June playlist.

buffalo music

Ok, ok. I will admit right at the beginning of this post that this is a very strange mix of old and new. However, the songs on this playlist are what is included on my daily jam sesh every time I get into the car.

Of course, there are more songs that could probably be added to this list *ahem the entire Harry Styles album* but, I decided to be modest at best and give you a little taste into my ideal music world this month.

Rock out. Enjoy. Jam. Whatever you feel. xoxo.

Selfish? Not one bit.

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There is absolutely nothing that prepares you for the loss of a loved one to suicide. When I say nothing, I literally mean nothing. When someone passes away from old age, we tend to be “prepared.” This, not so much.

For me, this has been a very, very sensitive subject to talk about, yet one that I cannot get my mind off of. It has been over two months since losing a friend to suicide, and there literally has not been one day or night in these 2+ months in which my mind has not been reeling over this. It is not something I ever thought I would associate with, but yet, here we are.

Our healthy mental state is something that most of us take for granted, myself included. Suicide is not something that simply happens. Why is it when someone succumbs to suicide, we don’t acknowledge the disease – the demons, the mindset, the brokenness that contributed to this? It is something that happens as a result of someone being so lost that they think ending their life is the only logical option left. It is something that happens when someone loses a long, endless, internal battle. It is something that happens when the light at the end of the tunnel seems like the only option – the option to be free, the option to be out of the dark, the option to be at peace.

If there is one thing that is so wrong, it is that we, as a society, continue to call something selfish that people have absolutely no control over. Suicide is not selfish. What is selfish is telling people that are struggling to get over it. To feel better. To just be happy. By doing this, you are being selfish. You are not thinking about how difficult “just getting over it” may be for them.

In regards to my own personal experience, this has been haunting. Personally, I cannot go to certain places in my hometown without feeling sick to my stomach over what occurred. I understand that this is still new. I also understand that this is something I will never get over, it will eventually become something I have to learn to live with. I am learning day by day how to cope with the situation at hand. For those of you like me who have gone through this, I am sure you can relate when I say that finding support from loved ones and friends really gets you through some of the tough times.

All in all, how anyone could be angry at someone for not being able to defeat a psychological and emotional monster is beyond me. It is our job to continue their legacy and their memory. Dwell on the good, not the bad.

As hard as it may be, we need to start talking about suicide. It is not easy to talk about. It is not easy to grieve. But it is something we need to do. The conversation starts now. Let’s talk. xoxo.

If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out and contact the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. If you or someone you know is in danger or need immediate medical attention, please call 911 to get help. 

One thing everyone should eliminate: Toxicity.

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If there is one thing I am not the best at, it is not giving people the time of day when that is exactly what they deserve. For literally the longest time ever, I could not bare to leave a text unanswered or a phone call to be missed. I have this innate desire in me to help every single person that reaches their hand out to me, good or bad, and it has taken a lot of time to learn that this is something that doesn’t always need to happen.

I tried to convince myself that allowing toxic people into my life or keeping them there was no big deal because they’re like a second family or we go way back, life’s too short to hold a grudge. Not the case, people, not the case.

Sometimes you have to muster up a crap-ton of courage and strength to not only know when enough is enough, but to also say it, speak it, or live it out each day. It is not worth it to read a text and get stressed out or anxious. It is not worth it to give someone your time and respect when you don’t get the same in return. It is not worth it to have someone in your life who has hurt you time and time again with no changes to their behavior. This does not happen overnight, it happens over time. Sure, you have tried, but now it is time to let go.

This does not always mean that these people are bad people, it just means they are bad for you. You have a voice. You have the right. You are allowed to say goodbye. I have seen my friends go through this. I have gone through this. It happens, and it is perfectly okay.

If there is one thing for sure, it will not be easy, but you have to stick to your guns. Yes, sometimes you will be called a bitch for putting yourself first. But just remember, why not put yourself first? Your mental, emotional, and physical health matter more than anything in the world. You are not yourself if you are not happy and healthy. If you love yourself, you will give yourself the freedom to live without the toxicity. And trust me, from a girl that’s been there, it makes one hell of a difference. xoxo.

School’s out for summer…sorta. 


Today was the last day of school for my students! They had a half day and I had the pleasure of moving classrooms for the upcoming school year [my feet are killing me]. Saying goodbye to my little buddies was tough, but I’m so excited for my next class come July.

One weight was being somewhat lifted off my shoulders, but when one thing ends, another begins; my summer class started yesterday and has already reminded me of how little of a “break” I will actually have this summer. I literally, no joke, have 10+ assignments due per week for the next four weeks of my life and I am sitting here staring at my computer screen wondering what I am even doing to myself. *sweats*

To think I actually debated taking 3 courses this summer, I’m looking at myself like, girl, you crazy.

Three staff development days away from summer – here we go. Xoxo.

Dad.

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Back in high school, one of our assignments was to work on our college application essays during class time to ensure that they were perfected before sending them off to our respective lists of schools. One of the topics of choice revolved around describing an influential person in your life. For me, it was an absolute no brainer who I would be writing my essay about.

My dad, no doubt, has had the most influence on my life and has shaped me into the person that I am today. I watched him work hard ever single day since the day I was born to provide for our family and give me the life he believed we deserved. I watched him graduate with Master’s degrees, take on major roles and responsibilities throughout the years at work while receiving major recognitions for his ethics and respect for his job and his community. When I was doing my fieldwork in college, I got to watch first-hand the respect his kids and colleagues had for him, as well as the respect he had for them in return.

He has pushed me hard to fly past my limits and never settle for less than I deserve. He got me through the good and bad times, always being my #1 fan, whether it was driving 8 hours to national competitions, or promising that break-ups would get better. His determination and drive for happiness and success is something that I admire, and something that I work hard for every single day.

In honor of Father’s Day, below is the college application essay I wrote in 2010 [holy cow, I’m old] about the most influential person I have in my life – my dad.

Ever since I was a little girl, standing on my tippy toes, barely able to take a drink from the drinking fountain, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life in a school. Walking down the hallways at the tender age of five, hand in hand with my father, the principal, and sitting in his big chair at the desk in his office, I knew this was where I was meant to be. It felt like home.

Growing up, I always looked up to my dad for everything. He was the ideal father, always there for love and support whenever I needed him. I give my dad all the credit for shaping my life, and helping me in making the most important decision I will ever have to make.

When he was in high school, my dad thought he knew what he wanted to do. Originally, he thought Economics would lead him to doing big business on Wall Street, which would eventually lead him to a happy life with lots of money and success. Although he spent years earning his degree and finding the successful job he supposedly always wanted, in the back of his mind he knew that this wasn’t what he loved to do, that he was meant to be a teacher. If you were to ask anyone who knows my father, they would all tell you the same thing; he was good with kids. After a few years of questioning his decisions and traveling all around the U.S., unhappy with his job, he decided enough was enough. He decided that he was going to fulfill that dream, to go back to school for a degree in Business and Marketing Education. When I was just one year old, he got his first job at what would eventually be my high school, Niagara Catholic. To this day, he will say that the six years he spent working at Niagara Catholic were the best years of his life. I spent the first six years of my life at that school, whether it was going to visit him for lunch or sitting side by side with him at those chilly October afternoon football games cheering on the boys. Because of his dedication and love for his job, he worked his way up from being a Business teacher to becoming Dean of Students, and then to other jobs at both the high school and middle school in Medina. This eventually led to the job he has now as principal of Eden Junior/Senior High School in Eden, New York. He just recently has gone back to school to get his doctorate degree to eventually have the option of becoming superintendent of schools.

Eight years later, walking back into that same high school as a fourteen-year-old freshman, I was flooded with all the memories of that same little girl going into work with her Daddy. Being around a school system all my life made me feel so comfortable throughout my four years of high school, and helped me in making my decision about what to do with my future. While others seemed to struggle with deciding on what to do with their upcoming lives, I had already had my mind made up. I have always my whole life loved working with kids, because I was already around them. Because of this, I have made the decision to go to college for Speech-Language Pathology, because it would allow me to have one-on-one time with each individual child and to work in a school system. The thought of going to school for this major does nothing but put a huge smile on my face.

Growing up watching my dad love his job and love working with kids made me realize I could find the same happiness in a job, just as he did. The moments of sitting at his desk, seeing his door always open, and watching almost every student walk by just to give a friendly wave and smile, followed by a “Hey, Mr. Graff” still to this day brings a smile to my face. Looking back now, his “big chair” doesn’t seem that big to me anymore, because I feel I can conquer it and one day sit in it too, just like Daddy did.

Food > everything.

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Being the self-proclaimed Pinterest addict that I am, it’s almost impossible not to find something great to eat every once in a while! This website is filled with so many recipes that litereally all you have to do is type one word like “chicken,” for example, and 87 thousand recipes pop up in front of your face. This is heaven for the instant-gratification-obsessed people of this century.

If you’ve tuned into this blog once or twice before, you would know that any meal that I have made that turns out semi-edible with my house still standing, it’s a good one. I’m gonna narrow down my top five recipes, out of the 110+ saved pins to my e a t board/the 108+ pins saved to the s w e e t s + t r e a t s board, that have worked wonders for me. Enjoy!

  1. Pina Colada Dip
  2. Easiest Ever Orange Chicken
  3. Slow Cooker Chicken Fajita Soup
  4. Peanut Butter M&Ms Truffles
  5. Slow Cooker Creamy White Chicken Chowder

What are some of your favorite recipes?! Feel free to share! xoxo.

Fashion 101: Save me. 


When I got this new job teaching, I did not expect to look into my [bursting] closet and truly not have a single thing to wear. It seems insane to say for someone who loves shopping a little bit too much, but it could not be any more true. Where I work, there are more days spent on the floor than standing up in front of the classroom – it comes with the nature of the job, this is not a typical school setting. Previously, working retail allowed me to wear basically anything I wanted – pants, skirts, dresses, sandals, jewelry – anything to show of my personal sense of style. It took so much as my first day on the job to learn that a dress paired with booties and a choker would absolutely not be work appropriate in this type of environment.
I will admit, for a while there, I completely felt lost. I missed wearing all of my clothes and totally would look forward to the weekend solely to wear items that I had been missing. I was struggling to find clothes that were not only environmentally appropriate, but professional, as well as me. Seems impossible enough, right?

I am a few months into my job and I am still occasionally stopping at the store on my way home to pick up a top or a pair of bottoms similar to that in which I had seen a coworker wear that day. Just yesterday, I was guilty of running to the outlets on my way home to pick up a few more pairs of shorts, because pants on a 80+ degree day while also working all summer simply won’t cut it [BONUS TIP: J. Crew has their shorts on sale anywhere from $10-$25 this week!]. Shorts are a whole new world for me now that I’ve “grown up” [lol] and am transitioning from high waisted ripped shorts to something that would be considered soccer mom appropriate.

Cropped trousers, flowy tunic tops, and wide leg printed pants have become my best friend – they are comfy, yet stylish. While I am now transitioning into shorts and tees, I am still missing accessorizing with [way too much] jewelry, etc. Slowly but surely, I am getting excited to get dressed each morning again as I continue to add more versatile pieces to my wardrobe and become comfortable with embracing my new soccer-momness.

So to all you fashionistas out there – what are some staples that you think I absolutely need to add to my wardrobe!? xoxo.