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.

716

Buffalo.

There is legitimately no other place in the world I’d rather call home. I say this with sheer confidence and sincerity.

Growing up in the 716 is something that I am forever grateful for. I have had the opportunity to see what this area is blossoming into – basically from the bottom up. Buffalo specifically has grown from a place that never seemed to be on the radar to a place that more and more people are starting to appreciate. Buffalo is now a place that people want to travel to; a place that people want to live; a place that people want to experience for themselves.

While our sports teams may not be the best, the fans are die hard – the atmosphere is something that you want to be a part of. The waterfront has become a staple between Canalside, RiverWorks, and weekend activities and concerts by the water – there is always something to do. The weather here is perfect. Sure, we may have to deal with a few feet of snow now and again but hurricanes, tornadoes, flash flooding, wild fires, earthquakes, extreme heat. .  I’ll take my couple months of snow any day of the week! The cost of living is a God send. There are not many people out there who can say that they live in a two bedroom, spacious apartment “big city” for under a grand a month. Is renting not your thing? Well, you’re in luck there because there are always houses on the market for next to nothing! There’s next to no traffic on a daily basis, and the people here are nicer than anywhere else in the world! [Or so it seems]. And the food?! I could go on for hours between the pizza, the wings, the beef on weck, Wegmans. . the list goes on and on.

Happy 716 day to my fellow Buffalonians.

What are some things you love the most about our city? xoxo.

School’s back for summer?!

Well, there you have it, folks. Another Monday has come and gone.

Waking up at 5:00AM for work today was harder than I ever would have imagined. I felt like I was mentally prepared, pushing through the weekend knowing I had to go back to work today but, hell, that was rough. If there’s one thing for certain, though, it’s that I am ready to get back into the swing of things and back into my usual routine. Plus, a new school year is always exciting because who doesn’t love a fresh start?!

As far as what’s to come on the blog, expect to dive into my weekend trip to Pittsburgh as well as some other random posts here and there. Continually posting content on a regular basis is something I feel like I have been trying to do for quite some time now. I will admit, I am not the best at it. But, again, who doesn’t love a fresh start, am I right?! No better time to start being better than right now!

I hope everyone’s Monday was great! Here’s to the rest of the week. xoxo.

Pack it up, pack it up | Weekend getaway

If you’re anything like me, you probably suck at packing. Not all of us want to accept it, but sometimes, you just have to call it like it is. I don’t do much traveling, I guess you can say, so knowing what to pack doesn’t come easy to me. I actually wrote a post similar to this one back in October when I was going to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario for the weekend. I will be the first to say that this blog post wasn’t very accurate in terms of what I brought with me that weekend, as I ended up jamming more stuff into my bag at the last minute – most of which I really didn’t need.

This weekend’s getaway is to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to end off my summer break before headed back to work on Monday. I have not been to Pittsburgh in the summer, or really at all, other than some brief visits for hockey tournaments with my brother. On the agenda? A Pirates game, the zoo, some museums, and of course, eating! With the planning of a weekend getaway comes the stress of what to bring, and with traveling somewhere new, I definitely am feeling the height of the stress more than ever.

With that being said, I’ve decided to “re-vamp” my ultimate travel packing checklist in preparation for this trip. This is just what somewhat works for me – obviously you can follow whatever works for you!

Step One: Choose Your Luggage

While I have rolling luggage, some carry-ons, and travel backpacks, for a weekend getaway I tend to lean toward bringing my large Vera Bradley duffel bag. It is simple, lightweight, and extremely durable! It fits more than enough items and is easy to throw in the trunk of a vehicle without taking up too much space.

Step Two: Organize Your Stuff

Organizing things to pack is probably one of my favorite things to do! It’s the process of deciding what to bring that stresses me out the most. I tend to bring the same list of basics no matter where I go – the only thing different is the amount that I actually bring! My go-to’s are:

  • Lightweight clothing that can be layered
  • A jacket
  • Tee shirts and tank tops
  • Pants and/or shorts
  • Socks
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Flip flops/sandals
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Baseball hat
  • Scarf
  • Swimsuit
  • Technology chargers

Lightweight clothing is the easiest thing to pack as it does not take up too much space, and can easily be layered – or un-layered – depending on the weather!

Step Three: Pack Your Toiletry Bag

This is the part that always gets me in trouble the most. I have no issue when it comes to potentially wearing clothes more than one day, but I always worry when it comes to whether or not I will actually need sunscreen or if I will forget my toothbrush. I mean, really, I tell myself that if I don’t bring my dry shampoo I will actually clean my hair two days in a row, but then I don’t bring it and regret having flat hair for the entirety of the day. You get it, right? When it comes to toiletries, my go-to’s include:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hair brush and hair ties
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo
  • Sunscreen
  • Makeup
  • Face wash and makeup remover wipes
  • Face and/or body lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Glasses
  • Any medications

I always tell myself to stop here but somehow I find myself also traveling with body sprays, tweezers, stain remover, and a personal mirror. It’s a problem, I know.

So, there you have it. Now you all know how crazy I am when it comes to packing! Take a second to imagine what I’m actually like when my trips last more than a long weekend – pretty scary, I know.

When it comes to your weekend getaway essentials, what are some things you can’t live without? On the flip side, what are some things you always seem to pack but never even touch once you get to your destination? xoxo.

June 2018 | An overview

Holy cow, we are already halfway through 2018! My dad has always had a running joke throughout my childhood that once the Fourth of July hits, summer is over, and then it will be time for winter again. I’ve always tried my hardest not to listen to this piece of “advice” but, the older I get, and the way my summer breaks fall for work, the more I am starting to believe this is true – which sucks!

June came and went in what seemed like a day. It was by far the craziest, most stressful month I’ve had in a long while. Between moving, decorating, making big purchases, getting into a new routine, and becoming acclimated to my new home in North Buffalo, I feel like I didn’t really have much time to enjoy the time that was flying by all around me.

Moving took more out of me than I really thought it would, as we had the keys for quite some time before I officially took the time to move in. I figured that with my boyfriend moving all his things in first, including most of the furniture and all of the heavy lifting, my move would be an absolute breeze. Which, really, it was. It just seemed like the entire process of unpacking, building furniture, organizing, and putting on some finishing touches has taken literally forever. We still have a box of decorations in the corner of our living room waiting to be unpacked but, until those pieces find their [semi]forever home, there they sit. But really, it’s okay. I’ve come to terms with it.

A trip to IKEA, the end of the school year, the Buffalo Sabres getting the first pick in the NHL draft, Father’s Day, and some grad parties later, June really wasn’t a bad month. Here’s to hoping that this July, I will take time to appreciate what is going on in the world around me and learn to slow down. xoxo.