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Summer Plannin'

Posted on: 5.18.2015

As much as I'm looking forward to summer, there's always a part of me that gets anxious about it. like if i'm not out living some crazy wild experience, i'm wasting my summer days and nights. A summer holds a lot to live up to. Like a birthday. I hate birthdays. every birthday, everyone says "so what do you have planned??!" with more excitement in their voice than necessary. I mean hell, i don't know. it's a birthday. unless you're a Kardashian and renting a yacht, every birthday is the same. Same goes for summers. I go into every June with high hopes and with plenty of things i want to do and see and EAT! Then comes September and I always shrug to myself and say maybe next year. You west coasters don't know how lucky you are with your endless summers and limitless activities! i sound so negative. i need a nap.  

A few years back, I made a summer bucket list and I think it helps me keep track! I lost my license a few months back, a not so funny story about a dumb night and a dumb girl and 2 shots of whiskey. But with a lesson learned and a license reinstated, this summer will have no boundaries. i plan to take full advantage of the fact that i work 3 days a week, have no kids and a taste for adventure. 

So, Here's a few of the places and things and hopes for the Warmer summer months that i plan to experience:
1. Red River Gorge. Blame it on my trip to MOAB but I want to try and hike a bit this summer. It's strenuous but always worth it when you get to the top of the mountain. There's a life lesson in there someone.  
2. Springboro Flea Market. i've heard she's a big one and is filled with plenty of goodies for the treasure hunter in anyone to find. 
3. all the flea markets, actually. they're my favorite part of summer and i'm ready to get the ball rolling. a huge plastic cup filled with diet coke in one hand a set of deer antlers in the other. that's the dream people!
 4. Yellow Springs, Ohio. it's one of the coolest towns I've visited in ohio. it reminds me of where i live in northside and maybe that's why it pulls at my heart strings. plenty of fun restaurants, beautiful trails and all the hippie shops you could want.
5. The City Flea i worked for the flea market last year and it was a blast, but i'm excited to just be a patron again this year. so much good food, jewelry, vintage items, clothes. i give myself a cash limit every time and it's monthly so i plan on hitting it up a few times.
 6. Kings Island. growing up, this amusement park was a built in babysitter. one more would drop us off and another mom would pick us up and we would stay all day long. as an adult, i still love a good roller coaster but one afternoon is enough for me. oh, and the blue ice cream. i HAVE to buy a blue ice cream. 
7. Movie Date night it's at washington park right in the middle of OTR. i went once last year to see Jumanji and it's a good time. we brought blankets and gummy worms and they sell alcohol there -fist bump for the booze! if you ever go, get there early to get a good spot on the lawn.
8. Reds Game I don't know about other towns, but cincinnati runs on their baseball pride. i only know enough about the sport to go a few times a summer, but the games are a blast. there's nothing like a baseball park hot dog. plus, it's an excuse to break out the red lipstick!
9. Findlay market. i feel like the winter time is when i eat my worst. most of my meals come out of a styrofoam box. but come summer time, give me all the fresh fruits and veggies. it's grill season, baby!
10.  i'm dedicating number 10 to lazy pool hangs, drive in movies, camping and a few road trips sprinkled in there for good measure. 

it's gonna be a good summer, kids! 

Airport Nightmares and Suicide Rock

Posted on: 5.14.2015

this past weekend, i took 4 days off of life and hopped a plane to Salt Lake City! one of my best friends lives out there and i just needed to get away from reality for a few days. you know the times. i had a flight that left at 6 am from ohio, a 2 million hour layover in Chicago then i was on my way. although i wish i had packed a better wardrobe and maybe paid better attention to how my time of the month would start while i was thousands of feet up in the air somewhere over Kansas, it was still a great trip.

 i love flying. i always have. even though i've had some undoubtedly bad luck at it in the past. this one time, my freshman year of college, my sorority sisters and i went to panama city for spring break. that kind of thing was never my forte. i had seen videos of spring breakers getting wasted on beaches and kids falling off of hotel balconies and the whole idea looked awful but i was in a sorority, damn it, and it just seemed like it was what i was supposed to do so off i went with apprehension.  as fate would have it, once i was there, i got really sick. like chills, sweating, wanting to die kind of sick. i called my mom from florida and decided to fly home that day. didn't even get to see the damn ocean! THAT'S how bad it was. 
so my mom booked me a flight from florida to Cincinnati with a connection in Atlanta. the whole traveling process was supposed to take about 8 hours so i figured there was no need to bring any of my luggage since the girls could just drive it all back up with them at the end of their spring break week. to the airport, i wore cheering shorts (you know the little cotton shorts that are super small, and not in the least bit warm) and a tank top. it had been years since i had flown and i forgot that airports are absolutely freezing so you can imagine how frigid i was when you tack on the fact that i was already sick. so i loaded my ass onto the plane but instead of landing in atlanta, we circled it. the terminals were all full and we stayed in the air for about an extra 30 minutes and being 18, sick and never having flown by myself before, i didn't realize that 1. connecting planes will leave you 2. you need a good 40 minutes between flights to make sure you make it and 3. people will not get the hell out of your way on a plane when you need to run out of there. so while i was still stuck on the plane complaining to my boyfriend over the phone about how this landing thing was taking forever, this little old man next to me says "i overheard that you're going to Cincinnati, too. run ahead and tell them to wait for us" i thought he was kidding or crazy. surely they wouldn't leave people! oh. how wrong i was. so once we landed, i did run ahead. i ran faster than i ever have but it just wasn't fast enough. i made it to the terminal just in time to be told that i missed it. my ears got hot, my stomach was in knots and i could feel the tears creeping up to my eyeballs.
looking back now 10 years later, as a more seasoned adult, i would have handled things differently. at the time, i didn't ask for a discounted hotel room. i didn't cause any sort of scene. i didn't ask for any sort of assistance. i just sat down in a chair and cried. by this time it was about 8 o clock at night and the next flight to Cincinnati wasn't until 10 am the next morning. oh, and remember how i was dressed? yeah, by this point i was freezing. so i ran into an atlanta airport gift shop and bought a $60 hoodie. it read "ATLANTA" in big navy blue letters across the front and i kept that damn thing until about a year ago. sort of as a souvenir for surviving that night, i guess. 
at this point, i was upset and annoyed but wasn't really worried about my overall safety. i had this preconceived notion that airports just stayed open all night long like a casino or something and that people would be coming and going all the time. nope. wrong again. those airports shut down and everyone goes home. i called my mom and she was, of course, sick with worry because i was trapped somewhere and she couldn't do anything to help me. she made me keep my phone flipped open (yes, this was in the days of flip phones) all night so that she could hear if anyone came near me. it sounds a little dramatic looking back, but on this particular night that i was trapped in Atlanta, there was a construction crew roaming around the airport all night. yes, the construction crew. as fate would have it, the universe chose to leave me alone and sick in the Atlanta airport on a night where construction crews of giant men were walking up and down the hallways all night, cat calling and whistling at my 18 year old self. a mother's nightmare. the next morning, i got on my flight to Cincinnati and took a personal vow that from now on, i would book connections with plenty of time between them for the rest of my life. and now i book flights with 4 hour layovers and don't even think twice about it. i'll happily sit on the floor with my Mcdonald's and a gossip magazine right in front of my terminal, confident i'll never miss another flight. 

 this story got away from me. 
anyone still left out there? 

Back to the story! I made it Salt Lake safe and sound and was picked up by Kassie, the friend that I went out to see. I hadn't seen her in months and it was nice to finally hug her in person. She picked me up with a friend she had made while she lived out there and i instantly fell in 'friend love' with her, too. before we even pulled out of the airport, i liked the girl. don't you love when that happens? it makes me wonder how many friends i have out in the world that don't know that i exist yet. but i'm here! and you're gonna love me! her name is Alisia (pronounced Uh-Lee-See-Uh. I practiced before meeting her) and she was funny and smart and gave a mini tour of Salt Lake before dropping Kassie and myself off at Kassie's car so we could make our way on our trip. 
See, the plan for the weekend was to fly into Salt Lake, be picked up at the airport and then drive to MOAB with Kassie. (More on that beautiful place later) then we would spend a few days in MOAB with 3 other girls and return to Salt Lake. I had a rough idea of the plan but wasn't entirely sure what was going on. Looking back, I'm proud of myself for staying so relaxed while being so uninformed on the weekend schedule. But that's just how it goes when you run around with Kassie. She's one of those people that doesn't plan or look ahead or worry. Her life motto is "We'll figure it out" and that's what she does. it's good for me to be around her and people like that because I could use a little more of it in my life, as i plan things down to the wire and lose my mind when there's a hiccup in the plan. she has the most easy going, fuck it, no worries, whatever outlook. she just rolls with things and i love her for it.  i mean hell, the girl visited Salt Lake just a few times before deciding to move out there. She can make friends for life wherever she goes and is full of so many experiences. If i could get her to sit still long enough, or chain her to a chair, i would love for her to write. Write about what she's been through, what gravitates her to certain people and places and what drives her to be who she is. But like i said, she's wild. Sitting isn't her forte. 
So after a stop at a place called In-N-Out where we got burgers and fries (if you ever get a chance to go, ask for it "animal style". it's not on the menu, but holy shit it's amazingly good) and another quick stop at the gas station for Tylenol, marlboro lights and a car charger, we were on the road to MOAB! A good 3 hour drive made longer due to ridiculous weather. it stormed most of the way but the scenery was gorgeous. mountains and canyons and cows and sheep. we sang along to Jo Dee Messina, smoked cigs and talks about everyone we knew back home and what they've all been up to since Kassie left Cincinnati. It was good to spend a little one on one time with the girl before we finally made it to the cabin where the rest of the ladies were waiting for us.
I have another post coming up about MOAB so that this one can not be anymore annoyingly long, so for now just enjoy these photos that were taken in Salt Lake City right before we left for MOAB. This is called Suicide Rock and, although I'm not sure how it came to be exactly, I'm glad we got to stop here. Kassie posted a snap chat of her here a few weeks back and i made sure to text her immediately to let her know I wanted to see it in person. I love graffiti. we all know that. it was kind of rainy and gross in SLC so i didn't venture to climb the rocks, just admired from below. But isn't it sick? I wish I had brought spray paint with me! 

SLC, you're too cool. 

A recipe, a contest and a promo code OH MY!

Posted on: 5.05.2015

apparently, as far as ohio is concerned, spring only needs to be about 45 minutes long. it went from uncomfortably cold about a week ago and now it's 80 and sunny daily. make up your mind, midwest! but it's been a long and terrible winter though so i'm pretty happy to see the sun shining more consistently. i think everyone i know is ready for camping, flea markets and all the fresh foods you can get your mitten-less hands on. thank you farmers!
summer time grill outs are kind of my love language. i think it was about 2 years ago that i scored an outdoor grill on the good old craigslist that had only been used once. and it's been one of my best CL finds to date. (tied for first with my persian rug, my marble topped side table and my sheep skin throws. hashtag what is retail?) that grill has more than paid for itself considering i think i paid about $30 for that sucker. when we found this apartment, i was pretty stoked to find a small outdoor space crammed back behind my bedroom window. granted, it was covered in burger king cups, garbage and more cigarette butts than i like to remember, but with sweat and handwork and about 37 mosquito bites, that little back alley has become my summer oasis! from hosting small bonfires to drawing all over the brick walls with chalk to GRILL OUTS! grill outs are summer. summer is grill outs. so the second it started to heat up outside, we got our butts out there and cleared out the winter gunk. leaves and twigs and whatever else. the lights got strung back up, the plants went back outside and the whole area got a good scrub down. i'm always proud of that little space! i convinced the roomie to help me crank up the grill and made the yummiest kabobs i've ever tasted! continue reading. this post has a point, i promise ;) 
i love seeing my plant life thriving outside where they belong. i don't have many sunny rooms in my house. just that front room. so when i can get them outside in the fresh air and sunshine, i can practically hear them thanking me. i speak plant. duh. also, yes i filled my fire pit thing with candles. this is the city. and i don't know what kind of regulations we got over here haha. whatever. they look cute i think?
I'm not one for complicated, marinate-over-night, recipes. i like quick and easy and simple so i can explain it to people without them losing interest. So here's a quick recipe that will take you less than the length of a sitcom to put together… 

Steak and Chicken Kabobs! 
You'll need:
2 1/2 pounds of sirloin steak (i bought the kind that's already cut up in chunks then cut those in half)
2 1/2 pounds of chicken, cut into cubes as well 
20 cherry tomatoes 
20 mushrooms, cut in halves 
2 zucchinis, cut into cubes 
1 large green pepper, cubed 
1 large sweet red pepper, cubed
1 onion, cut into wedges 
salt and pepper to taste

these kabobs are simple to make and even simpler to eat. just be sure to cut all veggies big enough to hold up their strength on a kabob stick. cutting them too thin and they will fall off into the flames. 

rotate your veggies with your meats on the stick and place directly on the grill. (steak tomato steak mushroom steak pepper… you get the idea)  i like my steaks medium rare so they shouldn't be sitting on the grill for too long. maybe 7 minutes or so. pair those bad boys up with a bed of rice or a twice baked potato and a cold brew and you've got summer time on a plate!  
fresh vegetables and fruits are one of the highlights of summer time. farmers markets and all that business, ya know? and with all of those yummy foods comes delicious summer recipes like this one! one of my favorite partners with the blog, Green Bean Delivery  is hosting a really cool contest over on their site! in case you didn't know, Green Bean Delivery delivers fresh produce right to your home that you order offline. i can't even explain how brilliant and easy this site is to use! so anyway, their competition is called PLATE PROUD and it's a summer recipe contest. it's as easy as clicking HERE  and submitting a recipe. also, use the hashtag #plateproud on social media to link up with others and learn about more recipes out there! i've already found several that i'm stoked about. the contest ends in a few weeks so get 'em entered quick! also, did i mention the hundreds of dollars in prizes for the winners? we're talking grill sets, you guys. (not that i don't love my little craigslist grill!)

So get your buns over to Green Bean and get those recipes entered! Also, Green Bean is blowing my mind with their generosity and offering up something great for my readers!  Whether you're new to their site or a returning guest, use promo code 15LJD for $15 off of your purchase at Green Bean… that's a lotta bananas people! Good luck and may the best chef win!! 
obviously, i have to throw in a pic of this guy for good measure. he's my baby. 

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