Travel. Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to spend spring break on Anna Maria Island, long weekends in Allegany State Park and New York City, as well as visit Boston for the first time. Exploring new places with my favorite people is invigorating and I’m not slowing down any time soon. Next up, Costa Rica!
Education. Graduating from Ithaca College was bittersweet, but I’m increasingly thankful for everything I learned in my four years there. Not only how integrated marketing works, but also how to work hard and never stop learning.
Family. Spending more time with Cody, and my immediate and extended family is one of the best things about being done with school. I cherish every moment we spend together, from birthday celebrations to watching the Bills every Sunday. A had a small horde support me as I graduated in May. My dad was inducted into his high school’s Hall of Fame as family watched.
Friends. After our last semester of undergrad together, I miss my Ithaca peeps like crazy. We’re always going to be there for each other and catching up is great (shout out to Tyler :)). At home, old and new friends were waiting and we’ve made memories at Into the Enigma, Ale in Autumn and just hanging out.
Thanksgiving. Without a doubt, it’s my favorite holiday. There’s no pressure to pick the perfect gifts or visit three places in two days. This year, I spent Thanksgiving in New York City with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. We ate turkey and stuffing and pie, giving thanks for our blessings.
Faith. Renewing my commitment to the church has made coming home after graduating so much easier. Not only is God supporting me, but so are the awesome people who I see at service and Bible study.
American Politics. I am in no way happy with the results of this year’s presidential election. I think our president-elect promotes hate and discrimination and in no way supports the efforts of the everyday people our country is built on. However, I went to my polling place and was helped by friendly workers, allowed to express my opinion on our future leaders.
Melanie was my “dance friend” in high school. We didn’t go to the same high school, but we spent just as much time together as if we had. The last few years, I’ve been in Ithaca while she was in Buffalo and then Boston. Fitting in a coffee date while we’re both home is always nice, but spending a few hours a year with someone you used to see for four hours a night just isn’t the same.
We’ve been trying to coordinate a weekend in Boston for what seems like forever and it finally worked out this month. I knew it was going to be a good weekend when Miss You Much, the song we danced to our junior year in Disney, was playing on the radio as I pulled into Melanie’s driveway. I’ve never heard that song anywhere but the dance studio. It might sound silly, but that song was our everything for at least seven months.
Most of our weekend was spent just hanging out, catching up on new jobs, new cities, and new and old friends. Saturday we spent in Boston. Melanie was the best tour guide for my first trip to the beautiful city. From Granary Burying Ground to Fenway Park and back to Little Italy, we had the best day wandering through the city.
Melanie, thank you so much for letting me stay with you, watching Netflix instead of going out, showing me the beautiful places you love and reminding me that with some friends, anything is fun.
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.
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.
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!
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!