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Visiting our Nation’s Capital

Mirrors made from old tiles in Eastern Market

I’ve had several trips to the capital before, but the timing of this one made it something special. My college friend, a local Washingtonian, had welcomed me into her very small, but quaint home for the weekend. On my other two family trips to our main goal was to see as many monuments and Smithsonians as we could. My main goal of this trip was to avoid museums, monuments and Smithsonians as much as possible.

We lucked out with some seriously beautiful weather!
We lucked out with some seriously beautiful weather!

We woke up Saturday and headed for Union Station. We walked briefly by the capital, allowing for one picture, which was under construction so not much to see there anyway. Our destination was Eastern Market where we walked around and looked at crafts and food. Although by far out of our price range, it was really neat to see what the locals had created. One man had pictures from places all around the world that he had taken personally and were now for sale. We stopped for food at a small place called Prego Deli. My friend hadn’t been their either, but it turned out to be absolutely delicious. We stopped in a small bookstore that was so crowded the books were shoved in every empty slot there was. A brief walk through Chinatown and we headed to the White House to eat our paninis. The usual demonstrators strayed us from sitting there long, so we headed back to her house and ended the night with Peronis and pizza then off to the bars.

Eisenhower Building behind the White House
Eisenhower Building behind the White House

Sunday we walked around the city of Georgetown and to the University. The University was remarkable with all it’s old buildings. It was a relatively quiet campus compared to the streets of Georgetown with it’s lines of people waiting to get a cupcake at Georgetown Cupcake. The houses in Georgetown are beautiful and quaint. Beyond the hustle and bustle of the main street, it was very quiet and calm in the neighborhood areas.

In a post I wrote about a year ago, I explained that I had a fairly severe anxiety disorder that has lessened overtime and how important my solo trip to Richmond, VA was to me. So, on Monday I set out completely by myself and sort of just wandered. I surprised myself with my ability to navigate and how comfortable I felt just walking around the streets alone, even when when I told my mom she was shocked at how unlike me it was. I walked around the National Zoo and down to Dupont Circle and just kept aimlessly walking. I picked up a salad at Sweetgreen and with no where else to go, I decided to head towards the White House. Once I got near all the monuments it dawned on me how truly miraculous all of them were. Each one had it’s own spectacular thing about them and I was able to spend however long I wanted at each and I think I was able to appreciate it more than when I was 9 or even 19.

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, World War II Memorial
From the Atlantic to the Pacific, World War II Memorial

Being the day before Veterans’ Day, there were Veterans everywhere. My first stop at the World War II memorial had World War II Vet sharing stories with a young couple. The Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial had more tourists groups, but the Vietnam War Memorial had tons of Vets. I passed a dad explaining to his young children what the memorial was all about and it’s importance to the US and made my way down to the rows and rows of names etched into the black granite. There were so many Vets with their Vietnam Veteran hats on standing by the wall. wpid-img_20141110_213847.jpgAs a civilian, I could never imagine serving in a war where so many of my friends and family never came home. My hat really truly does go off to these men and women who served and the men and women who continue to protect our country today. I think as a civilian, we tend to take for granted those who serve because we don’t always directly see how great of an impact they on our freedom on a daily basis. So today, on Veterans’ Day, take the time to thank those you know who have served or are currently serving and respect those who keep us free day after day.

Happy Veterans day and thank you to all the men and women of our United State Military.

I think I need to Stop Dating for Awhile

In high school, I was very anti-dating. I didn’t really want anything to do with boys, they caused drama and changed my friends when they entered relationships with them. Sure I flirted as much as the next 17 year old girl, but they just weren’t for me. I kinda did whatever I pleased for my entire freshman year of college with boys I like here and there, but nothing ever serious.

By the summer after Freshman year, I had my first boyfriend who was kind and sweet and everything I thought I wanted. 7 months later I found myself trying to figure out ways to get out of the relationship because I just wanted to be single. I didn’t like having to answer to someone or check-in with someone or having that person get jealous when I hung out with my guy friends. So again by the end of my sophomore year, I was just doing what I pleased. I dated a guy who ultimately ended up cheating on me, which hurt more than the actual relationship ending. I had lots of other guys that I was “seeing” throughout college, but nothing ever serious. My ex and I gave it another go my senior year, with it ending just 3 short months later. Even after him telling me he “just wasn’t in love with me anymore” I had a second of hurt and then returned to being single and just doing what I wanted. After senior year, I dated another guy which ended brutally because he was friends with my ex. Another boyfriend here and there and “talking” to some guy a state away for 3 months, I’ve found myself in yet a relationship type of situation. I’ve been seeing this guy for about a month, after my 3 month conversation with my dream man ended.

I’ve never been the relationship type, but this guy I am seeing is. He has had three serious girlfriends all lasting over two years. Bottomline, that scares the hell out of me. I’m super happy when I’m with him and we have a lot of fun, but when we’re not I don’t really want to talk to him every second of the day or even find it annoying when he texts me again after getting no response from me. So, five weeks in I’m already second guessing myself. Is this what I want? Am I settling? Am I too far into whatever this is to back away now?

Yesterday’s brunch with two of my Cleveland transplant friends really has me thinking even more than before. I trust these girls with all my problems and concerns even though I’ve only known them a short while. Both similar to me in relationships, the willingness to be independent, ambitious in their careers and overall personalities. Both of them had me thinking that this is not the time for me to be in a relationship of any sort. One of them even said, “Maybe it’s time to stay away from boys for a little.”

I am ok with being alone, but I have never not been connected to someone. Always having someone to text, someone who will always want to answer my calls, someone who is awaiting my texts or calls. Essentially, I need to disconnect myself from the dating world and be by myself. I need to be my 17 year old self with a text message limit and the strong desire to be independent.

How long is forever young?


I spent this past weekend with some of my closest friends in the best place on earth, but during all the partying at my alma mater I had to wonder how long am I allowed to keep this up? This was now my second Homecoming as an alumnus and the feeling I had driving away from campus last year holds the same, “This chapter of my life is over and I’m truly not a college student anymore.”

Being in that atmosphere made me fall back into all my old habits of drinking, staying up late, eating drunk food, old hookups and old mistakes. Homecoming is one of the greatest weekends in Athens, but is there a point that we are just too old for all this? I spent the entire weekend barely sleeping and

Railroad town

I’ve written about this before, but this morning I got to go with my grandpa to his usual breakfast spot in the little town where my parents grew up. We recently had to take away the truck keys from my grandpa since he has become a danger to himself and others when it comes to driving. It’s a very hard concept for him to understand because it was his last stitch of freedom. As a farmer, driving has been in every part of his life. Someone has takes him to breakfast every morning where a group of his friends have met for over 15 years.

I volunteered to take him this morning since it was visiting for the weekend. We drove through town in the dark and rain headed to Dell’s. The train tracks around Cleveland are not like the ones here, here they are bumpy, uneven, and you have to go about 5 mph to cross. The only thing my grandpa said on the way into town As he shrugged was,

Guess it’s just a railroad town.

We walked in and everyone greeted him, by name asked where he picked me up at and introduced his granddaughter. A group of older men sat at a table leaving the seat at the head of the table for my grandpa. None of them needed a menu and coffee was promptly delivered when we sat down. Little to no words about what they were going to eat were exchanged and breakfast was served. The group of men that sat there talked of farming, new buildings and the weather. I chimed in every once in while, but enjoyed just listening to the conversation.

I had never gone to breakfast with my grandpa, at least not early in the morning with his group of friends. Being able to do this means the world to me. My grandparents are one of the reasons I’m not ready to move away and they are two of the most important people in my life. Being able to take him was so important to me because I was able to be a part of something he does every day. I cherish these moments and love hearing about old times and being a part of their life.

I Didn’t Think About You Once Today

This was a great piece I stumbled across talking about finding yourself and a little bit of normalcy again


I didn’t think about you once today, for the first time since I met you. When I woke up this morning, my first thought was simply that it was too cold to get out of bed; I did not wish that you were there beside me. I went to the closet and got dressed without thinking about whether or not you liked the shirt I was putting on, didn’t think about whether you’d already seen me in the sweater I layered over it. I skipped breakfast, as I always do, and I didn’t hear your voice chastising me in the back of my head,  I just glanced at the clock, grabbed my keys, and shut the door firmly behind me.

I didn’t see anyone who reminded me of you on my way to work. I didn’t hear anyone who had your laugh, didn’t see anyone sporting the same shoes you wear.

At the office, I answered phones, got coffee, checked…

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Let go of the Past

Let go of the Past

Another quote I found that I enjoyed about letting go what is the past so you can live in the moment. I am often at fault of this, constantly wanting to change something that occured in the past, but the reality is it cannot be changed.


Another picture before the sunrise in Key West. Such a beautiful island.

Rainy day in Islamorada

I started this morning on the back deck looking out over the channel with a cup of joe and knee deep in Divergent. Then it started to drizzle and then it poured. My ideal morning had to be taken inside and we decided to head to breakfast. The hotel were staying in, which I found out was on hotel impossible, provides two vouchers for breakfast at the restaurant next door. It’s a small restaurant and our choices were limited, but it was satisfactory and had good coffee.

The rain stopped soon enough and we headed out to check out some of the sights in Islamorada. First stop was the Rain Barrel Artisans Village, a little group of local artists selling artwork, sculptures, jewelry and some souvenirs. The owners of the little shops were excited to talk to us and hear where we were from. There were a lot of cool things, some expensive some cheap. We ended up walking out with turtles made from shells, a ring, 4 air plants and seashells to match. I was really excited about the air plants because it is my gift for my sisters as well as my new desk plant. They are really simple little plants that you only mist to keep alive. We stopped at one other little shop very similar where I found a Florida Keys coffee mug (making me a huge tourist) and some little pieces of coral.

Next stop was at Robbie’s Marina. There are lots of things to do from jet skiing to paddle boarding and I had heard a lot of goods things about it. The weather still wasn’t ideal so we walked through the shops and headed over to watch people feed the tarpon. I wasn’t keen on the idea of feeding dead fish to other fish for $3 so we paid the $1 a person to go see them. I thought it was a little ridiculous that it cost money just to look, but these fish were HUGE. Some of them had to be 6-7 feet long and one thing is for sure I would not want to be in the water where those creepy things were. It was a little of a disappointment not to be able to do the paddle boarding, but I hope to do it in Key West.

A quick stop at Anne’s Beach to see the sand crabs, salamanders and hermit crabs in their natural habitat and then back to the hotel. My mom was starving so picked a random place on the way back and decided to stop for some fresh fruit. We stopped at Midway Cafe and my mom was in love. She said this was her favorite place we’ve been to so far and if we were staying longer, she would absolutely come back. We had some fresh fruit to split and watched the cars go by.

On our way back the clouds cleared around 3 and we were able to sit by the pool to get a little sun. We got ready for dinner and headed to see the big mermaid at Lorelei’s. This place was pretty cool and with the right weather would be a great time. We sat right down at the beach, ordered a mango daiquiri and our food and waited. We watched the sun go down through an overcast sky and listened to Harry French, the entertainment for the night, and waited. We didn’t get our food for over 40 minutes and barely saw our server. The food was good and in the right atmosphere we would have been more willing to wait, but we were cold, tired and sober. If I could do it again I would come back with friends and stay awhile for drinks.

All in all, Islamorada was a fun little island to relax on and enjoy the island life.














Adios Miami, Hello Key Largo

This morning’s adventures began with a second trip to the Art Deco district of Miami. I felt like we had missed out on a lot of the buildings since it was so crowded and almost undriveable, so we set our sights on Ocean Drive yet again. It was definitely worth it to go back and see the architecture, however we definitely needed a tour guide. I’ve decided I need to make my way back to Miami someday and take on Miami with a local.

After Miami, we made the drive to the first island, Key Largo. I was more than excited to finally set foot on the Florida Keys. We spent only a couple of hours in Key Largo in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The history behind the name was definitely impressive. John Pennekamp helped to preserve the coral reefs and start the state park itself. Seeing all the mangrove trees and walking the boardwalks was pretty cool. A kayaking tour through them would definitely had been worth it. Although, since we brought our own snorkel gear with us, we set out for cannon beach to check out some coral reefs. It was quite comical seeing my mom attempting to swim around, breathing through a snorkel. My mom is one of ode women who barely gets her feet wet and heaven forbid her hair.

As far as the actual coral reefs and things we saw I have to admit, it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. Seeing the cannons from the shipwreck was neat and apparently there was an anchor out there as well, but there was an overwhelming about of people trying to see the same thing and they didn’t warn you about the sudden drop off right in the middle. I was not ready for it at all and it honestly just caused me to have overwhelming anxiety of open water and the idea of what’s down there I couldn’t even put my face in the water. This coming from an extremely experienced swimmer with years of practice. We didn’t see the bright colors I’ve seen in other snorkel excursions like St. Thomas, Dominica and St. kitts. That was a little disappointing it being a coral reef park, but we still had a great time.

After some well deserved time on the beach, we jumped back in the car and headed to Islamorada. The hotel we are staying in seems really nice so far. I’ll have to check in and see if I think that still after two nights stay. The channel it sits on is definitely cool and we’ve seen more wild life here than we did all day at the state park. There’s little jellyfish swimming around, lots of fish, mad pelicans just floating down the channel. Dinner at the Island Grill was excellent and we got to spend some time hanging on the back porch looking out over the lit up channel. Tomorrow is a big day with lots of adventures that hopefully won’t be held up by the storm that’s supposed to come through. Wish us luck!







First stop, Miami

20140316-232029.jpgMy travels began this morning around 6:30, getting up to head to the airport for our flight to Miami. I had never been this far south in Florida, but I was so excited to leave the 20 degree weather at home and head for the sunshine state. My mom got a little uneasy on the plane, but overall we had a great flight to Miami. Seeing all the palm trees as soon as I landed was amazing and finally made this trip feel real. The Miami roadways were a bit confusing and caused a little tension among the two of us, but we made it to our hotel in Sunny Isles.


After a trip to Publix for some snacks, we headed to the pool. I did not expect all the “elderly” with tans 5 shades darker than mine or the amount of energy they had. They were absolutely hilarious and were having a ball. I was slightly envious of their ability to dance and sing to the music, when I don’t feel like I had the energy to move from my lounge chair after my day of travel. They were great, all of them, whoever they are.

Our little glimpse of Miami from I-95 wasn’t enough for me, so we headed to South Beach. It was a little more of a trip than I anticipated. When booking our hotel, I thought I had booked it much closer to the city center, but it was quite the haul. We headed for the Art Deco district to check out some cool architecture and found ourselves in almost stand still traffic in the heart of South Beach. People told me it was extravagant in Miami, but I wasn’t ready quite ready for the throngs of people with barely there outfits. Some people were dressed to the nines in their South Beach best, while other wore barely their bikinis and speedos.

Amongst the people we did get to see some of the buildings, but I mostly noticed the high end stores and quarter of million dollar cars. I have a love for fine things, especially cars. The abundance of Maseratis, Bentleys, and even a Phantom made my mouth water. Although I don’t care for them very much, it was still really cool to see the Kardashian’s newest Dash store right on Collins. Our frustration with traffic and parking being $50 made us drive right through to about 65th street to a little Cuban restaurant called Sazon Cuban Cuisine name it was excellent. My Cuban club was a little different, but good however my moms shredded pork sandwich was delicious. It made me very jealous. We stopped in to Moises Venezuelan bakery for dessert and headed back to the car. We ended our night with a moonlight walk on the beach that was lit up by a very very bright moon. Tomorrow our adventure continues on the first island of the keys in Key Largo. Until then.

Driving down Collins into the Art Deco district
Cuban Club from Sazon
Dash Miami

Frozen in Cleveland

This has been such a long Cleveland winter, one like I can’t remember. We’ve had so many cold days and snow on the ground for over a month. My mom, an elementary school teacher, has had 10 snow days and I have had 2 in the corporate world. This winter has been cold and snowy and somewhat miserable, but what I saw this weekend was by far one of the coolest winter things ever.

A colleague and I went down to the river in Rocky River to see it all frozen over and it was unbelievably cool. The ice had all broken up in chunks and compacted into one area under the bridge and it was a remarkable sight. Some of the ice was at least 8 inches think In spots. A couple that was at the bridge said they had been there the day before and said the ice was one complete sheet all smooth just 12 hours before. I’ve never seen anything like that in the 22 years I’ve lived in Cleveland.

I like many others am very ready for the winter to be over with and to move onto some warm spring weather!

The river and all the ice chunks clumped together