A Day In Cook Forest: Family, Nature & Mini Pumpkins

This Saturday was one of those perfect days. When everything you planned worked out, the rain mostly held off, and your preschooler was impeccably behaved. I have been doing some work for the lovely Clarion River Suites in Cook Forest, PA for the past few months, but haven’t had the opportunity to actually visit. It’s a few hours from my house, but this weekend, my husband and our son, along with my mom, sister, and brother, made the trip.

The drive there was nothing short of breathtaking. I think this weekend must have been the peak of fall foliage, because around every corner and bend we were given oranges, reds, and yellows galore. Not to mention, it was an overcast, chilly day. The ominous sky was oddly comforting and added to the October/Spooky/Halloween feeling. There were hardly any cars on the road and we thoroughly enjoyed the dark and rainy country drive.

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After getting slightly lost, (we really were in the middle of the forest) we found the sign that would lead us up to the Suites.

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They sit on top of the world, at least it feels that way, right above the Clarion River and literally in the heart of Cook Forest. The rain was impending, and we did have a few bouts of downpours, but in the dry time, we were able to capture the essence of this beauty. When you look at these photos, picture the smell of a bonfire all around you, as the fire was burning strong. A true smell of fall, if there can be a smell of the season, and if you mix that with the smell of rain, well geez, if I could bottle that all up and bring it home, I would never need another candle.

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This is the deck where many people snap photos, as you can see in the next few shots, what lies behind you is just a blanket of color.

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My husband walked down the hill a bit to get some closer shots. You can see him blending in to his surroundings. I think he would have stayed down there all day.

photo (14)And here is the view from inside one of the Suites. I mean, really? I could sit on this balcony for hours. I wouldn’t even need to say a word. A good book, a cup of coffee, good company. It’s one of those places that doesn’t quite seem real. Photos don’t even do it justice. It feels like a place in your favorite book or a place from another time. You have to experience it to really understand it. And that sky!

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My mom, sister, and brother, who got a little more lost in the forest than we did, ended up finding us and we got to spend some quality time together taking photos and taking in nature. Cell service was shoddy and that was honestly wonderful. To not be able to get a call or a text, to not hear those emails streaming in, or see what everyone was posting on Facebook. It was just us, on top of the world, family time, no distractions. The sound of the river and birds all around. It. Was. Everything. We. Long. For.     …    Peace.

Soon it was time for lunch, so we headed close by to Iron Mountain Grille and sure had our fill of pizza, salad, sandwiches, soup, and more! Photo below courtesy of their website.

grilleThen we decided to just drive along the road and see where it led. Going somewhere without a plan, although scary to an obsessive planner like me, is always fantastic. Not knowing what you’ll find along the way makes the trip that much more exciting. We found a craft fair going on and stopped into this general store.

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My sister ordered me an amazing candle online last year for Christmas, and low and behold, this store carried those very same candles. Of course we had to purchase some of those and I suggest if you ever find these near you, buy one! This one has three different scents and they not only engulf the room in aroma, but they last forever! I adore the jar look to this, handle, and screw off lid. Not only smells great, but looks great, too.

candleLining the outside of the store were mini pumpkins and my son was thrilled to pick one out for himself. He carefully looked them over and then grabbed one, clutching it the entire rest of the trip. He brought it with him into every store and I think he would have slept with that thing if I let him. The fact that he picked it out himself and that it was just his size meant the world to him.

photo (20)We also stopped at the Pickle Barrel. Another cute shop with all sorts of gifts, and a lot of, you guessed it, pickle-themed novelties. We started to do some Christmas shopping for one another and sat outside on the rocking chairs just enjoying the beauty all around.

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My brother captured this shot of my son and it pretty much sums up our day. Pure joy.

photo (21)If you can get away from it all, do it. We can always spend more time with family. We can always make more memories. We can, and should, always be reminded of what’s important in life.

Enjoy these last few weeks of Fall, East Coasters. Soon, the snow will cover our colors and it will be another year before the magic of this all-too-short season returns.

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A Love Affair With Red and Orange In Photos

If you asked me my favorite color, I’d quickly reply green. But in this beautiful season of Autumn, I can’t help but fall in love with reds and oranges. I guess I’ve always liked these colors, but maybe I didn’t realize how staple they were in my everyday until I started to examine a few things. I added some pictures to make this more interesting, so here we go.

First up: Leaves! If you live in an area where you don’t get to witness this phenomena, I feel for you. I know some of my friends who have left the East Coast for warmer climates (Caitlin!) miss the trees at this time of year almost as much as they miss me ;) It’s just magical. One day everything is lush and green, and all of a sudden little areas of red and orange start to appear, and in days, an entire tree is transformed.

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Could my son look any more joyful playing in these leaves? Even when they fall to the ground, they still have a little bit of magic left. From their crinkly texture and their crunchy sounds, to their reminder that Halloween is right around the corner. Who doesn’t get a little frightened when they aren’t ready and a leaf falls off a tree and lands on them. A little, “got ya,” from our tree friends up above. And making piles to jump in: Classic!

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Household items. Geesh, I didn’t realize how many everyday things around my house are red or orange. Like my toaster… (excuse the 1970’s counter top, someday we’ll replace that)

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My mouse…

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My teapot…

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This awesome sign on my door…

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My candle: Apple Pumpkin. (Yes, this is the cheap version from Wal-Mart) and it smells magnificent!

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And my favorite pants. I think I’ve had these pants for 15 years, and I still wear them all the time. It’s like a stuffed animal or a blanket, or a favorite mug, or whatever. They are not only the most comfortable pants in the world, they’ve been with me through half of my life. They are basically an old friend.

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I was in my best friend’s wedding a few weeks ago and they had a super cool photo booth with all the fun props and accessories. And what did I choose?? You guessed it, an ORANGE hat. Subconsciously obsessed with this color? (My husband rocks purple pretty well too, eh?)

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And last but not least, my husband and I both have red hair! Although mine is fake, his is 100% authentic. It’s actually only his beard that comes in red (just like his Dad) and I love it. We are both Italian and Irish, and we definitely got the Irish skin, so red suits us. (P.S. All of our sibling get amazing tans in the Summer, and then there’s us? What the hell…)

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So I guess now if you ask my favorite color, I might have to throw red and orange in there as high seconds. Red is the color of passion, a word and a concept that I believe in deeply, and orange reminds me of fire, feeling alive, vibrancy and living life to the fullest.

So enjoy the reds and oranges around you today and everyday. What colors inspire you?

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Top 10 Adventures on our trip to NYC and AC, Lots of Pics!

No one has time to read long blog posts. So why write them? I want to tell you all about our trip, but you just want the good parts, so I made it easy for you. Here are the top 10 adventures from our trip to Long Island, Manhattan, and Atlantic City, complete with pics, so you won’t get bored. Enjoy!

1. Hilton Garden Inn. Awesome hotel in Ronkonkoma, NY. K-cups and a Keurig in my room, yes please! Awesome staff and service, too.

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2. Rehearsal Dinner by the water! Working at home, I don’t have a lot of chances to get dolled up anymore, so it’s always fun to put on a dress and go glam with the hair and make-up. Plus, my hubby is pretty damn cute all dressed up, too.

us23. Seeing old friends and meeting so many new ones! When you’re “old” like we are, you don’t get to do a lot of partying and bond with new people over a shot of Jameson, but we sure did a lot of that on this trip. We love everyone we met and have formed new friendships with people all over the globe.

friends4. The Empire State Building. It was my hub’s first time in the Big Apple and we only had one day to “do it all.” Our first stop was the Empire State Building. We did the Skyride, which was awesome, but after staying up the night before till 3 am drinking like we were 21, it was a little rough on the stomach. But Kevin Bacon’s soothing narration got us through. Then it was a lot of lines, a lot of elevators, some more lines, and then the observation deck! It was FREEZING up there, and we were NOT dressed for that, but we braved the cold and still got some great pics.

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5. Times Square. Really doesn’t need much of a description. We went in the giant Toys ‘R Us, and we ate a slice of pizza on the street. We also got hustled and somehow ended up buying some new CDs. But, we got to see the Naked Cowboy, so day made.

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6. Rockefeller Plaza. As a big Today show fan, I had to go over and get a glimpse. I went and stood where the crowd always gathers and peeked in the windows. It was a weekend so no Matt Lauer, but still a cool experience.

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7. Central Park. We walked FOREVER to get there. But it was an overcast, cool day in the City and it was kind of perfect. We were on a time schedule so we only got to sit in the Park for a few minutes, but it was absolutely beautiful. For that to be sitting in the middle of a concrete jungle, is truly a treasure.

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8. The Waldorf-Astoria. My favorite movie is Serendipity, and my husband and I wanted to go in here to do the elevator test. We each go in a different one and hit a button, to see if we pick the same floor, just like Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack did in the film. But, we couldn’t find those same elevators and there were too many people around. BUT at least we went inside. Felt a little magical.

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9. THE WEDDING!!! Everything about this day was perfect. The weather, the ceremony, the reception, the dancing. Even my speech went off without a hitch (seriously worried about this for weeks leading up to it). As matron of honor, AND a writer, people expect you to do well. I actually was complimented from many people on the speech, which meant more to me than they will ever know, and when someone told me I “nailed” it, I figured life couldn’t get any better. Much love to you Mr. and Mrs. Miller!

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10. Atlantic City. Since we were only a few hours away, we popped over to AC for the second part of our trip. Our favorite place on Earth. A second home, really. Even though it was a little sad since some of the casinos were closing, our casino: The Tropicana Casino and Resort was thriving! Packed with people and full of energy. We ate at awesome restaurants, drank fancy beverages, walked up and down the boardwalk, won some dough on the slots, sat in the sand, walked by the ocean at dusk, and held hands through it all. A perfect end to a perfect vacation.

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So that’s our trip in a nutshell. It’s back to work, back to everyday life, back to me realizing my fantasy football team is really bad this year, and even though we miss these fantastic places already, there is NO place like home. It’s the first day of Autumn, and the cool, crisp weather is getting me excited for the season to come.

So thank you Summer, for another experience for the books, but we welcome you Autumn: your sweaters, your football Sundays, your hot coffee, your colors, your leaves, your warm embrace.

Until our next adventure…

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My Vintage Weekend: Why I Live In The Wrong Time

I have been severely neglecting my blog, and I am trying to get back to consistent posting. So here we go!

This weekend was full of VINTAGE, OLD-FASHIONED goodness. My husband had Friday off (any extra day I get to spend with him is a great one) but this one was most enjoyable.

We got up early and got our son ready to head out for breakfast at our favorite place in the world: Cracker Barrel. When we were kid-less and had endless free mornings and lazy weekends, we would come here all the time, but now, trips are few and far between, so we cherish them.

You are instantly transported to a different time and place when you go in. From people just sitting outside on rockers, to buying old candy or homemade candles in the store, to the most welcoming, friendly staff I think I’ve ever encountered. Time seems to slow down for a minute. Instead of focusing on your phone, you’re trying to figure out where to put all the plates from your massive breakfast haul. Coffee is hot and before you even have a chance to get low, someone is coming around with a fresh cup. We were seated right in front of the fireplace, which is of course isn’t on during the summer, but is our favorite seat in the Fall. Nothing like a great meal on a chilly morning, in front of a giant fireplace. It’s an atmosphere like no other, and you leave there with a full belly and a happy heart.

After breakfast, we headed down to a true hidden gem, tucked away in Squirrel Hill, called Jerry’s Records. I found it when I was looking online for places I could sell some old vinyl. I was so present in the moment there, that I never took out my phone to snap a few pics. But I found the below photo on the website, and I also found a video online from 2007 with more information and an interview with Jerry himself.

Photo courtesy of JerrysRecords.com

Photo courtesy of JerrysRecords.com

Amazing!!!! We parked and walked up the staircase to the second floor, and were instantly engulfed in records. Shelves and boxes and layers upon layers of music. It smelled like an old bookstore in there, one of my favorite smells, and I could have walked the aisles of records forever.

We had our three-year old with us, so we couldn’t stay super long, but after selling Jerry some records from our stash, we looked around, wanting to buy so many more. There was also a second room with used record players, vintage beer cans, you name it. It was a slice of heaven in today’s tech-crazy world. We took our time. We looked at every section, we listened to the big band music playing above, twirling our toddler around to the sounds of the past.

My favorite part was seeing two adorable little girls with their grandpa. They were running around grabbing records and going over to the listening station to try them out. I love that kids are getting that kind of experience. All kids should spend a day at Jerry’s, and get a taste of something different.

We left there feeling happy, nostalgic, and we honestly can’t wait to go back. I love finding places like these so close to home. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

The last vintage part of my weekend came on Saturday, when I headed down to my moms for the day while my husband enjoyed his day at the Football Hall of Fame with his dad and brother. It was supposed to be rainy, but instead it was bright and sunny, so we headed to the park and threw rocks in the creek. I did take a few photos here I can share. Excuse my son’s shirt. He was spilling water all over himself, lol. I love how my mom, my sister, and myself are all touching hands and holding on to my son. And it’s only perfect that my brother is the strong leader in front of us. He has always been the MAN of our family. And we love him dearly.

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But then, it got darker, and the smell of rain was in the air, and after a great lunch, we headed back to my moms, which is also the house where she grew up and was home to my grandparents, and her great-grandparents. After they made their way to heaven, my mom moved in, keeping the house in the family!

There are still a lot of my grandparent’s things that haven’t been touched or went through. Because I am obsessed with anything old, I started going through boxes. I opened an old Bissel Carpet box, tied with string, and inside found hundreds of letters written between my grandparents when my grandpa was in the Navy. I only had time to read through a few, but my heart was lifted at reading their words. And I yearned to be a part of that time… when men and women wrote each other love letters, and romance and passion were apparent. There was no texting with silly emoticons to show love, there was pen on paper, true feelings spilling out all over the stationary. Words that could be held, read over and over again, and kept preserved for future generations. I could have sat on the hardwood, squeaky floor and read for hours, but as with this life, I was on a time schedule and had to move on.

My mom and I also found vintage christening gowns, in perfect shape, and lots of her old school stuff. Gradation programs and cheerleading memorabilia. I could sit in my mom’s house and look through photos and cedar chests for hours. It never gets old. I love getting a glimpse into my grandparent’s life when they were younger. I love seeing photos of my mom and thinking about how much we look alike, and how lucky I am to have this woman by my side as I now enter the more grown-up phase of life.

Then, another little bit of magic. My mom brought out our American Girl dolls from when we were little, and we instantly started playing with them. We forgot we were “too old” for dolls, and I watched my sister put her doll’s hair in a sweet bun, and I dressed mine up in a pretty pink gown. Even my son was enamored with the little glasses and hats. Another reminder of when life was easy, time with family was endless, and joys were the little things.

And again, I could have taken photos, but I was way too present in the moment (something we all need to work on) and I feel it’s my job as a writer to tell you this story without photos. I need to paint the picture for you, which I hope I did.

So now it’s Monday, and I’m back to a crappy computer screen and bright lights and emails galore. I’m back to social media in my face at every turn. But I have Michael Bublé playing in the background, I’m sipping a cappuccino, and I’m dreaming of the next vintage weekend. When time slows down, when love seems a little sweeter, and when life can just be…simple.

As always, thank you for reading, and please comment on how you feel about the past.

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My New York City Trip in Pictures and Lessons

This past weekend will stay with me forever. For so, so, so many reasons. As a 31-year-old wife, mom, and business owner – I don’t get out much. So when I found myself in New York for an entire weekend, never opening my laptop once, I found a little slice of heaven. I can surely say I’m a little depressed as I sit here typing. I’m happy to be home and see my family, but I’m missing friends, fun, food, and FREEDOM.

I spent an amazing eight hours in the car on Friday driving to Long Island with my best friend, Vicky. We could not have had a better time. Considering we were traveling on a full moon, and a Friday the 13th, we were actually quite lucky. Whether it was swerving away from a tire blow out on a semi the first half hour in, or battling horrible bouts of rain, we made our way to Long Island in one piece. We sang, we talked, we made up radio show characters, we sulked together in traffic, we got to have best friend time that we hadn’t had for far too long.  Lesson One: Don’t forget to be silly with the people who know and love you best. You need them and they need you. More than you both know. 

Myself and Vicky

Myself and Vicky

photo 3photo 2Maybe it’s just me, but I swear the air smells sweeter in New York. We reunited with our best friend and bride-to-be Cindi, and headed out to Famous Dave’s BBQ. There we met some of the other bridesmaids and family, and had an amazing meal!

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Our lovely waitress took this shot of us holding up BBQ flavors. Because, why not? The day was long from all the driving and we headed back to Cindi’s moms where we stayed up like 15 year olds at a sleepover, trying on our shower dresses for the next day, and just being girls. LESSON TWO: Cherish every moment you get to relive any part of your childhood. From staying in your old room, to having your friend’s mom bring you bagels in the morning. When you are the mom or dad, or the career person, you don’t get much of a chance to let people take care of you.

Saturday was shower day! We ate at a place called Spezia, which was PHENOMENAL. From the champagne fruit punch to the three course meal, we were all super full after leaving there.

The ladies at the shower

The ladies at the shower

Before we knew it, we were changing and heading downtown for the PARTY. We stayed in an apartment in Greenwich Village, aphoto 2 (2)nd even though it was tiny, we filled every corner with laughter. We popped champagne, danced, played silly games, and got to know each other. I love all the girls I met on this trip. All unique with killer personalities.
LESSON THREE: Make friends. Sometimes I feel like I’m too old to make friends, or I don’t need any new ones. You should always meet people. I’m so happy to have these girls as part of my memory and hopefully part of my future. 

Vicky, Cindi, and Me

Vicky, Cindi, and Me

We ate another fantastic dinner at Dos Caminos in the Meat Packing District. Food just kept on coming. From salsa and guacamole, to tacos and enchiladas, to salad and rice, to dessert – we again had our fill. And thanks to the generous bachelorette party beside us, some of their leftover tequila shots!

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The girls at dinner

Finally, it was time to dance. We changed out of the dresses into our bachelorette gear and headed to Wicked Willy’s. For the next three hours, we danced our asses off. We had an absolute blast. LESSON FOUR: Never stop dancing. 

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We topped off the fantastic evening with a pizza! Nothing like a New York slice at 4 am. Nothing!

photo 3 (4)Sunday morning rolled around and one by one the girls started making their way home. Whether it was a plane ride away, a short subway trek, or a long drive – then, I was the last to depart. LESSON FIVE: Stay at the party as long as you can. It’s worth it. Make every moment count. 

I got on the Long Island Railroad Monday morning and headed into Penn Station. Fumbling around with two giant bags, a purse, and a nervous mind – I found the “big board” that would tell me how to get home. This was the first time in my life I had ever really traveled alone, so it was a big step for me, and one that I’m pretty proud I was able to accomplish without a full-on panic attack.

photo 4 (4)I made my way to where I needed to be and settled in for a long eight hours of catch-up work. But as fate would have it, the wireless connection wasn’t working, so I found myself on a long track with nothing but time.photo 5 (3)

I struck up a conversation with someone on the train the second half of the trip, and four hours flew by. A fellow writer, blogger, and all-around goofball just like me, he was the unexpected portion of my trip. LESSON SIX: Embrace the unexpected. Serendipity is my favorite word for a reason.

Here I met another new friend, another person that shares this sometimes crazy brain of a writer, and hopefully we will be a contact for each other going forward. Good conversation and train coffee made that trip one for the books. Thank you, Clay.

My wonderful husband was waiting at the train station with flowers and Starbucks for me, and the look on my son’s face knowing mommy was home, was priceless. As much as I loved my girl’s weekend, there’s no two faces in this world I missed more than my boys.

I have a great weekend to add to my memory bank. I hope I brought a little piece of New York home with me, and I can’t wait to get back there in September for the wedding. LESSON SEVEN: Life is beautiful. Every. Single. Day. Never forget that. 

Tell me about your favorite trips!

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Social Media: Glinda vs. The Wicked Witch

I’m obsessed with all things word-related. Analogies, Mnemonic devices, Metaphors, yada, yada. And last night, I was watching something about lions, tigers, and bears, which obviously made me think of The Wizard of Oz. A classic, amazing film, that I could blog about for days, but I’m taking two of the main characters, and making them the two faces of social media. Mainly Facebook and other status-driven sites.

GLINDA AND THE WICKED WITCH…

Glinda shall serve as the GOOD part of social media. Using the letters of her name, here’s my little spiel:

G  is for Good. First and foremost, there is no denying that social media has done a lot of good in this world. It has helped long-lost loves and friends connect; it has helped family members find one another; it has helped people find their beloved pets; it has been a platform to share news, updates and inspiring stories; it has been a place to ask for help, suggestions, and guidance; it’s been a place to find and gather support for fundraisers and worthy causes; and it has helped businesses get their name out there with little to no funds. And it’s given us a place to share those amazing BuzzFeed quiz results! LOL

L is for Love. On a good day, you can find TONS of love all over social media. From people sharing wedding photos and engagement stories; to baby bumps and preschool graduations; to work promotions and awards. I shared a status the other day about opening my own firm and I was overwhelmed at the amount of likes and comments supporting me. It was like getting 50 cards in the mail all at once. The positive opportunities are endless.

I is for Interests. If I want to follow my favorite bands or celebrities, I can do that. If I want to know what events are happening in my City this summer, I can do that, too. We no longer need to search very hard for information. It’s all right there in front of us. Sometimes a little too much, but it’s nice to have the option to see and follow the things that we love with little to no effort.

N is for News. In today’s world, there is no way that the regular news channels and newspapers can keep up with real-time. Social media has saved lives when someone posted about danger. It brings us up to the minute updates and information. Although not always accurate, the fact that we have that platform in place, is pretty awesome.

D is for Distraction. We all need a little distraction in our day, and social media gives us that. How many times have you just scrolled through your feed hoping someone posted a cool article or photos that you could check out, to get you out of your own head for a bit, and just get lost in something else.

A is for Appreciation. Social media shows us both people going through great times of their lives, as well as struggles, and we should come to appreciate what is good in our own lives. Everyone has something difficult happening in the background, and some people have it so much worse than we do. We need to appreciate what we have, and help others in any way we can.

Now the wicked side

W is for WTF! Sometimes there are no other words but those three. It’s disgusting what some people think is ok to post. It’s sad in fact. I know there are regulations in place, but I see things every day that I am amazed are not taken down. Negativity breeds more negativity. Why can’t people see that, and just stop.

I is for Irritating. For me, it’s people that can’t spell. Your for You’re. Their for They’re. I just take a red pen in my head and edit their posts. Everything bothers someone. And you could be really bothering someone, and not even know. So now you are irritating a friend, without even trying. Social media has made it even harder to remain friends with people. It’s giving them more opportunities to see our weaknesses. Maybe they think you post too much about your fitness, or your meals, or your vacations, or take too many selfies. This goes into the E below, but again, you’re never going to please everyone, so stop trying, and just post what you want. You are going to get irritated and you will irritate others. It’s life. Just be ready for consequences and comments. People usually don’t keep their thoughts to themselves.

C is for Controversy. This is a biggie. I have seen comment wars erupt between “friends” because of this. Sometimes, people post or share without really thinking about it. If you have any qualms at all, don’t post it. It’s not worth it. You don’t have to share every single one of your beliefs with your friend list. You may alienate someone who you truly like, just because of one post. I have friends who have completely different beliefs than me, and that is just fine. We are human. We are different. And that’s what makes our world go ’round. I have seen people “unfriend” each other over the Presidential election. I have seen people argue over issues in a comment feed. That is getting you nowhere.  Everyone is brave when it’s only words. What happens when you will have to face that person in “real” life. It goes back to the old adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Can you imagine if we all just spread positive vibes? What a better place our world would be. There’s nothing wrong with a little debate here and there, but often it can turn ugly fast.

K is for Konnections. I’m cheating on my K here, but what I mean, is that kids and younger generations, lack SOCIAL SKILLS. When we were in junior high, we had to CALL our crush’s HOME phone to talk to them. We didn’t have text or email or cell phones yet. We had to buck up and do it. Kids today don’t even know that life. They never really have to talk to someone. They live in a virtual, unrealistic, non-social (social) world. It’s really sad. I wish we could do a technology detox on these kids for a year of their lives, and make them actually talk to one another. The cyber bullying, the trying to embarrass their peers with photos and videos, it’s horrible. I’m glad I’m not a kid today. And I fear for my son, as he will grow up in this world.

E is for Envy. More often than not, people are jealous of what they see. If you’re sitting in your office on a hot July day, and your friend is partying at the beach, you will be envious. Before social media, we might have known our friend was going on vacation, but the pictures and posts weren’t thrown in our face. It’s hard to be happy for others, if you are down on yourself. But hey, when it’s YOUR turn on vacation, don’t you want people to see what you are doing. You gotta give some to get some. And that party-er at the beach, might be jealous of a part of your life, that you think is mundane and normal.

D is for Demand. When we sign up for a social media profile, we are inadvertently telling “the world” that they are allowed to peek into our windows and become a small part of our lives. I was recently talking to a pregnant friend and she was very fearful of putting her pregnancy online. She knew she would be inundated with “where’s the bump pics” and “are you going to find out the sex?” She said although she wanted to share part of the journey with everyone, she didn’t want to share it all. And I think a lot of people feel the same way. How do we just share a little? I don’t know if we can. As soon as you put something out there, people will want to follow your progress. They will expect updates. It’s human interest. Pregnancy. Planning a wedding. Weight loss. And although most of your friends just genuinely care and want to support you, there will be people on the other side of the spectrum, as well.

All in all, social media is a needed evil. And sometimes I kick myself for not checking in to that cool restaurant I went to, or posting a cute picture, or sharing my good news. If I’m letting people peek in, they should know what I’m up to. It’s our chance to share our experiences with the world, and let them know us a little better. We all have stories. We’ve all been through hard times and good times, and the support that we can get from our online network can be overwhelmingly pure and beautiful.

Let’s just keep it positive everyone!

How do you feel? Are you on social media? If not, do you feel left out? If you are, do you share a lot, or try to keep some things private? 

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How I Met Your Mother Series Finale – My New Ending

How I Met Your Mother has been a staple show in our household for the past nine years. My husband and I stumbled upon the show early on in the first season and we were instantly hooked. We have literally grown up with this show. We met the same year it started, we got engaged, got married, had a child – and this show was right there for us, every Monday, like an old friend.

After watching the Series Finale last night, I feel lost. Not only has one of my favorite shows ended, but as many of you would agree, I feel jilted and upset at the ending we witnessed.

Stop reading if you haven’t watched yet. SPOILERS.

First of all, my favorite part about this show is the undying friendship, the love, this group of people have always felt for each other. I want to have friends like that. I want to go to MacLaren’s and have a drink. They made it through so many obstacles, and despite five very different personalities, there was no doubt that Marshall, Lily, Robin, Ted, and Barney were in it for the long haul. Yet in the finale, we find out quickly that everyone basically fell apart. They lost touch, they became distant. Unrealistic to me. These people spent so much of their adult lives together. I don’t believe they would let these precious relationships die. It almost invalidated the entire show, the central theme. And haven’t we seen numerous clips into the future with the group together (college reunion, Lily and Robin in the hats drinking the wine, etc.)

This entire season we’ve spent our time at the wedding weekend of our beloved Robin and Barney, a couple I have been rooting for – for a LONG time. And I have LOVED this season, every single episode. We witnessed the evolution of Barney (or so we THOUGHT). We watched him finally realize that this was it, Robin was the girl. These two were perfect for one another. Robin with her tough exterior and “bro” like mentality, and Barney with his need to be with a woman like Robin, someone to keep him in line, but someone who he could still be Barney with. I mean he got rid of the Playbook for her, really? Then in the first 20 minutes we find out they lasted a measly three years and just gave up??? Just because Robin became successful and traveled the world? What a joke!

We witnessed Ted finally letting Robin go (or so we THOUGHT), realizing that she would always be a part of his life, but he wasn’t in love with her anymore.

And why the hell was Josh Radnor narrating and not Bob Saget? Another strange twist.

Marshall and Lily have always been my ideal couple, but I HATE that they left the apartment. Why did we have to see our favorite place empty? Just rip out my heart and stomp on it, writers! They could have at least celebrated inside, hung up the Intervention sign, watched some Robin Sparkles videos, anything, to bring us back to the good old days. Why not a party with some of our old favorites? The Doppelgangers, James Van Der Beek, anyone!!

Barney. A perfect month, getting number 31 pregnant? Way to take all we loved about Barney and ruin it for us. We all knew deep down he was a good guy, and then we turn him into a further womanizer, randomly getting a girl pregnant (whom we never even meet, they could have at least found love). Neil Patrick Harris did have an awesome scene with his little girl, which I loved, but I don’t like the way Barney was ultimately represented.

As for our mother character, Tracy, don’t even get me started. We wait nine seasons to meet her. We wait with bated breath each episode, gathering clues over the past nine years, getting excited when the clues make sense, when we can tie it all together, and then we literally have less than 15 minutes of screen time with her when it matters.

Tracy had been an integral part in each of the gang’s lives before finding Ted, meeting each and every one, and offering them advice, and Ted never even got to realize that. I wanted him to have that moment, to see that each of his best friends (even Robin) had been affected by this mystery woman, his future.

And there’s no way that Ted and Tracy would have two kids and wait five years before actually tying the knot. Getting married, finding the one, that was Ted’s main goal in life. I hated that his traditional and ultra-romantic life suddenly became non-traditional and all over the place. That’s not our Ted. Oh, and let’s have us finally fall in love with Tracy, and then let’s tell us that she DIED. So Ted spent most of his life looking for the one, and gets like what, 10 years with her??

And his kids seem way too anxious for him to go find Aunt Robin. And six years later? If you’re going to take us in that direction, I don’t think Ted would have waited THAT long. And if we had to go down that road, couldn’t we have at least seen him talk to her, and see the moment. See the two of them become something, see a little of their future?

And are we just to assume that Robin never got married? Robin was just still beautiful and perfect and single and waiting for Ted all this time? I wasn’t invested in Robin and Ted anymore. I was invested in Tracy. We all were.

Everything felt rushed, everything felt cold, everything felt wrong. I will have nothing but love for this show though, because every single episode and season leading up to this, was fantastic.

Here’s the ending – my way:

Tracy and Ted meet at the wedding and of course, instantly fall in love. They get engaged and are married within a year. They still have their two kids, but they grow old and gray together with all their best friends around them. Tracy is a music teacher and Ted a very successful architect. The yellow umbrella is hanging on their wall inside a picture frame.

Robin and Barney stay together, adopt a few children, and start a business together “Bro” cast news. Robin as the anchor, Barney as – well whatever Barney does. His signature sign off – Stinson out.

Marshmallow and Lily-pad go to Rome, but come home to New York. They still live in the apartment, and have a rooftop deck party every year that’s LEGEN – wait for it – DARY. Marshall is a judge, and Lily illustrates children’s books. They still have the gang over every year for Thanksgiving, and you know another slap bet will be brewing soon.

The last scene is far into the future, the gang is at MacLaren’s having a beer. When Marshall turns to the young kids (a scene they totally could have done more with) he says, “You know what happened in this bar? Looks back at the gang, nods, looks back and says…Everything.”

THE END.

Whether it’s a show or not, we felt like we were best friends with Marshall, Lily, Ted, Robin, and Barney. I will miss them. I’m sure we all will. So in honor of them right now, and a kick-ass nine years – “self-five!”

I want to know what you thought of the show, please comment!!!

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