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What I’ve been doing other than blogging

22 Dec

Oh, hey there friends! It’s been a long time. I don’t have any excuses other than life got in the way. If you follow me on Instagram (@MJSpletzer), you might have noticed my biggest news: I’m engaged! Sebastian popped the question exactly one month ago today, and we’re as happy as clams.

Ring | www.the-wild-child.com

So what else have I been up to these past four months? In August, my parents treated me to a US Women’s soccer game for my birthday, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Then at the end of the month, I traveled to Massachusetts to celebrate my cousin Alli’s wedding. We had a blast, and I died laughing when the shuttle to the reception turned out to be a school bus.

Heinz Field | www.the-wild-child.comSchool Bus | www.the-wild-child.com

In September, I jetted off to Colorado for the US Air Force Academy family weekend. We spent four glorious days laughing, eating and just being together. I also traveled to Westfield, NY, for a little hiking and relaxation.

Family | www.the-wild-child.comTrain | www.the-wild-child.comHammock | www.the-wild-child.comWaterfall | www.the-wild-child.com

In October, the BF (now fiancé) was in town with his friend Maik. We took him to my beloved West Side Market and a freezing, cold Indians game. Later in the month, Sebastian and I spent a week of vacation hiking in Hocking Hills and then exploring and eating our way through Boston. We loved the city so much we’re heading back there for NYE.

Market Hall | www.the-wild-child.comFriends | www.the-wild-child.comRose Lake | www.the-wild-child.comCave | www.the-wild-child.comDoughnuts | www.the-wild-child.comBoston | www.the-wild-child.comOysters | www.the-wild-child.com

November found me in Germany where I was asked the most important question of my life (I said yes!). We spent the week visiting Christmas markets, preparing a Thanksgiving feast and enjoying being engaged.

engaged | www.the-wild-child.comWine | www.the-wild-child.comVeggies | www.the-wild-child.comTurkey | www.the-wild-child.comTreats | www.the-wild-child.com

And now it’s the end of December – hard to believe another year is almost over. I want to slow down time and soak in all the little moments these next few days: snuggling on the couch with my siblings, being in the kitchen with my Mom and cracking jokes with my Dad. There is nothing better than the holidays and being together with my family.

Tree | www.the-wild-child.com

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a fantastic start to the New Year! 2016 is sure to be another wild ride. Cheers! xoxo

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Anatomy of a summer weekend

13 Jul

Friday night: Indians game

Progressive Field | www.the-wild-child.com

Progressive Field | www.the-wild-child.com

Progressive Field | www.the-wild-child.com

Saturday: Family picnic and fireworks

Progressive Field | www.the-wild-child.com

Progressive Field | www.the-wild-child.com

Progressive Field | www.the-wild-child.com

Sunday: Cedar Point with your best friend

Progressive Field | www.the-wild-child.com

Progressive Field | www.the-wild-child.com

Progressive Field | www.the-wild-child.com

This has probably been one of the fullest summers I’ve had in a while, with every weekend busting at the seams. I love having plans and spending time with family and friends, but it’s making the days fly by at an alarming rate. Before we know it the season will be over. I’m doing my best to squeeze in as much as possible before it ends.

Outdoors in Oregon

12 Dec

I’m glad (well kind of glad) I ended up way behind in my travel posts. It’s nice to reminisce about summer now that every day is spent covered under an avalanche of blankets. Let’s take a trip back to the great state of Oregon. As my parents and sister say, it’s one of the best kept secrets in the U.S., and I’d honestly have to agree. It truly is a beautiful place to visit.

spencer butte trees | www.the-wild-child.com

This past summer, me and my cousin spent five days in Eugene with my sister. We had an absolute blast together trying new restaurants, checking out breweries and laughing a lot. One of our favorite days though was spent outside enjoying all that nature has to offer.

Spencer Butte difficult route| www.the-wild-child.com

Hiking in #Oregon | www.the-wild-child.com

Spencer Butte #Oregon  | www.the-wild-child.com

spencer butte summit  | www.the-wild-child.com

We started our morning with a hike up Spencer Butte, a small “mountain” near Eugene. Just for fun, and because we had no place to be, we opted for the difficult route. The hike wasn’t too bad, about a 2,000 foot climb to the summit, and the views were worth it. Even on a cloudy day you could see for miles. We rested at the top, took some hiking selfies and discussed plans for the day.

spencer butte landscape | www.the-wild-child.com

hiking selfies  | www.the-wild-child.com

Hiking Trail #Oregon  | www.the-wild-child.com

Forest in #Oregon  | www.the-wild-child.com

On the way down it was decided we’d grab lunch, change our clothes and head for the coast. The Pacific Ocean is about an hour from Eugene and we had a great day for driving – mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine.

Florence #Oregon  | www.the-wild-child.com

Sandy Path | www.the-wild-child.com

Upon arrival we were greeted by a wall of sand. But once we made it over, the views were anything short of spectacular.

It was my cousin’s first time seeing the Pacific Ocean, and we loved watching her take it all in. We spent a while walking along the beach, breathing in the salty air and collecting sand dollars. There’s something wonderful about the ocean. It makes all the worries in my life seem so small.

Pacific Ocean #Oregon | www.the-wild-child.com

sisters | www.the-wild-child.com

Pacific Ocean #Oregon#Oregon Sand Dunes | www.the-wild-child.com

Cousins  | www.the-wild-child.com

Our parents had visited a few months before and recommended we check out the sand dunes during our trip so we made our way to Sandland Adventures. We arrived just as a new tour was about to start so we quickly bought our tickets and climbed onto the giant dune buggy.

Dune Buggy in #Oregon | www.the-wild-child.com

Sand Dunes | www.the-wild-child.com

Yes, it was super cheesy at times, but also the best way to explore the dunes and learn some fun facts. For example, the Oregon sand dunes are the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America and have been constantly shifting and changing for centuries. Now you know. The company also offers a faster tour where you speed through the dunes, but you get sand thrown all over you and miss out on the history lesson.

Dune Buggy  | www.the-wild-child.com

#Oregon Sand Dunes | www.the-wild-child.com

After the tour was over, we were beat. It was time to head home, clean up and gorge ourselves on bar food and microbrews. When it was time to leave Eugene, we all agreed on another trip next summer. But my gypsy sister is moving again… this time to LA! California better be ready for us next year! As for Oregon, I’ll definitely be back because it’s just too good not to visit again.

Milano

17 May

Italy feels so long ago, but I still like to close my eyes and go back there. It was a wonderful trip – filled with friends, food and amazing cities. Although we spent the majority of our trip in Rome, we also visited Milan since Thomas, Sebastian’s twin, was studying there at the time. And we never pass up an opportunity to explore a new city, so we started and ended our vacation there.

Lucky for us, Thomas’s girlfriend Milena was also visiting – I love it when the four of us can get together. The first day we took things slow, starting at this great little restaurant called Bello e Buono that Thomas discovered on, you guessed it, Trip Advisor.

Bello E Buono #Milan #Italy | www.the-wild-child.com Gnocchi #Milan #Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

We came in at the end of a very busy lunch hour. The place was tiny so we waited patiently for a table. Everything felt quintessentially Italian – loud kitchen, homemade pasta and pizza, and traditional decor. We talked to the owner after our meal, such a nice guy, and he generously gifted us a bottle of homemade wine. Our day was off to a great start.

Eating Gnocchi #Milan #Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

Fresh Pasta #Milan #Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

Group Photo #Milan

After lunch we walked to the Milan Cathedral (Duomo) and its plaza filled with pigeons and tourists. I loved people watching there. We also checked out the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s oldest malls. I wouldn’t call it a mall, though.

#Milan #Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

#Milan #Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

#Milan #Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

Then we headed to Sforza Castle – the inside was closed but it was cool walking around the interior courtyard. It would make for a cool movie set. We wrapped up our evening at a little café to catch up and swap stories about how we met.

After Rome, we came back to Milan. The last day of our trip we went back to the Duomo and met up with Thomas and Milena at an outdoor market. We decided to pick up some fresh ingredients and spend the evening making dinner together.  Before heading home we stopped at California Bakery, near Thomas’s school, for dessert and a cappuccino. Then it was off to cook!

Duomo Daytime #Milan #Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

Pigeon Chasing #Milan #Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

Market #Milan #Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

#Milan #Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

We had a blast making dinner together. Me and Milena were dancing around in between chopping veggies, and the boys were figuring out how to recreate the deep-fried artichokes we had in Rome. When everything was said and done, our dishes included homemade guacamole, tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella, fresh bread and fried eggplant.

Dinner #Milan #Italy | www.the-wild-child.com

With just a couple of days, we only scraped the surface of Milan. But it was more fun hanging out with good friends versus trying to be super tourists. As I always say, it’s just another reason to go back some day.

I’m a bad blogger

13 May

Well, hello there. It’s been awhile. Looking back at my blogging history, April is always a rough month for me, and this year was no different. I’ve been a bad blogger again.

I leave for Germany in less than two weeks… say what?! And I still want to finish all my vacation recaps from Italy (which was MONTHS ago) and Boston before I go. More travel posts to come in the next few weeks!

In the meantime, why don’t we cover some highlights from April since I didn’t blog THE ENTIRE MONTH…

Best Part

Spending a weekend in Boston with my parents and catching up with my cousin Alli. This was our first time visiting the city, and we absolutely loved it. There is so much history in the streets, and since we were there right before the marathon, you could really feel the unity and spirit. If you’ve never been, book your trip ASAP. I’ll post a recap soon!

Family in #Boston | www.the-wild-child.com

Favorite Thing I Did

Touring the USS Constitution in Boston. I really love boats, and this one is especially cool. She is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat. And in case you didn’t guess, the ship was named after the Constitution of the USA, by none other than George Washington himself. It was one of my favorite stops on the Freedom Trail.

USS Constitution #Boston | www.the-wild-child.com

Favorite Thing I Ate

I cheated big time on my nutrition plan Easter Sunday – with good reason. We went to Limoncello in Boston’s Little Italy, and I ordered a very delicious veal parm. The meal was topped off with a stop at Mike’s Pastry and an enormous cannoli. Don’t tell my CrossFit coach.

Italian Food #Boston | www.the-wild-child.com

Cannoli in Boston | www.the-wild-child.com

Places I Visited

Just one: Boston. Seeing a theme here?

Favorite Instagram Photo

Captain in #Boston | www.the-wild-child.com

 Just call me Captain MJ

Looking Forward to Most in May

A week in Berlin with Sebastian with essentially no plans. We’re going to try out new restaurants, meet up with friends and have the most relaxing time. CAN’T WAIT.

Chapel Thrill

15 Mar

Last weekend I had the loveliest time with my dear friend Lindsay in Chapel Hill, NC. We trampolined, hung out with her fun philosophy friends (which included late nights and lots of laughs), cheered on the Tar Heels and met the sweetest dog Silke.

A mini vacation was exactly what I needed. I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful sunshine, patio-worthy weather and time with one of my favorite people in the whole world. I felt more relaxed this week and ready to take on the rest of winter. But please come soon spring.

Defty Gravity, Durham #northcarolina | www.the-wild-child.com

Ballon Animals | www.the-wild-child.com balloon animal shadows – you don’t want to know
Sweet Silke dog | www.the-wild-child.com sweet Silke
Chapel Hill #northcarolina | www.the-wild-child.com view from Top of the Hill patio

Cheering for Tar Heels | www.the-wild-child.com

Thank you Spicey for another great visit! xoxo

Weekending in Westfield

18 Feb

Happy Tuesday! Did everyone have a nice Valentine’s/Presidents Day weekend? I had such a lovely weekend getaway. After work on Friday, I drove to Westfield, NY, to meet up with family and friends at my cousin’s vacation home. I initially had plans of skiing, but we had so much fun just hanging out instead.

We slept in, played games, went sledding (in a canoe), hiked in the snow, cooked delicious meals, read books, drank wine, drank more wine, walked on frozen Lake Erie, made hot chocolate and just had the best time together.

Weekend getaway in Westfield, NY  | www.the-wild-child.com

Icicles | www.the-wild-child.com

Sleepy dog  | www.the-wild-child.com

Snowboarding  | www.the-wild-child.com

Winter hike in the snow | www.the-wild-child.com

Hiking in snow  | www.the-wild-child.com

Winter landscape  | www.the-wild-child.com

Winter hike | www.the-wild-child.com

Winter berries | www.the-wild-child.com

Sledding | www.the-wild-child.com

Canoe sledding | www.the-wild-child.com

Crashing the canoe sled | www.the-wild-child.com

Frozen Lake Erie | www.the-wild-child.com

Lake Erie Frozen | www.the-wild-child.com

Prime rib | www.the-wild-child.com

Ice castle on Lake Chautauqua | www.the-wild-child.com

My parents | www.the-wild-child.com

I feel so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life. And even though I wasn’t able to spend Valentine’s Day with Sebastian, I couldn’t have asked for better company.

P.S. Everyone keep your fingers crossed that the bf’s schedule works out. He’s supposed to visit this weekend, but there’s a chance he might need to stay in Germany. Positive thoughts people!

Afternoon at the market

11 Feb

I spent the afternoon at the West Side Market this past Saturday to celebrate my best friend’s birthday. Despite the crowds, it was such a relaxing day. We browsed all the amazing vendors, enjoyed delicious crepes (goat cheese on a crepe – yes please) and people watched from the upstairs gallery. And of course we bought cannolis to take home (although mine never made it home).

West Side Market | www.the-wild-child.com #cleveland

West Side Market meat vendor | www.the-wild-child.com #cleveland

West Side Market visit | www.the-wild-child.com #cleveland

West Side Market interior | www.the-wild-child.com #cleveland

West Side Market cannoli | www.the-wild-child.com #cleveland

Afterwards we decided to hop on over to East 4th Street for a stop at CLE Clothing Co. and some coffee at Erie Island. We even ventured into The Arcade for a little stroll.

The Arcade | www.the-wild-child.com #cleveland

I don’t make it to Cleveland nearly enough and should visit more often. It will just have to wait until spring arrives and the weather gets warmer for venturing out.

Gliding

16 Dec

Although we haven’t celebrated the Southern solstice yet, it’s safe to say winter has arrived in Northeast Ohio. The truth is I don’t really mind the snow, and I enjoy all the sports that come along with the season. Skiing and tubing are always a blast, but my favorite is definitely ice skating.

the wild child ice skating

The instant I’m on the ice, I feel like a kid again back on our pond in Newton Falls. Winter was always a fun season in my family. My dad took us for snowmobile rides through our fields and pulled us behind the tractor on the “giant sled.”  We went sledding on our barn hill, built snow men in the front yard, and of course had epic hockey games on our backyard pond.

I’ve been ice skating since I can remember, and it’s something I’ll always love. I have such fond memories of gliding across the pond, racing from end to end. I wasn’t the best with a hockey stick, but I was a good, little skater.

the wild child ice skating akron

the wild child ice skating rink

I recently discovered that Lock 3 in Akron offers ice skating during winter. If you’re looking for something to do with the family, it’s only $3 to rent skates and free if you have your own. It was great to be skating again, and you can bet I’ll be back before the rink closes in February.

the wild child ice skating skates

Cheers to the winter season and all the magic it brings. Happy gliding!

An unexpected afternoon

27 Aug

Sometimes things don’t always go as planned, and sometimes it’s alright. I recently agreed to run in a marathon relay with some of my aunts. Realizing we’re not too far from race day, my Aunt Theresa suggested we all walk a 5K together and finish at a local winery for its annual balloon festival. You know, a good team-building activity. We all decided to participate and met on Sunday to “train.”

I had every intention of walking to the winery, having a glass of wine, relaxing for a couple of hours and then driving back to my apartment. But after we finished the course, and found a great spot under a tree, it became clear the afternoon was just beginning.

IMG_4095

We tried different wines (my favorite was the white wine sangria), and soon everyone was laughing and having a great time. My goofball Dad got creative with the face painters.

facepaint

facepaint2

facepaint3

And in true Dad fashion, he talked some random guy into joining in the fun.

facepaint4

IMG_4125After we’d been there a couple of hours, my Uncle Ron suggested we all put money in a kitty, put our names in a hat, and send whoever won on a hot air balloon ride. Everyone agreed, and I did too, never thinking I would actually get picked. Before I knew it, I was scheduled to go up in a hot air balloon.

balloonride

balloonride2

balloonride3

balloonride4

I have to admit, this wasn’t something I had on my bucket list. I’m sort of afraid of heights. As the balloons started filling with air and lifting up, I was filled with excitement and nerves. The takeoff happened so quickly. One minute I was snapping photos and the next my pilot was telling me to hop in the basket. And then we were floating above the crowds, drifting off into the sun.

balloonride5

balloonride6

balloonride7

You can’t steer hot air balloons so we just floated where the wind took us. The views were incredible – something I’ll never forget. I also loved how excited people were on the ground. You could see cars pulling over to watch and people waving up to us. It was an amazing experience.

balloonride9

balloonride10

balloonride12

balloonride13

After we drifted a while my pilot found a spot to land, and then it was over. A truly unexpected afternoon – the best kind there is.