I am pretty sure that there has never ever been another best man speech in all the history of best man speeches that could top Matt’s.  It was incredible.  He made the crowd laugh, cry, but most of all, he conveyed what an awesome guy Mike is and what a special relationship he has with Lauren.  It was such a beautiful speech, and I had to actively try to hold back my tears, because if I hadn’t, I would have cried like a total maniac.

It wasn’t all mushy gushy stuff though.  We also had so much fun dancing the night away to the incredible band.  Even when my feet hurt so bad that I thought they might fall off, I kept on dancing.  It was one of those weddings where the music was so good that you didn’t want to sit down.

Here are a few shots from the beautiful wedding…

Getting hitched

Me walking down the aisle with one of the groomsmen.

Matt’s sister Stefanie, her husband Justin, and our adorable twin nephews James and Joseph.


Mr. and Mrs. Palma

The most epic best man speech is taking place right here.

Brothers gotta hug.

My Mom and Dad

Me and my sister-in-law Stefanie.

Right after they took the plunge.


This is probably my favorite picture from the whole wedding. P.S. Lauren and I have no idea what we were doing here.

Livin’ on a Prayer

The blushing bride and her handsome groom. Btw, doesn’t Matt’s brother look exactly like a young Al Pacino circa The Godfather?

~The End.

The Hoarders Have a Garage Sale…

Okay, so Matt and I aren’t really having a garage sale, per se, but we are selling all of our junk on a Craigslist-like website for his school.

We dedicated an entire evening last weekend to taking pictures of all of our junk, and typing out in-depth descriptions of each item.  Matt even included a time-lapse video of a chicken cooking in our Nu-Wave oven to really entice.

We had an array of stuff to say buh-bye to, like two coffee makers, a crock pot, an air purifier, two plug-in ovens, vast amounts of pots and pans, Tupperware, bed sheets, towels, two huge transformers, desk lamps, silverware, plates, bowls, and the list could go on and on and on and on.

(If you need some catching up on the back story of all of this, feel free to reacquaint yourselves with One Stack of Sh*t Away From an Episode of Hoarders.)

If I'm going to be a hoarder, I'd at least like to look like this classy broad while being one...

There was so much stuff to sell, that Matt actually looked at me at one point and said, “I’m a little embarrassed about all this junk!  People are gonna think we really are hoarding in here.”   We had a good laugh, and I think it’s safe to say that we were committed to getting rid of all the clutter, and I for one, felt a sense of relief just taking the first few steps to do that.

So, at the beginning of last week our post went up, and we waited for all the takers…

Two days went by and nothing…

Three days went by, and still no word…

However, by the fourth day, we had some pretty promising offers on our Nu-Wave oven. We didn’t even have any bartering, which I must say, really surprised me.  SCORE!

So, now that we’ve agreed to sell the Nu-Wave, there has been a shift of emotions on both of our parts.  I didn’t want to be the first one to say it, and I even held it in for a few days, but when Matt declared, “I don’t want to sell the Nu-Wave, it’s cooked me so many wonderful meals!!”

My first reaction was that I was relieved he was also a little sad to sell our trusty Nu-Wave, because it really had been such a life-saver (there is no proper oven in any of the dorms on campus), and I have to admit, I was feeling a little melancholy also at the thought of seeing it go…

But then…

A few words rang back in my head…

“It’s cooked me so many wonderful meals!!”

Wait, didn’t I cook those meals?!  The Nu-Wave was just an accessory!

My wistful feelings of the Nu-Wave immediately diminished, and suddenly I was not sad at all to see it go!

On a serious note, though…

As I looked at my first square Pyrex pan that cooked us so many delicious meals, I suddenly knew exactly what he was trying to say…

We’ve had some wonderful memories in Grenada, most of them revolving around food, but that’s another story for another day…

And although it’s time to say good-bye we’ll always remember these little gems…

Giada's Winter Minestrone Soup

Baked turkey breast

Barkoff family Easter treat...Hard-boiled sausage eggs...

I made this cake in a crock pot for our first Valentine's Day here...I even made the pink frosting with red food coloring.

Meatloaf also made in a crock pot. P.S. I'm laughing because I almost dropped it. If I had actually dropped it, I don't think I would be laughing...

Homemade pizza that got a little burnt on the edges...

Valentine's Day 2011. P.S. This cake was not made in a crock pot...Obvi.

Lasagna. Getting all Italian up in this piece...

Stuffing and the infamous Pyrex pan...

In just a few weeks we will say goodbye to Grenada, and hello to whatever the future holds.

~The End.

Photo by Bluntcard.

The Best Advice I’ve NEVER Received, But Wish I Had…

Are you ready?

Get over it.

So, I thought I’d do a sequel to the post I did a little while back called, “The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received, and tell you a little about a lesson I wish I had learned a lot earlier.

Before we begin, I’d like to get a disclaimer out there right off the bat.  The goal of this post is not to be insensitive to any people seriously suffering from any clinical disorder, or dealing with obvious life situations that this sentiment would be considered unsympathetic to.  However, this post is a reflection of my own meandering thoughts on the topic, and nothing more.

With that…

Let’s talk about get over it for a minute.  It sounds a little like tough love, doesn’t it?  Well, that’s because it is tough love, and tough love ain’t easy.  Sometimes it’s difficult dole out that kind of advice, because you don’t want to hurt someones feelings.  On the receiving end it’s not any easier to hear it, because you might feel that your feelings are being dismissed, or like you’re not being understood.  Overall, it’s tricky ground to tread either way.

For me, I think that if someone would have told me to get over it in different situations throughout my life, I would have been devastated at first, but I do believe it might have been the best thing for me to hear in the long run.  The reason being, that sometimes when you’re in the midst of a situation it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s also very easy to get stuck in the tunnel for years and years not being able to see your way out.

Now, I’m not saying that if someone says get over it that it will act as a magical snap of the fingers to fix all of your problems.  No no no no no.  That’s not what I’m saying at all.  What I am saying is that sometimes you need to hear the truth, not be coddled, or have advice sugar-coated, to finally have the tools to begin the journey to find that light.  You feel me?  It’s not an easy quest, though, and I sympathize with anyone beginning it.

Just to give you a specific example of an experience I’ve had (P.S. I absolutely hate talking about this), was when I went through a bad break-up that lasted entirely to long. I spent years (I’m not kidding) exhausting my friends talking about it, probably draining my mother harping on it, and basically letting it get in the way of almost every aspect of my life.  It was totally ridiculous. To be honest, I wish someone had given me a swift kick in the arse, and told me to get the hell over it.

I’ve had other experiences as well that would have qualified me to hear get over it, and I’ve also been in situations where I’ve wanted to tell someone else to get over it.  Although I don’t think that I ever actually have.

The moral of this story is that sometimes it’s good to hear what you don’t want to hear.  It’s not fun, and it doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside either, but that’s not the point.  The point is, sometimes you need someone else to point out to you what you might not be able to see yourself.

~The End

11 Movies To Not Watch When You’re Sad…


10 Movies To Not Watch When You’re Sad…


Well, because then it just might make me more sad…so take notes…

11.)  Stepmom

= Humongous downer. Terminally ill mother coming to terms with her imminent death = perfect combo to evoke tears.

Sure it's all fun and games while they're singing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," but not for long...

10.)  Fried Green Tomatoes

=  An array of catastrophes to get the tears flowin’.  Buddy dies in a horrific way leaving his awkward sister to become even more awkward and misunderstood without him…Ruth also kicks the bucket…Buddy Jr. loses a limb…The End.

Party is about to be over in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

9.)  Titanic

= Need I say more than this–>  “I’ll never let go, Jack. I promise.”

P.S.  This said right before homegirl let Jack sink to the bottom of the freezing frickin’ water, so her fat a** could enjoy the roomy plank of wood alone.  Without Jack.  Forever.  Hope it was worth it, Rose.  Hope it was worth it.

Rose, I'm sorry for saying you had a fat a**, but why'd you have to let Jack go and die on us? Whyyyyyyy???

8.)  Marley and Me

=  Do not…I repeat DO NOT watch this movie if you’re an animal lover…

I made the mistake and watched this movie right after my dog died, and cried so hard that I broke 3 blood vessels.

Repeat after me...All dogs go to heaven...All dogs go to heaven...

7.)  Armageddon

The perfect formula to make you lose it…does this ring a bell?  Dad or fiancé…dad or fiancé?  C’mon really Armageddon, you went there?  Why yes, yes you did.

So, who's it gonna or fiance?

6.)  Boys Don’t Cry

=  Ummm…so I think we all knew that this movie was not going to end well right after it started, but it’s one of those films that makes you hope, right up until the end, that you’re going to be proven wrong…but unfortunately you’re not.

Please no! Please? Oh man...

5.)  Million Dollar Baby

=  Look at Hilary Swank hitting it out of the park with another doozy…

Note to self…If Hilary Swank is bruised and/or bloodied in a movie in the future, do not watch, because it will probably be an epic depressing experience. <–But actually, P.S. I Love You was also a huge downer and that movie included neither, so maybe it’s safer to say that if a film includes Hilary Swank then avoid at all costs.


4.)  Term of Endearment

=  Daughter dies…mom has a breakdown (that I still can’t get over apparently…because thinking about it right now is evoking tears), and we all learn a valuable lesson…Everyone shows love in their own way.  <–I just wish we could have learned that lesson without Debra Winger dying though…

Warning: You are being set up with jovial smiles only to be taken to the saddest part of your soul later on.

3.)  The Color Purple

=  I mean, do I really need to even get into this right now?

Sisters love each other, sisters get torn away from each other, only to be reunited in a gallant run across a huge field many years later filled with tears of joy, love, and triumph.

What we learned from The Color Purple? The bond of sisters can never be broken.

2.)  Steel Magnolias

=  I feel like every single person who reads my blog, wrote to me practically pleading to get this one on, so I had no other choice but to oblige and add it in.

And for good reason…

The scene where M’Lynn flips out in the cemetery after Shelby dies is so tragic, real, heartbreaking, and moving that you cannot help but feel exactly what she is going through.

Even with her ugly cry-face on, she still breaks your heart.

1.) Beaches

=  Duuuuuuude…really?  If this movie doesn’t make you bust a gut then I don’t know what will.

Best friends love each other…best friends vie for the love of the same man…best friends hate each other (but really still love each other)…Best friends both get divorced…Best friends reunite (and it feels so good), one friend gets a debilitating disease…Best friends go to beach house so one friend can die…

Then, one friend dies…

Bette sings it out…

We cry just a wee bit more…

And thus concludes pretty much the saddest movie ever.

Beaches = Not a good time.

~The End.

All photos courtesy of IMDB

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received…

Are you ready?

Be genuine.  

Or also…just be yourself…be authentic…be real…etc…

These two little words ‘be genuine’ sound so simple, don’t they?  However, I think they are harder to live by.  I think that sometimes in life it’s easier to not be yourself, and to be the person that people want you to be, and not who you truly are.  I think it’s human nature to want harmony, and sometimes the easiest way to get there is to be someone you’re not.  This might come in the form of not speaking up in a situation where your opinion differs from others, e.g. politics, religion, etc., or in relationships of all kinds, both romantic and platonic.  I can honestly say that, I for one, have done this, and have also been a repeat offender of it, too.  At my bridal shower someone put me on the spot and asked me what about this relationship with my husband was different from other relationships I’ve had, and the answer was simple.  I can be myself.  It’s not that I wasn’t myself in other relationships, because I was, but I think that I was an edited version of myself.  I didn’t do it intentionally, but I think I also didn’t really know who I was at the time, either.  After a particularly bad break-up in my mid 20’s, I spent a long time just being alone, and had an opportunity to figure out the things thatenjoyed.  During that time on my own, I realized what the problem was in other relationships; I wasn’t myself completely, and the reality was, I wasn’t dating people who allowed me to be me.  Once I realized that, I decided that in my next relationship I was going to be 100%, without a doubt, completely unbridled, me.

And I was.

And it worked out for me.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work out that way all the time, or it actually does in retrospect.  Sometimes being yourself means the end of a relationship, but I think that’s okay.  In fact, I think its better than okay.  It’s the best thing for you.  The end of a relationship, where you have genuinely been yourself, is a gift because it means that you are no longer wasting your time, and you’re now free to move onto finding the person who will truly appreciate you for who you are.  That’s exactly how it happened for me, and I wouldn’t change a thing.  With my husband I can say whatever I want about anything, and although he might look at me sometimes like I’m crazy, he never judges me.  I don’t have to apologize for who I am, or what I think, and I’m glad I have finally learned how to live by such simple words, and at the same time, have found someone who also allows me to.

I think if you aren’t genuine, it can really bite you in the ‘a for various reasons, some of which I have just discussed…


And when you do, be you. Just do it. <--That's what Nike said.

And that is why, in my opinion, there is no better advice than “be genuine”…

Or is there?…

I thought I’d leave you with a couple of silly zingers that were also in the running for the best advice I’ve ever received.  These quotes are courtesy of my Grandma Barkoff and Matt’s Nana.  Don’t G-ma’s have the best advice, like, ever?!

My Grandma Barkoff:

“Sometimes you gotta eat the sh*t.” <–A simple saying for the times when you have to just suck it up, and deal with the curve balls life throws you.

“People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

“What a life without a wife, and here I am without a man.” (She said this both to me when I didn’t have a boyfriend, and about herself after my grandpa passed away.)

“You can’t catch ’em on the second bounce.” (Basically means that sometimes you don’t have more than one chance, so be mindful with the first.)

Matt’s Nana:

“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

“Pat someone on the back while you’re kicking them in the a** at the same time.” <–Ha!  Classic!

“It’s better to be a silent and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.”

And finally, a quote that Matt and I discovered both of our grandmothers told us when we were growing up:

“He who laughs last, laughs best.”

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

12 Things That Movies Have Taught Me About Life…

Everything I’ve Learned About Life, I’ve Learned From Movies…

1.)  Jerry Maguire from Jerry Maguire taught me how to deal with stressful work sitch’s when he said:  “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna do what you all think I’m gonna do, which is, you know, FLIP OUT!”

Jer-Bear's about to lose his sh*t...

2.)  Llyod Dobler from Say Anything taught me what kind of guy I should hold out for when he said:  “What I really want to do with my life – what I want to do for a living – is I want to be with your daughter. I’m good at it.”

Oooooooh Llyod...What a dreamboat.

3.)  Cady from Mean Girls taught me about girl code:  “Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

Note taken.

4.)   Loretta Castorini from Moonstruck taught me about table etiquette:  “My mother has a saying. Do you want to hear it?  Don’t shit where you eat!”

'Nuff said.

and Loretta also taught me about proper funeral attire…

“In time you’ll drop dead and I’ll come to your funeral in a red dress!”

5.)  Julia from The Wedding Singer taught me about what is an appropriate wedding kiss:  “Not porno tongue. Church tongue.”

Thanks for the demo guys.

6.)  Elle Woods from Legally Blond taught me about awesome comebacks:  “Oh, I like your outfit too, except when I dress up as a frigid bitch, I try not to look so constipated.”

Oh no she di-ent...

7.)  Brooke and Gary from The Break-Up taught me that there are just some things men and women will never see eye to eye on:  Brooke:  “I want you to want to do dishes.”  Gary:  “Why would I want to do dishes?!”

Men are obvi from Mars...

8.)  Harry from When Harry Met Sally showed me that, like Sally, I am indeed high maintenance when he said:  Harry: “There are two kinds of women: high maintenance and low maintenance.”  Sally: “Which one am I?”  Harry: “You’re the worst kind; you’re high maintenance but you think you’re low maintenance.”

Just another high maintenance broad...

9.)  Baby from Dirty Dancing taught me that everybody has an awkward moment now and then when she said:  “I carried a watermelon.” (Johnny walks away)  “I carried a watermelon!?”

We've all had a watermelon moment, eh?

10.)  Cher from Clueless taught me that it’s okay to be super choosy when it comes to boys when she said:  “You see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet.”

Take your sweet time, Cher.

11.)  Annie from Annie taught me how to stick up for myself:  “All right, who’s next? Anybody else? Then get lost!”

Sure, she looks sweet...but she sure is scrappy.

And last but not least…

12.)  Truvy from Steel Magnolias taught me how to keep it real:  “There is no such thing as natural beauty.”

Gotta love the Doll-inator keepin' it real yo.

And thanks Dolly…

All photos courtesy of IMDB