Rambling

Friday I’m In Love

friday-love090216Labor Day weekend is always a little bittersweet. Even without a summer break, it still feels like an end of sorts. I’m too sentimental. But, Fall is by far my favorite season. While mourning the loss of sunshine, flowers, and swimming pools, I’m celebrating the resurrection of bonfires, cozy sweaters, and fresh apple cider.

Let’s enjoy the rest of summer while it lasts. Here are some things to get you through the end of the day. The long weekend is almost here!

This is called the Trace Vase, so obviously I need it, right?

Love me some ceviche. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

But this recipe. Now this is the best thing I’ve ever seen.

This post from a few years ago by my friend Bethany really got me this week. There’s that sentimental thing again. I feel so many feels for that girl in the pink polka dot dress. People are so mean. I think we’ve all unfortunately experienced moments like this.

I had no idea when we were buying two of them last weekend, that the POÄNG chair was about to celebrate its 40th birthday. Crazy!

You read about Michelle this week in my series, Run the World. As someone who has questioned whether or not I want to vote in this election, I love this piece she wrote about not taking our voting rights for granted.

And finally, if you don’t have any plans yet, some ideas to celebrate the end of summer this Labor Day weekend in Buffalo and beyond.

What’re you up to over this unofficial last weekend of summer? Whatever your plans, I hope you have a safe, enjoyable weekend! Happy Labor Day!

Friday I’m In Love

National Park Service Centennial

Photography in Arches National Park, 1972. U.S. National Archives.

Yesterday, the National Park Service turned 100 years old! How lucky are we to have such beauty at our fingertips?! There are lots of ways you can get involved.

Go out and find your park this weekend! Visit one of our country’s beautiful 412 national parks to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service

More old National Park photos.

And a few unrelated links that caught my attention this week:

This is in Ithaca?! Gorges! (Gorgeous!) I must.

Have wanderlust like me? Some celebrity homes you can rent while you explore.

So sad, but interesting.

I have to admit, I kinda liked some of these terrible decorating trends from the past…

Another week down, another weekend to cherish. Whatever you’re up to this weekend, enjoy!

My Weird Week

Mansion on Delaware Ave

The Mansion on Delaware Avenue, where last week’s Creative Mornings was held

Everything got a little out of whack last week after losing Owen. I did a lot of ugly crying and was feeling less than inspired to write. Grief from the loss of a pet sure doesn’t compare to the overwhelming sorrow felt when losing a person you love, but damn, it still hit me hard.

A highlight that helped turn my week around was attending my first Creative Mornings talk on Friday morning. Creative Mornings, as described on their website, is “a breakfast lecture series for the creative community.” I heard about it a couple years ago, but I can’t recall how or where. I must’ve inadvertently signed up for their emails because my inbox was suddenly full of promos telling me all about these intriguing, inspirational talks coming up in cities too far from me, like Brooklyn, DC, and so forth. I unsubscribed from the email list at some point, probably out of jealousy that I couldn’t attend.

Then a few months back, I read that someone here in Buffalo started a local Creative Mornings chapter. Thrilled, I debated attending, but my social anxiety got the best of me, as it often does, and I chickened out of going by myself. Cue meeting Ashley from Morning Glory blog. We met a couple months ago, and she brought up how inspiring the Creative Mornings talks have been. She was going to be photographing the talk this month and reminded me to sign up. I’m so glad she did.

Mansion on Delaware Ave

The gorgeous Mansion on Delaware Avenue again

The speaker on Friday was 16-year-old Buffalo entrepreneur Zandra Cunningham. She started her own line of beauty products when she was just 9 years old. When she’s not in class at her high school, she’s working in her studio or touring the country speaking about entrepreneurship. Jokingly, but truthfully, Zandra admitted that if it’s not on Google calendar, it doesn’t happen—including going to the movies with her friends.

Everyone kept marveling at her age, but she was impressive regardless. Zandra’s talk was phenomenal; she nails public speaking. I was impressed with her story, the business she’s built, and how she carries herself. Talk about an inspiring woman!

At the end of the talk, during a Q&A session, someone asked about her next project or next idea. She hesitated, and then casually mentioned that she might want to start a fashion line. Or sell the business. A true entrepreneur.

This month’s theme for Creative Mornings was ‘weird.’ Something Zandra said near the end of her talk really resonated with me, shown below.

Zandra Cunningham Quote

Sometimes life is weird. It’s up to us to choose how we’ll handle it. To those I met at Creative Mornings, to Ashley, to Zandra, and especially to everyone who reached out to me last week—thank you for helping me to pick myself back up and embrace the weird.

 

Owen

owen7Well, that wasn’t how I expected my week to start. But, you never really expect to wake up and experience tragedy, do you? Using the word tragic is a bit dramatic, I’ll admit. But on Monday, I lost my best pal, the first pet who was truly mine—my guinea pig, Owen.

In the summer of 2009, I decided I wanted a pet. I was in college, living in a small apartment and realizing that I would likely be apartment bound for several more years. I’m not a cat person, keeping a dog cooped up didn’t seem fair, I’d never kept a fish alive for more than a few months, and I’d had, and hated, gerbils as a teenager. I wanted a pet with personality and a love for human interaction, but that was still low maintenance.

owen1

Shortly after I got him. Such a little bebe.

I waltzed into the pet store, checked out a couple of ferrets, and headed over to the guinea pigs. Several were on display, but one stood out. The runt of the crowd, he had a little cowlick on top of his head and was pretty timid compared to the other piggies. I instantly knew he was mine. I didn’t take him home that day, wanting to take a little time to think it through.

When I was three or four years old, my dad brought home our first family pet, a guinea pig.  He was friendly, followed my dad around the backyard, and from my knowledgeable toddler perspective, never seemed to require too much of our time and attention. Between that experience and my terror that someone would come and scoop up the cute piggie overnight, I figured a guinea pig was the right pet for me. I had to go back to the pet store the next day.

owen8That was the day Owen came into my life and changed it. It wasn’t just about me anymore. The first thing I did when I woke up every day was feed and play with Owen. The last thing I did before bed was make sure Owen was set for the night. My life revolved around him more than I knew, just like a child. Now that he’s gone, it doesn’t seem right to wake up and pour myself a cup of coffee first thing.

owen2Owen was with me almost from the beginning of my relationship with Steve; I got him not too long after Steve and I met. He watched me grow up and become an adult. He lived with me in five different apartments, two houses, and three cities. O met my beloved childhood dog, Maggie, my Papa, and my Uncle Jimmy, and is probably partying with all three of them somewhere up there. He stayed with family and friends in both New York and Ohio.

Owen and Maggie

Owen meeting Maggie

One day while Owen was lounging on the couch with me, I discovered his love for watching skiing on TV. In a trance, he didn’t move a muscle until the commercials came on. The Notebook, on the other hand, wasn’t his cup of tea. I wanted him to love it, but he tried to bury his head in a blanket during that one. Typical boy.

owen5

Left: Owen and Steve watching football Right: Big booty O

It brings me comfort that for seven years, I was lucky enough to hear his squeals as I walked in the door. He slowed down in his last year or two, but always kept his spirit. Once the shy runt at the pet store, he turned into a show-off in no time; Owen loved any and all attention he could get. Whenever someone would stop by his cage to pet him, he would proudly take them on a tour of his space, running around to all his favorite spots and toys. “Did you see my water bottle yet? How about my igloo? I hope you brought a carrot.” Steve and I often narrated for O, cracking ourselves up. I love to think he understood what we were saying and was making fun of us the whole time.

owen4For most people, pets are more than just animals who happen to live with us; they become important members of our families. That was certainly true of Owen. He ruled this house, and we sure did love him.

On Monday morning, I knew Owen wasn’t doing well. Over the last several months, he lost a lot of mobility and often times couldn’t use his back legs at all. He gave us a few scares, but always seemed to bounce back. I thought Monday would go the same way, but unfortunately, it was his time. I was able to be with him, holding him, as he passed. Although it was traumatic for me, I’m comforted that he wasn’t alone, and that it was me who was able to be there for my little O.

Owen the guinea pigThe past two mornings when I woke up, I looked out to the backyard as I always do. A beautiful ray of glowing yellow sun was shining right to the path that leads to the spot where we buried Owen. 

Rest in peace, my little sun baby. Thanks for being you. ♥

sunlight to Owen

Friday I’m In Love

US Olympian Aileen Riggin

U.S. Olympic Diving Champ Aileen Riggin, 1922, Library of Congress

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to read my first Run the World post on Wednesday, featuring the phenomenal Laura Metzler. Writing that post was the most fun project I’ve done for tracing paper so far, and I can’t wait to talk to more inspiring women. If there’s a badass career woman who you look up to, send her info my way!

Here are some things I’m loving this week, mostly related to the Olympics, officially underway tonight!

Speaking of inspiring women, this book is gold. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

Aileen Riggin, pictured above, was the youngest Olympic gold medalist when she first won gold at age 14.

The first female U.S. Olympic athletes to win gold in each sport.

All of the things I wanted to say regarding the Rio Olympics, but way better than I could ever say them.

Google takes us inside Rio de Janeiro to introduce us to the city and people hosting this year’s Olympics. Though a little bit heartbreaking at times, it’s a beautiful breath of fresh air from all the negative publicity.

What’re your weekend plans? Tonight, I’ll be ordering a pizza and watching the opening ceremony. Both things are sure to get me emotional.

Friday I’m In Love

harbor

It’s my sister’s bridal shower and bachelorette weekend!! I couldn’t be more excited; this is once-in-a-lifetime. I have one sibling, so I plan to make the most of this experience. We’re throwing her a brunch shower tomorrow, complete with mimosas of course. Then we’ll be headed to Cleveland on a limo bus for her bachelorette party. Once it’s all over, I’ll nap for the rest of the weekend. The party hasn’t even started, and I’m already exhausted from all the cooking, preparation, and planning. But my sister has already expressed her appreciation for all the hard work my mom and I have put into her weekend. It’s all totally worth it. I’m so happy for her.

Do you have any fun bachelorette games or ideas that we have to try? This article is a few years old, but I like some of these ideas, even if it’s a little too late to use them.

I don’t think I can get down with this wedding trend.

Discrimination against cancer survivors is a thing. How awful!

An interesting take on confronting and overcoming your fears.

Mmmm…cake batter truffles.

A quiz to find your spirit decor if you are so inclined. I’m Modern Colonial, what are you?

What’re you up to this weekend? Enjoy!

Weekend Morning Traditions

weekend morning traditions

Juxtaposition

Ahhh, the weekend. There’s nothing better than waking up and realizing that it’s Saturday, and you don’t have to be anywhere or do anything. Sure, we all have obligations, errands, and chores, but there are also those days when it’s ok to roll back over and sleep for another hour.

On those types of weekend mornings, my boyfriend and I have unintentionally created some traditions and routines that I’ve come to look forward to as the weekend approaches. At our house, weekend mornings are reserved for the “good coffee.” Throughout the week, we drink drip coffee from the pot (usually whatever is on sale), reserving the better coffee for the weekends. We often buy beans from local roasteries and brew it in our Chemex or French press—a small way to give ourselves a treat after a long week.

We like to put on some music and cook up a big breakfast, then sit together and read the paper while we eat. We also have what we call our weekend mugs (pictured above), my favorite handmade pottery mugs that give me all the cozy feels.

I know this makes us sound like we’re 80 years old in our 20s (pretty much the truth), but it’s those simple, relaxing moments that recharge and energize me. When breakfast is over, there are errands to run, a lawn to mow, and places to be, so I like to take my time and soak in those couple of hours with nothing to do, escaping for a brief second from our busy lives.

How do you spend those weekend mornings when you have nothing to do? What are the traditions and routines that you look forward to every weekend? I hope you have a relaxing one!

Friday I’m In Love

napa sunrise

Napa, California

Friday already? Yeeee! I love short work weeks. What’s going on this weekend? I’ve got a long to-do list waiting for me. First up, buying a new fridge. Oh, adulthood, you sure are fun.

Does anyone have any insight on fridge buying? We looked at a bunch of them last weekend, and all brands seemed to be pretty much the same. I’ve been told over and over again that they only last about 7-10 years now too. My fridge is from 1985, which is a couple years before I was even born, so…why are we getting a new one again? It’s all about the style update. We’ll keep the old fridge in the basement, and I can’t help but wonder if it’ll outlive the new one.

Enough adult stuff. Here are some of my favorite links from this week (none to appliances I promise).

One thing I won’t be doing in this space is talking politics, but my friend Michelle has that on lock. Check out the insightful work she and her colleagues have been doing about the Clinton email scandal. Scroll to the bottom for the latest.

Here are a ton of outrageous Donald Trump fact-checks too.

I found this article last week through one of my favorite blogs, A Cup of Jo, and I just love this concept of casual gratitude. Plus, we could all strive to be a little more like Tami Taylor.

Between my sister and me, we had at least 75% of these Barbies.

I guess this is nostalgia week. ALL MY DREAMS ARE COMING TRUE.

Would you eat at a Golden Girls themed cafe? I would totally meet you there for coffee.

This is nuts! A new way to travel from Maine to Florida and everywhere in between.

Oh sure, let me just get right to buying a castle

Hope you have a great weekend!

Friday I’m In Love: 4th of July

summer twist cone

4th of July is one of my favorite times of year—picnics, fireworks, sparklers, cold beers. There’s a parade on the 4th in my hometown and, while it’s nothing extraordinary, I always loved it. I haven’t been in years, but I attended or participated in it every year during my childhood until I graduated high school. Even though we’d been out of school for almost a month at that point, the 4th embodied summer and felt like a beginning of sorts; sunny days ahead filled with adventure. Boy, do I miss that nostalgic feeling of naivety and freedom. I’m setting a goal to have a carefree, fun-filled holiday weekend. I hope you’re able to do the same!

There are so. many. sales. happening this weekend. Here are a few that I’ll be perusing.

Loft: 50% off everything sitewide (sales like this one are the best; no limitations or exceptions, or “up to” percents off!)

Old Navy: Up to 60% off entire store

Rifle Paper Co.: Up to 20% off (definitely taking advantage of this one!)

Joss & Main: Extra 15% off of 4th of July deals

Dot & Bo: Stars and Stripes Event with new items each day up to 90% off

Wayfair: 4th of July Extravaganza, up to 70% off

And here are some other 4th of July ideas as you go into this long weekend.

Cutting fruit into star shapes with cookie cutters? Great idea for a festive fruit salad!

I love fruit, but swapping fruit with chocolate? Sold.

Lovin’ these patriotic outfit ideas. Great alternative to the Old Navy flag tee.

Cocktails by the pool? Ok, if I have to.

If you’re lucky enough to live in one of these cities or are feeling spontaneous and wanna travel, go check out one of America’s best firework displays!

Have a happy, safe, and relaxing 4th of July!

Treat Yo Self: A Birchbox Review

birchbox boxes

I heard about Birchbox several years ago, but was always hesitant to sign up, thinking it wasn’t worth the money for such little product. In April, I finally gave in and signed up for a three-month subscription to give it a shot.

If you haven’t heard of it or don’t quite know all the details, Birchbox is a beauty subscription service. For $10/month, you receive five personalized high-end beauty samples, delivered to your doorstep in a beautiful little box. You fill out a profile on their website, answering a set of questions about your hair, skin, and sample preferences.

While visiting my best friend in DC, we stopped at the Birchbox store in Georgetown within Rent the Runway. There are currently two storefront locations, the one in DC and the flagship store in New York City. At the store, you can pick all five of your samples and in some cases, even try them first. The DC store associate was knowledgeable and gave us helpful suggestions based on our hair and skin types. And! The April box was created in collaboration with one of my favorites, Rifle Paper Co., so, of course I had to have it. At first I only intended to pick out my five samples for the one box but was so intrigued that I decided to sign up for two additional months. (Plus I was on vacation, so, treat yo self!)

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