Celebrating Día de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos | Taylor K Flynn

Our local Mexican restaurant, Mariachi de Oro in Medina, is delicious on any day, from the housemade salsa to the sizzling fajitas. But this year, I was lucky enough to join them for the traditional meal they host each fall for Día de los Muertos, along with Cody and his family. Let me tell you, I was blown away by the event.

From the marimba band and the marigold ofrenda, to the worms in our tequila shots, this event was as celebratory as my family’s Thanksgiving. I truly felt included in the special night, hosted by the Rosario family, who owns and operates the restaurant.

The family is from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, and between cheerful songs and more food than humanly possible to eat, they explained the tradition of the Day of the Dead. There was Pan de Muertos with Mexican hot chocolate, the most delicious tamales, endless chicken mole with homemade corn tortillas. To finish the meal, as if we weren’t already stuffed with the most incredible food, there was flan and shots of tequila – with worms (that I did not add to my drink), which is apparently something that began Oaxaca.

As the digital marketer I am, I also loved the Facebook Live Mariachi de Oro was rocking throughout the celebration.

If you’ve never been, I highly encourage you to check out Mariachi de Oro. And if you have, spending Día de los Muertos with them is a special experience you’ll definitely love.

Quick Trip: Allegany #LeafPeeping

Quick Trip: Allegany Leaf Peeping | Taylor K Flynn

Cody picked out the perfect birthday gift this year, a Nikon D3300. My 23rd year is going to be my most well-documented one yet! If you thought I was obnoxious about stopping to take photos before, you haven’t seen nothin’ yet…

A quick camping trip to Allegany State Park at the peak of fall color was the perfect weekend to play with my new toy. I’ve spent a lot of time at Allegany the last few years, and my most recent trip is also documented on my blog. This weekend was possibly the most beautiful I’ve ever seen the park, with reds and yellows reflecting off perfectly still water on a warm fall day. It was so nice to see the campground at Red House full, with friends and families enjoying the weekend just as we were.

As usual, our quick trip was spent eating almost every meal cooked in pie irons, climbing Thunder Rocks and biking around the lake. We met the cutest dogs at Thunder Rocks, including Fen the Aussie, who has more Instagram followers than I ever will and Pumpkin, who, according to his owner, loves fall as much as his name implies.

Views: Water2Wear on the Farm

Views: Water2Wear at Flynn Farms | Taylor K Flynn

My aunt launched an adorable line of travel slipper socks last fall and I’m working on creating a social media presence for the brand. Water2Wear is a perfect fit for so many Instagram communities as a product focused on travel and ethical fashion. I’m curating a feed of product shots, travel photography and content from awareness-raising humanitarian organization and it’s SO MUCH FUN. The best part is that 10 percent of every purchase goes to water.org to provide clean drinking water to those in need.

This weekend I visited my grandparents in the beautiful Finger Lakes, and what better place to photograph the drop sock from Water2Wear than on my dad’s family farm? My dad and I had a great time putting the socks in front of tractors and silos. Take a look at some of my favorite shots here and check out Water2Wear on Instagram too!

Views: Water2Wear at Flynn Farms | Taylor K Flynn

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Views: Water2Wear at Flynn Farms | Taylor K Flynn

It’s Called Commencement for a Reason

It's Called Commencement for a Reason  Taylor K Flynn

I know this is a little late, but I want to take a minute to reflect on how life has changed in the last few months. I knew that leaving Ithaca College, degree in hand, meant a lot of changes were coming. It’s beginning to sink in just what this really means.

Graduation, and the weeks leading up to it, were filled with friends, hikes and more food than anyone should ever eat. There are so many moments from these weeks I can picture; snapshots I will treasure forever.

We were singing Blink-182 at the top of our lungs, eating more Altoids than real food, spilling all of the popcorn and laughing for half the movie we were trying to watch. The night of graduation, popping champagne into the fountains, we tried to forget the fact that we were all leaving in the morning. To Texas, to Virginia, to all corners of New York.

As much as graduation is an ending, it is also a beginning. I’m so glad to be home. I love seeing old and new friends, exploring revived neighborhoods and having the time to horseback ride again. I am ready to have a normal schedule after a few absolutely crazy semesters.

I’m learning so much on the job – more than I ever absorbed in the classroom. It’s also becoming evident just how lucky I am to have the education I do, one grounded in real-world examples and experience.

But this week, despite a wonderful date night, bible study and catching up with an old friend, I have been homesick for Ithaca. The people I grew to love there, who are now strewn across the country, have been on my mind. It’s time for a reunion!

Breaking Out of the Social Media Box

I still really, really love Instagram, and Facebook is a necessary communication tool for individuals and brands alike. Recently, however, I’ve been getting creative with a few lesser-known social media. I’m enjoying expressing myself using different styles of communication and it’s making me think differently about how I share my thoughts and adventures. My current favorites:

1. So I might be way late on this train, but I’m loving what you can do with Phhhoto. The app, which launched during the summer of 2014, takes 3 pictures and loops them into a video. It’s basically Instagram’s Boomerang, without, you know, the boomerang.

2. My organized, analytical, compartmentalized self is loving li.st. A lot. This app takes travel, news, comedy and so much more and displays it in super-digestible nuggets that make me want to keep scrolling down my feed forever.

3. Goodreads is a little less social than other social media I use, but that’s mostly due to how I’m using it. The platform allows you to connect with friends and groups to see what they’re reading, discuss the book club’s latest and get inspired. I’m using the app for recommendations and to keep track of what I’ve read and am currently reading.

Let’s connect! My username on these (and every) social media is TFlynn457. Are you trying out any other social media not quite in the main stream? Let me know; I’m always looking for the latest and greatest!

Taking the Time

Taking the Time | Taylor K Flynn

In middle and high school, volunteering my time was second nature. Between Honor Society’s mandatory hours, Girl Scouts and helping in Mom’s classroom, I spent a lot of my time assisting others.

My first three years of college, I gave back through Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a national organization that raises dogs to assist those who are blind or have visual impairments. They also have an autism support program and dogs who are not suited to guide work often serve as police dogs.

After leaving this organization during senior year, I was no longer volunteering my time to a cause I felt strongly about. I was able to let this slide during my last two semesters, constantly reminding myself that I was busy and needed to focus on myself. That was okay, but there was definitely a hole in my life.

As a member of corporate America, I often lack the feeling that my job makes a difference, accentuating my belief that I need to revisit the idea of taking time to give back.

Last weekend I spent one morning helping at our church’s annual rummage sale, packing leftover clothes and dishes for missionaries. It felt good. The time away from volunteering made me appreciate so much more how important giving my time is.

September is a time of new beginnings, and this September I am committing to sharing my time and talents with organizations I am passionate about. My goal is to be spending one day a month taking the time to give back. I’m looking forward to the next day I spend helping others!