Hello, New York

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So should I start this post with “concrete jungle where dreams are made of”, “the greatest city in the world”, or “I want to wake up in a city, that doesn’t sleep”? All cliche, but you all know exactly where I’m referring to without even mentioning the name of the city. The big, the bright, the beautiful, New York City! *cue the kickline perfectly synced to big band jazz*

Now, I didn’t come to New York expecting to be a star, but instead, I was here to be wowed by the stars. Just not the ones in the sky, because the light pollution there is astronomical. I made my way to The Big Apple for my first time ever, for a weekend of girl power that shined brighter than anything in the sky. And at #HerConference 2018, I definitely needed to wear shades, because these killer ladies showed us that our future was just as bright, if not brighter, than Time Square at 2 am.

Our trip started off early, as we touched town in LGA just in time to make it to Central Park for lunch with a view. We rented paddle boats and enjoyed the sunshine, before eating authentic New York dogs from an award-winning (probably) cart on the street. After watching our fair share of jumping men that scammed Nicole out of a crisp five dollar bill, we were able to head to our hotel, that was dressed head to toe in all things Marilyn Monroe. Rumor has it she stayed there like, once, so naturally, the whole building was an ode to her. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

After a quick rest to sleep off our non-existent jetlag, we got into the real nitty gritty touristy stuff: Time Square. Starting off the night in the cheesiest, touristy attraction ever, we dined in style at Ellen’s Stardust Cafe and were serenaded by the best of off-Broadway’s talent. Karaoke rendition after karaoke rendition of songs I’ve never heard of before was the perfect backdrop to a milkshake and a night on the town. After combating our way through crowds busier than Main Street USA after the fireworks finish, we took the classic Time Square picture and called it a night.

The next morning we started off cultured, by heading over to the Museum of Modern Art. Seeing so many famous paintings in real life was so surreal, and my elementary art teacher would have been proud. We continued our day by hitting up every basic New York attraction out there. Rockefeller Center? Check. Washington Square Park? Check. Macy’s? Check. What else was left to do but see a Broadway show of course! So to continue our day of being cultured, we chose the best of the best, Spongebob The Musical. And honestly, it was one of the greatest shows I had ever seen.

The next two days were spent at Her Conference, becoming inspired by the greatest women to grace this earth. We heard from speakers of all different backgrounds talking about how to really succeed in life. Over the course of two days, we were able to network with influencers and Her Campus members from all over the country, and it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. Already counting down the days until next year!

Following the second night of the conference, we decided to head downtown to SoHo and Little Italy for dinner, which was an incredible surprise. Eating cannoli from the “Cannoli King” himself while musicians played on the street created such an incredible environment that I can only imagine Italy is nothing like.

On our final day, we made it to Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty from across the river. I’ve only seen Lady Liberty twice, and both times it was cloudy, so it looks like I’ll definitely have to go back to see her in all her glory. We were also able to see the 9/11 memorial, Wall Street, and the church where Hamilton is buried.

To finish up the trip, we headed over to the High Line, a park created on old trolley tracks, and Chelsea Market. I made sure to buy handfuls of New York candy to take home before heading back to the airport.

We were able to squeeze so much into such a small amount of time, and I was so happy we made it work. Until next time, “let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York”.

Surprise, I’m Home!

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As spring break was quickly approaching, my mind filled with the thought of rest and relaxation for 9 days straight. Finally, time to lay around and do nothing, because I had no stressful obligations holding me back. Except for one important factor: I would be stranded alone in Orlando for that time.

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking, being in Florida for spring break sounds like a dream. And I agree, I love everything about this wacky state, and the sunshine and warm weather is nothing but perfection. yet as I was gathering my thoughts about how I would spend the week, I realized I had no car, no money, and no friends in town to hang out with. That simple math told me I’d be spending the week in my apartment, and that just didn’t sound appealing.

So I stealthily checked my bank account and my family’s schedules for that week and booked a flight home to Pittsburgh to surprise everyone. My mom was in on it, of course, because I couldn’t figure out how to pull it off alone. But for three weeks, I secretly made plans and packed my bags for the winter weather, and before I knew it I was home.

Now let me just take this moment to advise you never to leave sunny and warm Florida, for windy and cold Pittsburgh between the months of October-April. It was a culture shock, and my body was not prepared. But as soon as the weather started to numb me, I was able to warm up from hugs from surprised loved ones.

Crosby came first. I hadn’t seen my favorite pup since July, so eight months of belly rubs and cuddles came flooding back as he excitedly jumped all over me. One of the hardest things about college is being away from the puppy love that kept me sane growing up.

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After that, my sister walked in the door, completely dumbfounded by the fact that I was not 800 miles, as she expected. Not sure if that was a positive or a negative surprise for her, but none the less, I was back home stealing her stuff and eating her food.

A few hours later my dad came home and stopped immediately in his tracks. I think he was speechless, but I don’t want to flatter myself. He wasn’t planning on seeing me until this coming September, so I knew I caught him off guard in the best way possible.

Later in the week, I was able to surprise all of my grandparents, and none of them were expecting to see me. It’s not always the easiest to stay in contact with them, but I know they were excited to see me.

Despite the frigid weather, this trip was worth it just to see the look on my families faces. Although I don’t plan on coming back to Pittsburgh until the weather hits at least 65 degrees, I am glad I was able to make it home this spring break and make the most out of my time off from school.

xoxo,

Gloomy Day, Bright Art

TRAVEL

How can you tell that it’s time for the Three Rivers Arts Festival? Wait for the rainiest week in June!

Yesterday Josh and I ventured out into the pouring rain to take in one of my favorite events in Pittsburgh, the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Here’s the lowdown: 10 days of free art and music with over a hundred booths set up by local artists. Oh yeah, and the most important part is all the amazing food you can get! I try to go at least once every year (and even wrote about last year’s adventure here) so I’m super excited to share what I encountered this year!

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Like I said, it was super gloomy and rainy, which didn’t make for the ideal weather. But luckily we are used to Florida, and have learned not to melt in the rain. Plus, this cute art exhibit doubled as protection from the treacherous downpour that was happening around us.


As we made it to the food, the sun came out and provided a perfect afternoon for us. I dropped way too much money on tater tots, but what else is new? I’m pretty sure my meal weighed at least five pounds, so that’s worth it in my book!

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We ventured down to the Point to take some quick pictures before heading back to take in the amazing talent. (Speaking of talent, look how cool these photos turned out! Josh’s photography game is strong.)


It’s not an arts festival if you don’t drop a lot of money, so I made sure to pick something up as a keepsake!

I hope to make it back down once more before it ends this weekend so I can snab some coveted deep fried Oreos and overpriced festival lemonade!

Until next time!

xoxo,

Spring Break 2017

TRAVEL

Okay so back in March I did this crazy thing called “spontaneously traveled across Florida” for spring break. Then the following month I did this other crazy thing called “I forgot to blog about it.” So here we are a little over a month later, and I finally am ready to put words to my amazing week.

Orlando has been my home for the past eight months, and somehow I managed to only see that part of Florida during my time here. So this spring break, I thought about all the fun things I could do in my city to keep myself entertained over our nine day break. Of course there was Disney and Universal, but I wanted to try something new and exciting. Then one day, an angel in the form of my boyfriend surprised me with a road trip across the state, with the plans to hit up each major city along the way.

With a map in hand, we decided to hit up Clearwater Beach, Tampa, Naples, the Everglades, and Miami, before scooping back up to Orlando for a final magical day at Disney. After a trip to the grocery store to stock up on snacks, and the making of a killer Spotify playlist, we were ready to hit the road.

After a short three hour drive, we made it to our first destination in Clearwater Beach. The sky was gloomy and the water wasn’t as clear as expected, but the town was cute and the beach was poppin. It was a cute little town, designed for tourists, with its beachfront lined with hotels, and lots of shops and activities located right on the beach.


With this being my first experience on the Gulf Coast, I realized that the water isn’t out to get me and can actually be kind of relaxing. After a dip in the water, a nap on the beach, and a walk across the pier, we were ready to head out. Yet on our way out we were greeted by the greatest of street performers, a father-son stunt show.

It was an exciting beginning to our adventure and the day ended with our first restaurant featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Taco Bus. A Tampa staple that started out as a food truck and evolved into a chain around the city. It did not disappoint.

Day two we hit the ground running and headed straight to Naples Beach. After a long car ride, we were greeted by the luxurious beach town designed for rich white people to vacation at. So of course our college minds pretended to be boujee and blend right in.

Let me just tell you that Naples is probably the nicest place ever. The sand was incredibly soft, the water was a shade of blue that I didn’t even know was natural, and the palm trees lined every corner. I set a goal right then and there to be successful enough in my career to eventually move there because you bet my suburban ass will be settling in one of those white picket fence lined beach houses.

It was the most relaxing of beaches with the warmest water. So warm that there were at least ten or so dolphins out swimming with us; it was incredible.


After basking in the sun, we got cleaned up and got a lil fancy to head out and explore 5th Ave South, their shopping and dining district. We dined at the classiest of burger joints, Brook’s Burgers and Dogs, where we were blessed with gourmet perfection. I had a donut burger which was literal heaven, and Josh’s burger was torched in front of him to perfectly caramelize the pineapple. This place deserves the best because wow. Just wow. That’s all I have to say.

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Afterwards we wandered the streets and wished we had enough money to live in luxury before settling in for the night.

Day three we were headed for the Everglades. Spoiler alert, they weren’t as exciting as elementary school science hyped up. After driving through “Panther Crossing” signs, we stopped at the welcome center to pick up some literature on what we could possibly do with our time here. My goal was to see a real life gator.

In Everglades City, there was a free museum that we checked out to get fully educated about what we were about to see.

We stopped at the first checkpoint where the gulf met the glades and explored around there for awhile without any luck of finding cool wildlife. Without an air boat reservation, we decided to just drive through and see what we wanted on our own accord. Plus the road lead straight to Miami so we were set.

Okay well that road turned out to be the most boring road in history. It went on for about an hour and a half with no exits down a single lane of swamp. Yet I did see my first and only Florida gator basking on the side of the road so that was super exciting!

Once the road finally ended, we were thrilled to find civilization on the brink of Miami. After a quick bite for lunch, we headed into the city and straight to Instagram Hoe heaven, the Wynwood Walls.

Wynwood Walls is part of one of the many art districts in downtown Miami. Blocks of buildings covered in murals line the streets and it’s perfect for the cliche wall pics, aka my aesthetic. I made Josh be the perfect Instagram boyfriend as he took countless photos of me in hundreds of different poses until I found the perfect ones to post. I was in heaven.


After posing in front of at least every single wall, we were ready to check out what Miami was all about and headed to the beach. We decided to checkout South Beach for the night and walked all the way down to the end. Three chincey gift shops later and we finally reached our second Guy Fieri stop of the tour, Taquiza. Handmade blue corn tortilla’s lined with pure Miami spice made the thirty-six block walk worth it. Thanks Guy Fieri for another A+ destination, we can always count on you!

After entering a food coma and walking outside to a windchill of 62 degrees, we decided to spare our selves and use bike share to get back. On that note, we called it a night.

The next morning, we started with a sunrise walk on the beach. We planned to stay at the beach all day but with weather in the fifties, we decided to head back a little early.

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On our way home, we took a quick pit stop in Vero Beach and it was just as cute as I heard. A cute little shopping district across from a beach from park reminded me of a nicer version of Clearwater. It also gave me serious Stone Harbor vibes from back home and I definitely intend on taking a staycation at the Disney Vero Beach Resort in the future.


After finally returning home, we decided to sleep the next thirty-six hours away to prep for our day at Disney. I considered it to be a personal victory that I was able to get my prince to come with me to my happy place. What better place to end our trip and celebrate six months of dating than at the Magic Kingdom?

We started the day at MK, followed by Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, than Hollywood Studios just in time to catch Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. As if we weren’t exhausted enough, we headed back to Magic Kingdom to ride a few more things before it closes, and even made it on Mine Train a good forty-five minutes after park close. What a magical experience to see the kiss goodnight with the one I love.

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It was a trip for the books and I’m not sure how we are going to top it. Next road trip together is in T-10 days as we head to the glamorous…Pittsburgh, PA!! I’m a little reluctant on going home for the summer, but I know the journey will be worth while with Josh by my side.

xoxo,