For my Father-in-Law

The other day my father-in-law told Kevin that he would like to see some pictures of me in which I am not holding a wine glass.

At first I was deeply offended.

Who is he to imply that all I do is drink wine?
I do a great many things!

And not all of them involve wine…

So here you go Pat. This one’s for you!

As you can see, though wine is my go-to beverage of choice, I’m also very good at drinking beer!


Pilsners and hefeweizens are my beers of choice, but as long as it’s not an IPA, I’m happy.

I’m also extraordinarily skilled at pouring baileys into my coffee when I’m on vacation.
And on most weekends.
And as an after dinner digestif.

Classy, I know!

Sometimes, when I’m feeling fancy, I may even order a cocktail or two…

And sometimes I can even drink them… without spilling!

I’m a woman of many talents, I tell you!

But all that aside,
it seems to me that this is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black…

Oh hey there, black kettle! Look who’s talking now!

Just kidding.

(Not really)


What is your go-to beverage?

SaraMay 30, 2013 - 6:25 am

This is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time… haha – thanks for the laugh. Love that Uncle Pat!

Brenda L.May 30, 2013 - 6:42 am

Serena, you are hilarious! I could definitely see you doing some type of stand up comdedy or writing a book. I’m so glad I found your blog a few months back. You are so entertaining. Love it!

Way to keep it classy girl!


LaurenMay 30, 2013 - 8:04 am

This is truly amazing!!!

StephanieMay 30, 2013 - 9:36 am

Haha. This made me chuckle. :)

I’m thinking of carrying a mini bottle of Bailey’s with me to spike my Starbucks while I’m out and about.
Stephanie recently posted…Leidilyn + Edward | Forever

heather @ fieryandopinionatedMay 30, 2013 - 8:58 pm

hahaha this cracked me up. even in the short time i’ve known you i’ve noticed how much you love posing with your wine glass – glad to see it spans all types of alcohol! :)
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nicole marieMay 30, 2013 - 10:33 pm

hahahah don’t worry my little sister tells me that allll the time… niky, are you ever not drinking?!! oh just you wait little girl! you’re only 18! the world of wine is waiting for you :)

bpJune 5, 2013 - 8:23 pm

Hi Serena!

This is a fun post! Hey, a girl’s gotta stay hydrated, right?
bp recently posted…My Favorite Kind of Date

KatJune 6, 2013 - 11:00 am

hahahaah!! that is awesome!! Love the “payback” pics hahaha

I survived! Barely.

I don’t know if spending 30 hours in Vegas is the best or worst idea we’ve ever had.

On the one hand, we had all day yesterday to recover, and considering that I didn’t leave the house once, slept on and off all day, watched two movies and many hours of television, and I still feel like I want to die today, I can’t really imagine what I would feel like if I didn’t have all of yesterday to try to recover.

On the other hand, because I only had 30 hours, I went as hard as I could and packed as much as I could in those mere 30 hours. It has been years, YEARS, since I went to bed at 5 am, and now I know why. Perhaps if I spread my fun out over two nights, I wouldn’t have been so miserable yesterday? I’m not sure.

Being one of the first to leave also led to some major fear of missing out, which wasn’t fun. What if Sunday night was more fun than Saturday night? What if I miss out on the MOST FUN NIGHT EVER? What if something super awesome happens right after I leave? Even though I was assured yesterday that I didn’t really miss out on anything, I had some major FOMO going on Sunday night.

Yeah. So anyway. I’m back. And I had a lot of fun. However, a few conclusions:

1) Unless it is a gay club rocking some awesome 80s and 90s music, clubs and I don’t click. We went to Tao and while it appeared people were having a lot of fun there, I couldn’t understand why. No matter what level of intoxication you are at, clubs are just not for me.

2) Renting a cabana is absolutely necessary to a pool day and worth every penny. Also? The “old people pool” is your friend. You don’t have time for that Tao Beach nonsense.

3) Despite telling yourself numerous times that you will “win so much money your trip will be free,” you will, undoubtedly, leave with far less money than you came with. You will spend at least twice as much as you plan to spend. It is just a fact.

4) Spirit airlines is the worst airline in the United States.

And now, some photos:
*if you follow me on instagram, you’ve already seen most of these

Top: Airport Drinks // Being lame and taking selfies in the elevator
 Bottom: It’s never too early to dance // Fancy dinnerTop: Our husbands are throwing grapes into each others mouths. We are married to children.
Bottom: Katie got in a fight last night. Who knew a hand could get so swollen? // Last snuggle time with Katie before I left.

What are your thoughts about the overnight Vegas trip? Yay or nay?


MargaretMay 28, 2013 - 11:15 am

If I could do an overnight Vegas trip with my friends, I totally would- might be a little far from Cleveland though! We went to Vegas for our honeymoon and it was a blast- but I really want to go back with a group of friends.

I can totally understand your need to pack as much in to one night and the FOMO. I always do that…and then definitely pay for it.
Margaret recently posted…Friday’s Letters

nicole marieMay 28, 2013 - 12:05 pm

right there with you on the clubs and 5am thing…. as my 4th graders tell me, apparently i’m supposed to go to the disco to find a boyfriend. they don’t understand when i say i dont like the disco or starting my night anywhere at 2am and finishing a 6am….

that being said, i’ve never been to vegas after 21… and besides the all day laying out of the pool with drinks, nothing intrigues me about going there.

MoMay 28, 2013 - 12:14 pm

I’m totally with you on the clubs. I love going on dancing – but like you said, to 80′s/90′s stuff – basically like if I was at a wedding. I’ll be in Vegas in August and all I”m looking forward to is sunshine and pool time.

TheresaMay 28, 2013 - 3:32 pm

I’m leaving for Vegas on Thursday! I actually almost didn’t go because of your #1, but then I did the same “What if I miss the MOST FUN NIGHT EVER” thing in my head and bought my flight anyways! haha

We got a cabana at the Palms in their “Palms Place Pool” which is smaller and only open to Palms hotel guests, so basically the old people pool. So looks like I’m all set with your #2.

As for #3, I am hoping to prove you wrong.

#4 Virgin America all the way :)

So glad you had a great trip! Makes me excited for my Vegas weekend :)

CamilleMay 28, 2013 - 5:58 pm

I grew out of going to clubs too! Just isn’t that fun especially if you’re already married. And yes Spirit is terrible. Terrible policies for flying.

heather @ fieryandopinionatedMay 28, 2013 - 8:26 pm

i love that you went for 30 hours! you only live once, right? that said, no part of living should involve clubs. i went to tao when i went to vegas so i know exactly what you’re talking about. SO not my scene. but i did run into pdiddy face to face outside the bathrooms there, so that’s something!

chantalMay 31, 2013 - 1:07 pm

hahah glad to see you survived! totally agree with number 2. those cabanas are awesome!

kate @ undeniable styleJune 8, 2013 - 10:35 pm

24 hour trips to vegas are the only kind I can do anymore. I’m old. Also: you look darling in that hat. xox.
kate @ undeniable style recently posted…Perfect Pop of Color: Red Keds

Happy Birthday To Me! | SpillerenaDecember 12, 2013 - 9:27 am

[…] and 30th birthday celebrations, I was able to travel an insane amount, from Hawaii to Austin to Las Vegas to Oregon and all over […]

Vegas Bound!

I’m off to Las Vegas to celebrate my best friend Katie‘s 30th birthday. It’s a super short trip… just one night. We’ll be back in SF within 30 hours. We’re crazy like that.

Strangely, I’ve never done a friends Vegas trip before. I’ve been there quite a few times, but it’s either been work related, just me and Kevin, or before I was the drinking age of 21, so I’ve never really done the crazy friends Vegas party.

I’m excited! But also a little nervous… we are staying at the Venetian, and when I looked up #taobeach on instagram… lots of pictures like this popped up:

and this…


I am old now, and my pool attire now consists of a large loose coverup, a huge sun hat, a good book, and lots of sunscreen. I fear I’m going to look like a fish out of water in this crowd! And don’t get me started on the amount of pictures of people doing naked shots I saw… I mean, lord knows I love my vino, and I’ll take a dirty martini any day, but I gave up shots long ago.

Here’s to hoping I survive!

Happy Saturday friends!


brianneMay 25, 2013 - 10:21 am

have so much fun! and don’t forget about “friendship shots”!!! :)

StephanieMay 25, 2013 - 10:39 am

Good luck! We faced a similar pool crowd on a girls trip to Vegas a couple years ago. Luckily we found a corner of the pool area far enough away from the DJ where people were just lounging and reading. Hopefully you’ll find something like that to sneak away from all the drunk 21-year olds!
Stephanie recently posted…Someone Once Told Me

heather @ fieryandopinionatedMay 25, 2013 - 12:22 pm

the one and only time i went to vegas i stayed at the venetian and went to tao beach one day. it is really like those pictures. but there is a huge normal pool, too. when you get tired of the thumping music and drunk naked people, escape to the other pool for a few. :) SO jealous of your pool time either way!

Nicole MarieMay 28, 2013 - 12:08 pm

i am neither young enough, tan enough or anorexic enough to hang out by that pool

Feeling Slumpish

“Most unhappy people need to learn just one lesson: how to see themselves through the lens of genuine compassion and treat themselves accordingly. ”

— Martha Beck

Copyright the awesome and hilarious Allie Brosh of Hyperbole And A Half

I’ve been in a funk lately. A slump, a rut, whatever it is you’d like to call it. I’m trying my best to snap out of it, but it’s easier said than done. But… I’m trying. I came across this quote on today (yes, when I’m feeling low, I sometimes turn to Oprah. I’m just as embarrassed by that fact as you are, trust me) and it really resonated with me. So I’m going to try to take the extraordinary Martha Beck’s advice, a woman whom I admire so much, and try to treat not only myself, but others around me, through the lens of compassion. This too, is easier said than done, especially when you’re faced with people that act in ways that make compassion extremely difficult, but I’m going to try my best.

Any of you feeling particularly slumpish lately? Let’s commiserate together!

SonjaMay 23, 2013 - 7:47 am

I loathe slumps too, and it feels like there’s often nothing we can do to get out of them, just have to ride it out. I’ve been in a big slump this year because I hate my job. So I keep saying to myself that I have a great life – 2 awesome kids, husband, family and friends, etc etc. But it’s soooo much easier said than done to just bust out of a slump. I love that quote though, thanks for sharing, it helps! Good luck with your slumpy-slump :)

StephanieMay 23, 2013 - 9:19 am

I can totally relate. I was feeling very slumpish for a few weeks it seemed but I’m starting to come out of it. It helps that wedding season started up. I’m too busy to be in a slump!

Hope you’re feeling better soon – and keep up the positive attitude. :)
Stephanie recently posted…Sneak Peek | Laura + Brian

ritaMay 23, 2013 - 11:24 am

i totally feel you – and i’m sorry! slumps are the worst.

i say go get a haircut/blowout/manicure and schedule a fun dinner or a quick trip. those are the best ways for me to get out of my head!

take care of yourself!

nancy @ adore to adornMay 23, 2013 - 11:42 am

You have no idea how much I relate to this. The funk has been around for a bit…much longer than I care to admit. I wish the aura of positivity would last longer than the mere moment where I read an inspiring quote like you or feel a moment of gratitude. But, I’m still incredibly hopeful that things will pick up emotionally and soon I won’t need to lament about such feelings. =)

nancy @ adore to adorn recently posted…Feelin’ Messy

nicole marieMay 23, 2013 - 12:38 pm

i’m right there with you. i feel like last week and a lot of this week i was in such a foul mood. i am so excited to move back to sf and it’s really hard not wishing for time to hurry up when really i should be enjoying my last months here but… ugggg!!!!

MoMay 23, 2013 - 2:02 pm

Sorry you’re feeling this way :( I sometimes just feel really sad or guilty and I can’t figure out why – is just this weight down feeling on my chest that I have no right to have! Hope you get some time to rejuvenate and get to feeling back to yourself soon!

PS – seriously with the Allie Brosh? I love her. She came back for like a day a couple weeks ago and I was so excited. I knew you and I were meant to be ;)

heather @ fieryandopinionatedMay 23, 2013 - 6:51 pm

i’m sorry! i, too, know the feeling. from all these comments it looks like we all just feel that way sometimes, unfortunately. maybe you’re just feeling drained because you’ve been SO busy lately? hopefully you can get some ‘me time’ soon! or if you need wine and some friends to complain to – you know where to find us. :)

Conversations at Sea

When I was in grad school a few years ago, I did a summer graduate internship with Semester at Sea. For those of that are unfamiliar with this, it’s a pseudo-study abroad program in which students spend a semester living (and supposedly studying) on a cruise ship, and it stops at various places around the world. If all goes as planned, the students get a semester worth of college credit, while getting to visit and experience cultures and amazing places all around the world.

Sunset on the ship   //  The MV Explorer: My home for Summer 2010
(photos taken from facebook, please excuse the crappy quality)

Since travel is one of my true passions in life, this opportunity sounded perfect to me. While I’m not going to get into exactly what this experience was like for me, I will say that I think Semester at Sea is a very different experience when you’re 19-21, as opposed to when you are 27 or older. Living in dorms and being surrounded by 500+ college kids was very different from what I expected. Getting the opportunity to travel all around the world by ship is, no doubt, amazing, but I don’t think it is on par with the experience of living and immersing yourself in a foreign culture for an extended period of time, as a traditional study abroad program provides.

I did a summer semester, and my route took me across the Atlantic ocean and through the Mediterranean. Yesterday Kevin came across an old tumblr I had started to document this experience, and reading it was such a blast from the past. One of the things I did most frequently was post conversations I would overhear students say, because, let me tell you, I heard some doozies. The stuff these kids would say was beyond hilarious. So amusing, in fact, that I decided these conversations needed to live here on this blog, too.



Overheard before arriving in Turkey:

SAS Student: Why do I need a Turkish visa if I already have a credit card?


Overheard while trying to study out on the deck:

Girl: Why is this taking so long? Aren’t we there already? That must be Barcelona! (pointing to what we have been told multiple times is Morocco).

Other Girl: The Pacific Ocean is just so big.

(for those of you that didn’t pick up on this yet, we were crossing the Atlantic ocean)


Overheard on our way to Greece:

SAS Student:  “Can I exchange my Italian Euros for Greek Euros?”


Overheard at the Parthenon in Athens:

SAS Student 1: What are you doing when we get to Egypt?

SAS Student 2: I don’t know, I think I signed up for a safari or something.

SAS Student 1: Uh, no you didn’t, it’s not like it’s Africa!


Overheard while walking the city walls in Dubrovnik, Croatia:

Tour Guide: This is where the prince was decapitated.

SAS Student: Did he die?


Overheard in Italy:

SAS Student: “How long is the bus ride to Capri?”


And because parents can be “funny” too…

Overheard by a parent visiting their child in Egypt:

SAS Parent: I need someone who speaks the language to help me.

Tour Guide: I can help, I speak Arabic.

SAS Parent: No, I need someone who speaks Egyptian.

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heather @ fieryandopinionatedMay 22, 2013 - 8:41 am

ohhh stupid people… why are you so hilarious?? these are amazing. i was trying to pick my favorite, but i just can’t. turkish visa and someone who speaks egyptian are up there though!

MoMay 22, 2013 - 10:32 am

While those are all SO cringeworthy (and part of the reason that Americans get such a bad rap abroad), it is good that those kids were out there, experiences new things, and hopefully learning a lot so as not to make the same faux pas’ in the future. We can only hope, right??

eileen ragan | leaner by the lakeMay 22, 2013 - 10:39 am

Oh man, I always wanted to do a semester at sea program! I think this was partly after seeing an awesome MTV show about it at the beginning of reality tv.

Also, clear fave of mine: SAS Student: Why do I need a Turkish visa if I already have a credit card?

Awesome that you documented these! My boyfriend saves quotes of funny things I say and it’s so great to look back years later and laugh.
eileen ragan | leaner by the lake recently posted…totally tulip.

AliceMay 26, 2013 - 2:03 pm

Oh my god these are HILARIOUS. The Turkish visa one is HYSTERICAL. I appreciate that not all Americans say such silly things, and Brits certainly do it too- but ky ex lives in Guernsey, and he said that some of the things American tourists used to say were hilarious- for instance, “What time does the noon gun salute happen?”. Oh dear. xx
Alice recently posted…On Singledom, Independence, And Being 23

HollyJune 4, 2013 - 8:44 am

HAHAA! Thanks for the memories! I submitted one of those to Tom :).