Happy birthday, Mom.

Yesterday was my mother’s birthday.

We started the weekend by surprising her and bringing my brother home from college. Because this weekend was filled with family gatherings and celebrations – I totally did not realize that this post did not go up and there was a glitch in the scheduling of it. With that being said, happy birthday mom. Here’s your post – one day later. 

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There is no better friend, supporter, advocate, or love than that shared with your mother. While a mother’s love is the most important you can have, this is no different with mine.

My mom is one of, if not the most, important person in my life. She has sacrificed so much to raise me and it means more than I will ever be able to express in any blog post whatsoever. She is full of love and motivation, always putting the needs of me and my brother before anything and anyone else.

Thank you are two words that mean so little when comparing them to every little thing that she has done for us. Whether it is driving us to countless hockey tournaments or baton competitions, buying us the things that we want but don’t ever ask for, or trying to snuggle us on the couch, even to this day, it does not go unnoticed. For the laughter, the smiles, the lessons, the reminders; for loving, for caring, for worrying, you are the best mom in the world and for that, I am eternally grateful.

So, mom, I love you so much, to the ends of the Earth until the day I am no longer walking on it. Happy 55th birthday, you rock! xoxo.

 

Things I’m currently obsessed with | October Edition


I know, I know. First thing on your mind has to be, ‘but Gab, it’s November!” My response to this is quite simple – it’s three days into the new month, so how could I possibly have a favorites list for the month of November already?! Again, simply stated, I can’t!

With that being said, let’s dive into the things I couldn’t get enough of throughout the month of October!

  1. IKEA KIVIK series. Guys, I LOVE MY NEW COUCH. You don’t really realize how much a cozy, comfortable couch matters until you’ve been sitting on a shitty futon from Walmart for well over a year! This bad boy [pictured above] was purchased at IKEA in St. Catherines, Ontario. The road to picking a couch was a long one [especially that day when we made it all the way to the basement of IKEA to get our stock only to realize the boxes were way to big to fit into the Jeep]. But this long road was totally and completely worth it. I love sitting in the living room to watch Netflix or Hulu  now. And, I’ve gone into crazy-redecoration mode ever since this couch has made it into our living room, which can be either good or bad, depending on how you look at it [and yes, those are Christmas decorations starting to trickle in already..oops].
  2. Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm in the shade Healthy Blush. Let me shout it from the rooftops, I LOVE THIS LIP BALM. It moisturizes your lips while adding a healthy tint of color to them. It is totally everyday-wearable, is infused with SPF 20 and comes in four different shades. I got mine at Target for $6.49.
  3. hopeless fountain kingdom. God bless Halsey. God bless her talent. God bless this album. I’ve loved this girl from the start [well, really all thanks to my brother’s girlfriend for introducing me to her years ago], and I continue to love her through today. From “100 Letters” to “Walls Could Talk” this album can’t be beat. Plus it includes hits “Bad at Love” and “Now or Never,” songs you basically can’t turn on the radio without hearing. 10/10 recommend.
  4. Peace Love World. Surprisingly enough, my grandmother introduced me to this clothing brand all thanks to her slight obsession with QVC. She bought two shirts for me off air that she thought I would love and, boy, was she right! The material is so beyond soft and comfortable, yet when you wear them you look like you are right on trend with today’s fashion. I’ve gotten many compliments on these tops ever since they’ve been added to my wardrobe. And, added bonus, they have the little thumb holes in the sleeves for even more cozy comfort! Check it out here.

What are some things you couldn’t live without last month? xoxo.

10 out of 12, done!

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Well, there we have it. My favorite month of the year has come and gone.

While apples did not get picked and pies did not get baked, this month was filled with a plethora of activities – so much so that I am actually unsure as to how it is already November 1st and we are almost done with 2017. Looking at our calendar, I am actually unsure as to how we did not drop dead from everything that got done this month.

Here’s a look into what was the crazy [and hot!] month of October:

  • Family weekend at the University of Akron the first weekend in October – anytime visiting with my brother is considered to be a highlight of the month
  • Certification classes, as per New York State
  • Passing teacher certification tests (yay!!)
  • Mid-term week coming to an end, filled with many projects and papers to boot
  • A weekend trip to wine country in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario for my anniversary with my boyfriend
  • Celebrating another year marked with my boyfriend (as mentioned above, but it was a major highlight so it gets another bullet)
  • Buying our first couch from IKEA and redecorating the living room of the apartment
  • Multiple Halloween parties and celebrations with great groups of friends turned family
  • Taking my guinea pig to the vet for the first time and having everybody love him, post his picture to the vet office Facebook, and follow him on Instagram
  • Trick or Treating with my students around the school and having my first Halloween celebration working in a school

What are some amazing things you’ve done this month? xoxo

 

~ 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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