~ gettin’ spooky ~ | Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, guys!

This year, I had the pleasure of dressing up not once, but twice to celebrate this spooky little holiday.

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I had two Halloween parties to attend; one on Friday night and one on Saturday night. Last year we rang in the holiday as Superman and Lois Lane, so we knew we had to do another couples costume this year. After some debate over ideas and potential costs, we dressed up as everyone’s favorite couple [well, ours at least!] – Bob and Linda Belcher from Bob’s Burgers!

The entire look cost me a whopping $12! Due to every human being ever owning jeans and a red shirt of some sort, all I needed was the white bistro apron and the glasses [which clearly didn’t make it on my face for this picture *sigh*] and taaadaa! Thanks to Amazon, we had a costume!

Costuming round two came today at work. My classroom dressed up as our great pals from Koo Koo Kangaroo, the GoNoodle sensations! [Teacher friends, unite!]


It’s hard to believe Halloween has come and gone, but now to prepare to my favorite holiday…Thanksgiving!

Time to pass out some candy [aka eat everything in sight] and enjoy the remainder of this treat-filled day. xoxo.

Kid friendly [and safe!]

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Working in an allergy sensitive environment has really started to open my eyes to peanut/tree nut free, gluten free, casein free foods. Reading labels of foods has become a new habit of mine, as the school I work in has strict allergy guidelines to ensure the safety of our kiddos.

With Halloween just around the corner, it has become so much harder than I thought to find candies safe for all six of my kiddos to eat during our trick-or-treating celebration.

For the sake of your own sanity, I’m going to do all the work for you! I’ve begun compiling a list of allergy-safe goodies for kids [and grown ups!] to enjoy.

Free of Top 8 Allergens (aka milk, egg, soy, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, fish, shellfish)

  • Amanda’s Own
  • Gimbals
  • No Whey Foods
  • YumEarth

Peanut Free and Tree Nut Free

  • Dove Chocolate
  • Hillside Sweets
  • Hershey’s
  • Jelly Belly
  • Sixlets
  • Sunkist
  • Tootsie aka tootsie pops, tootsie rolls, double bubble, sugar daddy, junior mints, dots, you know the drill

Milk Free and Egg Free

  • Chocolate Emporium
  • Jelly Belly
  • Sunkist

Wheat Free and Gluten Free

  • Chocolate Emporium
  • Hillside Sweets
  • Jelly Belly
  • Sixlets
  • Sunkist
  • Tootsie

Corn Free

  • Amanda’s Own

I am just a beginner to this allergy-free thing, but my list has slowly but surely begun growing and growing. What are some allergy-free treats or snacks you would recommend? xoxo.

 

 

Peach flavored wine!? | NOTL 


We spent Saturday afternoon wine-touring through Niagara-on-the-Lake. Our final stop of the wine tour was at Konzelmann Estate Winery.

This winery sits right on Lake Ontario and is absolutely breathtaking! This winery began in Germany back in the 19th Century and after many visits to Canada, he moved his business to the rich lands of Niagara-on-the-Lake.


We got a complete tour of the estate, learning about its history, it’s family ties, and how their wines are made. We then went into the main building to get our sample on – on the way in spotting a gorgeous Tesla sitting in the parking lot, I might add.


We got to sample a white wine, a red wine, an ice wine, and their most famous item – peachwine. Their Peachwine is popular, so much so that they can hardly ever keep it on the shelf. Lucky for us, they had a decent stock and we were able to pick up two bottles.


10/10 would recommend visiting this estate. It is beautiful, and tons of fun! xoxo.

The Great One | NOTL

The first major stop on our trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario was to the Wayne Gretzky Estates. Way back when we planned this trip, this was something I knew we had to do. My boyfriend loves whiskey and I love wine, and heck, we both love hockey so what more could we ever ask for?

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*SPOILER ALERT* Not only is Mr. Gretzky great at hockey, but he makes a mean adult beverage!

The estate itself was so breathtakingly beautiful. It had a modern, yet rustic feel. The architecture was beautiful and the staff were friendly. On one side of the estate was the distillery and on the other was the winery. Also on site are two restaurants and a water feature that doubles as an ice rink come winter.

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We spent most of our visit on the distillery end. Inside there was a massive bar, clad with two bartenders ready to answer any questions or take any orders. What I most enjoyed about the distillery came right at the bar itself – they offered a flight of 3 samples for $10. You could choose from red cask whiskey, ice cask whiskey, 99 proof whiskey, cream whiskey [new item!], artisanal vidal, artisanal muscat, and artisanal rose [new item!].

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For our flight, we chose the red cask whiskey, the cream whiskey, and the artisanal rose. We didn’t regret our choices, because we ended up buying bottles of the red cask and the cream whiskeys to take home with us! And as an added perk, because you paid for the flight at the bar, they take $7 off at the cashwrap when you buy bottles to bring home!

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While we did not do a guided tour of the facility, it is something that we are definitely looking forward to doing in the future! xoxo.

Weekend Getaway | NOTL

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*SPOILER ALERT* I love Niagara-on-the-Lake!

This past weekend, I spent two days in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. For those of you who don’t know, it’s about 20 minutes away from Niagara Falls, New York. Yep, you read that right. You can be a whole different country and a whole different little town in legitimately 20 minutes. At least that’s how our luck had it.

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning expecting a mad rush crossing the US/Canadian border, but much to our surprise, there was not a soul in sight. We planned on being in NOTL about two hours after we left, accounting for [non-existent] bridge traffic, but we got there in legitimately 20 minutes. It was a dream.

We stayed at the Pillar and Post – a drop dead gorgeous hotel in the heart of wine country. The hotel itself had an elegant rustic feel with two pools, a spa, a gym, a hot springs, banquet halls, a restaurant, trolley tours, and free shuttle service around the town. Our room was accompanied by a queen size bed, a pull-out couch, a fireplace, a fridge, wine openers, and white fluffy robes, to name a few. We had everything we needed and more.

The aforementioned trolley tour was, I think, the highlight of our weekend. For $50, you got a guided tour of the town, rich with historic elements and architectural value. The tour guide, Margaret, was a trip – sweet but hilarious and extremely knowledgeable of the surrounding area. As if that was not enough, you stopped, and got tours at, two local wineries. More will be had about this later this week!

This week’s blog posts will be filled about great places to explore and great things to do, so buckle up, we’re headed for a wild ride! xoxo.

A post dedicated to my heart + soul

Yesterday was Jon and my anniversary. With each passing year I am more and more in disbelief that 365 more days really have gone by. I don’t know what I ever did to deserve someone so caring, kind, and as special as him, but good God, am I thankful.

I’ve never felt more at home with someone physically, mentally, emotionally – you are my shelter when I need it most. You give me a sense of comfort and dependence. You are my best friend and are there for me through anything and everything, never letting me face it alone. You’ve taught me how to prioritize my own needs and make myself happy.

There is so much I could thank you for that I could write an entire book. So for the sake of this blog and my readers near and far, I will leave it at this: thank you for being ranked among my father and my grandfather as one of the most honorable, honest, caring men I know; thank you for sharing your family with me and giving me more people to open my heart to; thank you for taking me on countless adventures; thank you for not pushing me out of the car when I sing along to every song; thank you for supporting me through my Master’s degree and pushing me to advocate for what I believe in; thank you for listening to me complain about how tired I am everyday after work, even if it’s only 3:30pm; thank you for sharing bags of popcorn in bed when we binge on Bob’s Burgers.

Thank you for loving me unconditionally through all the ups and downs. For loving me when I talk to our guinea pig like he is a real life baby. For loving me when I am moody and hungry and ready to kill anything that breathes. For loving me when I am bouncing off the walls after drinking one-too-many cups of Starbucks. For loving me when I buy unnecessary things for the apartment at Target that we “have to have.” For loving me when I can’t find it in me to love myself.

I am overwhelmed with love and forever indebted to you for all you have done for me. Nothing I say or do could ever amount to the countless thanks and appreciation I have for you.

I look forward to the years ahead, going on more adventures, and snuggling on our brand new IKEA couch (!!!).

I love you.

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The significance of a best friend.

“Because of you, I laugh a little harder, cry a little less, and smile a lot more.”

My best friend is the best friend anyone could ever have. And, yes, you should totally be jealous.

I met my best friend all the way back in sixth grade. Considering I am now in grad school, approaching the big 2-5, sixth grade was a long, long time ago.

Throughout those long, long years, many, many memories have been made. From school dances, to sleepovers filled with chicken wing dip, binge watching ABC family, to family parties, to conversing in only memes, to endless moments of laughing until we cry, to getting drunk off one beer. From heartbreak, to Facebook stalking, to immeasurable loss, and everything else in-between, the one thing that has always remained constant in this crazy thing called life is this girl.

It’s no secret that life is a tricky thing. Sometimes we find ourselves shattered and unable to get back up after we fall. When we think all hope had gone, our best friends are the ones that are always there to pick us up, dust us off, and tell us that everything is going to be okay. That right there is the definition of a real, true friend – someone who is the glue that holds our million pieces together when we feel like we are falling apart. They are the anchor that keeps us grounded when life is trying to blow us away. That right there, that’s my girl.

The last few years alone have been decently trying for us. Some of the things that we’ve experienced together are unimaginable, but, hey, we’ve conquered. There is one thing, though, that has always given me hope – it’s the sheer fact that at the beginning of each morning and at the end of each night, I will always have someone there to support me.

The amount of thanks that I have will never, ever be enough. I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have found my soulmate in someone that is more like a sister to me than a friend at all.

jenna

Things to pack | Weekend getaway edition

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This Saturday through Sunday, my boyfriend and I will be spending the weekend at Pillar and Post in Niagara-on-the-Lake for our anniversary. Looking ahead, I am so thrilled to see the forecast for this weekend in front of me. Low 70’s makes for a great time exploring this little quaint town and the wineries that come with it.

Of course, being the person that I am, I am worried about what the heck to pack with me for this weekend trip. I believe I’ve discussed this previously on this blog, but if not, we will address it again – I am a severe over-packer. In all honesty, it’s quite bad.

As of now, I have formulated a packing list that is absolutely perfect for a weekend in wine country.

  • Comfortable shoes | I personally have never in my life done a wine tour, but if there is one thing that I have learned through research, it is not to wear heels, but something comfortable and easy to move around in.
  • Flowy tops | Perfect for layering under jackets or sweaters.
  • Skinny denim | The perfect pairing for flowy tops.
  • Sunglasses | I am not the sunhat-type-person, so for me, sunglasses will be a go-to.
  • A light sweater or jacket | For when it gets chilly at night time.
  • My camera | I have a “professional” camera [aka a camera that is not my iPhone] that I don’t find much use for anymore now that my brother isn’t home and we aren’t going to sporting events or school dances every weekend. Wine country is sure to make for some Instagram-worthy shots and I definitely don’t want to miss out.
  • A swimsuit | The hotel that we are staying at has both an indoor and outdoor pool that is absolutely to die for. I kid you not, the images of these pools make me feel relaxed and I am not even in them yet.
  • A neutral handbag | One way to avoid overpacking? Avoid packing more than one handbag. I have found that for any vacation, a neutral handbag has become my go-to for the sole fact that I don’t have to switch purses to coordinate with my outfit of the day.
  • Neutral makeup | This can directly relate to the idea above – the more neutral the makeup, the less of it you have to pack! One great way to switch up your look from day to night, or even one day to the next, is to swap out your lipstick color. Much lighter to pack than five eyeshadow palettes!
  • Presents | One of my favorite parts of anniversaries is giving my boyfriend gifts. Anyone that continues to put up with me year after year is worth spoiling rotten!

What are some of your must haves for a weekend getaway? xoxo.

Weekend recap?!

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This past week has been jam-packed with school work and exhaustion ensuing from my job. It seemed to have flown by in the blink of an eye, though, because I had a hard time this morning believing it was already Monday.

Saturday, the majority of my day was spent in West Seneca at a certification training for my job promotion. Once those six hours were complete, I headed over to Allentown for their Fall Festival. This festival was held on Allen and Franklin Streets and was filled with live music, local artists, food, craft beers, hard ciders, and children’s activities. Lunch was had at Don Tequila paired with margaritas. The evening was spent at Bath and Body Works buying way too many $2.95 hand soaps and watching Will and Grace on Hulu.

I could not wait to finally sleep in Sunday morning. Granted, my “sleeping in” is really waking up at like 8:30/9:00ish, but still. Anything is better than my usual 5:00am. Sunday my boyfriend and I went to, not joking, basically every store in Buffalo. We went from the Lexington Co-Op to Whole Foods to Target to Best Buy to PetSmart to Wegmans to Dash’s and back home again. Through text, it seems as if the day was crazy busy, but it was really one of the most relaxing days I’ve had in a while.

Did anything really exciting happen to me this weekend? Other than the make your own peanut butter station at the Lexington Co-Op, not really. But, hey, it was a good one to be had.

How did you spend your weekend? xoxo.