Shawna & Shelly 6.18.16

This past weekend, my best friend of over 10 years got married to the love of her life, and it was the most gorgeous day.

Both the ceremony and reception took place at West End- Elliott Overlook Park. What a view!

 

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We started our day with wine at the salon, how else?

 

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LET’S GO GET YOU MARRIED!

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So honored to stand by your side as your MOH.

 

Bridesmaids and the entire bridal party.

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Cutting the cake- Prantl’s famous Burnt Almond Torte.

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Cheers!

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A reunion, a marriage, a perfect day.

 

Shawna and Shelly, as much as I love the both of you, I love you even more together. I’ve never met two people who are more supportive of each other, who take care of each other unconditionally, and who love without boundaries. The strength of your relationship knows no limits. You may not know it, but your love, your commitment to one another is such an inspiration. I want to shout from the rooftops just how happy I am that you guys found each other. From seeing your relationship begin, to seeing that love grow into marriage, is something I’m lucky to witness, and I can’t wait to see all the years to come. May you always have each other to hold, and have a spare bedroom I can sleep in.

Here’s to Shawna, and Shelly, to their soon-to-be adventures in Chicago and to sharing a lifetime of happiness together.  To my best friends: I love you, and congratulations!

 

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The Blur That Was Ibiza & Paris

Wednesday, September 4-Tuesday, September 10, 2013

From raving with David Guetta & parasailing into sunsets in Ibiza, to eating dinner atop the Eiffel Tower, it was all unforgettable. Even a little rain couldn’t put a damper on these adventures! I drank pink champagne outside the Louvre, devoured macarons, saw Jim Morrison’s grave, took in Moulin Rouge and the Palace of Versailles, visited the Notre-Dame Cathedral & Arc de Triomphe, went on a breathtaking night cruise on the Seine River, and locked my love in one of the most amazing cities.

 

 

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That Time I Took My Mom on Vacation

My mom gave me life, so the least I can do is take her on an all-inclusive vacation, right?

I’d been pushing her to do a mother/daughter trip with me for quite some time, and finally, the opportunity presented itself at the beginning of this month. Last Thursday through Sunday (Mother’s Day), we headed to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for the blue beach, to bask in the sun and bronze burn our booties.

 

Right away, it was an adventure. We were greeted at the airport and escorted to the shuttle that would take us to our resort, where we met a couple visiting Punta Cana for their third time. Turns out they knew my aunt and uncle. You may think, how does that even happen?! But growing up in a small town, and attending a small college, showed me years ago how strong connections can be and how fast they spread. I can’t say I was even fazed.

And then my mom (making conversation, of course) asked them the question: “Are the native people here really poor?” Embarrassed, I tried to shush her, but she went on, loudly. “They seem really poor.” All in earshot of our driver, who was clearly a native of the country. *face palm*

It was like that scene from Mean Girls.

 

 

A small part of me worried what I was getting into, but I just laughed. This was going to be a trip! We got dropped off at our hotel and were greeted with a flute of cold sparking juice and damp, cool washcloths to put on our necks to relieve us from the heat. My mom, as you can see, was in heaven. “I’m never leaving!” she exclaimed. Below, you can see the photos of our hotel and beach areas. (That flamingo was kind of a bitch.)

 

 

Although mom doesn’t drink, she was loving the non-alcoholic cocktails and smoothies. Every day, she’d say, Let’s get a drink. Oh gosh, I sound like such a lush! We spent the majority of our time relaxing at the beach laying out or under the shade of the bed, or hanging out in our VIP pool.

 

 

Steps to vacation: Eat, drink, relax, swim, sleep, repeat.

 

Then my childhood dream came true on Friday- I swam with a dolphin in the ocean. Absolutely everything I thought it’d be! They are such powerful, playful, and beautiful mammals.  Posters and knickknacks of them used to cover my bedroom from wall to wall growing up, and here I was, actually kissing them, swimming with them, having them jump over me. Surreal. Like a true mother, my mom’s enjoyment came out of just watching my excitement.

 

As amazing as the views were, the best part of the trip was the talks we’d have before bed. Mom told me some stories from her childhood, how her parents didn’t have money, and things she had done for fun. I told her my fears, my summer plans, vented about my “problems.” She listened intently, giving advice like only she can do. We talked about my future: traveling, kids (no), marriage. Her regrets, and aging.

We never think about our parents getting older until we notice small things- forgetting something we told them, not being able to walk as far, needing glasses to read, getting frustrated with trying to teach them technology, my mom reading lips because she was struggling to hear me, etc. I have this irrational fear that because my mom handles literally EVERYTHING for our family and constantly has a mind that never stops running, that she’ll develop Alzheimer’s, though I know that’s not how it works.

She mentioned, with tears in her eyes, that her mother would have never done something like this with her. She had died when I was six, and to be honest, I don’t remember much of her. It hit me then that my mother was also a daughter. Crazy as it sounds, I forget that beyond being a mother and a wife, she is a daughter.  She is a woman who does not need to be defined by her roles. A woman who probably, even at 61, still has those empty spaces in her heart from the ones she has lost. A woman who still has dreams and needs and sadness and really tough days where she doesn’t know what the hell to do. A woman who ignores those feelings because so many depend on her strength. That thought made me feel so guilty. I had been blind for so long. So insincere and thoughtless as a teenager, so selfish. So blissfully unaware of how lucky I am to have her.

People talk about how their mother is the glue that holds their family together…mine is the nails used to build us, the glue that keeps us, and the duct tape when all else fails. She has been my backbone in a lot of ways, and I can’t picture a world with her not in it. My parents have worked their entire lives to provide a better life for my brother and I, and even in their sixties, they are moving firewood, taking care of my grandparents, managing three properties, and still picking up the phone when I call. As they near retirement (jealous) my hope for them is that they are able to relax and enjoy themselves.

Now that we’re back in rainy PA, I’m reflecting on this trip and I know that was one of the reasons for going- for everything my mother has given me, it’s always been my dream to give back. Since I can’t buy her a house, or a brand new car, I figured my time and this experience would suffice. Another lifetime couldn’t be long enough to learn from and be loved by you.

I love you mom, hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I’m always missing you.

 

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Leave nothing but footprints,

take nothing but pictures,

kill nothing but time.

National Poetry Day

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I never really knew who I was until you said my name out loud.

 

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It is National Poetry Day, and our anniversary.
It’s only fitting since I am enraptured by both. This is not a coincidence, this is love.

 

I won’t post a poem today, but instead, I want to ask my readers:
 
Where does your inspiration come from?
Any helpful writing exercises that you’ve used lately?
Drop the link to them (or your favorite poem) in a comment below!

 

Here is one of mine:

 

Always- Rane Arroyo

 

We met in proud Utah and wore opaque
vodka on those vague Sundays for the
unfaithful on your dangling back porch
while dreaming of the very New York
where we entangled for the last time.
Te quiero, you said there, my ears as
paths. You then vanished with a macho
because I had a lover,
because we’d never ride across Russia together in
that frozen train, because listening
to A Chorus Line all those weekends
didn’t teach us the foreign language of our bodies,
because of your career as a model
after years as a military mannequin,
because we never expected
adios to be our actual parting last word.
Because, because, and because.
You turned around to stare at me and I waved
back: I love you too.
What an education:
poetry always demands all my ghosts.

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P.S. Go fall in love with some words today.