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Summer lovin’

15 Jul

It’s been one heck of a crazy summer so far. Between weekend outings, family parties and getting a new job, I feel like I haven’t had a moment to catch my breath. I’m not complaining though! I love summer and all the fun it brings.

Here are just a few of the things I’ve been up to this season:

Baseball games


Making summer dishes


Spending time together



Watching fireworks


Going to Rogers Market


Enjoying campfires


Launching lanterns


Eating hotdogs


Attending concerts


Going to the fair


I love this time of year, and I’m super excited for all the other things I still have planned. Cheers to summer!

Pittsburgh weekend

22 Apr

I headed back to the Steel City this past weekend to catch up with some of my old friends from Kent State. With everyone working and living in different areas, it’s not always easy to get together, and we all jumped at the chance for a college reunion. I love visiting Pittsburgh, and it was a perfect opportunity to catch up and further explore the city.

We started the day at Pamela’s Diner in Squirrel Hill for hotcakes and coffee. Once we were thoroughly stuffed, we headed to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to walk off our food and learn about dinosaurs, minerals and ancient cultures. Afterward we headed to the Mount Washington incline for great views of the city and a stop at Grandview Bakery. I tried the caramel apple cupcake, and it did not disappoint. We finished the day with sushi at Little Tokyo and an evening filled with wine, stories and laughter.









It was so great getting together and hanging out with the girls.

Thanks to Shantae, Rebecca and Sam for a fun weekend!

Happy birthday bff

6 Feb

Sometimes people are destined to find each other. When I was in kindergarten, I met Erika. I don’t remember exactly how our friendship started, but it’s pretty clear we were meant to be friends. We grew up on the same road and are exactly six months apart – destiny, right? I guess we’ll never know for sure, but I know I’m lucky to have her in my life.

So happy birthday Erika! (And happy half birthday to me!)


Life just wouldn’t be the same without you in it.


Snail mail

28 Jan

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone? In a world of email and text messages, it’s pretty rare to send and receive letters these days. It’s definitely old school, but there is something to be said about taking the time to send a note to those you love.

I don’t write as often as I should, but I’m trying to improve. It’s so thoughtful to hand write a note and let others know you’re thinking of them. Plus, I know how happy I feel when I find a letter or postcard in the mail.

A few people in my life will be getting letters soon, and I hope it brings a smile to their faces.


Hope your week is off to a great start. Happy Monday!

P.S. If you’re looking to catch up on nominees for Best Picture, I saw Zero Dark Thirty this weekend and definitely recommend it. I’ll be seeing Silver Linings Playbook tonight. Cheers to Oscar season!

My favorite time of year

18 Dec

The house is decorated, the gifts are wrapped, and I’m eagerly waiting the coming days. This truly is my favorite time of year, and not just because it’s Christmas. The holiday season is a time spent with family and friends, and after the tragic events of last week, there is nothing I want more than to hug those closest to me.

My little brother comes home tomorrow (yippee!), and we’ve already made plans to see “Monsters Inc.” and go tubing together. A few other holiday plans include hanging out with my best friends, attending some awesome Christmas parties, a Kent State roomie reunion and of course Christmas day with my family (my favorite day!).

The best, however, comes after Christmas when Sebastian arrives back in the states (8 days and counting). Even better is that we’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve in Florida! I’m so excited to take another trip together and spend time with my German over the holidays.

There’s so much to look forward to, I can hardly contain my excitement. So if a random girl gives you a big smile and a Christmas greeting, it’s probably me. Merry Christmas! xoxo

P.S. Any recommendations for things to do in Orlando are definitely welcome! And don’t worry, we already have Disney World covered :-)


How to win a turkey

29 Nov

The fire department in my hometown puts on a fundraiser every year called the Turkey Raffle. Don’t be confused by the name – they literally raffle off frozen turkeys. But it’s more fun than it sounds. The turkeys are raffled off in quick, five-minute rounds, and the winning ticket is chosen by a large number wheel. Your goal is to buy tickets before the wheel is spun at the end of each round. If you bought a ticket with the right number, you win!

Step 1: Find yourself a ticket guy.

Step 2: Buy some tickets.

Step 3: Wait for wheel to be spun to see if you won.

Step 4: Wheel is spun and winning number is announced.

Step 5 (a): You have the winning number. Go up and get yourself a turkey.

Step 5 (b): You didn’t win. Throw your tickets to the ground in frustration.

Step 6 (a): If you lost, go buy yourself more tickets.

Step 6 (b): If you won, go buy yourself more tickets. You can never have too many turkeys.

The Turkey Raffle was quite an experience, especially for our visiting friends from California and of course zee German. We had an awesome time though and walked away with no less than six turkeys. This may or may not have been why we cooked three for Thanksgiving this year. Oh well! Gobble gobble!

Photo booths

14 Nov

The past few years I’ve noticed a new trend at weddings: photo booths. I think it’s an awesome idea. There is just something so old school about taking pictures in a booth together. It adds a different element to the reception, and your guests have a fun souvenir to take home with them.

My cousins and I certainly had a blast at a recent family wedding.

What do you think? Would you have a photo booth at your wedding?

A little faith and some random thoughts

15 Oct

Two weeks have gone by since I arrived home from my vacation in Germany, and I’m starting to get back into the groove of things. I’m always in this weird funk when I return – my physical body is here, but my heart is somewhere else.

Last week felt especially difficult. It was a rough week at work, and I was seriously starting to doubt myself. Just when I was feeling really down, I came across this quote:

It’s so true that we often put ourselves down, or at least I do. It’s something I will try to change because I know I am worth a lot, and I should try to have more faith in my abilities.

Speaking of quotes that helped me get through the week, I am obsessed with the character Phil Dunphy from “Modern Family” and his Phil’sosophy on life. This one is my favorite:

And finally, this Saturday I attended a wedding for two of my close friends Kyle and Danielle. It was a beautiful ceremony for a beautiful couple. The reception was a blast, and I feel in a much better place this Monday.

{the lovely couple}

{Nick photobombing us – Lauren, Erika, me}

{in John’s words: we would absolutely survive the zombie apocalypse}

Cheers to the week ahead!

images via: 1, 2, 5 and my friends’ FB photos

Reflections on travel

27 Sep

Guten tag! I’m still hanging out with the BF in Germany, so I’ve asked my sister to guest post today. We both have a passion for travel, and she’ll share some thoughts on what her trips have meant to her. So, without further ado…

I would like to start by thanking my sister for allowing me post on her behalf while she takes a well-deserved hiatus from work. I’m not a blogger (though this entry might be inspiring me to change that), so when she invited me to write a guest post, I wasn’t really sure where to begin. She suggested a piece on one of my travels, so I started to reflect on the places I have visited or lived and what stood out most. I thought perhaps I could find one moment or one place that made a profound impact, and somehow changed my life. What I discovered is that everywhere I have been has touched me in its own special way.

{Grace in Ireland}


I truly believe my travels, whether great or small, have shaped who I have become. Each new adventure comes with its own set of challenges and life lessons, but more importantly, they have each left me with some wonderful memories and opened my eyes to new perspectives. That may seem like a generic statement, but it’s a true comfort to me as I prepare to embark on my next journey.

{Golden Gate Bridge at sunset}

I recently accepted a traveling position for the West Coast branch of my company (starting with a rotation in Eugene, OR), and as I have prepared for the move, the reality that I will be (greatly) distancing myself from my family, closest friends, and all that seems familiar has really started to sink in. So being able to recognize how much I have gained from my previous moves and travels has eased my anxiety about this one. It’s a big move, my biggest one yet in fact, but I now feel ready for the new challenges and experiences that lie ahead.

… and of course, knowing that I have amazing people, like MJ, supporting me doesn’t hurt either.

{sisters in Chicago}

Thanks for posting, Grace! We wish you so much success in your new adventure. Love you! xoxo

Days go by

11 Sep

Well hello there, mid-September. You sure came out of nowhere! Is anyone as surprised as me how quickly these last few weeks have flown by? I didn’t even realize we were in a new month.

August came and went, but there were some fun-filled days before it ended. My sister made a few trips home before her big move west. That’s right folks, Grace is heading to Eugene, Oregon, and we’re very excited for her. I’m sure there will be some trips that way in my future, especially since both my siblings have relocated out West.

Anyway, during one of her visits home, we rounded up a group of friends and headed to karaoke night. Singing and drinking turned into taking shots and plenty of laughs – and some stellar performances! My little cousin Kelsey sure can belt out a tune.

On the last day of the month, I took my dog to work. I work at an advertising agency, and we’re dog-friendly. Needless to say, I think he had more fun than I did.

{happy puppy}

Finally, I spent most of Labor Day weekend relaxing and shopping, but I did make a trip to the Canfield Fair. French fries, lemonade shakes, special people, super-sized pumpkins and ponies – doesn’t get much better than that!

{I will call him Li’l Sebastian}

Now that September is in full swing, I’m busy wrapping up things at work and preparing for another trip across the pond. I love to travel, and I’m extra excited for this trip. It feels like ages since I’ve seen Sebastian.

10 days! xoxo

P.S. My post from 9/11 last year. I think the theme still holds true today. Never forget.