#HeresToYouOctober Instagram Challenge

Friday, September 30, 2016

It's that time again, folks! I'm teaming up with Macy, Megan, and Annie to bring you another Instagram photo challenge!

Last year we loved seeing how you spent your holidays with our December Insta challenge and hashtag #HeresToYouDecember. We enjoyed your posts so much we decided to kick off another round with a fall theme! Starting tomorrow, we'll be following the prompts below and posting all sorts of autumn goodness with the hashtag #HeresToYouOctober. We hope that you will join us in celebrating the first full month of fall! Whether you post every day or just on the days you like, we can't wait to see your October grams!

Be sure to follow each of us on Instagram as we'll be reposting our favs! 


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dear Mikey,

One week ago today we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. We were in Iceland, staying in a cozy little inn by the sea, eating the freshest seafood, hiking some of the most beautiful terrain in the world, and we had literally danced under the northern lights and a sky full of stars the night before. To me, that day was a high point in our lives. One of the highest, in my opinion. In that instant, not much could beat what we were experiencing and life truly could not have felt more perfect. 

But as you know, life isn’t full of moments like those. Life is messy and challenging and scary and downright depressing at times. Now we’re back in the states where our days are no longer filled with waterfalls and glaciers but bills, laundry, basement renovations, dog drool, and grocery shopping instead. Real life smacked us in the face the minute we stepped off that plane, where we found ourselves overwhelmed with jam-packed schedules and endless work emails. 

Now that we've got our feet back on the ground, it would be easy to assume that the spark we found in Iceland will be lost. Or that we'll never be as happy as we were there. Or that the pressures of the much less glamorous daily grind will begin to wear on us, and our marriage, before long.

The funny thing is though, this vacation has helped me realize that despite all of that, there is no one else I would rather do life with than you. Whether on a spectacular vacation or trudging through the monotony, there is no one else I would want by my side. Yes, Iceland was fabulous. Anyone who has ever been there knows this. Yet, there can be no replacement for your company and support in the smaller, simpler, or even rockier moments of life. 

There is no one I would rather argue with or clean up after or kiss goodnight or shield my ears from when the Eagles are playing on Sunday. It doesn't matter how many times we push each other away when we're frustrated or speak words we wish we'd swallowed. No matter what rough seas or bright days we encounter, it will always be you, babe. 

So, Mikey, in honor of our anniversary and the adventures we've had and still have ahead, I found this quote that perfectly captures my sentiments four years after the day we said "I do." 

Thank you for the kind of love that endures tiny apartments, ancient appliances, dream chasing, nervous breakdowns, endless messes, missed sleep, losses, gains, and everything in between. Doing life by your side is the best choice I make every day.

Life may not always be as adventurous as a week in Iceland, but it is an adventure nonetheless. Happy 4th Anniversary. I love you to the moon and back.


Never Forget

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fifteen years. FIFTEEN years. It's really hard to believe that fifteen whole years have passed since that tragic day in September 2001.

This past Spring, Mike and I went up to NYC to visit one of my best childhood friends, Erika, who had written an incredible play that she was also starring in at the New Ohio Theatre. We had the best time catching up with her and thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed the production. On our last day there, we decided to take a walk from our hotel in Lower Manhattan down to the 9/11 memorial.

I've been wanting to visit the memorial for a few years now but honestly, wasn't sure how I would be able to handle it emotionally. It takes time to prepare yourself for something this heavy. So we waited. And nearly fifteen years later, we decided to go.

When we got there, hundreds of people were circling the footprints of the two towers but somehow, it was quiet. You could hear the rush of the water falling into the space where the towers once stood. It was drizzling and overcast, but for me, that set the right mood for such a sacred place.

We walked along tracing our fingers over the names of the fallen and scanning the white roses people had left for loved ones. We found names we had heard stories about, common people who had gone above and beyond that day and the weeks that followed. Heroes. They were all heroes to us.

A couple of years ago, I found this video circulating social media and I saved it because to me, this story completely symbolized what that terrible day was really all about. Resilience. To me, that's what America is and always will be. No matter what we face, what challenges come our way, we will always overcome and always be resilient.

Take a few minutes today to pause and remember those we lost that day. Hug your significant other, hold your children just a little tighter, have patience with those around you. We are all so lucky to still call this great nation our home.

We Will Never Forget.

That Time I Attended a Record-Breaking Concert

Friday, September 9, 2016

Wednesday afternoon, as soon as I got out of work, my mom, our friend Paul and I made our way up to Citizens Bank Stadium in Philadelphia to spend an evening with none other than The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. This was his first of two shows in Philly on The River Tour and since I had never been to one of his concerts before, I had no idea what to expect, but from all of the things I've heard I knew I was in for a epically good time. Little did I know, we'd be breaking a record that night.

For more than four hours and with a set list 34 songs long, Bruce rocked the stadium with more than 40,000 fans. From classics like "Born to Run," "Hungry Heart," and "Because the Night" to "Streets of Philadelphia," "Fever," and "Thundercrack" that he played just for Philly, the warm September air in the stadium was filled with these and thousands of voices singing along. He told stories about growing up on the other side of the Delaware River and the shop where he bought his first guitar. Even though we were sitting so high up we could see the city skyline above the stadium, it felt like I was right there on stage with him. He made it feel that personal and that much fun.

From the first note to last blast of fireworks at the end of the show, Bruce totally killed it. We didn't get home until after 2:00AM, but it was worth every minute of lost sleep. The next morning I awoke to headlines announcing that on that night in Philly The Boss had beaten his last three record-breaking marathon shows and the U.S. record for longest show - again.

Tonight he plays a second show in Philly and I wouldn't be surprised if he smashes this record yet again, but knowing that we got to be there the night that he broke his record in a city he holds very close to his heart means so, so much. This is a show I will never forget.

September already?!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

You know how they say that life only speeds up as you get older? Well I’m kinda freaking out about that since I feel like there’s no way it can fly by any quicker than it is now. 

It feels like yesterday was the first day of summer and now here we are after Labor Day with fall nearly upon us. Where did summer gooo?! We had a nice Labor Day weekend spending time with family and friends camping up at Hershey as we always do, but with the way things are flying by and all the craziness ahead over the next couple of months, I couldn’t help but be a little anxious about the weekend ending. I feel like I’m going to blink and I’ll be seeing Christmas trees everywhere! I’m so not ready for this!

If it wasn’t already bad enough, starting this week, we won’t have a single weekend free (or many weeknights free either) until November. Even then, there are only about ten days where nothing has been planned. Our trip to Belgium was moved to November and we won’t be returning until just before Thanksgiving. Talk about hectic timing. 

While I have to admit I’m excited for everything that’s coming because it’s mostly fun stuff, I’m trying not to let my inner control freak get the best of me. I get all sorts of panicky every time I so much as glance at my planner. This week alone we have committee meetings, doctor’s appointments, a concert, and birthday celebrations that fill up every bit of free time we have. Somewhere during all of this and work, we have to find time to prep our house for waterproofing the basement, get two weeks worth of our stuff together, move to my parents’ house with the animals, and PACK EVERYTHING FOR A WEEK IN ICELAND. We won’t have much time to do it next week because Mike and I both are swamped with work stuff that will keep us from getting home before 8:00 or 9:00PM. I know I should be excited about Iceland right now but I can’t stop freaking out about how little time I have to prepare! 

September, you snuck up too quickly!

In the end though, I have to focus on the fact that this is a vacation we’ve been planning for months, so I know we’ll enjoy the heck out of it. Just give me a few glasses bottles of wine to get through and I’ll be good to go! ;) 

If you’re the praying kind, say an extra one for us this week and keep your fingers and toes crossed that we can get all of this done before we hop on that plane! There's a chance we'll make it to Iceland with nothing but the clothes on our backs, but at least you’ll be in for one hell of a blog re-cap!