Tag Archives: good times

Happy birthday to me

6 Aug

Today I turn 24 years old. Unlike a lot of people my age, I’m not freaking out about getting older. In fact, I like getting older. It often feels that each year is better than the next.

These past few birthdays, I’ve started taking some time to reflect on all that I’ve done in the past year. I continue to notice how quickly time flies by. It seems like yesterday I was graduating college and in a blink of an eye, more than two years have gone by.

I have to say though, as fast as it went, year 23 was pretty great. I kicked off my birthday celebrations with a trip to Pittsburgh with my bff. I was promoted at my job. I traveled to Amsterdam, Berlin and the Dominican Republic. I ran three 5Ks and started getting back in shape. And my favorite was celebrating two wonderful years with my boyfriend. What a year.

The most important thing to note is I can honestly say I’m happy with my life right now. As fun as this past year was, there are still big things ahead, and year 24 is already shaping up to be pretty awesome. I’ll be traveling to Germany in September to spend time in Berlin and Munich. I couldn’t be more excited (47 days!!!).

So cheers to another birthday and the year ahead. I’m already looking forward to it.

images via

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I get by with a little help from my friends

3 Aug

I had one of those aha moments yesterday at a happy hour with some coworkers. We were all sitting around a table outside at a little Mexican restaurant, sipping on margaritas and munching on chips. There was a lot of laughter, funny name-guessing games and storytelling.

When I got in my car to drive home, I realized how lucky I am to have people like this in my life. People like my best friends Erika and Lindsay, my siblings, my parents, Sebastian, my coworkers – everyone helps me get by each day.

It’s easy to let life get you down sometimes. From stresses at work to missing my boyfriend to figuring out future plans. But I have great friends. They bring laughter into my life when I can’t find it on my own.

Thanks to all you wonderful people.

images via

The happiest 5K on the planet

23 Jul

This past weekend was an absolute blast. After work on Friday, I drove to Columbus to spend some time with my sister and run a 5K together. It wasn’t just any old 5K – it was The Color Run.

You may have heard about this colorful race that’s sweeping the nation. If not, let me explain. The Color Run is a 5K where you’re blasted with color (aka colored powder) at each kilometer. You start the race wearing white and finish covered in color. Sea of white before, colorful people after:

Grace and I met up with our friend Allison to run the course, and we had a great time.

{the aftermath – Allison, Grace and me}

After the race, everyone participated in a color throw. This is how we celebrated completing the course (and added even more color to our clothes).

The course ended at the Columbus Jazz and Rib Fest. So of course we loaded up on ribs before heading back to Grace’s apartment. We were a little tuckered out from the race (and the ribs) so we decided to spend the rest of the day relaxing.

{rib fest}

On Sunday we made cinnamon rolls, and then it was time for me to head home, but not before stopping in Hudson for a soccer game. I signed up to play on a co-ed team, and it was our first game. We lost 2-1, but man did it feel good to be back on the field.

{love this gear}

I don’t know about you, but with summer weekends like that, it’s hard to be bummed out on a Monday.

Here’s to a great week ahead!

250 some people love my brother

18 Jun

Well, probably more than that – what can I say he’s a lovable guy – but that is the number of people who attended his graduation party Friday night (at our house).

Despite all the work, looking back it was an awesome weekend. Thursday night, Fred (my dad’s friend) and Elaina (his daughter) drove in from Michigan to help with the party. I worked from home Friday and spent the morning setting up tables and chairs in between checking e-mail and finishing reports. By the start of the party, we were all set up and ready to go.

When you attend a party at my house, you won’t leave hungry. My mom is an amazing cook and she didn’t disappoint. The menu consisted of beef and ham sandwiches, sausage and peppers, parsley potatoes, pasta salad, pasta and meatballs, potato salad, fruit salad and three different cakes. Yes, three. I ate my little heart out and so did everyone else.

{clockwise from top left corner: shrine to Joe, posing with his baby cake, the neighborhood kids all grown up, volleyball games}

The atmosphere was great. We were all there to celebrate Joe, and I had a lovely time visiting with several of my dear friends and family. When the party officially ended, no one wanted to leave, and we didn’t make them. We started a campfire and watched as my brother and his friends played hide-and-go-seek. There is nothing like a warm summer night to make you feel like a kid again.

When the big shindig was over, we needed some time to relax. After a quick morning run and some clean up Saturday, we spent the day lounging by the pool, playing cornhole and listening to oldies. And of course we ate tons of leftover food. Cake for breakfast? Yes, please.

That night I made everyone talked everyone into going to the drive-in to see Madagascar 3. We munched on popcorn and laughed our asses off. Why are animated films so good? I don’t know, but I love them.

{don’t mind the blurry pic – me and Elaina at the drive-in}

Elaina and Fred went home Sunday, and we celebrated Father’s Day with my dad. After church and a nap, the boys headed out to play golf (even though it was raining), and my mom and I decided to watch golf. I normally do not get into this particular sport, but I spent a good part of the day watching the U.S. Open and of course eating leftover food.

Now that the weekend is over, I’ll be going on a serious cleanse (no more cake for breakfast) and spending some extra time with my brother. He leaves for the Air Force Academy in 9 days, and I plan to annoy him as much as possible. Let’s be honest – what else are big sisters for?

The peppiest kids around

8 May

This past weekend I headed to Chapel Hill to visit one of my dearest friends, Lindsay. She’s attending UNC for her PhD in philosophy. We met as young kids at 4-H camp, and we’ve remained close ever since. Lindsay is one of those friends I don’t see all that often, but when we do, it’s like we’ve never spent a day apart.

This weekend was no different. We found ourselves on several unplanned adventures, which always ended with plenty of laughter. I arrived Thursday evening and we began exploring Chapel Thrill (as Lindsay calls it). After some froyo at Sweet Frog, we made an impromptu decision to attend an amateur comedy show. Although there were several free drinks involved, the comedy was mediocre at best. We did die laughing when one of the amateurs decided to read William Wallace’s freedom speech from Braveheart in a horrible Scottish accent. It was amazing.

{enjoying some froyo}

I had to work on Friday and Lindsay still had some talks to attend. We were able to get away for a bagel break and a walk through the Coker Arboretum to soak up the gorgeous day. Later that night we went for dinner at Top of the Hill and then met up with some of her philosophy friends at this great wine bar, Peccadillo. If you’re visiting Chapel Hill, and can find it, I highly recommend it. The evening turned into morning and we finally went to bed at 6 a.m.

{Coker Arboretum}

{Peccadillo}

Saturday was a sleepy day, and we finally made it out the door by late afternoon. We went for lunch at Buns and then made our way toward Carrboro, stopping at little shops along the way. Unfortunately, we were caught in the rain and headed back to Chapel Hill. With the weather not cooperating, we decided a night in would be a good idea. We made pasta, used facial masks and watched one of our favorite movies, Mean Girls.

{enjoying our facial masks}

We finally made it to Carrboro on Sunday for a fantastic lunch at The Spotted Dog where I ate the best quesadilla of my life. And then it was time for me to head home. The weekend went by fast, but we had such a fun time together. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

Thanks for a wonderful weekend, Lindsay! xoxo

A happy memory

24 Jan

When the weather is cold and gloomy, I like to think back to warmer days and happy memories. This past June, I traveled to Germany for Sebastian’s graduation. Afterward, we spent three glorious days in Mallorca, Spain. Here is one my favorite memories from that trip:

It was our second night in S’Arraco and we had spent the entire day at the beach in Sant Elm, soaking up the sun. It was one of those really perfect days when the weather was spectacular and the water temperature just right. There’s something rejuvenating about lying on a towel, listening to your iPod, feeling the warm sand between your toes – it just makes you happy.

{Sant Elm}

After a relaxing day, we came home and decided to make shrimp alfredo for dinner. Sebastian started preparing the meal, and I began setting the table out on the terrace. It was a warm night, but the village was quiet, and I enjoyed watching the sun set and playing with the house cat. I sat at the table and smiled as I listened to Sebastian singing while he cooked.

{kitty}

When everything was ready, we set out our feast. Fresh bread, tomatoes with mozzarella and of course the shrimp alfredo. We ate until we were stuffed and sat there talking while the candle burned down. When the temperature had cooled down outside, we cleaned up the kitchen and went to bed.

{dinner is served}

{homemade shrimp alfredo}

A perfect day, a yummy meal, a happy memory.

I Amsterdam and a little Berlin too

4 Jan

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2012 and my trip to Europe has come and gone. It was another wonderful trip though, and I’m already looking forward to the next one (fingers crossed for Oktoberfest this year).

We started our vacation in Amsterdam. I was flying there to save money, and we figured we might as well make the most of it. Sebastian had been to the city before, but it had been almost ten years, and we were both excited to explore. If you’ve never been, it really is a charming city with all the lovely canals and diversity among its residents. We spent the first day getting to know the city and the majority of time walking around. Our hotel was located in the Red Light District. The stories are true, and the girls really do stand in the windows – wearing nothing but lingerie. Once you get past that though, I have to say it is one of the nicer and more livelier areas. And home to a Burger Bar, where I had one of the best burgers and the most AMAZING Belgian Fries – freshly cut, cooked twice, fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, delicious.

{charming canals}

After spending the day exploring, we took a candlelight cruise through the canals. We sipped red wine, ate a variety of Dutch cheeses and watched the city float by. It was a very relaxing and romantic evening.

The following day we went to the several museums including the Rembrandt House and the Heineken brewery tour. The Rembrandt House was fantastic. It’s so cool to be in a building more than 500 years old and stand in rooms where Rembrandt lived and created art. The Heineken Experience, as they call it, was also a lot of fun. The tour is very interactive and of course there is drinking involved. We spent a lot of time laughing together (as we did for most of the trip).

{Basti enjoying the Heineken Experience}

We finished the second night by trying Lieve, a Belgian restaurant – after reading a review on another blog (thanks Glocal Girl) – and it didn’t disappoint.  We chose the Living Room style dining with three courses. During the dinner, we tried potato sushi, steak tartare, grilled steak of Boeuf Blonde, deer and wild boar stew, mini chestnut cakes and an apple cinnamon parfait – amazing.

The final day in Amsterdam we spent the morning at the Anne Frank House. I read The Diary of Anne Frank when I was a young girl, and it was incredible to be in the room where she actually wrote. I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like to experience what she did, and I’m thankful the museum was created so we don’t forget those times. After that we went to our favorite breakfast spot in the city, Bagels & Beans, and spent the rest of the day sightseeing. This included a stop at the famous I AMsterdam sign and of course another meal at the Burger Bar. That night we flew to Berlin for the next part of our trip.

{me and the I AMsterdam sign}

We spent four days in Berlin and it absolutely flew by. I had already visited Berlin before, and Sebastian is frequently there for work, so it was nice to relax and not feel pressure to see the city. We stayed at a hotel that offered apartment-style rooms, which means we had a kitchen. Almost every morning we  went to the grocery store, bought food for the day, and came back to our little kitchen to make breakfast together. I can’t express how nice it is to do day-to-day activities with Sebastian. These are rarities for us and it’s nice to enjoy them.

{the Brandenburg Gate – looking stunning as usual}

Of course we didn’t spend all the time relaxing. We ate at some great restaurants, visited with a friend and did some sightseeing, including the Checkpoint Charlie museum, Brandenburg Gate, the Museum Island and the Reichstag building. We returned to the Brandenburg Gate on New Year’s Eve (along with one million other people) and it was crazy. The Germans sure know how to party, and it’s definitely a night I won’t soon forget. New Year’s Day was our last day together and the following morning it was back to the States.

{Happy New Year!}

I already miss Sebastian, but it’s a new year, and I’m excited to see where it will take us. Cheers!

One big, happy family

30 Oct

It’s been almost a month since Grace moved home. I can’t say it’s been easy, but slowly but surely we’ve started adjusting to having everyone at home. And so far, it’s been nice. Like tonight for example. We all sat down and had Sunday dinner together. This is something we used to do back in the day, and I forgot how great it is.

I’ve also been spending a lot more time with my sister. We’re only 20 months apart, so we’ve always been close. However, with her living in Chicago we haven’t been able to talk as often as we’d like. So needless to say, it’s been nice hanging out and doing things together.

A couple weekends ago we ran a 5K and this past weekend we celebrated Halloween together. All in all it’s been good, and I’m looking forward to what else these next few months will hold.

In other news: SEBASTIAN IS COMING FOR THANKSGIVING! 18 days and counting. I can’t wait!

running{running the 5K}

halloween{happy halloween}

Germany – part one

20 Jul

It’s still hard to believe that only five weeks ago, I jumped on a plane and headed to Germany. My trip was over in a flash, and now I’m back to the weekly grind. But the memories are still fresh, and I’ll hold onto them closely until I get to see Sebastian again. So here it is, a look back on my trip to Germany.

On June 9, I headed to the Pittsburgh Airport ready for a long day of travel. My flight to New York was delayed, which wasn’t a big deal because my flight out of JFK didn’t leave until 9 p.m. I arrived at JFK, had a new boarding pass issued, purchased some water (it was crazy hot in that airport) and sat on the cool floor to check my e-mail. The hours passed quickly, but unfortunately, a thunderstorm hit New York right around 8:30 p.m. We boarded the plane anyway and sat on the tarmac for another two hours. Singapore Airlines was amazing though and made sure everyone was comfortable. They came around with blankets, pillows, snacks and anything you wanted to drink. Needless to say, my seven hour flight ended up turning into a nine hour flight. By the time I landed in Frankfurt, I was so happy to be off that plane. I grabbed my carry-on and headed to customs and then on to baggage claim (but not before stopping  to freshen up – nine hours on a plane does nothing for one’s appearance).

The first picture we took together

Minutes seemed like hours waiting for my bags to come, and finally I saw my last one, grabbed it and headed through the doors. I scanned the crowds and found what I was looking for – my boyfriend, waiting for me. We both just smiled, walked toward each other and then he gave me the longest hug. (It’s weird how some of my favorite moments have taken place in airports). We stood there for another ten minutes and then decided we should probably leave the airport. First we exchanged some of my traveler’s checks for Euros and then went to Wiesbaden for some pasta from Vapiano, and a quick stop at the train station to pick up his roommate, Marc. Then we headed for his apartment in Oestrich-Winkel (which I lovingly refer to as the OW) to relax before the big Friday night dinner.

Around 6 p.m., Sebastian’s family (Mr. Blumenthal, Mrs. Blumenthal and his twin brother Thomas) arrived at his apartment. So did Max’s sister Amelie (Max is Sebastian’s other roommate). All of us headed to this lovely little winery to meet up with Marc’s family and Max’s parents. The rest of the night was a blur as the jet lag began to set in. But I had a nice time, and as far as I could tell, so did everyone else. However, after all the wine, and German conversations I couldn’t quite follow, I was definitely ready for bed.

We woke up early on Saturday to head back to Wiesbaden for the graduation weekend extravaganza. The day started with Mass. To be honest, I have no idea what denomination the church was, or if it was technically Mass, because the entire service was in German. I probably would have fallen asleep except Lukas, Sebastian’s good friend, was sitting next to me and kept “translating” the speech. According to him, it was a rant about the United States, which included phrases like “death to America” and “that Satan country” and “may they all burn in hell.” It made me laugh and kept me awake. There were also some nice musical intermissions from the EBS band (a student band named after the university: European Business School), and the songs were in English. My favorite song, however, came at the end of Mass when we all stood and sang “Oh Happy Day,” which the pastor mentioned was from the acclaimed movie “Sister Act.” Don’t get me wrong, they did a really nice job, but I just couldn’t stop myself from laughing.

Sebastian and Thomas after Mass in Wiesbaden

After Mass, we headed to the Kurhaus for the graduation ceremony (you can read about it’s history at the link). Straight from the Kurhaus website it says, “The Wiesbaden Kurhaus, a site of marvellous historical architecture combined with up-to-date conveniences is an experience by itself, a successful synthesis, a harmonious blend of beauty, functionalism, and recreation facilities.” And they aren’t lying – it’s gorgeous inside and out. I was happy to sit and take in the surroundings (especially since my heels were starting to kill me). I sat between Mr. Blumenthal and Thomas and waited for the ceremony to begin. All of a sudden loud music started playing and the graduates began walking in to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme song (and no, I’m not joking). It was dramatic and interesting and defintely different from the usual “Pomp and Circumstance.” However, shortly after the big entrance, my jet lag started kicking in again, and I almost fell asleep a few times. Luckily, Mr. Blumenthal decided to translate parts for me, so I was able to enjoy some of the ceremony. Thomas and I also had a nice time laughing about the music choice while the diplomas were being awarded (it was like carnival music from a merry go-round). And finally, Sebastian walked up on stage to receive his diploma. He looked really happy, and I was proud of him.

The traditional hat toss after graduating

So after 250-some students received their diplomas (which lasted a little longer than it should have), we were finally done and ready to enjoy the day. We headed out into the main room to eat pretzels, drink champagne and force Sebastian to take many photos (which my camera-shy boyfriend was not all too happy about). And then we went outside to the Biergarten (beer garden) to spend the afternoon in the sun.

The happy graduate - one of the nice pictures he took

Enjoying the biergarten

Around 2:30 p.m., I headed to my hair appointment. That evening we were attending the graduation ball, complete with tuxedos, evening gowns and a fancy dinner. I was not going to do my own hair. Sebastian’s friend Sonja was kind enough to make an appointment for me and even translate for the hairstylists how I wanted it done. It was a nice salon, and my hair looked great, but I was a little shocked by the price: 90 Euros! I didn’t understand why it was so expensive, but they simply told me it was because they had curled my hair. I politely cursed them out handed over the cash. It did look really great, so I got over it quickly. It even turned out to be a funny joke as the boys kept reminding me how much my hair was worth.

After my hair was done, we headed to the hotel to finish getting ready and then headed back to the Kurhaus for the graduation ball. It was spectacular. The evening began with more champagne and continued pleasantly from there. The food was great, the never-ending supply of wine was fantastic, the entertainment was entertaining, and I had a wonderful time. It almost made we wish I had gone to their school… almost. After the four-hour dinner, with entertainment intermissions, the real party began. Most of the parents left for the night, and the rest of us headed across the hall for the dance party/drink fest. I met many of Sebastian’s classmates, laughed a lot, drank too much and even danced a little (after Sonja and Amelie dragged me out on the floor). I honestly can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. We finally made our way back to the hotel around 3 a.m. and called it a night.

The three kings of the OW (Basti and his roommates Marc and Max)

Inside the Kurhaus ballroom

My favorite picture from the night

The next morning we awoke with slight headaches, but still in great moods from the previous evening. We checked out of the hotel and headed to the EBS campus for a graduation brunch (like I said – weekend extravaganza). I was a little sleepy, and out of it, but it was a beautiful afternoon outside and the brunch was nice. We stayed for about two hours and finally went back to the apartment to relax a little. But not for too long. Sebastian and I were flying out at 3:30 a.m. for Mallorca, Spain, and we still had to pack for our trip.

We did manage to squeeze in a coffee break with some of his friends and dinner that evening at a little Italian restuarant. There was even some excitement when Max realized he had left his passport in Munich… when he was flying to Morocco with Marc the next day. He sorted it out though and everyone went to bed. Sebastian, the smart one, went to sleep while I decided to stay up. I finished packing and finally crawled into bed shortly before my alarm would go off. I couldn’t sleep though. It was a wonderful weekend, and I was too excited for our vacation in Spain. (More to come in part two!)

Side Note: When you visit another country where you don’t know the language, it is extremely intimidating and even overwhelming at times. I want to say thank you to a few special people who have never treated me like an outsider and have always been so welcoming: Mr and Mrs. Blumenthal, Thomas, Lukas, Kathrin, Max, Marc, Sonja, Amelie, Tobias, Johannes and of course, Sebastian. You guys are the best!

Hair Drama

25 Mar

After months of putting it off, I’m getting my hair cut tomorrow. My excuse is that I’ve been too busy to make a trip to the salon, but the truth is I hate getting my hair cut (What am I? Five?). I know, I know, it will eventually grow back, but a bad haircut experience in high school still makes me cringe every time my hairdresser picks up her scissors.

Mandy Moore (courtesy of google images)

This is what my hair was supposed to look like. (courtesy of Google Images)

When I was a freshman, I decided to cut my hair similar to Mandy Moore. Looking back now, it wasn’t the best idea. My hair is naturally wavy. The shorter it gets, the wavier it gets. My short hair was out of control, and I had no idea what to do with it. Since then, I’ve hated getting haircuts. It’s gotten easier with time, but I still put it off as long as possible (which is probably why my hair is so long).

However, I’m being a big girl on Saturday and heading to the salon. I’ve decided to change things up and add shorter layers (pause for ooohs and aaaahs). Even though I might cry after, I’m a teeny bit excited.

And if it turns out horrible, I’ll still be on a high from hanging out with Lindsay (a.k.a. Spicey) that it won’t even matter. Lindsay, one of my dearest friends, has been studying at the University of Cambridge since September. For this reason, I haven’t seen her (in person) for months. However, she’s visiting the States for a few days, and I will be seeing her this weekend. We always have the best times together, and I couldn’t be more excited. Let the fun begin!