May has been tough, but it’s also had some glimpses of normal — well, what used to be normal. And it’s also had glimpses of “the new normal” as everyone seems to be calling it. May has been a month of slowly starting to see family again, some in normal ways, some in different more protected and distant ways. May has seen some lows and it’s seen some highs. May has also been the last month of the temporary hope of this thing all being over, because this new normal definitely isn’t going away anytime soon. May has even had a few WTF moments.
We started the month off with a little road trip to finally see my parents. It was much needed on both sides. The best part was we were able to make it there in one trip, and hunkered in over the weekend with lots of eats, drinks, board games and laughs and still able to maintain social distance from the world. My mom even surprised me with a homemade birthday cake, so we finally got to celebrate a belated birthday since our big plans in March all got kiboshed. It was great to be together in person, instead of 4-hour virtual chats, and as I mentioned, a much needed visit.
Mother’s Day consisted of a masked and mostly socially distant family gathering with our in-laws and supporting local to shower our mom’s with some special gifts. We also attended not one but two of our first virtual college graduations for my younger cousins, and even a virtual wedding (technically the last day of April)! The virtual graduations definitely had their advantages, beyond just being a new concept — but it also gave us an opportunity to actually attend and participate in these moments when we might not have been able to travel to them before (pre or post corona).
More May highlights included lots of walks with Moz and even a few car rides to the Starbucks drive thru for puppachinos. We’ve also been perfecting our breakfast sandwich making skills, including grilling bacon on the grill in a cast iron skillet along with grilling out local meats from MeatboxLocal to help mix-up our dinner menu. We’ve also finally gotten around to planning a few fun house projects while also reaching out to contractors for a few not so fun projects. We’ve been admiring all of our flowers budding and blooming and all the beautiful green with all the rain we’ve been getting. B and I also celebrated 9 years together with burritos and a brisk walk. We’ve also had fun counting down the days until when we can get our haircuts… which is now only one more week away! The weather also started to feel a lot like summer, so the weekends have been spent outside, like all day, every day — which has been really nice.
The month of May was also a big month for the state of Ohio as they started the phased re-openings early on in the month of May. I was actually surprised at how much started to reopen so quickly. Dentists, veterinarians, retail, dine-in at restaurants, salons, hair dressers and gyms have all been able to reopen (among many other things) this month. And it’s been interesting to balance and start having conversations with family and friends to understand what everyone is comfortable with as things reopen.
As much as I’m craving for getting back to “normal” and back into a routine, there is still a major fear factor — although it’s not a fear of even getting it, it’s the feat of potentially spreading it and also other people’s perception along with trying to be responsible for our community and those who are close to us. It’s a very weird time, but luckily there were a few moments of normal — so I hope that continues to be the case as we jump into June. And hopefully, we can get a trip in still this year. What were your May highlights?
Another year is coming to a close — and it all seems too familiar the repetitive nature this time of the year brings. The feeling of excitement of something new, a fresh start, endless possibilities of another calendar year. The feeling of reflecting on the past year, things we wish we would’ve done, things we did, personal growth, heartbreak and learnings. And the feeling of the great unknown, yet every possibility of the future.
Our 2019 year was full of new adventures we were able to take three great trips, two of which were new cities for us to explore together. Six new little ones were welcomed into our lives this year. We spent lots of weekends with friends, family and even just the two of us, including lots of nights on the back patio. We did a lot of dog sitting, lots of Moz cuddling and even started volunteering at a local dog shelter this year too.
I was challenged a lot personally this past year, with seasonal depression to start the year, a serious back injury that kicked my butt for 6-months. I was also challenged in good ways like taking a new, welcomed direction in my career — that has been simply put life changing. I worked towards getting back into a healthy fitness and eating routine, and slowly yet persistently worked through my back injury and chronic pain, to come back on top.
2020 is going to be a big year. We have a lot of big family milestones and a lot of trips brewing in the planning stages. So ready or not, here we come 2020!
Wishing you and yours the happiest Christmas filled with new memories, lots of laughs, and all of the love and magic of every Christmas before this one. I hope that you stay true to all your favorite traditions while welcoming new traditions, from mom’s homemade Christmas cookies, to watching It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, or starting with your stockings first this Christmas morning.
photo by: @marinaclaireandco
And may you be able to continue to spread Christmas cheer even after the holiday, visit with all of your loved ones and catch up with those who may be miles apart.
So from B, Moz and I — Merry Christmas!
Christmas is just 5 short days away! It’s that last minute crunch to get everything perfect and ready for the big day and all the stops along the way. With last minute gifts popping up, a few more gatherings being hosted and attended, the time gets away from us quickly — so my latest obsessions are all about helping navigate threw the last minute pushes, while still enjoying the holidays and keeping yourself a priority.
Easy Brunches. We’re hosting a brunch with some friends this weekend, and then also prepping to have some easy food around for our holiday mornings — so I am pulling out the recipe for that super easy french toast casserole that I made for Easter brunch! You prep the dish and refrigerate overnight and all you have to do is stick it in the oven coming the next morning! It’s SO easy and SO yummy.
Last Minute Gifts. From stocking stuffers, to a few trinkets or two, shopping local is how I’m going to wrap up those last minute gifts that always seem to creep in. And if I can’t find just what I’m looking for at the local shops, I will break out the craft supplies and make an ornament – as that has been my go to gift the last few years and it’s so easy to make it personalized and special for whoever you’re giving it too!
Holiday Outfits. Usually I am on top of having a few of these figured out — but not this year! Everything has really creeped up on me. Luckily I have a nice variety of options to pull from and build upon. My last minute holiday fashion guide has a mix of casual ideas paired with more party inspiration, especially if it’s a bit more dresser for work!
Me Time. With having a bit extra time off around the holidays, I’m going to make sure to take a bit of time for me — and I hope you all try and do the same for you! I’m not going to slack off with my workout routine, in fact, my fitness studio is offering a Christmas Eve class and I am 100% pumped I’ll be able to get in a workout in time for the holidays. On top of not compromising my workout routine, I’ll be making time to volunteer with a local dog shelter I’ve been volunteering at the last few months — the pups need a good Christmas too!
On top of prepping for brunch, getting all my last minute gifts purchased and made, I still have a lot of Christmas-ing left to do! I will be making a bunch of Christmas cookies this weekend (cut outs, gingerbread and peanut butter blossoms) and getting in a few more of those Christmas classic movies like Elf, Home Alone (for the millionth time) and even It’s A Wonderful Life (on Christmas Eve of course!).
It’s the final few days of October and I have to ask, how is this month already over? Although I feel like I’m a broken record lately saying that same thing every single month. But these last few months have just been a constant whirlwind, and although October is usually a whirlwind, there is something different and just something I love about October. Our weekends were packed with friends, late nights and fun… with a few quiet moments, long walks and plenty of sunshine that was soaked in — I even got our front porch festive for fall!
The first weekend we snuck away to the cabin again, and it was definitely feeling a bit more like fall then when we were there last month. It was chilly and the leaves were finally starting to change. We did our typical trek to Southern Tier Brewing Company, but kept it a little shorter since we didn’t bring Moz and they were having an Oktoberfest event, so they didn’t have their typical food menu available. Whenever we’re at the cabin – it’s always a break and treat from reality. Moz even got to see some piggy’s that were following us from the nearby farm on our morning walk!
The second weekend got kicked off a little early on Thursday for our big annual fundraiser event for JD Breast Cancer Foundation, the nonprofit I’m a board member on. We had a successful evening and were able to honor some amazing breast cancer fighters! That weekend we also had family in town for my aunties annual clam bake — which is one of my favorite things in the month of October. The clam bake is always a delicious meal, lots of laughs and always great seeing friends and family from out of town.
The last two weekends consisted of more festive October/fall gatherings! Our friends hosted a pumpkin beer themed party and then we went to a Halloween party this past weekend — B and I don’t typically Halloween, as the Clam Bake is more our speed, but we had fun and finally figured out a cute and clever couples costume that felt like us! We were Jim and Pam from The Office, during Season 4’s episode featuring the Michael Scott Rabies for a Cure Fun Run. Our hostess house was completely decked out for Halloween and we had a feast of delicious eats to enjoy with our drinks!
I also was lucky to celebrate one of my best friend’s baby shower — she is a stunning mom-to-be and it was a beautiful afternoon with our little group of friends. On top of all the fun, B and I have been volunteering with a local organization which has been filling in our free time between all the fun above — I’m excited to share more about in a future post about what we’ve been up too (because we love it!). And we love October — it’s always one of our favorite months filled with traditions and new memories.
I may or may not still be recovering from the weekend! For nearing the end of September, the weather was toasty warm and full of sunshine – it was perfect for porch hangouts, two year old bday parties, a wedding and even a nap outside on the patio. Yup, that was the flyover recap of the weekend, but the highlight was definitely K&J’s wedding on Saturday.
Funny enough, this was the first wedding we’ve been too in almost 2-years, the last wedding we went to was ours! So we were feeling a little rusty with the whole wedding guest game. K&J’s wedding also happened to be the 21st night of September – queue the Earth, Wind & Fire’s song September. The ceremony was intimate as it took place in a wine cellar with friends and family gathered around. In addition the the intimate setting, the vows were personal and special to the couple with plenty of laughs for all to be had – it was the perfect mix of what makes up K&J. The reception was full of dancing, laughs, pictures, catching up with coworkers and bonding with the bride and grooms family. It was a beautiful night for the newlyweds, not to mention the bride was simply stunning!
Other highlights from the weekend included getting a Saturday workout in and enjoying a homemade breakfast afterwards on the patio with B as we enjoyed more of the beautiful weather and sunshine. We did some housework, cleaned up the house and just enjoyed the day being home. On Sunday we celebrated our nieces second birthday with her big party! The theme was minnie mouse and the weather was absolutely perfect for an outdoor party – the girls even got me into the bounce house for a bit. I also got a major nap in on Sunday after the birthday fun, we had a late night from the wedding so apparently I needed it.
It’s hard to believe we’re in the last full week of September with one more weekend left. Where did this month go? Not to mention, Monday was officially the first day of Fall – but the weather definitely doesn’t feel like fall just yet, so I am still clinging onto Summer!
What were your weekend highlights?
I’ve been a bit stressed out lately, and but came up pretty suddenly this past week. As we were driving away from the city late Friday night, I could start to feel some relief. But it wasn’t until about midway through Saturday when I could feel my tense body finally start to relax and the neck pain that had been lingering for the last 2-days was finally gone – that’s when I realized, I really needed this weekend away from reality with my little family.
Initially the weekend was supposed to be a girls trip with an afternoon at the spa, but some things came up so B was stuck with me heading to one of our favorite spots, the cabin. The cabin is literally in the middle of no where, there is no wifi, although there is TV, but it’s largely you, nature and just a break from the real world. Even on weekends when you’re home with no plans, you always find something to do – clean the house, laundry, yard work – or you think you should be doing something besides nothing. But that’s not how it is at the cabin, sleeping in is ok, watching Shark Tank marathons and day drinking is also totally acceptable.
We also ventured to our favorite spot near the cabin, Southern Tier Brewery Co. – and yes they had our favorite seasonal beverages on tap, Pumking and Warlock. The weather was perfect and we even brought Moz along this time! Usually we leave her behind at the cabin, but after a walk around the property at the cabin, she had plenty of exercise and just hung with us at the brewery. We also grabbed some yummy eats at STBC – our go-to the pretzels and then split the BLT this time, which was so good! They never disappoint from a brews, food or atmosphere perspective. It was the perfect breakup in the day.
The leisurely mornings might be my favorite – taking Moz out around the property for her morning routine, and then drinking coffee before B whips up a tasty breakfast is always so relaxing because we’re never usually in any rush for anything. And by the time breakfast is done and cleaned up, it’s about time to take Moz for a longer walk so she can take in all the fresh smells of nature, chase chipmunks and watch frogs jump into the pound. Friday night after we got there a huge storm rolled in and we fell asleep to the rain pounding on the roof of the cabin, it was so relaxing and so perfect.
As we were driving back to reality, I was reflective on the fact that we all need to take a little extra time for ourselves, an intentional break from the day to day, from the stresses of the work week and everything else. It was also a good reminder of making the most out of changed plans and still taking time away. Even if it’s a simple getaway for a night or two, it’s refreshing for the soul and it helps us stay sane.
So the reason we visit Myrtle Beach is a little different that I am sure 80% of the people heading down there. The beach and other extra curricular activities are always secondary to the reason we “vacation” there. I’ve mentioned in previous MB recaps, that we go to visit my grandma who lives down there in a nursing home and that is 100% why we go down to Myrtle Beach, to see her.
The goal generally when we go down and visit with my parents is to get my grandma out of that nursing home for a few days whether it’s a trip to the beach, shopping, dinner, or hanging out at the pool/condo. But this trip wasn’t so much the case. Earlier in August she had an unexpected trip to the hospital that ended with her needing surgery which then led to longer hospital visit. Luckily things went better than anticipated given she is 86 years old, but she was still recovering and more fragile from the surgery and her stay in the hospital when we went down there. SO, we couldn’t take her out, meaning it was a lot of visits at the nursing home this time.
Our days at the nursing home consisted of making sure Grandma ate her lunch and dinner, occasional visits out to the patio area, cards (which she did not play), coloring (which she did not want to do either) and a few chats about the past. She even had some photos from her wedding in 1956 – her wedding dress was amazing so I asked her what she ended up doing with her. Her response; “I burned it.” … Yup! She burned her wedding dress when she was 24.
The reality of our trip down to the beach destination with 80-degree weather all week was that we only made it to the beach once and only went swimming once at the condo (and at 9 o’clock at night). Friday we went to lunch and did the Conway Riverwalk in between visits at the nursing home. Saturday was all day at the nursing home with a quick shopping trip to the Tanger Outlets before dinner with the extended family.
We also got to visit with my cousin and her three boys, who are an absolute treat and love B – they were super fun to see how much they’ve grown up, their personalities and sheer sweetness they give us for only seeing them every so often! We soaked up as much time with them from jokes, to hugs, hide and seek, giggles and cuddles on top of being able to see my cousin and aunt and uncle who live down there too.
So although Myrtle Beach is often a beach retreat for many others, we go to see family who can’t travel to see us and hope to offer a little ray of sunlight to her probably lonely and long days at the nursing home.
Do you have a ‘vacation’ destination like this? Comment below!
The month of August has been a constant whirlwind and we still have almost two weeks left! The weekends have been packed from weekend trips, to birthday parties and girls meet ups. On top of the weekends, the week nights have also been jammed packed, back to back, leading right into the weekends – I’m honestly exhausted! But, as exhausting as it’s all been, it’s been a lot of fun, with great moments, so here’s a quick round-up so far.
The first weekend in August was spent back home celebrating my brother and sister-in-laws baby shower! It was a busy weekend, as I was helping mom with a lot of the party details as I was in charge of the woodland themed decor, while also making sure the shower went off without a hitch. Family and friends traveled in from near and far to celebrate and spoil the parents to be and future baby girl. After the shower, the little bit of the weekend left was spent with extended and immediate family during this quick 36-hour trip.
Weekend #2 was a little less busy? We hosted dear friends on Friday night, grilled out and enjoyed a beautiful evening on the patio, we even had s’mores! It is always great catching up with those two and we’re always thankful for the time we get to spend with them especially now that they have a little one! Saturday, I got together with the girls, we went for a hike through the park and got our monthly catch-up in. Again, the time with these girls is so precious as we’re all in different stages of our life, Beks has two beautiful little kiddos, A is expecting her first and I am just living life.
The rest of Saturday, B and I were able to actually relax, take a nap, grab a bite to eat and watch our shows. Our Sunday was crazy, as we were double booked with bday parties, that weren’t so close geographically. Our nieces’ 4th bday (unfortunately I can only post photos of the delicious sweets due to political reasons) was earlier in the day and then we went to a surprise 60th to a dear family friend. Both parties were fun, we got lots of time in with the 4th birthday princess and then helped pull off a successful surprise party and laughed the night away.
Weekend #3 – We headed back home again this time on Thursday night so that I could get my wisdom teeth out Friday morning! It was something I wasn’t looking forward to doing, but was told it should and needed to be done. I opted for no gas, so after the procedure was done, mom and I ran a few errands before heading back to the house to ‘rest.’ Saturday the guys went golfing, while Mom and I did a few more errands for a project she asked for my help out – a closet makeover for my brother’s baby nursery (which turned out amazing.) The rest of the weekend was fairly low key, as I tried to eat soft food, iced my face and did salt water rinses for my wisdom teeth post op care.
In between all of these weekends there has been week night dinners, after work functions, work summer outings, hair cuts, running errands, a few runs, walks with Moz and reality TV. The rest of August is still jammed packed, but more of that will be shared with you all soon! xox