Hometown Adventures

Last weekend, I went back to Western New York, to Rochester and to my hometown of Batavia, a small town halfway between Buffalo and Rochester.

It’s been just about 6 months since my last visit, which was before Christmas. Visiting in the late spring, early fall, or anytime during the summer is best because everything is green and there’s no chance of a blizzard blowing through. Although, it didn’t snow at all during our last visit and was pretty mild for late December upstate.

However, it apparently hasn’t rained up there very much seeing as there was a lot more brown than green. It was quite disappointing. I remember in my freshman year at GCC (Genesee Community College) my English 101 teacher told us how she moved from California for her job at the college. She had visited and interviewed in May, fell in love with the greenery, and took the job; I wonder how she felt once it started to snow and never stopped haha

Anyways, this weekend was for celebrating our friends, Matt and Laura, at their wedding. They are both college friends from Geneseo: Matt was Tom’s roommate when I met Tom (in my senior year), and Laura and Matt started dating around the time that I was student teaching (fall semester after my senior year ended).

Tom was one of the groomsmen so he went up a day before I did to get his tux fitted and do all the male celebrating (I was told laser tag was involved and I got super jealous). I joined him the day before the wedding which was the same day that my friend Courtney came to Rochester and was in the same hotel as us (she was singing in the wedding)! Tom, Matt, and Courtney were all friends before I met Tom, but Courtney and I became insta-friends. Like, seriously, it happened so fast, we just got along so incredibly well.

Friday evening, we headed to the rehearsal dinner at a comedy club associated with Sticky Lips BBQ. It was so nice hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones – we sat with the rest of the groomsmen who turned out to be so cool!

Post-dinner, we headed to downtown Rochester to check out the Jazz Festival with the rest of the guys. None of us are jazz-enthusiasts, but it was something to do at 7 pm on a Friday night the day before a wedding. It turned out to be a really good time – we saw Fitz and the Tantrums whom I still don’t know but apparently they’ve been on the radio. I didn’t take any pictures at Jazz Fest as we did not have a great view, but I did take two on the way to the festival…and of course they’re terribly blurry! Just squint a lot and maybe they won’t look so bad…

Jazzfest

After the concert, we lucked out so hard at the parking garage. We got back to the garage at 10:20 but I guess it closes at 10, so all of the gates were locked. We were able to sneak under one of the main gates, since there was a car at the entrance, and ran to our cars. All of a sudden, a woman zips around the corner in her car and asks us how we plan to get out seeing as the gates are closed. She let us out [for free!] but we were to “not expect this again”. Don’t worry, we won’t!

On Saturday, while all the guys met up for breakfast at Denny’s, Courtney and I went back downtown to visit our other college friend, Vicky, at the coffee shop she manages. She also does Crossfit, so you probably don’t want to mess with her.

vicky

She made us both lattes – Courtney got the Lavender Cardamom Latte (left) and I got the Mocha Latte with cinnamon (right). They were so delicious. And that presentation – latte artiste in the house!

IMG_7750

I tried to get some artistic photos through the espresso machine, but it didn’t work the way I wanted…

IMG_7765

Before long, it was time to go back to the hotel to get our faces on/hair did/threads on for the wedding so we took a group photo and were on our way.

IMG_7768

I did Courtney’s makeup before she had to get to the venue to practice the song she was singing – Be Thou My Vision, love that song! I then did my hair and makeup, got dressed, and headed out to the wedding. The drive there was beautiful and the lack of rain wasn’t as noticeable in the fields along the back roads to Caledonia.

When I got to the venue (the Jerris Wadsworth Barn), I was internally freaking out that I had the wrong place because I didn’t recognize anyone. I called Courtney and [thank goodness!] found her inside the barn. We sat next to each other for the ceremony and reception.

IMG_7772
The ceremony was beautiful albeit hot as heck. It was almost 90 degrees and we were in direct sunlight, so I was sweating in all the places. Like, ALL the places. Courtney sang beautifully, the pastor’s message was great to hear, and the bride and groom were both obviously excited. Matt enthusiastically said, “I do” when the vows part came. He was clearly pumped haha

We got this picture of the four of us, a similar picture that we took at my wedding with the original amigos [minus Nate].

amigos

I’m ashamed to say I have no pictures of the bride and groom together. Then again, they’ll have plenty of much better quality pictures that no one will notice my lack thereof! I mean, I do have this one from when they were cutting the cake; I promise that Laura is behind Matt.

IMG_7803

We played yard games during the reception that Tom was SUPER into. I swear, he saves all of his energy to play frisbee in 90 degree heat in a suit. He then complained of how sore he was for the rest of the evening. That still didn’t stop him from continuing to throw the frisbee around. Haha notice Kyle and [non-groom] Matt behind him acting chill while Tom is fiercely trying to win.

IMG_7788

We ate food, danced a ton, and had s’mores at the campfire when it got dark. Tom and [groom] Matt had a little buddy cuddle, just like old times.

buddy cuddles

We ended the night lining up along a walkway holding sparklers for Matt and Laura to walk through. I can’t wait to see their pictures!

Sunday was the day of goodbyes. Courtney had to head back home to Buffalo really early, so our goodbyes were actually said before we went to sleep. We saw Matt and Laura at breakfast in our hotel so we got to say bon voyage to them as they are honeymooning in Italy and were leaving later that evening. Then I had to say goodbye to Tom at the airport since I was staying for a couple more days and he headed back to the city.

I’m so glad I stayed. I got to see my mom, my Godmother, Josie, who has been more like a grandmother my entire life, and a bunch of high school friends (not all pictured as we didn’t all get photos) over the next 48 hours. I brought my mom Chinese food for lunch one of the days and Josie was in the best shape she’s been in quite awhile – it honestly made me so happy.

visits

PLUS I worked out in the hotel’s “fitness room” [1 treadmill, 1 elliptical, 1 multi-purpose weight machine]. AND I went in the hotel pool. AND I had an ultra huge king-size bed to myself. It was magical.

pool

Funny story: right after posting this photo on Instagram, my friend Mary texted me laughing that you could see the book I was using to hide my phone in the reflection of my sunglasses. Sure enough it does look like that, but I honestly wasn’t trying to and didn’t notice. I was trying to make sure I didn’t lose my place in my book (could’ve just dog eared and set it down, I know) and that I didn’t drop my phone in or near the pool, so I held everything with both hands. Plus, I was all alone outside so there wasn’t anyone to catch me taking it haha

As is always the case, no matter how much fun it is to get away, coming home feels great. It felt good to see Tom once again, sleep in my own (albeit full-size) bed, and be able to walk everywhere without feeling cooped up.

I had a blast and I can’t wait to go back and see everyone again. Or maybe they’ll come down to the city to visit me!

Tis the season to be cheesin [Day 24]

It’s Christmas Eve!!!! That means tomorrow is Christmas Fo Realz!!!

Day 24: Favorite Christmas Eve tradition?

Growing up, we used to host the family Christmas party on Christmas Eve. Everyone on my dad’s side of the family would come over and we’d feast and trade our Secret Santa presents. I would include a picture as I know I have a few, but sadly they’re all in storage. Those parties ended [obvs] when my parents split, and family parties on either side of my family were few and far between (at least for me) after that.

When I was a pre-teen, my mom’s MS got to the point where it was really difficult for her to attend family functions. Getting in and out of the car was tough, anything requiring stair climbing was difficult, and everything made her tired much quicker which exacerbated her symptoms. So instead we would have Christmas Eve at home, watching A Christmas Story with all of the lights around the house and on the tree lit up.

In high school, I would attend my boyfriend’s family functions (sometimes on Christmas Eve, sometimes on Christmas, sometimes the weekend before or after) and bring Mom food later on. As mentioned a few times in past posts, I’ve spent the past 2 (it’ll be 3 today!) Christmas Eves celebrating with Tom and his family.

So, in conclusion, my favorite Christmas Eve tradition is spending time with people that I love. Yes, it’s super cheesy, but tis the season to be cheesin. Except I’ve been staying away from all dairy products because they make me feel like poop.

Anyways, I love having lots of people around that I care about. When Tom and I have our own kids, I want to have holiday gatherings at our house. As hectic as it can be, I really enjoy having people around to celebrate and share special times with.

And with that, I leave you on this 25 days of blogging! We made it through! Granted, some days were grouped together, but overall, I covered them all. I might post something tomorrow, maybe some pictures of Finster playing with the excrements of opened presents, or maybe a picture of Tom and I in front of his family’s fireplace. Who knows?

Either way, I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and is blessed with loved ones to share the joyful day with. Don’t let the little things bother you or get you stressed. Remember the reason for the season. And keep on cheesin.

Christmas plans? [Day 23]

Day 23: What are your Christmas plans?

We’ll be spending Christmas with Tom’s family as we have for the past 2 years. Tom’s parents host Christmas Eve at their house, so we’ll get to spend time with some of his aunts, uncles, cousins, and his grandma the night before Christmas. Sometimes weird things happen, like Tom and his dad putting conic Christmas decorations on their heads…

Father Son bonding

The TV is usually on with “24 hours of A Christmas Story” for some part of the evening and next day.

On Christmas Day, we unwrap gifts together in the morning. I’ve gone more in depth on how the morning usually plays out in my post for Day 18/19. Finster goes nuts for the wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags, and boxes; it’s probably a highlight of Christmas.

Finster present

After presents and everything, we all just relax and hang out, eating leftovers for lunch. For dinner, one of Tom’s aunts and his grandma come over again for dinner. Overall, Christmas is a pretty chill day.

Holiday Travels? [Day 20]

This was actually Day 21’s question, but I had already written it all for today, so tomorrow’s post will be today’s original question. Got it? Cool because this is really important.

And by important, I mean not at all important, but worth sharing…or maybe not…? Anyways, moving on.

Day 20: Do you travel on the holidays?

Heck to the no. However, before and after the holidays: yes.

I’ve actually travelled around the holidays since my parents split, but that was always less than 2 hours worth of travel each way.

Since Christmas 2011, I have travelled around Christmastime every year. It all started because there was this tall, handsome redhead that lived 350 miles away.

  • Christmas 2011
    • I finished my semester of student teaching on December 16; I was then on a train to NYC on December 17 to spend a few days downstate with Tom and his family before Christmas. Tom met me at Penn Station and I finally met his roommate and business partner Jim! We sat at the Starbucks while waiting for the next LIRR train to Stony Brook. Tom’s parents gifted us tickets to Godspell on Broadway, so we went back to the city for a day to ice skate in Rockefeller Center and see the show.
      Christmas 2011
    • On Christmas Day, I made a trip up to Buffalo to spend the day with Courtney and her family. It was such a lovely day and we started our tradition of taking pictures in front of her tree, as if we were posing for a Christmas card…on Christmas Day. Her dog Jack looks like he’s about to poop.
      Christmas card 2011
    • I made a trip back to NYC with three of our friends (Courtney, Matt, and Laura) to stay at Tom’s apartment in Brooklyn over New Year’s. Three of us drove from western NY to Albany to pick up our other friend, and from there took a really inexpensive bus ride (I think it was $7) from Albany to NYC. Tom met us at the bus stop in midtown and we all took the subway from there. A bunch of college friends that lived downstate met up with us in Times Square and we made a day of hanging out, playing hide-and-go-seek in ToysRUs (now I think this is obnoxious haha…tourists…), playing the giant piano in FAO Schwartz, chilling in Bryant Park, and just enjoying time together. On New Year’s Eve, Courtney, Matt, and Laura went to Times Square to see the ball drop in person. I knew that my bladder could not handle this, plus Tom and Jim had bought tickets to a party in Union Square. So I went to the party with them and Jim’s girlfriend, Tara, to ring in the new year. It was a blast and I’m really glad I had all that extra time with friends, new and old, and of course Tom.
      friends in nyc 2012
  • Christmas 2012
    • This was my last Christmas living upstate. I was moving downstate to attend Teachers College, Columbia University for grad school in less than a month, so I didn’t plan a trip to see Tom as I would see him in less than a month. Before Christmas, all of my high school friends got together and we named it Ggg-mas as we call ourselves the Gs/Gggs.
      Gmas 2012
    • After seeing Mom and opening presents with her on Christmas morning, I went up to Buffalo to spend the day with Courtney and her family again. Of course we continued our tradition of Christmas card-esque photos.
      Christmas card 2012
  • Christmas 2013
    • This was my first Christmas downstate with Tom and his family. I had just finished grad school the week before and we had gotten engaged over the summer, so everything was super exciting. It was great getting to spend time with his extended family as well since Tom’s parents usually host holiday parties at their house. December 27, we made the trek upstate and spent time celebrating friends and my mom. We had G-mas again, minus one; but we Skyped her in and got a picture of that.
      Gmas 2013
    • We unfortunately didn’t get to go to Buffalo to see Courtney, but she and Matt came to us so we grabbed lunch together for some much needed friend time!
      Main St Pizza with friends
  • Christmas 2014
    • We went upstate before Christmas since we had plans to go to Orlando over New Year’s. We got to see friends and family as usual AND made it to Court’s house for some quality time and Christmas card pictures!
      Christmas card 2014
    • We also had G-mas, minus two; but don’t worry, we made plates with their most flattering pictures on them. At one point, we all took a drive to the most lit up house near our hometown. This house has always been a spectacle every year, so Tom got to experience it.
      Christmas 2014
    • The trip back home was ridiculous as our train arrived an hour late and within 30 minutes after departure, one of the axles locked up, so we had to wait for over an hour while another train came to tow us back to the Rochester station. We then had to wait another hour or two until buses came to pick us up; that was mad chaos. We finally arrived home 14 hours after our trip started (train ride usually takes 7) and every time we travel upstate by train, I hate it. Tom isn’t a fan of flying, but sometimes I make him suck it up because the train can be a real pain.
      train disaster
  • Christmas 2015
    • We are currently upstate visiting friends and family, so yee-haw! We took a plane this time and our flight was delayed 4 hours and my mom’s presents got thrown out because lotion is considered a liquid (okay okay it’s understandable…but they were still fully wrapped AND wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper!) and I didn’t feel like going through security again after checking my bags. Stupid.. The plan is to go to church and later have our annual G-mas (high school friends) on Sunday, see my mom and Godmother Josie on a daily basis, and go to Buffalo to see Court and her family on Tuesday. Other plans are still in the works.

Gifts and Stockings [Days 18 & 19]

Day 18: When do you open gifts?

This may seem like a weird question; like, they’re Christmas gifts, so obviously you open them on Christmas.

But, I know a few people whose tradition is to open their presents at midnight on Christmas Day. I think it’s a Latino thing. Or some people are just super excited and can’t wait until morning!

My family and I have always waited until morning…err, well, at least a few hours after midnight. As a child, I was a restless sleeper on Christmas Eve, and would wake up a million times until I finally couldn’t take it anymore and would go to my parents’ room at 5 am to see if we could get up. The answer was usually no, but at least I knew that I was that much closer.

I don’t remember when I started to sleep a little later, shower, and eat breakfast before opening gifts. That was during my teens I guess. When I still lived upstate and once Mom was in the nursing home, I would obviously wait until later in the morning or early afternoon to go take her presents and open them with her.

The past couple years with Tom’s family, his younger sister is usually the first to get up because she’s so excited. She then knocks on doors to wake everyone else up because she’s just too excited. She’s 23 haha. We all grab a bite to eat, I think we stay in our pajamas, and sit around and chat for a bit. When it’s time (Tom’s mom delegates when this is) we start with our stockings and then make our way to unwrapping the presents under the tree.

When this post goes up, Tom and I will be on our way to JFK airport to go upstate! I’ll probably give my mom her gifts right away (today) because I got her a few candle wax cubes for her candle warmer and a few of them are Christmas-y scents. I want her to be able to enjoy them before Christmas and for as long as possible. And don’t worry, I don’t think she regularly reads these, so it’s okay that I just told you what I got for her. Although, last time we were up there, I opened her computer to show her how to make a Google+ hangout call with me, and she had my Instagram account up and one of my more recent blog posts! Weird!

Day 19: Favorite stocking stuffer?

Growing up, it was always a tradition that we would get new toothbrushes, chapstick, and scratch-off lottery tickets in our stockings. I have to say, those are the best stocking stuffers. Even though the first two sound boring, like getting socks from your grandmother or something, they are essentials and it sucks when you’re stuck without them! And the scratch-offs, even though they were usually total rip-offs, still provided a little excitement and suspense. I think the most I ever won on one scratch-off from Christmas was $50.

Wish List [Day 2]

When I was younger, I would go through Finger Hut catalogs and circle anything and everything that I could possibly want for Christmas. Like, I would look through baby strollers, full-size ones, because why not?! And I didn’t even play with baby dolls (thanks Chucky movies)!!!

As I’ve gotten older, have a stable job, live hundreds of miles away from most of my friends and family, and catalogs have become pretty insignificant, I no longer need or want all the material things. Presents are great, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the anticipation of looking at wrapped gifts, thinking about what they could possibly be, unwrapping said gifts, and finally seeing the mystery inside just as much as the next person.

But I’m much more of an experiential person – that’s experiential, not experimental…I’m not a scientist – I much prefer experiences over material things. One of my main goals in life (aside from the usual family, house, etc) is to travel. I’ve never gone out of the country except Canada which doesn’t count seeing as it was somewhere we went for school field trips growing up. The farthest south I’ve gone is Orlando (New Year’s 2015) and the farthest west I’ve gone is Louisville (with a church group 2008ish). I want to go [almost] everywhere and explore and experience new cultures and different people.

I also love being with and experiencing things with people that I care about. So I think for my wish list this year, I just want to spend time with people I love. I know, so cliché.

I wish I could see my mom more than a couple times per year because she’s the strongest woman I know. I miss my friends from home a lot and cherish the few times we get to see each other throughout the year. I’m lucky enough to have married a wonderful guy whom I love spending time with. I have amazing in-laws that live close by and I have wonderful co-workers that I enjoy seeing every day.

And wouldn’t you know it, Tom and I are heading to my hometown the weekend before Christmas to see my mom and friends from home. And we are spending Christmas with my in-laws. AND I get to see my awesome co-workers every weekday leading up to this time!

So my wish list is actually a checklist that will be totally checked off by Christmas! Boom. I’m all set.

Summer 2015 Favorites: People, Surgery, and Stuff

Although summer isn’t “officially” over, it is for us teachers, so I gotta get this in now! Another season, another set of things to appreciate…

First, let’s start with Tom and my in-laws for their love and support before, during, and after my surgeries this summer. Tom helped me get comfortable by gently arranging pillows to my liking, brought me food sometimes, hugged me when I was frustrated, and has literally been my crutch a lot since my foot surgery. My in-laws have been nothing but generous in letting me stay at their house to recover, letting me take over their couch, and making me feel welcome and comfortable throughout the whole summer. And, finally, Finster for his wonderful cuddles and endless entertainment…except when he’s napping, which is 75% of the time.

Cuddle time!!

Also, for all the people, friends and strangers alike, who have reached out and offered help and/or encouragement in any form since having my surgeries. I seriously appreciate you all.

Touching story time: on our way back to Stony Brook from Brooklyn about a week ago, Tom and I had to actually cross over the track at Huntington because our connecting train was on the other track. Usually the connection follows behind the current train, but whatever; usually, it’s not a problem. However, I was moving at a snail’s pace because I was only 2 weeks out of surgery.

We made it to the elevator to go up just as the doors were closing, so a man inside held them for us. We walked over the train via the platform and found the elevator to go down on the other side; by now, about 5 minutes have gone by, so the train is about ready to take off. When we finally got down to the ground, I was telling Tom to run to the train and hold the doors, but he refused to leave me.

Wouldn’t you know, as I’m walking up the flight of 5 steps to the platform, I saw the man from the elevator standing halfway out of the train, waving to the conductor to wait for us. I was so grateful and totally exhausted from that trek, so when Tom and I sat down, I bawled like a baby. Silently, so as not to draw attention, but nonetheless, tears were a-flowing.

I was frustrated with my lack of mobility and felt hopeless and scared about a potential future like this. Mainly, I was having flashbacks of my mom when she used a cane, and then a walker, and then a motorized scooter. I was always the one by her side and appreciated the people who helped her and me during those tough times.

And now, I was so thankful for this man that took the time to hold the train for me. He could have just gotten on, taken a seat, and not had a second thought about me. But he didn’t. I thanked him as we got on, but I wish I could thank him 100 times more. He doesn’t realize just how much that meant to me.

Gah, all the feels.

Which brings me to said surgeries. Although they’ve been burdensome, and as much as I may have cursed myself for doing them while in the recovery phase and feeling like my summer was nothing but recovery, I’m happy I went through with them and am glad I got them out of the way!

redressed feet

Now let’s go to some of my favorite products from this summer: First, my trusty Batiste dry shampoo. I’ve mentioned this in multiple blog posts and will continue to recommend it to anyone interested in minimizing the number of times they wash their hair in a week. It’s been great all summer as I let my hair go unwashed for 3-4 days while also sweating and/or being pretty much couch-ridden after surgery.

Similarly, I used Oribe dry texturizing spray while I stayed at my in-laws after my foot surgery. It smells delicious and doesn’t leave any trace of white film or powder in my darker hair. I received a sample size in my Birchbox subscription, so it’s handy for traveling. What’s not handy is the price; the teensy weensy 2.2 fl. oz. purse sized one retails for $22. Yeah, disgusting! A regular 8.5 fl. oz. costs $42.

Batiste Hint of Color Brown Dry Shampoo     VS.   Oribe dry texturizing spray

>>MATH TIME!!!! Batiste is usually around $6 or $7 for the 6.7 oz. can – at $7, that’s $1.04 per fluid ounce; Oribe costs $4.94 per fluid ounce for the full size can! You’re paying almost $4 more per fluid ounce with the full size of Oribe! But wait, it gets even grosser: the Batiste travel size is usually $3 for 1.6 oz, coming to about $1.90 per fluid ounce while the Oribe comes in at $10 per fluid ounce for the travel size! Horrendous. Awesome product, I just don’t see it being worth that much money.<<<

Speaking of, my next favorite is wearing my hair 95% au naturel during most of August. After washing my hair, I’ve been letting it air dry with just a couple spritzes of my It’s a 10 Leave In spray and it actually doesn’t look all that terrible. I love not having to use heat on it as it’s already 80° so I’m sweating a lot, I save time, and my hair feels sooooooooo much healthier! I think I’ve only used heat (in the form of a straightener to curl my hair for my birthday dinner with Tom) once in the past month. Woot! I totally recommend anyone who wants to try a no heat challenge to do it – embrace your natural hair and notice the difference that it makes when you let your hair be who it wants to be without heat. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

au naturel hair

I am loving the Lash Sensational mascara by Maybelline. I’m on my third tube and really enjoy how it makes my lashes look fluttery and separated while also lengthening and defining them. I have been using the Very Black non-waterproof one and I have had no fallout or flakes and it stays all day; it actually takes quite a bit of [gentle] elbow grease to remove it entirely at night!

Which brings me to Simple Micellar Water. I saw a couple YouTubers talk about this and I was suckered into trying it out. I think it’s great! It’s a facial “cleanser” (doesn’t foam up or anything…it’s, like, water) and makeup remover that is super gentle, doesn’t sting my eyes, and takes off makeup with a few swipes of a cotton pad! Plus, I don’t have to rinse it off like the oil-based makeup removers because it’s pretty much like using water already.

Going with the skin theme: sunscreen. I’m white. Like, ghostly white. I went to Virginia Beach in July with a group of my best girlfriends from high school and we spent a few hours lounging on the beach on our first full day there. I sprayed myself multiple times with SPF 50 as the sun was really intense, but between that and the fact that we were in and out of the water to keep cool, I got pretty darn burnt.

Which brings me to my next favorite: Aloe. Any aloe. I used an entire tube (with a little help from my friends, but mostly me) of Walgreens’ brand Aloe Vera because, well, it’s cheap. I got the one for sensitive skin so it doesn’t have any added scent or lotion or anything. Just aloe.

I’m glad I brought the tube because all of us benefitted from it at one point or another. I actually bought another tube after coming home because I ran out of the first tube. I got burned so bad, I ended up with some sun blisters…yeah, it wasn’t pretty. Even with the excessive aloe and lotion applications, peeling happened, but it wasn’t as gross or as extreme as I expected. It was bad, don’t get me wrong, but I think the aloe helped it a bit.

And even though I got sunburned, I still favorite time at beautiful beaches. Here we have Montauk at sunset – Tom and I stayed on the beach until all the stars were out because we don’t get to see them in Brooklyn.

Montauk beach

How about my smashbook? I’m happy with the progress I’ve made and hope to finish it by the end of this year! I got a lot of it done out in Montauk as we sat on the front porch of our bed and breakfast.smashbook collage

Side note: I got a different journal to house the smashbook – I went with this gorgeous one that has ring binding to allow more room for expansion as I fill it.

smashbook cover

I also loved celebrating my one year anniversary of marriage to the wonderfully handsome Thomas!!! And going to Montauk for a weekend away together!!!

At the beach

Last, but certainly not least, I’ll favorite that I’m a teacher and had the privilege to have a summer vacation. Cheesy, but whatever. I spent lots of time reading for school and spent some time prepping a bit for my classes, but I spent more time not doing work stuff. I hung out with coworkers [friends], and although work stuff always tended to creep its way into conversations, we always ended up talking about life outside of school, too. I’m excited to be going back, teaching all math, coaching volleyball, seeing old friends, and meeting new ones. And I can proudly say I love going to work every day even though it gets stressful and overwhelming a lot (second year teacher here, I’m sure all the veterans are rolling their eyes).

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. — Dalai Lama

Wedding pictures!

All photo and editing credit goes to the amazing Jonathan Baek! As you can see, he did a fantastic job, so go check out his other work at jonathanbaek.com! At the moment he’s based in Queens, so if you’re in need of great photos, give him a call.

Tom, Jon, and I became friends back in college at SUNY Geneseo where we all met in InterVarsity. Since then, I have always admired his wonderful photography skills, from our IV powderpuff games to the amazing sunrise on Conesus Lake. Jon was my absolute first choice when Tom and I got engaged, especially since he has photographed a number of weddings of couples also from Geneseo.

So here’s a HUGE thank you to you, Jon – I’m so glad you were with us on our big day, not only as our photographer, but also as our friend.