In like a lion, out like a lamb

I have succumb to the winter blues.

March in the 716 really isn’t the best, and it really doesn’t do our area code bubble any justice. I am one of those people who longs for spring; it’s my favorite season – one where it’s not too hot and not too cold – and I wish we had more of it. Buffalo winter, especially, drags on well into the end of March, and I am often left thinking, where is this lamb everyone talks about?

No matter how much I try to run from it, I just can’t hide it anymore. I blame these blues solely on the fact that we have a week or so of borderline shorts weather, followed by weeks of freezing cold, snowy weather. I’ve gone in and out of being sick for what seems like months now with the addition of headaches and migraines thanks to the wacky weather changes. I don’t know why I complain, though, because it’s something that I am so used to. This weather happens every year [thanks Buffalo], so naturally this slump tends to happen every year around this time. I hit these ruts where I don’t want to do much other than stay in the house and do nothing – partly because it’s freezing, partly because I feel uninspired trying to find things to do. I mean, there’s only so many times you can go to Target, right? It’s the little ruts like these, though, that almost make me appreciate my loved ones even more because they are always ready and willing to find new adventures to go on.

For example, I went from having zero plans this weekend to having a jam-packed, adventure-filled weekend in the blink of an eye. Saturday, I went to the Buffalo Sabres versus Vegas Golden Knights game in the afternoon, with a first-time trip to Buffalo Iron Works before the game courtesy of my Dad. Sunday, I had another Buffalo-filled day with an afternoon-long trip to the Buffalo Science Museum, lunch, a quick [non-Buffalo related] trip to Target, and dinner courtesy of Wegmans. On a weekend I wasn’t really looking forward to, I now have memories that fill my mind thanks to my family and my boyfriend getting me excited to be up and out of the house. Something as little as grocery shopping can be enough to get you the jolt of energy you need.

So, as we all patiently await the arrival of the lamb, may we stand up to the lion and conquer it. xoxo.

 

What we’ve gotten in the mail. . so far | New home

One of the most exciting parts about moving is coming home to boxes on your front porch, basically daily. While we already have most of the important things, it’s the little(r) things that we are finding we need the most, known to most as “the things that don’t matter.” I’ve never been the biggest fan of online shopping, as I like to see everything in person to ensure that I actually like what I’m buying, but I’ve found that when it comes to home goods, sometimes online shopping is where you find the better bargains. This has turned into a nightly routine for me – surfing the Internet for more and more things to buy. Most of the things we’ve received so far have been “housewarming gifts” which are so appreciated, yet totally unnecessary. But, it’s still fun to get presents in the mail whether you’ve bought them yourself or someone else has from the kindness of their own heart.

Living Quarters Ultra Soft Jacquard Towel Collection in the shade Gray Rock

Matching towels is one thing that I so desperately wanted, no – needed, to buy. The satisfaction that comes from opening a linen closet and seeing uniformity is something that cannot be described – you just have to try it out for yourself. Deals were flying all around on BonTon’s website this past weekend, so matching bath towels are now a member of our home. Seven bath towels ($5.97), five hand towels ($4.97), and five washcloths ($3.97) later, we are sure to be the cleanest people on the block. You can find them here.

Croscill Bryan Prarie Kitchen Towel 

With our kitchen being primarily white and gray, these kitchen towels are sure to match perfectly. And with the bargain price of $4.00 on BonTon’s website, who could go wrong? You can find them here.

Pfaltzgraff Medium Grey Print Canister 

Another solid purchase from BonTon’s website is this canister – perfect to place on our kitchen counter to hold our cooking utensils. This item is still on sale for $21.60!

Gourmet Basics by Mikasa Small Nesting Basket

We tend to be big fruit eaters and now that we will have more counter space than we know what to do with, we welcomed this $19.99 nesting basket into our home to hold our fruits for us! This basket is the perfect size, and its’ antique black finish is sure to match any kitchen!

Meridian 9-Piece Comforter Set

We went shopping for bedding with intention of just browsing and not making any purchases. We happened to run into many options we enjoyed at Bed Bath and Beyond and settled upon this comforter set – one of the only ones we were both drawn to! Personally, I wanted something white or grey, and he was leaning more toward blue and we found the best of both worlds with this 9 piece set! And, it’s reversible so really, you’re getting two sets for less than $50! I cannot wait to set this up!

Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book

This was given to us as a gift from my grandmother, as she said when she first got married and lived on her own, this is the cookbook that saved her life. She, like me, didn’t know what the hell to do when it came to cooking. All I can say is that if I end up having the cooking skills she has based off this one book, I will be extremely lucky. You can find it here.

What are some things you think I should definitely buy before our big move? xoxo.

Our next chapter | New home

Throughout the last couple of blog posts, I have made mention to some big life changes that have been going on most recently. Well, it’s time we dive into what’s actually been happening behind the scenes. As I am sure you are able to take away from the title of this blog post, we found our new home!

Last Thursday, the right people were met, the papers were signed and dated, and we have a new place to lay our heads and plop our guinea pig. After months of researching places, calling around, setting up appointments and viewings, our list was eventually narrowed and we made our final decision. I never believed it to be true, but after this entire experience, I believe it when people say that when you walk into the place you’re meant to have, you’ll know. The instant I walked into our new place, I immediately started picturing how everything would look once set up. I pictured eating breakfast at our kitchen table [check out a sneak peek of our kitchen in the header!], watching TV on the couch, and sleeping in on the weekends in our cozy bedroom. I pictured walking through Delaware Park when the weather is finally beautiful, and walking to local shops up and down Hertel Avenue. When I left after our viewing, I could not stop thinking about how, not only I would decorate this space, but I was picturing us living our life there. It was one of the most comforting feelings in the world. I have never been so excited and so anxious for something in my entire life.

Certainly, this a new chapter for a multitude of reasons. In a very few short months, I will be leaving my childhood home of the past 25 years. Sure, I moved out and lived on campus when I was working on my undergrad degree, but a dorm room is not a permanent home. I knew at the end of each semester, I would be going back to the home I’ve known my whole life. This, however, is different. The likelihood of me living inside my childhood ever again is very unlikely. Sure, some people might say, *It’s about time, Gab. You’re 25 for Christ’s sake* but I don’t always picture myself of actually being that old, or picture myself actually at a respectable age to start my life on my own.

In terms of my relationship, this will be major step for us. There are many roads ahead – like marriage or babies – that are extremely far away, but this is a step in the right direction for us. I’ve never felt the confidence to live with a significant other that I feel now, and a lot of that is thanks to how admirable my boyfriend actually is. He is so responsible and so supportive, and that made this decision an absolute no-brainer for me. It is crazy, though, that if our plans of walking down the roads of marriage and babies are fulfilled, he will be my roomie for the remainder of my life. Again, I still don’t think of us as being at that age where this actually is a reality.

When did life move so fast?

So, to all of my loyal followers and readers of my blog – be prepared. Prepared for updates of our interior decorating, posts about projects that we’ve completed, items that we have bought and loved, and so on and so forth. And, when you’re sick of me and my nonstop apartment updates and blog posts, don’t say I didn’t warn you! xoxo.

365 days later

I feel as if every single one of my blog posts regarding “x amounts of time” all start off by saying something along the lines of, *wow time has gone by in the blink of an eye.” Whether it’s a monthly overview or a yearly overview, it may seem as if I am a broken record repeating these things over and over again but, come on now. Time really does fly so fast, people!

When I look back at my life a year ago, it is completely, completely different than it is now.

On February 28, 2017, I closed a major chapter in my life – working my last shift at the Outlet mall – a place in which I was employed for five years. I walked out those doors feeling a sense of excitement, knowing everything was about to change, but also a sense of nervousness. My “safe” routine was being disrupted. I was about to open up and enter a whole new can of worms, and I couldn’t really predict what was about to come next.

On March 1, 2017, I trekked to the other side of the state to Long Beach, Long Island for the New York State AAU High School Hockey Championship Tournament. My brother was a senior in high school and, to no surprise, this was his last weekend of hockey he would ever play. Ever. Another major chapter closing – his 12 year hockey journey. Week nights spent at his games, weekends spent at tournaments, traveling out of state, this was it; it was all coming to a close.

One year ago yesterday, on March 5, 2017, my brother’s hockey team made it to the Championship game at 6:00 PM. That was it. It was his final game of his career and, quite possibly, the biggest one of his life. As the game clock struck 0:00, it was all over. And he came out on top. His team did it – they were state champions. Around 9:00 PM, we loaded into the car and headed back to the 716.

One year ago today, March 6, 2017, we arrived home from Long Island at 5:00 AM. I rolled myself into my bed for a grand total of 45 minutes. 45 minutes later, I hopped into the shower, got ready, and headed Amherst for my first day of work. Yes, you read that right. 45 minutes after arriving home from Long Island, I was on my way to my first day of training at my new job.

The rest is history.

When I look back at my life a year ago, I really see how much has truly changed. I, myself, was filled with nerves, stress, and a little excitement for the road ahead. Fast forward to today, I am still at my job, one year later. I have made countless strides in a year and am thankful for all that I have learned in such a short time. I completed my Master’s degree, got inducted into the International Honors Society in Education, and am making steps in the right direction to further my career every single day. My brother now lives in Akron, Ohio, still going out on top of his hockey career as a New York State Champion. He is now focusing on a promising career in Civil Engineering and, rightly so, being inducted into National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Every single day is a new chapter to the larger story that is your life.

How is your life different today than it was a year ago? A month ago? Last week? Yesterday? xoxo.

Things I’m currently obsesssed with | February edition

Better late than never, am I right?

Some things that I was loving this past month may come as a surprise, others may not be too surprising at all. Nevertheless, let’s dive in and see what I couldn’t get enough of in the month of February!

  • Maybelline FaceStudio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter. This product completely changed the highlighter game for me. I was completely late to the Master Chrome party, partly because I would forget to purchase it, partly because it would always be sold out at the store, so when I finally got my hands on it this past month, I was excited, to say the least. As someone who goes pretty natural with her makeup routine five or six days out of the week, this product adds just enough life to my skin to make me look well-rested and ready for each day. It blends perfectly over foundations and concealers and doesn’t show any texture whatsoever. This has become a staple in my everyday makeup routine. Honestly. All I do is put on some foundation, concealer, and mascara, pop on this bad boy and out the door I go looking alive and ready to conquer the world. And for the low price of $9.99? How could you beat it?!
  • Roll Up the Rim to Win. Fellow coffee lovers/Tim Hortons addicts unite! Coffee is by far one of the biggest parts of my life, pathetic I know, so when this contest rolls around every year I feel as if I am justifying the coffee I buy each and every morning on my way to work. I know there is a huge chunk of the world who doesn’t have Tim Hortons [I am so sorry] so for those of you who are unaware, each year around this time, Tim Hortons pours hot beverages into cups that potentially have prizes tucked under the rim. Upon finishing your drink, you roll up the rim to see if you’ve won! Simple as that. This year, I had the brilliant idea to tally my failures *ahm, wins* and if you follow me on Twitter you probably already know this, and are definitely sick of me giving my daily updates. You would think that for someone who religiously buys coffee, I would have outstanding luck in this contest but sure enough, I am wrong. Nevertheless, I will not stop buying my coffee just because I see the words “please play again” almost every morning. So, I guess you win again, Timmy’s.
  • wayfair.com. My addiction to looking at this website all started with my Mom, who thought it would be a brilliant idea to look for a new chandelier for over our dining room table. She had seen a commercial on TV for Wayfair [I mean, who hasn’t?] and decided to give this website a try. Well, she just opened up a giant can of worms because I cannot stop looking on this website! With some big life changes coming up, my need and desire to decorate the interior of a home has skyrocketed, and the prices on this website are out of this world phenomenal. Another perk? Their outstanding customer service! When she purchased her new chandelier, she noticed the following day that the price had dropped $13.00. She decided to give it a try and email customer service, and they ever-so-nicely reimbursed the money to her account that day! They then followed up to ensure it was added back smoothly. When the product dropped again a few days later, they without hesitation, credited her account with more than $30 to spare! The customer service department is one of the best I’ve experienced, and has definitely turned me into a loyal customer!
  • Super-Long Open-Front Sweater for Women from Old Navy. I love this sweater. I cannot express this enough! This sweater has honestly become a staple in my wardrobe, as it goes great with everythiing. I’ve paired it casually with leggings and a t-shirt, and dressed it up with denim and a blouse. Boyfriend denim, skinny denim, colored denim, dressy shirts, long shirts, casual shirts. Literally anything and everything goes with this sweater! Another thing I love about it is that it is not too heavy, so if you want to wear it on warmer days you can, but can also layer it for those colder winter days as well. I don’t tend to shop at Old Navy too often, as the closest one isn’t all that close to me [however, an Old Navy is coming back to the Outlet mall this summer!!], so when I do go, I tend to buy items that I can wear and pair with anything. I have it in the shade Palomino, which is a lighter tan. It was a toss up between black and tan and I am happy that I chose the shade I did! However, I foresee the purchase of the black in my near future!

What are some things you couldn’t get enough of in February? xoxo.

 

A multitude of memories

The blog post that I had scheduled for this morning, I have pushed to next week so I could have some time to reflect a great man. My interest in writing this blog post was sparked by an unfortunate death, followed by a remarkable article posted in my local newspaper, the Niagara Gazette. I will link this article, written by Michele DeLuca, here.

My family has owned and operated an insurance agency in the “Little Italy” of Niagara Falls for over half a century, thanks to the drive and determination of my grandfather. Pine Avenue has been a part of my life since the day I was born, and to my family, many, many years before I was even a thought. My family’s business, now run not only by my grandfather, but my mother, has allowed my family to meet and befriend what seems like the entire city of Niagara Falls. One of the greatest my grandfather has ever befriended is the owner of La Hacienda restaurant, ever so conveniently located three doors down from the office.

Aldo Evangelista was one-of-a-kind and hands down the epitome of the American dream. As mentioned in his tribute this morning, he “was born 73 years ago near Naples, Italy, and later moved with his family to Switzerland after World War II [and] came to North America as a young man with a heart full of adventure.” It was a pit-stop in Niagara Falls on a trip to Toronto where he had “the best pizza he ever had in [his] life” and met his wife Lillian, whose family purchased La Hacienda in 1957. After five years of marriage, a head pizza maker quitting, and her family telling him to step in, the rest was history. In 1980 he purchased the restaurant from his in laws and Pine Avenue was never the same. This, detailed in the article published in the Buffalo News this past Thursday, looking back to a 2015 article:

“La Hacienda has become an institution in Niagara Falls but for Evangelista it’s been a 40-year pit stop on what was supposed to be his “world tour.” The 18-year-old Italian immigrant living in Switzerland after World War II planned to travel through South America—Guatemala and Argentina—before working his way across Canada to Vancouver. He got as far as Toronto, where he met his future wife, Lillian. He married and moved to Niagara Falls, where he began working at La Hacienda. Today, the restaurant doesn’t exist without him. When Aldo goes on vacation—like he currently is until Sept. 29—the business goes with him, sitting dark until he comes back to greet customers at the restaurant’s 31st Street entrance.”

After being diagnosed with cancer late last year, he lost his battle . Fittingly so, he died and was found in his restaurant, going out doing what he loved, on Thursday morning.

I feel bad for each and every person that did not get to experience the Aldo era at La Hacienda. Homemade ravioli, meatballs, gnocchi, sauce, and the best pizza in town. There is not one bad thing you can get off the menu; each and every time your meal is as great as the last, proving his consistency was his key to success. His “quest for perfection” when it came to service paid off, and in a big way. He was tough, but had a heart of pure gold, addressing each and every customer formally, and with the upmost respect.

Your experience in this restaurant was always a great one. This very fact being confirmed when my brother chose La Hacienda as his final meal to eat before he moved away to college, and a meal that we have each and every time he comes home for a break.

The generosity this man has shown my family throughout his time on Pine Avenue is something that cannot and will not be replaced. Whether calling my grandfather to walk down to pick up some of his freshly-made ravioli on Tuesdays to bring home to my grandmother, to joining us at our table each time we were there to eat, to speaking Italian with my grandfather, to giving us plenty more than we asked for, or sharing stories of times passed – memories as great as these are undoubtedly priceless.

I wish you eternal happiness, Aldo. This won’t be the same without you. xoxo.

February 2018 | An Overview

**Many big changes have happened this past week, and I am going to make my lack of following a M-F schedule up to you buy gifting you with three consecutive posts this weekend! Yep, you read that right; in addition to this post you will have a new post tomorrow, and another new post on Sunday! I know, let’s all try to contain our excitement here.**

What a whirlwind the month of February has been! February always seems to go by in the blink of an eye, probably much thanks given to its’ shortness in length. This past month was the start of many big things to come; you will hear more about these things in the coming weeks and months. A large majority of my time was spent planning, organizing, perfecting, and stressing over a vast amount of details, both small and large. Mix this in with my typical daily/weekly/monthly routine and it’s sure enough to drive almost anyone crazy.

The month began with my cousin’s bridal shower. This was a highlight, as having her in town from Arizona always makes for a great time. That first weekend is one that was memorable, as my entire family was together for a solid 24-hours which does not happen often, as we are spread across various parts of the country. Valentine’s Day is one of my least favorite holidays each year, but there it was, plopped in the middle of the month. Cookies were baked, love was spread, valentines were handed out and Chinese food was eaten. Romantic, no. But everything I could have asked for and more? Yes. [EXTRA BONUS! My gift was a cover for my KitchenAid mixer!! Could that be any better?]

I feel as if I spent the entirety of February waiting patiently for mid-winter break to come and, let me tell you, it did not disappoint. My break was by far the highlight of an extremely jam-packed month. It felt great to relax and take some time for myself. But, although relaxing, my break week was filled with a multitude of events. I got to spend time with my brother, which was remarkable, as I don’t get to see him much anymore. On his long, four-day weekend home, we went to some of his favorite restaurants, the Sabres game, shopping, and catching up on life. When he had to go back to Ohio, it was sad knowing I wouldn’t see him again until Easter; when he’s home I always get back into the swing of seeing him everyday, so the first couple days after he goes back is always a little awkward. The remainder of my week was spent visiting and going to lunch with my family, visiting my boyfriend’s family in Rochester for his mom’s birthday, going to the eye doctors for the first time in three years [oops!], going to my dad’s surprise birthday lunch at his work in Medina, and having a mini family birthday party celebration for him.

Before you knew it, I was back to work again this past Monday, getting re-acclimated to my daily routine again. Mid-winter break was over and I was excited to see my co-workers and my students again. The final days of February were spent wishing for a snow day and a long weekend, as there was supposed to be a wicked nor’easter headed our way. Let’s just say they weren’t wrong and it did not disappoint, because here I am on a Friday morning typing this post in bed, coffee in hand, and Will and Grace on the television.

What are some of your favorite February memories? xoxo.

I like it when you sleep. .

. .for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it.

This album was released exactly two years and one day ago. This was the second studio album released by The 1975 [as many of you know, I am a huge fan], and was regarded by many critics as one of the best albums of the year 2016. Hell, it was ranked number 8 on Billboard’s 50 Best Albums of 2016 list. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the hard copy of this album before it sold out, and was even luckier to see them touring with this album not once, but twice.

It’s hard to believe that this album has been in my life for over two years. Astonishingly enough, I can remember where I was the first time I heard the three pre-released singles, and then where I was when I first listened to this album front to back. So today, let us take the time to revisit the singles off of ILIWYS, arguably some of the best tracks on the album, and reminisce about the two years passed.

“Love Me” – released October 8, 2015 as the first single

I first heard this song sitting in the parking lot of the outlet mall in Niagara Falls. I was headed into work but I knew that this single was being released around the same time that I was supposed to clock in. I ended up refreshing Twitter over and over waiting for the band or one of its’ members to tweet out the link and when they finally did, I decided to sit in my car for an extra 3 minutes to listen to this song. Upon first listen, I will not lie, I hated it. I don’t know if I hated it because it was so different from their previous album, or if it was because it wasn’t what I expected, or if I truly, actually hated it. It took a few dozen [or hundred] times to get into this song, and now I am a fan. I mostly enjoy this song because it takes me back to seeing them in concert, this being their opening song, and everything going from black to bam – there they are.

“UGH!” –  released December 10, 2015 as the second single

I cannot express this enough – this is my favorite song off the album. And this music video is enough to make me die. I waited so long to see this song performed live, and this past May, my dreams came true. And it definitely did not disappoint.

“The Sound” – released on January 14, 2016 as the third single

Is this not the catchiest song ever? The part that I enjoy the most about this song stems from the fact that I have heard it a multitude of times at bars around Buffalo and I think that is the greatest thing in the world. I’ve lived in a world where nobody knew who this band was, and I feel as if this song skyrocketed them into the scene. Well, at least the hipster bar scene.

“Somebody Else” – released on February 16, 2016 as the fourth single

When I first saw this video, I was sitting at Sonic waiting for my food. I remember watching it not once, but twice, and thinking to myself, *what the hell did I just watch?* I still to this day don’t really entirely understand this music video, but that is okay because this song is EVERYTHING. How are we so lucky to live in a world in which a song as beautiful as this exists. There is so much truth behind this song that I think 99% of us can relate to on every level. This is a song that you can belt out at a red light with absolutely no regret because it is a song that needs to be passionately belted out. Am I right?

“A Change of Heart” – released on February 22, 2016 as the fifth single 

The artistic detail and choreography that went into this music video gives me so much life. When I have seen this song in concert, or even listen to it when this song comes on shuffle on my ride to work, all I can picture is this music video. What I love most about this band is that they push beyond what is expected. I mean come on, a dabbing mime? Who else would ever imagine that. And the supposed jab at Taylor Swift mid-song makes me laugh every single time.

Have you listened to this album? If so, what are some of your favorite songs? xoxo.

Getting back into the swing of things

Well, here we are again. It’s Monday. And this Monday seems a little harder than most because it’s my first day back to work after nine days off. Thanks to mid-winter break, I was getting extremely used to being off and having not really much of anything to do. I’m sure all my teacher friends can relate to this on an extremely high level. Sure, I didn’t sit around the house day after day, but I most definitely took it easy. My days were filled with shopping, looking at apartments, visiting with family and friends, going to lunch, visiting the eye doctors – some pretty exciting stuff, I know. But as yesterday was winding down, I really didn’t want to face the fact that this morning I would have to get up and get back into my normal routine.

I am a very routinized person. I tend to like everything to follow a certain pattern as the days and the weeks go on. I am sure this week, for the most part, will seem as if it is going slower than molasses, but knowing me, by the time Friday rolls around, I will wonder why I ever was so happy to break free from my life’s pattern. No matter how much I try not to admit it, I am one of those people who always likes to keep busy. Sure, yesterday I spent the entire day at home in my pajamas, but that’s so unlike me that I am sitting here looking down at myself thinking, *wow, you really haven’t moved.* Even on days off, I tend to go-go-go. I hate feeling like I’ve wasted priceless hours away for nothing. Even if I only do so much as walk around the mall window shopping, I like feeling like I am actually doing something meaningful, even if it seems extremely insignificant. But, I will admit, that veering off the typical, routinized path is a great break every once in a while.

I liked having time to myself, going through my day at my own pace, not having to worry about getting places on time. I liked taking the time to have that second cup of coffee in the morning instead of rushing out the door. I liked taking the time to actually get ready – to do my hair and makeup and wear my nicer clothes that I don’t always feel comfortable wearing to work. I liked being able to go out to lunch instead of eating the same things everyday, and taking the time to eat it instead of worrying about getting back to work in 30 minutes. I liked having the freedom to spend time with my brother, someone who I don’t see much anymore. There is no doubt that I do not live a hard life. I am fortunate and thankful that 99% of the time, things are running smoothly. But even for those of us that tend to have things a little easier, it’s rewarding to take a step back.

So, as this Monday goes on just remember, there’s almost always another break waiting right around the corner. xoxo.

Happy birthday, Dad!

Today is my dad’s birthday. While, yes, today is a day to celebrate all things him, I am thankful for him every single day of my life. He has shaped me into the person I have become. We have the same thoughts on just about every single thing in life, have the same exact personality, and hey, we even look pretty much the same. Thank you are two words that mean so little when spoken in regards to someone who holds so much precedence in your life.

My dad is hands down the most important person in my life, and means more to me than I will ever be able to express in any words or blog posts whatsoever. There is no better supporter, advocate, or love than that shared with your parents, and this is no different for my own father. On Father’s Day, I shared an essay on this site that I wrote in high school/ This essay ended up being my college application essay, ultimately getting me into college and the program(s) of my dreams. The words written in this essay become more and more true with each passing day; I say this with confidence. If you don’t remember this post, you can find it here and see for yourself just how amazing my dad is.

My father has worked his ass off to give me and my brother the childhood that we could only ever dream of. He has taken care of not only me and my brother, but my mother, in ways that not everyone is fortunate to experience. His success and his drive to be the best at everything he does is something that I wish to mirror with each passing day of my life. If there is one thing that I am not quite good at, it is expressing my feelings toward the ones that I love the most. So, today I will say this: Dad, I love you more than all of the stars in the sky and fish in the sea. And I am forever indebted to you for all you have done for me, all you have supported me through, and the example you have led.

Happy 52nd birthday. xoxo.