Currently in July

Listening now…

 

This song has been stuck in my head lately. The beginning is sad but it gets happier… I think it’s good that songs like this are raising mental health awareness. I encourage you to give it a listen! That number the song is named after is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. I have never struggled with this personally but truly feel for those who do. This is for a friend who reached out to me last week who was struggling…

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has been awhile since I have done a “Currently” post- since March, to be exact! Looking at those snow pictures is crazy because it does not feel that long ago at all that that was outside! This year is flying by. How is it July already?!?

I loved posting about my Greece trip, and I still may do one part, but I was too excited to get back to my normal blogging routine.

 

 

Currently celebrating…

 

 

 

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A double rainbow after a beautiful summer thunderstorm…

 

 

Summer time (my favorite time ever) is in full swing and I am just celebrating sunshine and swimming as much as I can.

How was your July 4th?

Mine was filled with a puppy, ice cream, and swimming at a water park!

 

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This is my cousin’s new puppy Lucky, who is a Scottie poo. I love himmmmm! We went out for ice cream and he was pretty excited.

 

We had a bit of an early July 4th celebration with the family and mom brought out this amazing surprise.

Has anyone else ever had the Friendly’s watermelon cake? It’s lemon and watermelon sherbert with chocolate chip “seeds.”

 

It’s the best.thing.in.the.world.

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While writing this post I actually remembered we had leftovers in the fridge so I had some more…

 

July 4th week was not a good eating week for me at all, lol! But I did go to my spin class.

I have still been keeping up with my regular gym routine every week and spin class has been the most beneficial exercise for me that I have ever tried in terms of seeing results! I spin and then I go in the sauna and it is very therapeutic. Often I regret my decision to go within 5 minutes of class when I feel like dying, but I never once regret actually going once it’s done.

Currently doing…

 

On my days off, we have been hanging out at our favorite lake.

 

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There needs to be way more days like this….not working but swimming and laying in the sunshine! =D

This summer I definitely plan on exploring new swim areas though and have a few on my list.

The other thing I have been busy “doing” is working my new reception job at the animal hospital. I took this job to figure out if I wanted to go back to school for Vet Tech, which I had previously started. I really like the job itself and enjoy being around all of the puppers and doggos, but ultimately don’t think I want to be a Vet Tech.

I’m trying to focus on what I enjoy doing and am good at, which is blogging. I would love to do something creative, like this, that also integrates creativity for a cause- like working with animal organizations. I still have a passion for nonprofits (my other job) and I am going to take some Communications and Media classes this fall so that will be fun!

 

Currently loving…

 

I decided to stop into Burlington Coat Factory the other day on a whim.

I am so glad I did! I found these super cute “Bobs for Dogs” by Sketchers brand shoes. 

Every pair you buy goes to benefit the Best Friends Animal Society. They have a ton of cute designs on their site and now I want more of them!

 

They are also insanely comfortable with memory foam.

 

Another thing I am loving lately is this bathing suit that I got at Marshalls. I love the cut out side trend in one pieces right now and it is really flattering!

 

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I hope you are all having a fabulous July and summer!

 

Thanks for reading!  XOXO

Stories of Santorini…Part 4: Food!

Listening now…

 

First off I wanted to say thank you for bringing us up to 700 followers!!

 

 

I am so incredibly humbled and every time I reach another mile stone it makes me want to focus on this even more and more. This is really my little sanctuary and I am so thankful for it. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I blogged about my 500 followers milestone!

 

So, what better way to celebrate big things than food?! In Greece they definitely celebrate their food…

 

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Greek frappes were an every day occurrence for us. #Caffeine

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A happy girl is a girl with Greek pizza and an orange lit moon with her man! #Pizzaforever

 

 

Speaking of food….it’s a good thing there are a million steps in Santorini. Walking up the side of those caldera cliffs isn’t easy, but oh so worth it. We managed to both come home actually weighing less than before we left! We counted 110 steps to walk up and down from our hotel every day.

 

Here is a list of our favorite places that we were lucky enough to wine and dine at on our trip:

 

Let’s start with Gyros. All day every day.

We thought our festival gyros at home were good until we tried them in Greece. They always put french fries on their gyros and paprika! Also in Greece I noticed they do other meat besides lamb, which makes me think that the lamb Gyro is the Americanized version.

We went to Lucky’s Souvlakis and we ended up going there like once a day. Lol. When in Greece!

 

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Heliotopos Hotel Restaurant and Wine Bar

 

We ate at our hotel, Heliotopos, a few nights and that was amazing. It doesn’t get much better than eating out on the Terrace overlooking the sunset.

 

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My wonderful mama sent us wine and a cheese plate! Heaven….

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This is where we had breakfast every morning- buffet style complete with fresh fruit, homemade jams and Greek pastries. 

 

Sunset in Ammoudi Bay

 

We were lucky enough to get to eat at Sunset Ammoudi twice- the first time for actual dinner and the seconds for appetizers and wine as we watched the sunset.

 

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To get down to the restaurant, you have to walk the  Oia to Ammoudi Bay  steps, which I wrote about in my Santorini Bucket List. 

 

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As you can see, your table is literally on the edge of the Bay. The wine bucket was perched on the side of the edge of the table only held up by a metal piece. It was such a unique experience!

What made it even more unique was when we heard a splash and looked over to see a man swimming in the water.  (I wish I got a picture of that!) Now, Greek water in May is freezing on even a hot and sunny day. Our waiter told us “Oh yes, that is our staff- he jumps into the water to grab people’s things when they drop them from their tables.”

Talk about Greek hospitality.

 

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I am really not a fish person. But the waiter said, ” If you don’t like it I promise I will bring you something else and offer my sincerest apologies.” He said he would bring me the least “fishy” tasting fish they had.

I believe this was a Mackerel and it was actually good- although I would not order it myself.

Our waiter stood at our table for a good while picking out every single bone and explaining about the fish to us.

 

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Metaxy Mas- Exo Gonia, Santorini

 

This was our absolute favorite restaurant of the entire trip.

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The view outside of Metaxy Mas.

 

When you sit down you are greeted warmly with a complimentary dish of cheese, olives, and bread as well as what we thought was a jar of water at first. Upon drinking this strong liquid we realized this was definitely not water, but a very potent liquor oh which I am unsure of the name! Haha.

 

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While here, I fell in love with this pottery dish that our wine was served in. I asked Frankie if he thought they might sell them. Since it had their name on it I thought maybe they did! Who knows?! Anyway, we asked our waitress who very politely said, ” I don’t know, let me go check.” A few minutes later she came back with a carefully wrapped paper with tape. She said, “It’s a gift.” And handed me my beloved pottery!

Between this “gift,” the man who jumped into the water at Sunset Ammoudi to get people’s things, all of the complimentary dishes we were served, and our hotel staff, I am still truly humbled with the hospitality we experienced in Greece.

 

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We both agreed that this was the best thing we have ever eaten. Ever.

This was a 4 cheese pastry with a blackberry sauce.

Frankie seems to think it is the Greek Kataifi.

I am pretty sure we licked the plate clean and savored every second.

 

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Another complimentary dish!

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And the view isn’t bad either…!

 

Anogi- Imerovigli, Santorini

 

This was our second favorite place and we ended up going here on a whim on one of our last nights even though we passed it on the quad every day coming and going from our hotel. It was walking distance from our hotel and truly yummy! This is also where Frankie tried Ouzo, an extremely strong Greek liquor. It has a Licorice like taste, so it was not my favorite at all! But something I felt like I had to try : )

I wish I got a picture of my actual main dish…

 

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Greek food is definitely yummy and they really love their pastries, frappes, cheese, and olives.

Did I make you hungry?

 

Thanks for reading and stay tuned! I think I am going to do one more part : )  XOXO

Stories of Santorini…Part 3: Beaches

Listening now…

Beaches make me feel at ease…this is why I picked this song!Also, it’s been on repeat lately.  Listen as you view…

 

I am sorry for the lack of posts lately everyone! A lot has been going on in my life as of late… a lot of changes!

We visited some incredibly beautiful beaches in Santorini. Ones that seem like a photo out of a calendar but are actually real life…

 

Red Beach:

Red Beach is located near the ancient village of Akrotiri- called “red” beach because of the red rocks and sand- or pebbles, that make it up.

It was a really wild thing to hear all of the pebbles wash over each other as each wave came along- reminded me of the sound of July 4th sparklers! Crackly pebbles washing over each other.

 

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My favorite among the beaches we visited!  You might be able to see why…

 

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The water was actually more blue in person….  #takemeback

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There were doors built into the rock walls for storage that I thought were so cool…

 

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Perissa Beach:

 

“Black Sand beach”…complete with a black doggy, too! (See below)

 

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Yes please.

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Kamara Beach:

 

Kamara Beach is definitely your more “touristy” beach and beach town filled with tons of restaurants, bars, and shopping! This is definitely where you want to go to get your beach bar feel.

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colors in Kamari

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kamari at night

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Moon lit dinner…

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We got so lucky this night, the moon was SO orange and huge- hard to capture on camera…

 

See you soon for more Santorini! XOXO

Stories of Santorini…Part 2: Architecture & Ruins

Listening now…

 

If you did not catch Part 1, hop over there first!

 

I am going to have to just accept the fact that there is no possible way I can share all of my journey and photos with you guys- there are just too many and too much to say!

For Part 2 of this journey I wanted to talk about the beautiful architecture of Santorini Greece.

I touched on this a little bit in the first part…the blue domed churches and the blue and white buildings make up the majority of the architecture you see here.

 

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Combined with what the locals told us in person, after I came home I read up more on the architecture of Greece. Read more about it here!

Safety is a huge concern of the Greek and a big reason much of their architecture is the way it is today. Key elements include protecting themselves from pirates back in the day as well as building into the left over volcanic rock that makes up the majority of the island that has been disrupted by volcanoes over the years. A local told us that Santorini used to be 1 connected circle until all of the natural disasters occurred!

 

 

The Cliff side Caldera of Santorini…

 

Entire villages are built right into the island’s Volcanic cliff sides, or the “caldera.”

I am convinced our hotel had the absolute best view possible and you can really see how cliff side everything is…

 

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There’s the cliff side of Fira…

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And the beauty of the caldera of Ammoudi Bay…

 

 

The domed churches…

( with all their “bells” and whistles)

 

 

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Many of the churches featured these tiny bell towers as well which are just too beautiful… the sounds of the church bells as you are walking through Greece truly add to the feeling!

 

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Pastel painted towns…

 

Certain towns, such as Oia, have more pastel colored buildings and homes than other towns do.

 

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I don’t want to get too into the beach towns yet because that is a separate part I will do, but Kamari beach and the surrounding town is a town you will see a lot more than just the blues and whites . Each of the restaurants and bars had their own color theme so all you see as you walk down the strip is a different bright color associated with that business.

 

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The colors of Kamari!

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You see a lot of cobblestone steps too…

 

Historical architecture and ruins…

 

 

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You see many old windmills

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And ruins of what used to be…

Obviously I love abandoned ruins  so being in Greece was a dream for me. My favorite towns we visited were Pyrgos and Exo Gonia because of the amazing history you can see as you walk the streets of these places with their ruins…

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Greece has many castle ruins you can visit and we took a trip over to the Venetian castle in the village of Akrotiri.

 

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Visiting the Venetian castle ruins…

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The view from the top of the castle

And here are some favorites of mine from the town of Pyrgos:

Pyrgos is also where we ate at our favorite restaurant of our whole trip, Metaxy Mas- but that is for my food post! 😉

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An abandoned Greek music venue…

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We came across an abandoned taverna/restaurant…

 

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Old kitchen

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We passed this old building frequently on our outings on the quad and on one of our last days I decided to stop and take pictures of it this dog was tied up….I hope he is okay!

You frequently see shells of buildings that seemed to be starting construction and stopping it abruptly. We think this is due to the economic troubles currently in Greece that many people started building homes, hotels, etc and then could no longer afford it.

 

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We think this may have been the start of a hotel…

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Doorway to heaven?

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Archeological site at Akrotiri:

 

We visited the Akrotiri archaeological site

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Greek courtyards and homes…

 

I made sure to be a complete creep and peek into the Greek home courtyards too to get a feel for that as well. They are all so adorable with their little outdoor spaces complete with vines, greenery and flowers as well as their laundry hung outside on the line in the breeze…

 

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I hope you enjoyed journeying around Santorini with me on this part 2!

 

Stay tuned for upcoming parts including Greek food, shopping, beaches, etc… XOXOX

Stories of Santorini…Part 1

Listening now…

 

It’s good to get away and it’s good to come home again. Santorini was more beautiful and more of a dream than I ever imagined.  This post is going to be in parts because there are SO many photos and just so much to say about it.

I think we definitely accomplished all of our bucket list and more.

 

We stayed at the Heliotopos Hotel in Imerovigli in Santorini. I would highly recommend staying here as the hotel was stunning, the staff were so hospitable and accommodating, and the village it is located is in super quiet, yet central enough to the busier parts like Fira, which has more of a night life.

 

I could not have been happier with our stay!

Helio {sun} Topos {place} – The place of sun

I am having serious Greece withdrawals looking at our photos  (about 800 to be exact!) and want to cry now…I just feel incredibly blessed that we were able to go at all.

 

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We did not know until we got there that we were at the very bottom of the hotel, so we basically had our own private area right by the water and this was our balcony and view…

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This was our view looking to the left of our balcony…our neighboring hotel and the rock behind is Skaros rock. 

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off duty

100 % off duty….

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On one of our first days we did the walk from Fira to Oia….the view along the way was incredible!

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Once you arrive in Oia, you are greeted with this beautiful chapel and archway, with love locks!

I quickly became obsessed with the churches and tiny chapels in Greece. Many of them are white with the blue dome tops and a cross on top.

 

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oia view

The view of Oia you see as you finish your hike and venture into the town…

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oia shop

Oia is great for shopping, but prepare for spending your Euros…

 

We made sure to catch the sunset, especially when we first arrived, back at our hotel.

One thing I really cannot decide is if I love Greece more during the day or the night…

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Here you can see the steps leading from Oia down to Ammoudi Bay to the right. 

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But I think I love it the best when it is turning from day to night…

Welcome to the Santorini sunset.

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From pink skies…

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To fiery orange. 

 

I think I will do a whole part on this alone. I could not stop snapping photos of the most stunning sky I have ever seen.

 

Actually, I could not stop snapping photos of every.single.thing.

I am so glad I did! Looking back on them now makes me want to cry, I just feel so blessed for being able to go.

 

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We rented a quad so were lucky enough to get to explore the whole island as much as possible! We really tried to maximize every single day. Frankie didn’t even allow me to take naps…. lol. #nonapsallowedingreece

But I am so glad we did. We visited the areas of Oia, Kamari, Perissa, Pyrgos and Exo Gonia (my absolute favorites), Fira(capital), Akrotiri… and many little places in between.

 

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More parts of our Greece adventure coming up… architecture, food, beaches, ruins….what would you like to hear about?

 

Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned….#800photos

 

 

 

 

 

20 somethings guide to accepting and loving change

Listening now…

 

Get it? Never the same…Listen as you read.

 

It’s been awhile since I have done a 20 somethings guide! If you haven’t checked them out, check out my 20 somethings guide to an anxious mind,  guide to 20 somethings myths, 20 somethings guide to adulting, and a 20 somethings guide to housework. 

 

Prepare for a lot of quotes in this post. As I looked up quotes about change, I related to so many of them, I simply could not pick one.

I have to tell you all something. Change is scary for me.  I mean, I know it’s scary for everyone, but it’s scary for me to the point where I feel like I let it dictate some of my life and my decisions and that is not okay. The good thing is that I realized that I was doing that and I took action to change it.

It’s all part of growing up, right?

I just made a scary, but necessary change in my own life. I have gone part time at my current stable job to pursue working at an animal hospital part time as well.
(Doing both part time to be working full time) It may not sound like much to some people, but to me it was and is a proud moment. Working with animals is something I have been pursuing for awhile now and I realized I am not going to get any closer to that dream where I was, although my current job is stable and I do enjoy it. The benefits are great, the pay is okay, and I have great friends there. I will be there 3 years this August and knowing me, I could be there another 5, easily.

There is nothing wrong with wanting stability and this is really important to me as well. But there is something wrong with settling and being too scared to pursue anything else, simply because you are comfortable.

With this comes some compromises, and scariness, and I am still not sure this is the angle of working with animals I want to pursue exactly- but that’s okay.

So I thought maybe if I can help even one person make these scary, but unnecessary changes to their life, then I have done okay.

 

1.) Scary is good.

 

You know these butterflies? Both the scary and the exciting ones, I think we should pursue them more. I think they are intertwined and you often can’t have one without the other…

 

2.) Get out of your way

 

How often do we hold ourselves back from what we want to try because of our fear? I think most of our fears of change come from the possibility of failure. My therapist always asks me, “what is the worst case scenario?” Here’s a hint: 9/10 of the times my “worst” case scenario is really not as bad when I say it out loud as it sounds in my own mind.

 

 3.) Regret is probably worse than any scary change you make. Personally, I would rather not learn this lesson too late. 

 

 

4.)  We are built to adapt. 

 

 

Changing up our routine awakens our souls and can teach us so much about ourselves that we never knew, especially about our capabilities and strength.

 

5.)  Change is necessary to our growth. If something does not work out, you can always shift again…change as many times as you need to.

I always loved this quote from the Curious Case of Benjamin Button movie:

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

― Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay

 

Is there something you are scared to change right now or a scary change you have recently overcome?

Weekend roundup

Listening now…

 

 

Trying to live by this motto more often now… ! There’s a little Monday inspiration for you, which we could all use 🙂

 

How was your weekend?

 

 

 

 

This Saturday we got high speed internet on the mountain top- it was a miracle! We have been suffering with Verizon wifi since we moved in and sometimes it can be basically impossible to blog.

 

So last night I sat down to blog, all excited, only to come across the issue with WordPress where it just goes white with the W logo when I hit “new post.” (Even if I try from the dashboard)  This has happened a few times- does anyone else come across this? I have a Macbook air and it’s possible it is a browser issue or something else.

Anyway so here I am… late with the weekend post but still up before mid week, so we’re good, right?

Saturday we met some family for dinner and took a stroll around one of our favorite towns. As a blogger, I am ashamed that I somehow forgot, for once, to photograph the food!

We went to a wood-fired pizza place that we love. Then admired the weirdness that is around us.

 

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We had fun looking at the really really strange window displays…

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? LOL

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Then later that night I met a friend at a bar I pass every day but had never been inside…it was pretty quaint!

 

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Sunday I helped mom in the garden and ran this little baby tired with her “Chuck it.”

It was beautiful out so I felt lucky enough to be able to lay out and try to get some sun before my Greece trip, which is coming up really quickly and time is flying by!

I brought my camera out and took advantage of the beautiful spring day!

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Mountain Mama in all her gardening glory.

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And a certain someone wore herself out with her Chuck It…

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Once it’s out there is absolutely no going back.

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And she won’t stop until you Chuck it all over the yard…twice. Maybe 3 times or 4.

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Winding down..

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Who you looking at?

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And at last a hard day of chasing ball is done…

Easter and a first birthday!

Listening now…

(This song though. Worth a listen, I promise….XOXO)

 

It’s been a busy few days! I am so so happy that the Daffodils are in full bloom and the pink trees are out and about.  Spring is seriously like a breath of fresh air.

I was in the city all day Thursday from super early in the morning until later that night with 15 teenagers for work! It was fun but definitely exhausting.

Then on Saturday we ventured down to Long Island for Frankie’s nephew’s first birthday. The theme was “wild one” complete with baby Kenny wearing his wild one shirt with fake mom and dad tats. LOVE.

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Dessert is life.

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That night we had a bonfire and a few drinks…

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The Easter bunny still found us!

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Lola was not impressed with Easter festivities…

 

Before we headed home I said we HAVE to go to the beach- it was about 80 out! And we don’t live anywhere near a beach so any time we are near one we have to go over…. we brought Frankie’s dog Renfield with us and it was Renny’s first time at the beach!

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So many smells, so little time!

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“Monica will you marry me? Marlon.” 

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I had a surprise when I came home 🙂

 

How was your weekend?