Friday I’m In Love

fall_leavesIt’s 70 degrees today. In Buffalo. In November. Say whaaaat? Get out there, Western New Yorkers! Enjoy it while you can because, despite today’s record-setting warmth, we’re supposed to get our first snowfall of the year this weekend. Booooo! But, no matter what happens, we can only be grateful that we aren’t experiencing anything like we did two years ago today, when we were literally buried under several feet of snow.

I didn’t get around to posting a Friday I’m In Love last week, so here are some of the things that have caught my attention over the past couple weeks.

This was one of my favorite pieces that I read following the election. It was circling social media quite a bit last week, but in case anyone missed it, you’re welcome. Love me some Leslie Knope.

Another awesome product that has come out of the election is Artists Against the Wall, a project started by my co-worker, Desiree, and a couple of her friends. Their goal is to reach people from all over the world, asking for art submissions that promote a sense of unity. I love that they’re using their craft as an avenue to speak up for what they believe in the best way that they know how.

One of my other co-workers shared this inspiring video from the Young Women’s College Prep Charter School in Rochester, NY. There is so much good in the world.

I’ve been a big fan of Frank Lloyd Wright since first learning about architecture at a career day in elementary school. I finally visited the gorgeous Darwin Martin House here in Buffalo last winter, but it was still under heavy construction at the time. I can’t wait to go back, now that the first floor renovation is mostly complete!

A pizza crawl?! Count me in!

Speaking of Buffalo food, I can’t wait to try Ru’s Pierogi, now opened as of this week! Here’s a great overview by Al and Scott from In a DC Minute.

One more food link because, food. Toast is something I hadn’t really thought much about. I tend to stick with plain old peanut butter, but now, after reading this post from Nkay at NKMstyling, I can’t wait to experiment with all different kinds of toast.

Ok, I lied when I said one more food link. But this one’s sorta crafty too! Here’s a fun way to spice up your Thanksgiving pie. I’m too excited for turkey dinner.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

How to Find Inspiration & Overcome an Off Week

Inspiration on the coastThen you set out to make
Something great
But nothing comes out

It’s been one of those weeks during which I started a million things, but can’t seem to finish even one. Call it a post-election rut.

In a post last week, I stated that I think everyone strives for greatness, no matter what that means to each individual. But sometimes, it doesn’t always work out as planned. Roadblocks happen; we all have these draining periods. In times like these, how do you rekindle inspiration to move forward and continue on the path of success? Where do you turn?

I’ve read about a million different ways to find inspiration throughout the years, trying many. I enlisted the help of some friends, as well, asking how they lift themselves out of that sinking black hole feeling. Here’s a list of the things that have worked to help me and a few friends find inspiration, boost our moods, and get back to accomplishing our goals.


Perspective in the Wake of the Election

Flag formed by children

Flag formed by children

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Take a moment and let that soak in for a second. It’s a lesson that could not come at a more important time.

I woke up today feeling sad. And not just because of the outcome of the election, but because of the exhaustive hate that I found on social media. Hate spewing from all sides. This is not about who won, or who didn’t. It’s not about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about all of us.

I don’t fear an America under a Donald Trump presidency. I fear the furthering of the divide that we’re already facing. And not because of anything that one man could single-handedly say or do (though he sure doesn’t help sometimes), but because of us. I fear the first shooting, the first riot, the first expression of hate that escalates beyond words.

Each one of us, each one of you, has an opinion. But your perspective isn’t everything. It’s urgent for us listen to one another. Truly listen and consider other’s opinions. It’s ok to disagree, but you can do it without degradation or bigotry. Please think before you spread hate.

I know people who are truly good at the core, kind and sound moral people, who voted both ways. We will be ok, but we must begin to accept that we are one. It’s up to us to drive change; we are America, not the President. We’re the ones on the front lines combating crime, supporting our communities, and shaping today’s youth. I want my future children to live in a world where they know nothing but acceptance. It’s up to us to take action and shape our nation.

Our individual experiences and thoughts drive our perspectives. What a simple concept, but one so easy to lose sight of. Without that fundamental understanding, where will we be? Surely not the America that was built on freedom. I urge you again, please be kind to one another. This is so important.

UPDATE: November 10, 2016

I wanted to update this post following several conversations I had yesterday. Part of my point was to listen to what others are saying and consider their perspectives, so that’s just what I’ve been doing.

I think it’s important for me to clarify a few things. I don’t believe for a second that people should keep their beliefs silenced, or subdue their individual voices for the sake of kindness. In fact, we must express frustration and anger when something we believe is being questioned; change will not make itself. We have the right and responsibility to stand up for what we believe through both voice and action. But every person in this country has that right, whether or not you agree with them. And that is the messy part.

Everyone’s experiences and backgrounds are different. Remember, we don’t see the world as it really is, we see it as we know it based on what we’ve been through, who we know, where and how we grew up…the list of factors that shapes us is infinite.

Since we’ve all experienced differences that have led us to our individual perspectives, of course there will be disagreements. And that’s healthy. It’s ok if you don’t like what someone has to say. You don’t have to agree or accept it. Tell them; stand up for yourself and what you believe. I guess my naive hope is just that you will be thoughtful of others in choosing your words, before saying something hateful and offensive. Spiteful rhetoric gets us nowhere.

And look, I get it. It’s hard to be kind to someone whose beliefs are totally opposite yours. In no way do I believe I am above that. I have a temper and beliefs too, and I will voice my opinion when I think someone has wronged me or is being a sexist asshole, for example. I’m not suggesting that everyone should be friendly and act like everything is ok when it’s not.

But, I guess all I’m saying is, before you engage in hate, I hope that you will take a second and think about the implications your words and actions will have on your neighbors, your friends, your children, and your communities. And I’m going to work on that too. Because, in the end, I think we’re all just striving to live the best lives we can as the best people we can be, whatever that means to each one of us.

{Image: Flag formed by children, 1910. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division}

Friday I’m In Love

House in FallThis week, I saw my first Target Christmas commercial, peppermint stick ice cream was for sale in the freezer aisle, and I read that Amazon already has Black Friday deals. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Christmas, but when did we start skipping November? RIP, Thanksgiving.

Before even thinking about all that mumbo jumbo, we have to make it through this upcoming week. It sure is going to be an interesting one over here in the good old US of A. No matter what happens, I hope that the collective we can get over ourselves, accept the election results, and move forward as a united front. If we can’t do that, we’re in trouble. Please remember we’re all in this together. Can’t we all just get along?

Remember my friend Michelle, who I featured in my series Run the World? Here is a fantastic breakdown of all the fact checking that she and her colleagues at the Post have been up to this election season.

Speaking of the election, I don’t know anything about this contest, but it cracked me up.

Loving this November desktop wallpaper feature one of my favorites, pie. Now that’s what I’m talking about – a little love for ya, turkey day!

If you haven’t heard yet, you’ll soon be able to shop on Instagram! Sorta.

I’m totally feeling these Rustic Modern living room designs. My living room is made for this.

My living room is also made for built-ins. What a dream. They’re at the top of my list for the house, but definitely aren’t a weekend project.

Grace Bonney does it again! Business is hard. Real, relatable talk makes it just a little bit easier. I love her.

Have a great weekend, everybody! And please remember to be kind to one another.

Psychics and Mediums: What Do You Believe?

psychic illustrationThe past two years around Halloween, a group of women from my office gathered together for a psychic party. We headed to one of our houses for the evening, snacks and cocktails in hand, and hired a psychic-medium or two. As the rest of us relaxed and chatted, each of us had a private, 20-minute reading.


Friday I’m In Love: Halloween Edition

Halloween haunted house

Spooky doorway to a Halloween-season attraction in Fort Worth, Texas

Haunted houses, costume parties, ghost walks, horror movie marathons, pumpkin carving contests, you name it. Halloween weekend is here! What’s your favorite way to celebrate?

Halloween seemed to really sneak up this year, didn’t it? If you’re like me, and waited until today to sort out a plan and a costume, don’t panic. It’s not too late! Here are lots of last-minute ideas.

Buffalonians, here’s Step Out Buffalo’s list of the best Halloween events around town. (And, the best Halloween parties, too.)

If you’re throwing your own party this weekend:

• To set the mood, a Halloween playlist.

• Some festive Halloween dinner ideas.

• Delicious Halloween cocktails for the adults!

• Followed by chocolate bark Halloween brownies for dessert!

• A list of horror movies to play for your guests.

Studio DIY’s life-saving roundup of DIY costume ideas. See ya at the craft store!

Advanced pumpkin carving templates for those who can’t draw, like me. (Let’s be real, I doubt my carving skills are advanced enough to do this despite the template. But I’ll give it a real effort!)

I hate haunted houses (way too chicken), so this one is definitely too scary for me. Would you do it?

Whether you have kids with allergies, or leave your light on for trick-or-treaters, here are some great tips for keeping Halloween allergy-friendly.

Ok, this is a Christmas thing technically, but Stranger Things sorta fits into the Halloween theme, right? This Peanuts version of Stranger Things is so good.

Whatever your plans, I hope you have a safe, fun, and perfectly spooky weekend!

{Image: The Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.}

Friday I’m In Love (& Marriage)

first dance

Katie and Eric’s first dance

I’m happy to report that I followed my own set of rules from last Friday’s post. I was able to set everything aside to fully immerse myself in my sister’s wedding. And boy, was it worth it. The day couldn’t have been more perfect.

Katie and the dresses (see below for more info about those!)

Katie and the dresses (keep reading for more info!)

One of my favorite details was the collection of family dresses shown above. On the far left is our grandma’s wedding dress, second from left is our mom’s, the third dress is Eric’s mom’s, and the hot pink number is our great grandma’s. Each one had a tag to let guests know who the dress belonged to and the date on which they married their sweetheart. How cool and sweet is that?! When I first saw all the dresses together, especially with Katie standing in front of them like that, my eyes welled right up.

With the wedding also came the opportunity to see family from all over the country, a rare treat.


My cousin, Andrew, and me


Me and my cousin, Amy

Overall, we had a wonderful celebration! I’m ecstatic that my sister found the man of her dreams, and that I gained my very first brother. A great one at that!

Ok, moving on from wedding stuff… here are some things that have been happening while I’ve been preoccupied.

I love this feature by Yeah! Buffalo about Rise Collaborative. I can’t wait to read No Boundaries, out today!

If you’re a Buffalo-area blogger, please consider joining us in the newly-formed Buffalo Blogging Network. October meetup TBA. Contact me, or use the contact form on the BBN site, to learn more!

Upstate Social Sessions is happening tomorrow in Rochester. Unfortunately, I can’t make it, but if you’re able to go, please let me know how it was!

Have a casual 4.5 mil? Me neither. Maybe we can put our lunch money together because the Mrs. Doubtfire house is for sale.

I cannot. wait. to see the pieces in this collab between Dwell and Target.

I was a little late to the Stranger Things party, but I love this article about the typeface used in the title design.

Women in tech, yeahhh!

Halloween costumes through the years. What was popular when you were a kid?

Ok, guys. This one is serious. Italy might be having a pizza crisis.

Between wedding prep, visiting with family, and catching up at work, the reality of my life as of late has been that I haven’t had much time to dedicate to tracing paper. So, thank you for sticking with me because I love it here. Please stay tuned. 

Have a lovely weekend!

{Photo of the dresses by my mom, all others by Julie Everett}

A Different Kind of Friday I’m In Love

Katie and meMy sister gets married tomorrow. I mean, what?! It’s not often that you get to say something like that in life, especially when you only have one sister.

Yesterday, Mom and I spent the day helping her with all the finishing touches. Today, we’ll set up and decorate for the reception, rehearse, and sit down to enjoy a rehearsal dinner before the chaos begins tomorrow.

Katie and I are very different people, but, like all siblings, we have this major common denominator of a shared upbringing that connects us. As I wrote my Maid of Honor toast, I did a lot of reflecting on our childhood, and damn, we were lucky. Our parents were (and still are) loving, supportive, and allowed us to truly be ourselves, unconditionally. I want to say all kinds of things about how much I love my sister and Eric here, but I’ll leave all that for the toast.

This weekend, I want to make a point of soaking in every second. I learned from my sister’s bridal shower, and several of my best friends’ weddings, that those hours fly by fast. Real fast.

I want to remember to take lots of pictures, but be present.

I want to put my patience hat on when things aren’t going just right. Let it go; if something’s not perfect, it will not overshadow the day. It’s likely no one else will even notice.

I want to support my sister however I can and make sure she has the happiest, most memorable day possible.

Any advice as we dive headfirst into Katie’s wedding weekend? I hope you all have a fantastic weekend too!

A totally unrelated P.S. – Grace Bonney’s In the Company of Women came out this week; I cannot WAIT for my copy to arrive. Who run the world?

Friday I’m In Love

mayerbros_tracingpaperAHHHH, it’s officially my favorite season! I spent yesterday, the glorious first day of autumn, on an airplane and then in the 98-degree heat of Fort Worth, Texas. In saving grace, last weekend I ventured to Mayer Brothers Cider Mill for apple cider and cider donuts. Now that’s the way to kick off the Fall season. 

I’m dancing in my bed here at the hotel in Forth Worth, excited to get home to cooler temps and a weekend full of pumpkins, cider, hayrides, and bonfires.

Here’s a roundup of all things Fall to get the party started!

FALL CLOTHES, one of my favorite parts of the season!

My house was meant for Fall colors and this entire Dot & Bo roundup.

What are your favorite fall things? Here are DC Minutes’!

As it gets colder outside and I get cuddlier on the couch inside, all I want to do is curl up and read. Might add a few of these to the reading list!

Who else never thinks about a Halloween costume until the day before? Not this year!

What will you do to achieve your goals this Fall?

How will you celebrate the first weekend of the new (and best) season?

Fifteen Years Later


3,000 flags at the Healing Field, a 9/11 Memorial in Buffalo

7th grade pre-algebra class. A panic-stricken teacher ran in, interrupting our integers lesson, and whispered to Mrs. Potashnik. Taken aback, but quickly pulling herself together as the other teacher left the room, Mrs. P. told us that two planes had hit the World Trade Center. She followed up with something like, “But there’s nothing we can do about it now, so let’s get back to math.”