Transitions… Commence!

Now that I have made it home after about a month of travels… I have slowly jumped into the transitions that are happening in our home. Changes are swirling about!

1) One of my housemates is getting married this week, so lots of wedding prep is in order as she prepares for the big day! Once I got home, we had a fun wine tasting for the reception and bow-tying for the wedding programs while catching up on life.

Lauren & Ginger opening up the wine for tasting
Lauren & Ginger opening up the wine for tasting
Making bows for the wedding programs
Making bows for the wedding programs

2) For those of you who are in the area, you may have noticed that there’s a sign outside our house noting that our home is for sale… or really, the sale is pending. While I was gone, the house was under all sorts of “changes” as they prepared to sell it. Since we rent, there were all kinds of parties involved in this process – thankfully, my wonderful housemates took care of all of these details while I was away.

IMG_7555[1]
“Sale Pending” sign outside our home
3) Even my bedroom and bathroom has had some changes, undergoing a makeover of sorts. No more wallpaper! I didn’t realize how much that crazy wallpaper had grown on me until it was no longer there. However, I think I like this much better.

No more wallpaper!
No more wallpaper!

4) My other housemate will be moving soon, so she’s in the process of packing up her life to prepare for her move. We’ve lived together for the past 3 years and it makes me sad to know that this season is coming to an end.

Looking for boxes in the garage...
Looking for boxes in the garage…

5) Since I don’t leave until June 2 for Peace Corps staging (location TBD), I’m planning on preparing for departure by selling and giving away most of my belongings. I’m looking forward to simplifying and only putting a few things into storage.

I’m learning to roll with it and embrace the changes as they come – continuing to learn along the way and be grateful for each day and the people I meet along the way.

 

Advertisements

Grateful for a Girls Weekend Getaway

As I was nearing the end of my travels around the US, my last stop brought me to Harper’s Ferry, WV! My mom found a vacation home called the Adventure Inn and gathered up all the girls in our family including my Nana, aunts and all the cousins.

IMG_7541

We enjoyed a dinner and a movie the first night as everyone arrived at various times. Laughter echoed the house as inside jokes and new hair styles were attempted.

Nor after I french braided her har
Nora after I french braided her hair
Meghan and her store bought whoopie pies
Meghan and her store bought whoopie pies
A big bottle of Lucas wine for the Lucas family
A big bottle of Lucas wine for the Lucas family

The next day brought more french braids and fishtail hairstyles before we made our way to downtown Harper’s Ferry…

Emma fishtailing my hair
Emma fishtailing my hair
Cori braiding Emma's hair
Cori braiding Emma’s hair
A fun fishtail braid by Emma!
A fun fishtail braid by Emma!
Cori braiding Donna's hair
Cori braiding Donna’s hair

After a bit of an “adventurous” drive to downtown Harper’s Ferry, we did a bit of seeing the sights, lunch outdoors, and fun photos along the way…

DSC_0204
“Let’s do a funny photo!”
IMG_7495
Beautiful day to visit Harper’s Ferry

We stopped for some wine tasting…

wine

…and hung out with this little one and his momma…

DSC_0223
Ang and Wyatt

Relaxation was in order once we got back to the house… thankfully there was a hot tub for this…

DSC_0226

Later into the evening a night of pampering and celebrations were in order after a delicious meal…

They surprised me with a little "Bon Voyage" celebration - complete with decor and sweet gifts
They surprised me with a little “Bon Voyage” celebration – complete with decor and sweet gifts
Cake was made by Cori
Cake was made by Cori

The evening was full of fun facials, painting nails, mixed drinks, and pampering…

Nora painting my toenails neon orange
Nora painting my toenails neon orange
Meghan painting aunt Laurice's nails
Meghan painting aunt Laurice’s nails

…along with a really fun photo booth!

DSC_0250
Let’s party!
DSC_0259
Rock-stars: Donna and Meghan
DSC_0264
“I feel pretty…oh, so pretty!” Nora, Laurice, and Meghan
DSC_0267
Cousins!
DSC_0269
With my mom
DSC_0275
Happy Easter?

It was such a fun-filled weekend with family that I am going to miss terribly. I am so grateful for the memories we have created together and the laughter shared.

DSC_0286
The girls (minus Ang & Kristy)
DSC_0293
Me with my mom

 

(Kristy Lynn, we missed you – hope things calm down for you soon!)

 

 

Having a Blast in Baltimore – Part 2

My next stop took me to my friends, Sharon & Chris’ place which is not far from Baltimore. My friend Sharon and her little girl, Kim came and picked me up at Nelli’s. We enjoyed a nice lunch at a cute little coffee shop nearby called Atwaters.

IMG_7414

After lunch we made our way to their home for a some playing and then nap time which was enjoyed by both Kim and myself of course. Then once Chris got home he made a delicious fish and chips dinner.

IMG_7415

After dinner, the evening turned into project time in helping make some pieces for Kim’s flower girl dress for an upcoming wedding she’s in. We worked on making some flowers…

The finished product, success!
The finished product, success!
Sharon cutting more flower pieces...
Sharon cutting more flower pieces…
Trying to curl the edges with a candle. Not quite successful...
Trying to curl the edges with a candle. Not quite successful…

A sweet treat of homemade ice cream made by Chris was enjoyed for a late night snack after doing some flower creating – yum!

Flavors: Mint Chocolate Chip & Cookies and Cream
Flavors: Mint Chocolate Chip & Cookies and Cream

The next day we set out for an adventure to a local garden center so Sharon could pick up some flowers, seeds, and vegetables for their garden. IMG_7431

 

Afterwards we enjoyed some more play time with Kim and lunch before Chris got home and we made our way to Ellicott City for dinner…IMG_7433

 

It was fun to see a bit of Ellicott City before dinner time and got to enjoy some time with dear friends while doing some exploring…

IMG_7443

IMG_7454

Later that night once we got back, Sharon continued to work diligently on Kim’s adorable flower girl dress/tutu. It’s going to be amazing, I can’t wait to see the finished product once it’s done!

IMG_7457

Chris made another amazing ice cream while I was visiting – my favorite, chocolate peanut butter! I’m so impressed with his natural ice cream making skills and think he should open an ice cream place. 🙂

IMG_7461
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Swirl Ice Cream

The next day we were able to get outside and do some flower planting and pulling weeds in their front flower beds before I left for my next and final stop on my traveling adventures. Kim was quite helpful in helping mommy plant some flowers.

IMG_7474I was so grateful to spend some time with these friends and to “do life” with them from picking out flowers, reading children’s books, playing with blocks, laughing at funny faces and funky dances, to pulling weeds in the flower beds….my heart is full of new memories with these friends as we can look back and remember over 10 years of memories as we look forward to many more.

Kim, Sharon, & Chris at dinner one evening
Kim, Sharon, & Chris at dinner one evening

Having a Blast in Baltimore – Part 1

I boarded the Megabus from DC and made my way to Baltimore where I got to visit with this lovely lady, Nelli!

IMG_7463

After dinner at one of her fav spots in town, we jumped in the car for her regularly scheduled Monday night routine of Zumba! I am so glad that I have been able to jump into life with my friends and do things like this, even though I was a bit sore the next day after this intense and fun workout.

IMG_7464

Since Nelli had to work the next day it was early to bed and early to rise – the next day I rode into work with Nelli and then came back to read fall asleep. I realized after my long unintended “nap” that I have been going non-stop for the past 3 weeks and a crash was bound to happen. Thankfully, I was able to rest up before meeting Nelli for lunch where I met her at work and was able to bring along a sweet treat for the afternoon!

Hard at work
Nelli at work

After lunch with Nelli I made my way to a nearby Starbucks so I could get some more Peace Corps paperwork completed. Once Nelli was done with work we made our way to meet her fantastic fiance, Ben in Annapolis for dinner by the water!

IMG_7466
Nelli & Ben

IMG_7453

I enjoyed Annapolis by the water and loved how relaxing and calm it is. Perfect for an evening out with friends!

Annapolis, MD
Annapolis, MD

It was a short visit and yet a great time to catch up with these friends before their big day ahead. It was fun to jump into their routine and see a bit of their lives here in MD. I am so grateful for their hospitality and friendship. Until next time…. multumesc! (thank you!)

Cherry Blossoms and New Experiences – DC Destination #2!

While I was still in Washington DC, my friend Nina picked me up at a nearby local coffee shop. We made our way to a hidden parking lot to see some of the cherry blossoms around the Jefferson Memorial.

IMG_1704

IMG_1710

IMG_1712

 

Nina was one of the first friends I made when I moved to State College and it was so good to spend time with her and her husband Abram during my short visit with them. Years ago, when I found out that Nina was moving to DC I talked a lot about coming to visit during the Cherry Blossom Festival…and here we are about 4 years later!

IMG_1713

Even though the cherry blossoms weren’t quite in bloom yet it was a lot of fun to be by the Canal Basin and see all of the beauty that was about to unfold.

IMG_7338

We stopped at a few of the memorials along the way…

Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial (he's missing the little dog that's right next to him in this pic)
Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial (he’s missing the little dog that’s right next to him in this pic)
IMG_7331
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
IMG_7330
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial surrounded by cherry blossoms
IMG_7327
Part of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial

After seeing the cherry blossoms we made our way to Georgetown for a bit of window-shopping and dinner…

IMG_1736
In Georgetown at sunset
IMG_7336
At Italian restaurant with wood fired pizza

The next day we made our way to Old Town Alexandria where we had a large breakfast at a French Cafe – Nina showed me around the area before we all made our way to check out the National Cathedral…

IMG_7340
The National Cathedral
IMG_7347
Stained glass window lights

IMG_7359

…then to our next stop… The zoo!  We got to see a couple of big and small animals…

IMG_7371
Baby elephant getting a drink of water
IMG_7367
Big panda eating some bamboo
IMG_7379
A little meerkat watching everyone pass by

…we got tired pretty quickly and went back to Nina and Abram’s place for some rest and maybe a nap or two. And also to hang out with this sweet dog, Twiggy!

Twiggy
Twiggy

For dinner, we made a late night stop to Oegadgib, where I got to experience my first Korean BBQ!

IMG_7384
First Korean BBQ experience
IMG_7385
Nina cooking up all the meat

It was great, I really enjoyed this new experience!

IMG_7390
Trying the sweet rice drink at the end of the meal (pretty good!)

It was great to catch up with Nina and Abram and to hear how they’re doing and what they have been up to lately. Such a great time with them and their sweet dog, Twiggy. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to spend time with them.

Nina and Abram!
Nina and Abram!

Coffee with a view and Orchids in bloom

The next day in Atlanta the three of us visited one of Lane’s favorite coffee spots. The view and scenery was beautiful as we sat along the Chattahoochee River enjoying breakfast, coffee, and one another’s company.

Coffee, pastries, & a view...
Coffee, pastries, & a view…

Lane

IMG_7190

After breakfast we visited the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, which was currently showcasing an exhibit on Orchids. If you know me well, you’ll know that this is my most favorite flower…

IMG_7203

I was so excited to visit here and see all the bright colors and greenery coming to life. Spring was here and we were so thrilled that cartwheels in the grass were in order…

IMG_1682

IMG_1624

Later on, Lane had to work, so Barb and I continued our adventure into Piedmont park to find a lunch spot and found a nice little Nook…

IMG_1688

…and we all made a stop for a bit of ice cream from a popular spot called Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream before heading back to Lane & Josh’s home…

IMG_7222
Jeni’s had fun flavors like Wild Lavender and Riesling Poached Pear Sorbet

It has been a whirlwind couple of days in Atlanta full of laughs, beautiful blooms, lovely friends, and delightful dishes. I am so grateful for this time to have been able to spend with these three and see Josh and Lane’s world in Atlanta for a few days. I loved it! Thank you, friends for a lovely time!

IMG_1605

I’ve jumped onto the final plane to my next destination with a smile in anticipation of more swirling happy-heart filled weeks ahead in the DC/Baltimore area. Onward!

Sleepover in Seattle: Day of Exploring

During our visit/”sleepover in Seattle” we rose with the early morning and made our way back down to the Public Market before the rest of the city was awake. This is one of my favorite things to do – rise early and get out before the rest of the world is up – get out, see the sun rise, and get things done.

20140403-120501.jpg

On this morning, we were able to see the city wake up as stores prepared to open and beat the crowds to the popular destination spots like Starkbucks on Pike St. We got to chat with the baristas and check out Starbucks’ first location all while no one else was around…

20140403-120703.jpg

We strolled over to the Public Market and watched as the market came alive as the vendors put out their produce, flowers, fish, and goods…and Pat made a beautiful flower purchase for Becca…

20140403-120956.jpg

And I picked out a fun apple for eating later… Next we made it over to Piroshki Piroshki, a Russian bakery where they pump out the amazing smells just as fast as they make the pastries.

20140403-121257.jpg

We were one of the first to taste some of these delicious baked goods that morning, all while sitting in their small bakery – which would be impossible later with the amount of people that come through there usually.

20140403-121430.jpg

Next stop, we made our way to a local cheese shop where they made some of their cheeses right there – I was excited to get some fresh cheese curds to go with the apple I picked up at the public market for later…

20140403-121607.jpg

After a little bit of rest and checking out of the hotel, we continued our explorations as we made our way toward the Space Needle after some lunch at a little market cafe where I completed my apple and cheese curd lunch with some other healthy treats…

20140403-121735.jpg

…and as I titled Pat as the most patient man on earth as we stopped at about every blooming flower and picturesque spot along the way…

20140403-121941.jpg

…and tried macaroons for the first time! Apparently they’re the next upcoming craze coming up just like the cupcake-craze…

20140403-122046.jpg

It ended up being a beautiful sunny day in Seattle and we jumped at the opportunity to see the stunning view from the space needle…

IMG_1462

IMG_1472

The Chihuly glass museum was right next door so we opted to check it out as well…

IMG_1520

IMG_1510

IMG_1551

I think my level of excitement far exceeded the capacity of my body…being with 2 dear friends, colorful art, stunning glass sculptures, amazing views, and sunshine…I could have hugged many strangers in my excitement – but that’s not okay, so I didn’t.

20140403-122151.jpg

Before leaving the city we stopped at the largest REI store I have ever been to – it was incredibly overwhelming and really neat to see all the adventure and active gear anyone could possibly think of…they even had a restaurant there. Crazy and convenient.

20140403-122315.jpg

After a fun-filled amazing time in Seattle we traveled to Portland so I could fly out the next day to head off to my next destination.

As I write this post, tears are welling up in my eyes…my heart is so full and yet I am sad that I won’t see these friends for a long while. Lord only knows where our paths will take us all next and when we’ll see one another again… I am so grateful for this time to have spent with them and the new memories we have created together…so, until next time… I say farewell to the West coast with a joyful heart and grateful tears.

20140403-122425.jpg