Tuesday, April 29, 2014

From Baby to Adult

I always get so damn sentimental on birthdays.  Who am I kidding, I get sentimental a lot of the time.  Here I am 25 and I have been freaking out about the fact that I have been on this earth a quarter of a century.  But then I got to thinking of all the things in my life that I have accomplished, learned , loved, experienced, laughed & cried over in the past 25 years and I have to say I’m pretty blessed. 

I have a loving, supportive and dysfunctional (who’s isn’t?) family that I love to a million pieces that I would walk over burning coals for.  My family taught me to be kind, respectful, caring, strong, to be myself and to have values. My family took me on vacations and camping trips including Disney World, Universal Studios, North Carolina, Cape Cod, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Texas, Montauk, The Grand Canyon, Maryland, Delaware and shoot I’m sure there are more.  I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.  Shout out to Mom, Dad, Marty, Sean, Liam, and Martha.

I have danced, ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and now it’s just a mixture of my own thing.  I have been part of a few sports teams that I actually think are one of the greatest experiences to have that teach you a lot about working with others and what it means to be a team.  No I was not the best at sports but I will never forget the memories in track, cross country, basketball and cheerleading. I had Barbies, American Girl Dolls and a bunch of beanie babies that kept me very busy as a child! 

I was always/am surrounded by pets ranging from cats to dogs to iguanas.  Okay so the iguana’s weren’t mine but my brother had them in the house.  I remember coming home one night and the iguana got out of the cage and I would not sleep unless it was found.  I was not trying to wake up with an iguana looking back at me.  No thanks.  Pets have become an important part of my life.  I almost like them better than people some time. 

I grew up in a small town and had dreams of getting out, which I did but now realize how much I love that place, not to mention it’s gorgeous.  I had the experience of going away for college.  Oh hey, JWU! I joined a sorority and met my other half, I’m not talking about a guy here but a best friend.  I had some of the best and worst times here.  I made some stupid decisions and learned a lot of things the hard way.  I had my first apartment with friends.  I partied and danced many nights away.  I even pulled a few all nighters to do school work.  I’ve had some good and some pretty bad boyfriends.  I learned that one the hard way too.  Do not date assholes that repeatedly apologize for their behavior because they will never change. I had my share of tears over guys but I have finally found my prince that I love spending every moment with.  Love you Philip!

I transferred schools and had to meet new friends all while missing my old ones. I’ve had tough times from feeling lost to losing friends to not having any money. 

I’ve traveled to some pretty great places including Spain, Mississippi, New Orleans and many islands in the Caribbean.  I’ve discovered that traveling does something to me that makes my heart smile.  There are so many places on my list to travel to, Ireland, Nashville, Napa Valley, Thailand, and Africa to name a few. 

I’ve been to sporting events (Pacers & Colts), Amusement and Water parks, Museums and Fun Centers, Zoos, proms, formals, wine tours and weddings.  I have hiked mountains, canoed for 6 days, been winter backpacking and have truly grown to love nature and the outdoors.  I graduated and packed up my things and moved to the Midwest all on my own. 

I have two tattoos, have dyed my hair many times, had my belly pierced and I have scars.  I’ve learned that “without struggle there is no progress.”

I became an Aunt to the sweetest nephew and niece.  It seriously is one of the greatest joys in my life.

I love putting a smile on people’s faces and I have from the moment I was born.  So let me sing you a song and embarrass the crap out of myself and you because life is way too short.  If there is anything that I can preach it’s to beat to your own drum and don't worry so much about what others think.  It's good to be different.

I started a blog, which has been one of the greatest things for me because it has truly helped me to get out of my comfort zone and share my life with people from all over.  I have already "met" some of the greatest people and hope to actually go on some blates this year.  I already can't get through my day without snap chats from my favs!
What I have learned the most is that without having good people to surround yourself with life is absolutely awful.   I have some of the greatest friends, both old and new.  My childhood friends are still my friends, okay not all of them but the important ones!  They have gotten me through some of the toughest times and have been there to share some of the greatest and laughable moments. 

Thank you to all my friends and family that have made my life worthwhile because it wouldn’t be the same or as enjoyable without you all being a part of it.  Cheers to many more laughs, tears and memories to share with all the people I love.  Oh and I guess here's to lots more growing up to do and as my friend Abby would say at the end of any cheers "Here's to the guys that love us, the losers that lost us and the lucky bastards that get to meet us."

PS. Go hug a puppy today! :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Little Bit Of Everything

This weekend was pretty random much like myself.  Since we celebrated my birthday last weekend in Chicago we didn't do a whole lot this weekend "birthday" worthy.  I knew I would have a busy weekend following and with the bf going out of town for a week and a half we both didn't feel like doing a whole lot.  Because I am a "lister" this post wouldn't be complete without being in list form.  

1.  Treat yo self:  This is the one thing that I did this weekend that was actually birthday worthy.  I had stopped to see Phil's half sister Whitney and she invited me for lunch and pedicures with her daughter and lil baby Ryan.  I don't typically do the whole manicure and pedicure thing often because I can't justify spending my money on that regularly.  But it is nice and so relaxing once in a while. And heck I'm going to spoil myself and why not? I mean I am almost a quarter of a century.  Of course I snap chatted with my girls Rachel & Brooke, because my day is just not complete without them.  

2.  Last week I came home to this awesome little package and I knew it was for my birthday but I couldn't wait.  Mary, the bf's sister had sent me THE BEST T-SHIRT ever.  I mean seriously I would/might wear this everyday.  She knows me all too well, thanks Mary!

3.  ^ This is also when I learned I am and will never be a fashion blogger.  Haha.  I would much rather be behind the lens then in front of it.  I not only feel awkward but I straight up look awkward.  Seriously, this is why I never got senior pictures done.  I don't know what I am going to do when it comes to getting engagement and wedding pictures.  I just can't act all naturaaal when there is a camera in my face.  What's up #selfies?!

4.  The bf and I got all green this weekend.  We did yard work and planted a tree!  It all happened so fast.  We made a trip to Lowes to get a watering can and the next thing you know we have a tree sticking out of our sunroof.  I can't wait for it to bloom because it's a Flowering Red Dogwood! :)  This makes me even more excited because I got to cross this off my 101 Things in 1001 Days List.  

Our Burning Bush is sprouting!  We planted this over the fall and our happy to see we didn't kill it!

5.  I finally got around to finishing those DIY projects that I had started a month ago, err maybe longer! I had 3 pallets that I got from Philly's work.  I turned one that actually required two into a platform for Dragons Kennel and the other one into a Shoe Rack for Phil.  There was a lot of sanding and hammering involved.  I kid you not I was sore from all the squatting, hammering and panting. Dragon has ruined our kitchen floor. She has destroyed 2 plastic trays that sit in the bottom of kennels and now has completely ruined the floor.  We need to replace the flooring, which I hope we get around to it this summer because it just looks awful. The platform will hopefully keep her from anymore future flooring destruction and I would rather her destroy this practically free DIY pallet project.  The only thing I paid for was the letters and the gray spray paint for them.  My next project is to sew my own dog bed so she has something comfy to lay on!

6. Ever since the bf got me my camera for my birthday I CANNOT put it down! I discovered this weekend that Dragon might just be the coolest dog ever because she can fly!

7.  A lot of this weekend looked like this and I did not hate it....
I mean there really isn't a lot better than snuggles with your bf and pup! 
The fact that I posted a Weekend Recap on a Monday is a miracle, seriously this stuff just doesn't happen often! :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Sunday + Pup Pictures

Can I go back to Chicago?  But seriously.  I know I kind of went picture crazy on my last post but when I say I had 600 pictures I really did.  I'm actually pretty proud of the fact that I narrowed it down as much as I did!  

On Easter Sunday when we got back from Chicago we went over to Phil's parents house for dinner.  His dad grilled ribs and his mom made potato salad and corn.  To top it off it was 75 degrees and flipping amazing out.  His dad makes da best ribs, I couldn't stop eating them. 

I brought over my camera and since the dogs had stayed at their grandparents house, I thought they would be the perfect models to try to get a hang of this camera.  Mouse ended up not being so great because she runs too flippin fast. Dragon was actually exhausted from playing outside all day and cooperated more than she usually does.  Winning!

^This face kills me!

Parker, Phils Parent's dog. 

And I think I just might want to be a Pet Photographer...Yup, I think I just found my new hobby.  Taking pictures and getting to play with puppies, I mean holy fire balls those are two of my favorite things!  I think I should probably start by learning how the heck to use my camera and how to properly take pictures.  I know these photos aren't that great and photography worthy but shoot it's my first weekend with this thing so of course I have no clue. If you know any great sites and tutorials let me know.  I've been pinning like it's my second job.  I hope to take a class one of these days but that probably wont happen right away.  Also for all you camera experts, what a solid lens you would recommend?  I've got an 18-55 mm 1:3.5-5.6G lens and am looking at getting a second one. 

Happy Wednesday & Happy Puppy Cuteness Overload! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Early Birthday Celebrations in Chicago

Warning:  Picture overload because this girl is now a camera owner and narrowing down 600 photos in one weekend is pretty flipping hard!  

It feels good to be back.  If you follow me on twitter, last week I posted that I was taking the week off because I just straight up wasn't feeling it.  As that is true, I just had some family things going on that had me all sorts of emotionally drained, which I have debated sharing but because it's a family matter I felt as though it isn't really my place to share it.  I will say that I haven't been that upset in a very long time and experienced a variety of emotions ranging from sad, upset, furious, hurt, hysterical, frustrated, mad, flabbergasted and shocked.  I'm sure there was a few more things thrown in there.

Anyways, moving on to the good stuff in my life.  My birthday is the 29th of this month and I had been feeling pretty down about it because Phil is going to be out of town for work for 2 weeks and it happens to land during my birthday.  As you know, I am totally freaking out about turning 25, go ahead and laugh but I really just am not ready to be this age yet.  He wanted to do something nice and so he suggested we go to Chicago for the weekend to get away.  He could have not read my mind any better.  Getting a weekend away could not have been more perfect right now.  

I had Good Friday off but Philly still needed to go into work in the morning.  I cleaned up the house and did last minute laundry before leaving, I know who cleans on there day off right?  But I was thinking ahead and decided that I'd rather come home from a weekend away to a clean house.  Phil's parents came into town from St. Thomas so I went to lunch with them, it's so nice to have them around!  Phil ended up getting stuck at work longer than we thought so we finally left around 2:30 which put us in Chicago at  4:30. 

When we got to our hotel, Phil gave me my present, which I was jumping up and down and screaming when I opened it.  I almost knocked him down because I jumped right on him, "sorry babe, I keep forgetting your leg isn't back to 100% yet."  I pretty much talked about NEEDING a camera 24/7 but I honestly didn't expect it because those things are not cheap.

I had a lot of fun walking around the city playing with my camera.  Shoot, I have no idea how to use the thing.  So if you have some tips & tricks up your sleeve let me know because just call me Miss. Clueless when it comes to this camera. I love love love this camera though.  And I love Phil for getting this for me, it is honestly one of the best presents I have ever received.  When I start looking through that lens I feel like I am in a different world.  It makes me feel close to my middle brother because he is a photographer/artist.

Phil is part of Trunk Club, which is this company for men that ships clothes to you based on your style and personality.  Your own stylist picks out a bunch of outfits that you request and ships them to you.  You keep what you want and ship back what you don’t like.  The company is based out of Chicago and his friend happens to work there so he set Phil up for a fitting.  It is by far one of the best shopping experiences I have seen.  They have a bar stocked with beer, wine, champagne and liquor.  Basically you sit, drink and a stylist brings you clothes to try on.  Sounds like a pretty damn good thing.  Props to this company because it really is one of a kind. 

I didn't bring my camera out so I didn't get the chance to photograph the place very well.

Phil’s friend, Daniel pretty much took us under his wing this weekend and showed us all the great areas of Chicago.  He took us to Mercadito, a Mexican/Tapas restaurant.  Holy goodness in my mouth.  I don’t have a bad thing to say about this place.  We shared three different kinds of guacamole, 3 different kinds of tacos and of course had to order the chorizo queso dip, which might have been the best thing that ever has touched my taste buds.  I also highly recommend the pineapple guacamole, the perfect combo of sweet and spicy.  Afterwards we went to a bar which I can’t flippin remember the name of but Phil and I were exhausted and didn’t last very long.  Lame-sauce I know.

The next morning we woke up, showered and met up with Daniel at his apartment.  His place has some of the greatest views of the city.  He has views of Lake Michigan, The Navy Pier and the skyline.  We went up on the roof top and admired all the views.  The building with the blue roof was my favorite. 

We brunched it under the heat lamps outside at Tavern on Rush.  We people watched and I of course stuffed my face with Crab Cake Eggs Benedict.  The food in Chicago is legit one of my favorite things.  This might be why I love Chicago so much.  It was a good thing that we walked around for an hour looking at all the town homes and checked out the Public Chicago Hotel.  I seriously don’t know if I could live here because I would be huge consuming all of the to-die for food. 

I thought this door was pretty flipping sweet.

A little cappuccino and a couple macarons hit the spot in Old Town.  We really lucked out because the weather in Chicago was pretty fantastic even if it was a tad bit chilly, the sun was out and it felt great.  We stopped a Cigar Shop and this little aquarium place along the way. 

The next stop on our adventure was 25°, a playful, funky restaurant/bar combo complete with velvet like red walls.  They are on this whole bandwagon of bottomless mimosas and obviously couldn’t pass that up.  Next thing you know, 3 hours and 8 bottles later we were all feeling pretty good.  This is when I told Daniel that he legit looked like Leonardo Dicaprio.  Haha, he thought that was the best compliment ever.

Our adventure didn’t stop here of course.  I found a dog park and of obviously had to meet all the cute pups.  If there is anything you should know about me it's about my love for animals.  I fell in love with every dog I met including a tiny teacup Chihuahua with a gold chain, I repeat a teacup with a gold chain, two yellow laps and a pit bull.   They all made my heart smile.  I also may or may not have acted like I was paparazzi.  This camera is making me a tad bit cocky, okay it might have been the bottomless mimosas.  I really wonder about me sometimes.  I had fun, that's all that matters.

^This is when we spotted the Dog Park!

We went to this diamond in a rough for some Thai Food inside of Bloomingdale's.  Legit it was so good.  Thai is up there on my favorite kind of foods and we don't really have any good places around me.   We said goodbye to Daniel because he had to call it a night and Phil and I took a Rickshaw ride, is that what you call it?  You know those bike things that have a cart attached to it...  Holy crap though, those things are not cheap, you are better off taking a cap.  Anyways it was fun and we stopped at The Redhead Piano Bar.  I met 6 guys who were  visiting from Ireland and you know because I'm Irish I immediately thought we should be friends. It was a great end to our fun filled adventure of a day. 

I always get really sad on Sundays, especially this one because I really just didn't want this weekend to end.  After breakfast at Yolk we headed back to Indiana to have Easter with the boyfriends parents.  I love Chicago, I love my Camera and I love my boyfriend.  I couldn't of asked for a better weekend to celebrate my birthday.  One day I hope to call Chicago my home, even if it is freezing a majority of the time.  There is just something about this city that I love.  What's your favorite city?

P.S.  Yes, Phil is rockin the cane.  For those that don't know he tore his ACL a month and a half ago and since we were doing all that walking he really didn't want to use his crutches.