September 2018 | An overview

September was the month of getting back into routines. Summer came to an end and, even though the summer temperatures stayed, it was time to get back to the swing of things. School started up again which meant, back to work I went. I feel like a weird mix of being so hard, yet so exciting, to go back to work for the start of a new school year. I really enjoy having time off, but after a while, I get to the point where I’m really just ready to go back. 

I participated in the Out of the Darkness walk in Buffalo, in memory of my friend who committed suicide about a year and a half ago. As a whole, we raised over $15,000 – a number that is still continuing to grow – for the support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Being a part of something so big and meaningful is remarkable, but all that aside, I’d rather have life back to the way it was before this tragedy. 

I was unexpectedly out of work for a couple days which made me feel extremely thankful that I have a job. I couldn’t stand not working, even if only for 48 hours. Did I get a lot done in those couple of days? Yes. But I couldn’t imagine being unemployed or staying home for long periods of time. 

The following weekend, I traveled to Cleveland to see the Boston Red Sox play the Cleveland Indians, and to spend some time with my brother. This was the first time I had seen him since I moved him back to college at the end of August, so it was amazing to spend time with him and have the family all back together again for the weekend. 

Other than also starting back to dance class for the fall, my month was pretty much boring and about the same as every other month of the year. With that being said, welcome, October! I can’t believe there’s only a couple more months left of 2018! 

What are some of your favorite memories from September? xoxo.

Shake me down | September playlist

Even though we are a couple weeks into the new month, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad time to reflect back on what was running through my eardrums throughout the entire month of September. I feel like somehow, I always find a decent mix of old and new, mostly thanks to Sirius Radio having a plethora of songs on the daily.

I feel like there are some songs that instantly put you in the mood for the changing seasons, fall being no different. There are certain songs that will always bring me back to the falls of the past, so I of course have to listen to them every September/October. 

What are some songs you couldn’t get enough of this September? xoxo

Reflecting back | Vegas

No better time than the end of summer to reflect on summer vacation, am I right?

previously mentioned when reflecting back on the month of August that my family and I ventured to the West Coast for this year’s family vacation. It’s been exactly one month since I boarded my flight to Nevada and it seems absolutely insane that that much time has already passed. For someone who hadn’t ever ventured further than Chicago, Illinois, it was mind-blowing to me to think that going to the West Coast was actually a thing that was happening. I mean, hell, the only places I had ever flown to were New York City and Florida, so this plane ride, while nerve-wrecking, was essentially a first for me in the sense that I would be confined to this small air tube for a significant amount of time.

For someone who hates flying, I will say that the flight wasn’t as bad as I expected [don’t get me wrong, it still totally sucked]. And for someone who refuses to look out the window of any aircraft, it was shocking to me that I wasn’t afraid to look out the window and see the desert below me. The view of the Rocky Mountains and just the desert in general is something that, no joke, I will never, ever forget. I truly don’t care if I ever see grass again in my lifetime – I would be totally okay with desert living – because it’s a beauty that really cannot be described unless you see it for yourself.

Those five days on the West Coast provided me with some of the greatest memories I have in my lifetime. I mean, it’s not an exaggeration to say I waited my entire 25-years of life to get myself to the Grand Canyon, and that happened within those five days. It’s something I will forever be grateful for. And Las Vegas? I can confidently say that it’s a place you must go at least once in your lifetime. While the Vegas strip is entirely polar opposite of the Grand Canyon, it’s similar in the sense that you cannot describe it unless you see it for yourself. Pictures that you see scrolling through your Instagram feed really do not do either of these places any justice.

So this week, what will we do? We will reflect back on some more detail on my trip to the West Coast. Am I feeling super nostalgic? Oh, without a doubt. But buckle up, because you’re coming on this ride with me.

xoxo.

Prevention.

This past weekend, I had the honor of walking in the Out of the Darkness walk though Delaware Park in Buffalo. I walked in memory of one of my closest friends who ended his life on earth just over a year and a half ago. Together, our team raised more than $13,000 to help raise awareness to mental health and help save just one more life from suicide.

Walking in the Out of the Darkness walk means that you join the effort with hundreds of thousands of people to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss. Through the efforts of walkers and donors, the AFSP has been able to set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20% by 2025, something that I believe they are totally capable of doing.

Today on World Suicide Prevention Day, make it your mission, not just today, but every day to take action and support a person who is struggling or in crisis. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, and we all know someone affected by it, myself included. While this is a cause that I have always supported, I never in a million years would have thought I would be able to relate to people surviving suicide loss. This is something none of us could ever be prepared for, but with the proper education and the normalization of mental health, it is something that we should never have to go through.

Start the conversation.

You can make a difference.

xoxo.

If you are thinking about harming yourself or attempting suicide, tell someone who can help right away. Call your doctor’s office. Call 911 for emergency services. Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room. Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.

 

 

So, I did a thing

“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever.”- Alfred Lord Tennyson

Last Tuesday, I got my fifth tattoo. This one is something I had been pondering for quite some time, and after years of contemplation and waiting, I stopped enjoying my morning coffee on Elmwood Avenue and walked across the street to my tattoo shop. Each flower on the back of my arm represents the birth flower of my mother, my father, my brother, and myself, and are all intertwined together to make an unbreakable wreath.

Did I ever think I would get a tattoo on my arm? Other than the miniscule semi-colon tattoo that I have on my outer right wrist, no I really didn’t think I would ever be the one to do this. But the placement felt so right – when you know, you know, right?

Cheers to family. It’s forever. xoxo.

To anyone in the Buffalo, New York area: I would 100% recommend Hand of Doom tattoo parlor on Elmwood Avenue in the city of Buffalo!

August 2018 | An overview

August. What a whirlwind.

I feel like I spent the entirety of this month sweating my ass off. Both literally and figuratively. Between the record high temperatures, being insanely busy, work being overwhelming, traveling, and just dealing with the day to day changes that come along with life, I feel as if there has been a thin film of sweat residue on me at all times.

August, the last few years, has always become the month of changes. Summer comes to an end, school begins, people move, goodbyes have to be said. This August was no different.

One unexpected goodbye was to my high school. I wrote previously on the blog about my alma mater closing, but this month brought together a “celebration” to say our final goodbyes. I was able to reconnect with so many of my friends and enjoy a great night out, reliving some of our stupidest and craziest memories.

Another goodbye came from a final family dinner that was had before my brother and my cousin moved back to Ohio for college. This has become an annual thing, which I really do appreciate, because now that we’re all older, it’s gotten harder and harder to organize a time where everyone can get together at the same time, in the same place. Plus, what could be better than sharing some laughs while eating a great meal at Russell’s Steaks, Chops, & More?

Enough of the semi-sad crap, am I right? The end of the month has provided me with some of the greatest moments of my twenty-five years of life, thus far. Birthday parties, spending time with friends, celebrating national guinea pig day, my guinea pig’s picture being hung on the wall of his vet’s office [yes, that is real]. These are some of the high points.

My two-week summer break from work began with me driving to Cleveland with my family as soon as I clocked out, as we had a flight to Las Vegas to catch the following morning!

Spending six days on the west coast was everything I could have ever dreamt of and more. In fact, after this post publishes, you will hear more about my vacation in detail, as I have some pretty exciting posts written about my experience. Without spoiling too much, Las Vegas was a sense of breathtaking that I didn’t really know existed. I expected the oversized, overhyped, over the top feel of Vegas to leave me with a sense of super-corny feeling, but I was so incorrect. Was everything over the top? Yes. But it was over the top done right. The buildings were beautiful, the meals were great, the casinos were loud, the streets were packed, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Another highlight of my west coast trip? Visiting the Grand Canyon. This is something that I have wanted to do for my entire life, so being able to actually make this dream into a reality was so overwhelming and something that I still haven’t really been able to get over.

We had a flight home on Wednesday, followed by a drive back from Cleveland to Buffalo only to have a fast 24-hours in-between before having to get back into the car and drive back to Ohio to move my brother into college for his sophomore year. The thoughts of getting back into the car to drive back to essentially the same place we just were 24-hours prior was enough to make me go crazy, but I wouldn’t want to spend the weekend any other way than to be in Akron with my family.

What was great about this summer break was after ten days of nonstop travel and go-go-go, I came home to have another nine days off from work to just relax and do my own thing. This past week has brought me to coffee shops, lunch with my grandmas, walking around the zoo, spending time with friends, and even getting my fifth tattoo.

I don’t think any of us are ever really ready to say goodbye to summer, myself included. But going back to what I previously said at the beginning of this post, the sweat this month has been real – thanks Las Vegas temperatures – and I am looking ahead to fall.

What are some memorable things you did this month? xoxo.

July 2018 | An overview

We are officially past the halfway mark of 2018 and I’m not quite sure how to feel about it. July was a whirlwind, and I really don’t think I have had a chance to stop and breathe until now when I am sitting here reflecting back on the past month.

The month obviously started with celebrating Independence Day which is always a great time. We had two picnics to go to this year, so we were gone for the entirety of the day celebrating with our loved ones. The following day, I was off to Pittsburgh for a weekend getaway before heading back to work for the following Monday.

To say this was the month of concerts would be an absolute understatement. I really didn’t do much other than that and, really, I think I am still tired from all of the fun I had. It started off with traveling to Toronto, Ontario to see the Foo Fighters at the Rogers Center on July 12th. Seeing the Foo Fighters was a lifelong dream of mine, so to finally have this become a reality was other-worldly. I have seen a lot of concerts in my 25 years of life and, even after the endless concerts this month, I would have to say the Foo Fighters show was the greatest I’ve ever seen – I really don’t know if anyone else will ever top it.

The following Wednesday, we attended Wines in the Wild at the Buffalo Zoo. I had never gone to this event before, so I was really excited to snag tickets and go. For $45 you get entrance to the zoo, unlimited samples of food, wine and beer, and a wine glass. There were more vendors than I could count, all local businesses [which I love], and shockingly enough, we left full!

The following week, the month of concerts continued with three more shows in one week. Sunday the 22nd brought Macklemore and Kesha at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center in Darien, New York. I had bought these tickets back in December, so to finally have this show in my month’s itinerary seemed surreal. While Kesha wasn’t really the greatest, Macklemore didn’t disappoint, and was as great as I remembered from the last time I saw him. Tuesday the 24th brought The Struts at the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls, New York. These tickets were purchased the day after the Foo Fighters show, as The Struts opened for them and I knew that I needed to see them perform live again. Fate was on my side because to find out they were performing in my hometown was the greatest surprise! On Wednesday the 25th, I traveled to Canandaigua, New York to see the Arctic Monkeys at the Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center. Like the Foo Fighters, seeing the Arctic Monkeys was another bucket list item for me, as they are one of my all-time favorite bands, and they did not disappoint.

Also in the mix were two family reunions, birthday celebrations, a funeral, and some other odds and ends. And if that isn’t enough to make you exhausted, then I don’t know what is.

As I write this, I am two weeks away from being in Las Vegas with my family for our annual family trip and I could not be excited to get these next two weeks of summer session at work over with, and to have some time off to spend with my family before my brother goes back to college for the fall semester.

What are some standout things you did this July? xoxo.

Weekend getaway | Pittsburgh

The weekend before returning to work for the summer was spent in Pennsylvania, most specifically in Pittsburgh, as a little farewell to my freedom for the next six weeks. Am I a little late on the writing of this post? Considering I’m into my third week of summer session at work, yes. Yes I am. But even though the post is late, what this post includes still stands true! Throughout the three days, over 20 miles were walked, good food was had, some bad baseball was seen, and some shopping was done.

We left on Friday morning with plans stop at both the Millcreek Mall in Erie, PA and the Grove City Outlets in Grove City, PA. With shopping being tax free, every time we make the drive to Pennsylvania, we make a point to stop [at least in Erie] to see if we can get any good deals. The Grove City Outlets, specifically, is one of my favorite shopping centers I’ve ever been to. This wasn’t my first time there, but it definitely didn’t disappoint the second time around. There are so many stores – over 200 – at this mall, most of which we do not have anywhere close to home. And to have stores that we don’t have, sell merchandise at outlet prices, and tax free?! Really, it’s a no brainer that some time would be spent there. After our stops at these two malls, we headed straight to the hotel, as it was already dinner time, and the weather was absolutely horrible. The pouring rain resulted in the ordering of a pizza and cozying in for the night watching The Office. I must add that traveling with an Amazon Fire Stick is an absolute game changer – I would suggest doing it to everyone!

The next morning brought about the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Carnegie Museum of Art. For $20 [or $12 with a student ID], you get access to both the history and art museums, making for a jam-packed day. The history museum consists of 115,000 square feet organized into 20 different galleries including dinosaurs, gems and minerals, Native American and Egyptian artifacts, nature domains, and the Powdermill Nature Reserve. The art museum consists of 125,000 square feet and as many as 15 changing exhibitions including Contemporary art, sculpture, architectural drawings, and photography. We spent almost four hours walking around both museums and it is 100% something that I would do again – it was one of the most captivating mornings of my life. After the museum we grabbed a bite to eat for lunch and headed to PNC Park for the Pittsburgh Pirates game. They were playing the Philadelphia Phillies that night and, even though they lost, it was a great time! It is the fifth MLB Stadium I’ve been to in my lifetime and hands down, one of the most beautiful to be in!

The following day was spent at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. The zoo sits on 77 acres of land in Highland Park, exhibiting more than 4,000 animals representing 475 species, 20 of which are considered to be endangered or threatened. Inside the zoo is the PPG Aquarium, a 45,000 square foot, two-story aquarium. What’s great is that for $16 you get admission to both the zoo and the aquarium, again making for a jam-packed day that doesn’t put a dent in your wallet! Beyond the Buffalo Zoo, I haven’t been to many others. My list is as vast as the zoos in Cleveland and Akron, and Animal Kingdom in Disneyworld if you even want to count that, so this zoo was an absolute breath of fresh air! The fact that it’s located within a park makes the overall feel more authentic, as the exhibits aren’t just thrown into the middle of city-life, they are actually worked into the pre-existing land. We hit beautiful weather making the zoo look and feel more beautiful and welcoming than ever.

Did I want to head back to the 716 after this weekend? No. But reality had to set in and the second I sat down in the car for the drive home, I felt how exhausting the weekend actually was, mostly because my feet were sore and all the walking hit me at once. Would I recommend traveling to Pittsburgh for a weekend? Absolutely. Other than for my brother’s hockey tournaments, I had never been there [I mean really, with hockey, you really only see the hotel and ice rinks] which seems insane considering it’s only about four hours away. But we managed to have a nonstop weekend without breaking the bank, which really, what more could anyone want?

Have you ever traveled to Pittsburgh? If so, what are some of your favorite spots? xoxo.

Love it if we made it | July 2018 Playlist

It’s almost the end of the month which means it’s a great time to round up all of the music I’ve been listening to for the past 30-something days. I must say that I am impressed with the content on this month’s playlist, if I do say so myself. A lot of the music included came from listening to the radio during my road trip to Pittsburgh – shoutout to Sirius XM – a lot of these songs being ones that I cannot stop listening to! Other than that, I have songs recommended to me from friends or family members, songs I’ve stumbled upon while wasting time on my computer, and of course, some new 1975.

What are some songs you can’t stop listening to this month? xoxo.