How is it already Friday? This week was kind of a blur.
Nothing really special happened, but it went by all too fast.
Unfortunately, after two free weekends, I have to work tomorrow. Not in the mood. Ever.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Today is my boyfriend Brad’s 27th birthday! I have so many pictures, but I had a lot of fun looking at ones from late 2010/early 2011, and seeing how much we’ve both changed (now I’m the 25 year old!). I am a super duper lucky girl to have such a wonderful guy. And I’m excited to celebrate 27 with him, and many more years to come. For now, here’s a cheesy list of 27 things I love about Brad.
His generosity and love for helping people.
His creativity and success in all that he attempts to do.
His drive and ambition to make a better life and do what he loves.
His sense of humor, which surprises me and makes me laugh everyday.
He looks super cute in cardigans.
His supportive nature, and the encouragement he always gives to make things happen.
His amazing and imaginative cooking skills (dinner is hardly ever disappointing).
He is adventurous and always willing to try new things.
He puts up with me hogging the bed.
He does silly accents that make me laugh forever.
I don’t usually have to tell him what I would like at the moment, he just knows.
His extensive knowledge of cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants.
He is so great with kids.
He has so much respect for his family, and for mine, and we’ve become a part of each other’s.
You can put him in any social setting and he will find people to talk to, make it fun, and have a blast.
He looks forward to a great future.
It is very rare you will find him in a bad mood. It’s strange when he is.
Best cuddler ever ever ever.
He gets excited about my creative ideas, and always tries to push me forward (even though I hardly listen).
He is honest and trustworthy.
He has the most well-made, humorous videos from his teenage years that MUST BE PUT ON YOUTUBE SOON.
He invited me to Lake Seneca back in 2008 when we had only known each other about two weeks and I fell in love with wine.
He obliges me when I start to plan an imaginary wedding.
He’s a hugger. If you know him, you’re probably gonna get hugged by him a lot.
We can be in the same room, doing our own thing, and be completely content.
He still opens the car door for me on date nights.
He is 100% completely, unabashedly, and always himself.
Love you, Brad! Happy birthday! I’m so glad you were born.
Hello, and yes, I am completely aware that it’s been about 6 years since this book was popular and publicly scrutinized. In 2006, I was in college and had neglected reading for fun. But everyone knows Oprah and everyone knows that this book was highly fictionalized because of James Frey’s interview on Oprah, where she basically tore him apart for duping so many readers/Oprah viewers into believe his story.
I had no intention of reading this book, especially because it was deemed semi-fictional and because of the controversy.
I was wondering if I could actually enjoy something knowing that the main appeal, the memoir of a near-death addict fighting his demons, maybe doesn’t really exist. Still, when I found it at a Used Book section of a local flea market for a dollar, I figured I’d give it a shot.
This book took me 2-3 weeks to read, and I haven’t had that hard a time reading a book in a while. Maybe it’s because I couldn’t completely invest myself knowing that it was fake. I can’t necessarily say that’s true, because I am always reading fiction.
But I think I found myself critiquing and doubting ever little thing that happened, and that made the experience harder for me.
With straight fiction, I can go into the world of the book with an open mind and heart. With this one, I was skeptical, because I knew the controversy and disappointment that has surrounded it for years.
I think another reason I had a hard time reading the book was because it was written in a winding, no-quotation marks, spiraling sort of way. It takes a while for me to get into the brain, the dialect, or the different writing of an author. And it was the case with this book. Sometimes I couldn’t tell who was speaking, because Frey chose not to really differentiate with quotations or “he said/she said” and that was confusing.
But I think it added to the effect. Here is a man who’s mind and body is muddled with drugs and alcohol and shame and Fury. He isn’t going to have straight thoughts and he is going to be dominated by feelings and needs and fears that won’t come perfectly punctuated sentences.
I admired that after I got used to it.
I am blessed enough that I haven’t experienced addiction like this first-second-third hand. It was really hard to read the graphic details of an addiction to crack, to booze, and the horrible things that people do when being controlled by such powerful demons. But I think it was important to read that, because (even if James’ account isn’t 100% true) it is something that people go through. And it’s something people are lucky to overcome. Ultimately, the story is about shame, climbing your way up from rock bottom, about acceptance, forgiveness, and redemption. Addicted or not, those are things we all go through/search for.
This book didn’t make it into my list of favorites. I’m glad I read it and gave it a shot, but I won’t go be coming back for another read. However, there’s no doubt in my mind that people who deal with addiction or a loss of hope can still find strength in reading this.
It’s still a tale of addiction and a tale of fighting for your life and for good, even if it’s a tall-tale.
Once a year, the Bloomsburg Fair rolls around. Last year, there was a terrible flood that hit the area and affected so many people. It wasn’t held, not surprisingly. But this year it’s back and better than ever! I knew I wanted to go, but I wasn’t sure when/if I’d make it. On Sunday, I got invited by my friends to go and, even though I just woke up, I threw on clothes super quick so I could enjoy tons of munchies with some awesome people. It was great weather…a little overcast, but mostly sunny with perfect cardigan temperatures. And the food…oh yeah.
From the top:
Kohr’s, where I got an amazing Orangeade
A super crazy, super fluffy rabbit
Lovely pastel cotton candy and candy apples
A warm apple dumpling with cinnamon ice cream (we ate it under a red tent, thus the strange color of the picture)
A Vince’s Cheesteak was my main course.
Blue Birch Beer and fried pickles.
I know I only had a four day week, but I have been waiting for the weekend! I hate wishing away my days, but I can’t help it. My 9-5 life is so uninspiring and, by the time I get out of work, I sometimes just don’t have it in me to carry the fun things through.
I think I’m especially excited because I have nothing to do this weekend but hang out with friends and sleep in.
I’m so excited. This three day weekend wasn’t exactly restful. Traveling to NY and back, getting very little sleep. I’m so ready to stay in one spot, get some of my favorite Mexican food, spend time with friends I haven’t seen in a while, and maybe go on a little pumpkin patch date with Brad. Also hoping to incorporate some tights into my wardrobe this weekend…so fingers crossed the weather stays chilly!
Have a great weekend!
This Saturday marks the first day of Autumn 2012! At first, I was a little sad and wary.
This year went by so fast and it was a truly wonderful summer. But then the weather gets a little cooler, the bug bites stop coming, and I remember how much I love the bright, crisp days of fall, the impending change of leaves from green to bright red and hot orange.
This is the season of cardigans and cuddling. This is the season of bright starry nights under blankets.
The season of spiced drinks, crisp apples, and pumpkin patches.
How can I be sad?
I’ve made a little list of things I want to do during this wonderful season.
Pick fresh apples at an orchard.
Go to a pumpkin patch, take a hayride, pick a pumpkin, and actually carve it!
Bake pumpkin spice and apple cider doughnuts.
Mull wine, make Honeycrisp Sangria, and get my fill of Pumpkin and Oktoberfest brews.
Take my cameras out. For real. Fall is such an inspiring time.
Attempt to dress up at least once in celebration of Halloween. (I don’t have an idea as great as last year, though.)
Make a bonfire. It would be perfect for the clear nights and the crisp air.
Have a horror movie marathon.
Expand my recipes for soups, stews, and chilis!
That’s all I can think of for now.
Let’s not even talk about how excited I am to reintroduce tights, boots, and sweaters into my wardrobe.
What are you excited for this fall?
It was a beautiful weekend for a getaway to the Finger Lakes! I’m so glad Brad and I were invited to his cousin’s bachelor/bachelorette party.
We started bright and early on Saturday and hopped aboard a limo bus that was so cool. I’ve never been in a limo before, and this was double the size! It was so neat. Party music blasting, lights in the ceiling and a champagne toast to kick everything off.
We went to 3 different wineries, but Three Brothers is basically 4 trips in one (three wineries and a brewing company).
And let’s not forget the gorgeous weather that made seeing the vineyards and waterfall that much better.
All photos taken/edited with VSCO Cam.
Apologies for the not-so-pretty photo. I’m not the best at pancake shaping, and there are a LOT of chocolate chips in that.
I was looking forward to breakfast all week. I just love it. Sausage, bacon, eggs, pancakes or toast or waffles or French toast or English muffins.
It’s all so dang good.
Usually, when I make breakfast for dinner, I scramble a bunch of eggs. But I decided to go with something different, something Brad has made for us a few times but my family has never tried. That would be sausage and egg breakfast bites from Mark’s Daily Apple.
It is the simplest thing to make and so delicious.
My family ate the whole thing. I was looking forward to some leftovers for a quick breakfast today, but alas.
I’m glad it went over well, though.
I love cooking now, and my family are the best critics. Mostly because they love what I make.
In other news, I’m off to Seneca NY for the weekend! It’s Brad’s cousin’s joint bachelor/bachelorette party. I love the Finger Lakes, and I’m in desperate need of escape. I have a three day weekend. We should be back on Sunday, but we are taking are time, so I’m looking forward to a day to recuperate from partying in a limo-bus and drinking wine for long periods of time.
I’m a little bummed out, Mohegan Sun is having their Oktoberfest and I had such a blast last year. I was looking forward to it.
But come on. There’s no way I won’t have a good time this weekend.
Have a great one, guys!
Why did it take me so long to download VSCO Cam? I’d seen it hashtagged plenty of times on Instagram, and one of my favorite bloggers talked about it on her site. But I finally looked into it, and I’m so glad I did. It is such a great camera app for the iPhone.
I feel like a lot of camera apps either go super easy with filters or super complicated with options. VSCO Cam is super simple and yet, you can make the same picture look different in so many ways and it’s all in the palm of your hand.
I decided to share a little happy list using photos I took with VSCO Cam.
It’s been one of those weeks where you need to look on the bright side.
Deer sighting on one of my walks around the block on break at work. It was exciting!
The most precious, chubbiest cheeks ever.
My first two Butter London nail polish purchases. Both sparkly. Hope they’re good!
Blue Moon seasonal ales. Both are are so tasty. Wish I had one right now.
Yummy Pear Ginger Orla Kiely - Method soap from Target.
The cutest things at Brad and Lou’s. Mason jars filled with Halloween candy and topped off with tea lights. Best idea.
It’s that time again! Here are some of the things I’ve added to my Etsy favorites lately.
Since the change of season is thisclose, I decided to keep this Autumn-centric.
I so wish I had money. I make too many lust lists and don’t own a thing.
This upcycled leather necklace from Gwaen’s Handmade Goods is too cool. For starters, it’s a beautiful, interesting piece that would make even the plainest of white tees super cool. But add in the fact that it’s from little scraps of leather being put to use instead of wasted, and it gets that much cooler. On the site, the colors are described as fruity. But I see fall foliage, the early stages of the seasonal change.
I also see a nod to this…love it or hate it, you can’t deny it’s cool.
I have this issue where, no matter how small I try to make my purse, I always end up filling it to the gills and wearing it out. A clutch has pretty much always been out of the question for me. But the more weddings and showers and little events I have to go to, I wish I had something sweet and simple to throw a bit of cash, my phone, and some lip gloss in. Those are the occasions that carrying a large purse is kind of embarrassing. This is a simple linen clutch from Sassy Stitches by Lori, but it’s the simplicity that makes it easy to mix with anything. And I love mustard yellow. It’s a great color year round, but it pops with all the browns and reds we’ll see this fall.
The neutral colors of these bows make them perfect for this time of year, but they also give me a back-to-school vibe. Sometimes bows and barrettes can appear childish, but mixed with a cute high bun or a nice twist of the bangs, it can be grown-up-ified. If the neutrals aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other colors to choose from on Loft Full of Goodies.
These little soaps (yes, SOAPS) are just the cutest things. Aubrey Elizabeth Apothecary has a ton of food shaped soaps that look good enough to eat, but I just fell over at the sight of these. Then you read the scent…pumpkin lager inspired. Pumpkin, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon…
I would want to use them all up but keep them because they are so cute.
And that’s all for this month!
Too fast. Too, too fast. I have been going batty lately. Work is on my last nerve. The good thing is, my brain has been stirring up lots of fun ideas, but the bad thing is I am so physically and mentally drained by the end of the work day that I end up sitting in bed watching TV instead of furthering my life or acting on my ideas. I don’t want to be that way anymore! But it’s still fun to be inspired.
I spent a car ride with Brad yesterday explaining some things stirring around in my head and it was so nice to get it off my chest, to have someone to support me in my endeavors, and to even have inspiration despite it all.
From top to bottom…
Rum and Coke in a twirly glass.
Flavored cigars that I didn’t partake in but that look cool.
Toasted Almond coffee and an Apple Orchard doughnut that started my Sunday off right.
Precious baby Niall.
Hand to Finger ratio.
I am SO MAD. I brought my Canon Rebel to take pictures of my cousin’s baby Niall, but I left it in Brad’s trunk and left Brad’s car at my house.
NOT COOL. He’s so cute, though. I’m sure he’s probably a handful sometimes, but he didn’t cry once. He just smiled and slept and enjoyed being held and kissed by everyone around him. Babies rock.
I’m ready to tackle another week, because I have a glorious three-day weekend ahead. Something to look forward to!
Until then, let’s do this guys!!!!
I don’t know about y’all, but I had an AWFUL week. The last couple days were extremely hard. I know it’s a “short” week, but all the crap caught up fast. To top it off, I have work tomorrow, so my week isn’t over just yet. I sure wish it was. UGH.
Anyway, after everything, I couldn’t wait to make some comfort food and drink some wine. And honestly, pasta is a great comfort food. So easy to make and always delicious. I used this recipe, and it required very little effort.
And I had to get wine.
Wine was necessary.
Have a good weekend, everyone!!!!!!
Every Day by David Levithan is another book I got based on a review by Entertainment Weekly. I don’t always read what they recommend, but the premise of this novel is so…different, to put it lightly. I just had to give it a shot.
I ended up pre-ordering it and anxiously awaiting it’s arrival in the mail.
This is how I ended up describing the book while I was reading it to friends and family:
Okay, so the book’s narrator/hero(ine?) is simply known as A. A has no actual body, no family or friends, and no sex/gender. For 16 years, A (it/he/she/whatever) has woken up every day (HAHA) inside of a different body. Basically, A experiences a “Day in the Life of…” for A’s entire life, the only life A’s ever known, experienced through tall, short, heavy, thin, happy, extremely depressed, gay, straight, transgendered boys and girls, all from the moment of waking to the moment of drifting off (by midnight, or risking the possibility of feeling like being physically ripped from the body of that person). Though A experiences the daily life of so many different people, and can “access” the memories of the person A becomes to ensure a somewhat normal existence within the day, A has complete control of this person’s body while inside.
A has learned to respect the body, to experience whatever this person’s life is like, and simply move on to the next without getting attached.
However, this book is about what happens when A wakes up in the body of a boy name Justin, who has a girlfriend named Rhiannon.
A is instantly pulled to Rhiannon, attracted, intrigued, and connected. Despite the fact that A can access that Justin and Rhiannon’s relationship is extremely shaky, and Justin has a tendency to be very disrespectful, A is pulled to give Rhiannon a very special day, cutting school and heading to the beach where they talk and cuddle and, inevitably, A falls in love.
Rhiannon, of course, has no idea that someone else has inhabited her boyfriend’s body. She knows he’s acting different, but she just assumes it’s a good day. A is worried, because of the feelings that have grown for her and the fear that Justin will not care for Rhiannon the way A does.
For the first time in 16 years, A finally finds something to live for, for real. Love.
But because A has no real body, no form to call his/her/it’s own, there is no way to have a future with Rhiannon.
That doesn’t stop A from trying, though, and that’s when things get really interesting.
This book requires a lot of explaining, as I just demonstrated, but honestly, it’s not as complicated once you’re reading it. David Levithan made it extremely easy to not only grasp but believe in A’s existence. My explanation sucks. The book absolutely doesn’t.
At the heart of it, I believe the theme of the story is about love and equality.
Levithan made sure that A experienced all kinds of love, all kinds of lives.
This isn’t boy/girl love. It’s boy/boy, girl/girl, and transgendered love.
And because A experiences all of these things, and has seen more than most people do in their lives in one day,
A is accepting of all love, of all religion, of all ways of life and sees no reason why there should be any issues with it.
Yes, A falls in love with Rhiannon while in a boy’s body.
But that doesn’t stop A from loving her inside of a gay man or a straight girl.
Because A is just A. A is everything and nothing, really. A doesn’t know why, so we don’t.
We get to know A’s morals and feelings and thoughts…but that’s all.
I enjoyed this book, but I will say that it left me wanting. I didn’t feel it ended, really.
But maybe it wasn’t supposed to?
I would recommend this book because of it’s strange plotline, it’s easy-to-read, can’t-put-it-down, breeze-right-through goodness.
Plus, it really makes you think about equality and acceptance. And also, to appreciate what we have, to not take things for granted, and to remember to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes before judging.
Now that it’s September, I suppose I am ready to fully embrace autumn. I absolutely love fall, it’s a fantastic season with glorious weather and traditions galore. But I wasn’t really ready to say goodbye to summer (I guess I’m still not, 100%, and there’s still a bit more left), to late nights on porches, to Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, to cookouts and no need to sweaters or jackets, to sundresses and sandals.
One thing that comes with the beginning of the fall season is PUMPKIN EVERYTHING.
At first, Brad and I were skeptical about drinking/eating anything pumpkin until we got deeper into September. But that quickly changed.
Seriously, do you realize how much pumpkin has popped up? How much more will come in the following weeks?
It starts with pumpkin coffee, which you can find at Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks (I run on Dunkin’.). I had an iced coffee this past weekend and immediately picked up the K-Cups for home. Their pumpkin coffee is to die for.
Then, for us beer lovers, you have all the Oktoberfest and PUMPKIN brews. Maybe beer and pumpkin doesn’t seem appealing, but oh my goodness, you are so wrong. There are many varieties to try, but local NEPA brewery Stegmaier makes a serious contender for the top. It’s inexpensive, which tends to scare people off, but it is yummy, spicy, and the aftertaste is practically pumpkin pie.
With the maltiness of beer, it is such an awesome taste surprise! Don’t miss out on pumpkin beers while you can get your hands on ‘em!
Here’s another Dunkin’ Donuts treat. I picked up a bunch of bagels for my friends and I on Monday and I saw they offered pumpkin cream cheese. There’s no doubt this could easily be made at home (I saw a recipe on Pinterest), but it was an awesome surprise and it was SO DARN GOOD. I wasn’t sure if I’d appreciate it enough to put it on my entire bagel (thus the regular cream cheese on the other half of the bagel), but I’d put this on everything, given the opportunity.
And finally, at the Italian Festival I attended in Scranton on Labor Day, they had a couple different rice pudding stands. I really enjoy rice pudding as it is, but add pumpkin and YUM. YUM. YUM.
I think it’s obvious that pumpkins are kind of the best.
It was so nice and so necessary to have this long weekend. I’ve been going kinda crazy at work, just bored and desperate for something new (of course, by the time I get out I lose all motivation to make any changes to my life). So it was really great to have 3 days of complete and total freedom to hang out with friends, sleep in, read my latest book, watch cartoons, drink pumpkin coffee and pumpkin beers, enjoy a garlic festival and an Italian festival, and just live life.
Brad and I splashing in the pool for possibly the last time this year.
Words of truth.
Pumpkin iced coffee and K-Cups for enjoying later.
Delicious, fresh-squeezed lemonade with my boos.
Blue Birch Beer at the Italian Festival.
That time I told Brad I was getting Lauren’s K-Cups out of the car, but actually drove it to their house. Woops.
It was a really great weekend, and there were so many more moments I didn’t get to capture on my phone.
Now it’s back to the grind. But there’s always another weekend, more fun to be had, more precious friend time.