Tag Archives: Afternoon

Memorial Day 2014

26 May

Today was bittersweet as we watched my youngest sister, Macayla, march in her last Memorial Day parades. Way to end on a high note, kiddo!! ūüôā




The birth of a display case

7 Nov

I like to believe I’m a creative person. I dabble in the arts of writing and photography, once a year I dust off my scrapbooks and compile memories of days long gone, and on rare occasion, I have been known to tackle a DIY project or two. So when my boss at work asked me to change out the display case for November I eagerly agreed!

Obviously I decided to do something along the lines of Thanksgiving, but wanting to be politically correct because there may be someone who sees the case who may not celebrate the holiday for whatever reason, I chose to go with “What are you thankful for” because everyone is thankful for something.

Normally our display cases consist of 6 or so informational posters or flyers. Maybe an object or two representing an upcoming event (i.e. we had a 5K shirt to promote our Hospice 5K run/walk in August). But this time I wanted to do something different. Something eye-catching. Something engaging. Something unique.

The only problem, I wasn’t quite sure what that was exactly.

So I did the only thing I could think of to get the ball rolling. I started making a list of all the common things people would be thankful for. And then I started playing around with different ways to display the words in the case and came up with this awesome idea. (**Please note that drawing, and apparently spelling when I’m brainstorming, are not among my strengths.)


Then I had an even better idea. What if I compiled a bunch of random stuff that represented the words on my list and made little nameplates for what each item represented. No posters needed…. okay, so that’s a lie, the “What are you thankful for” needed to be on a big poster.

IMG_4075And yes, in case you were wondering, those are yellow sticky notes on some of the objects I collected from our office. As I located something that corresponded with a word on my list, I tagged it and crossed it off my list. I obviously had a system going, can’t you tell…because this mess turned into this chaos…

IMG_4077At this point I must share a funny story. My office consists of myself, our director and two other colleagues. Now, when I was coming up with my idea for the display case, I bounced it off one of my co-workers to get her opinion and then I took it to my boss to get her stamp of approval and go-ahead to move forward. If I recall correctly, my other co-worker was out of the office while all of this was taking place. Now, I had spent all morning working on finding objects and making nameplates and folding and taping and¬†arraigning¬†them just so on my little filing¬†cabinet. When I am nearly finished with my¬†preparations and about to pack everything in my bag to set up the display case, this co-worker walks by my desk. She pauses, back-tracks and pauses again, almost as if she’s trying to convince herself she wasn’t really seeing what she thought see was seeing (i.e. a 25 year old labeling things as if she were in preschool). Finally she flat out asks me what I’m doing and I can’t help but laugh as I take in her confused expression as I explain this is going to be a display case…eventually.¬†¬†¬†

Now I’m not sure if you could tell from my drawing or not (pictured above), but there were some words that I chose to have hanging from strings. These words were ones I decided/discovered were too hard to represent with a physical object because they either meant too many different things to different people or were feelings/milestones. Here’s how they turned out…

IMG_4078Finally it’s time to put it all together! Fingers crossed my poorly executed blueprint looks better in real life! It was fairly easy to assemble and I even had some help from our office intern! Tell me, how do you think we did?

IMG_4079I think it’s good, but the perfectionist in me doesn’t like it so much now. I see ways it could have been better – more color, the hanging circles could have been a bit bigger, some of the objects should have been sitting on boxes of different heights covered by fabric to give it a more interesting look and feel. Oh well, these are all thoughts and suggestions I’ll use to make next month’s display case 100% better!

So tell me, what are you thankful for? Is there something you would have added to my list?

**Side note: Yes, I did notice the nameplate for “employment” is spelled wrong. Unfortunately, I discovered that AFTER I’d taken my photos and was putting the finishing touches on the display case. But not to worry, it was quickly replaced with a correct version and no one was the wiser, well maybe you. ūüėČ

DIY Paint Chip City Silhouettes

5 Oct

**Hello from the past, I’m writing this post on July 31, 2013, but have decided not to post it until October as what I have made today is a birthday surprise for someone special (who I will FINALLY see in person for the first time in 6 months when this finally posts for you to read in 65 days!!)

It’s been a very long time since I’ve A.) been on Pinterest and B.) felt like doing anything crafty. But that all changed today. For a few days now I have been trying to come up with a birthday gift for the special guy in my life when I remembered a pin I had found a few months ago and decided it was worth a try!

So here we go, it was actually pretty easy!

What you’ll need:

  • Paint chips — any color will do! (HIS favorite color is blue and Green is mine, so it was an obvious choice for me!)
  • Picture frame (I choose 8 inches X 10 inches)
  • Print out of the silhouette of the city of your choice — HE’S from Chicago, again obvious choice
  • Tape
  • Paper for the background
  • Scissors
  • Pen/Pencil
  • Glue/Photo splits

Paint chip Skylines1. Start off by taping the paint chips together. For my size frame, it took 5 paint samples across.

IMG_6445aPaint chip Skylines 2. Cut out your skyline and lightly trace it onto the front of your paint chips.

Paint chip Skylines 3. Carefully cut out your paint chip skyline. I had to switch to use very small scissors so I could get some of the details. I also added the Chicago scrip to add some green and a special hidden Mickey (look at the dot on the i)! Then glue it all down onto a solid color background.

IMG_6450a4. Place your new masterpiece into its frame and enjoy!

Paint chip Skylines In all, I really liked how this turned out! And it didn’t take long at all, about an hour total — I probably could have worked faster if I hadn’t also been watching ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars from last night!

This is a project I could see myself recreating many, many times! Many next time I’ll try something with Disney or some of the different places I’ve traveled to on vacation. The possibilities are endless and the paint samples are many!

Happy crafting my friends! Let me know if you decide to make a paint chip skyline of your own, I’d love to know how it turns out!





Humidity Smack Down

26 Jul

Today I am missing Florida a little more than usual, call it a “home-sickness” type of feeling if you will, or maybe it’s because in the last week we have dropped 20 degrees in temperature and it feels more like mid-September than late-July outside. Whatever the reason, I began thinking about the summer I arrived in Orlando, Florida to begin my journey on The Disney College Program. (I can’t believe it’ll be three years ago in August. Where did the time go?!) ¬†And that got me thinking about the Florida heat (not the basketball team) and how I thought I was going to DIE when I stepped out of the airport all those years ago….

Back story:

I was accepted to the Disney College Program as an intern at Walt Disney World in Florida for the Fall 2010 program which meant ¬†I will left in August and was supposed to come home in January 2011, however I extended my program twice and managed to live at and work at Disney for an entire year. I started my program in the Quick Food and Beverage Service at¬†Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Restaurantosaurus.

I left for Florida on a Tuesday morning, and I woke up kind of sad knowing that I would soon be leaving everything I knew behind. My dad flew down with me and our flight was at 11:13am.¬†Dad and I didn’t really have long to wait for our flight. While we were sitting at the gate¬†waiting, across from us were two¬†people about my age. ¬†I couldn’t help but noticed the girl’s shoes. They were crocks with MICKEY HEAD shaped holes on top! As I looked closer, I noticed she also had a Disney name plaque on her bag. He was wearing a shirt with a bunch of vintage looking Mickeys on it. Got me wondering if they were just excited to A.) Be going to Disney on vacation or B.) Maybe they were Cast Members, too. I wish now that I would have asked. Oh, well.

Once on the plane, I started to cry again as we pulled out of the gate. I guess a wave of homesickness hit me as I thought “The next time I see this airport there could be snow on the ground.” That first time¬†coming into the Orlando airport was kind of freaky. We were really low in the air when we passed over a major road and it looked like we were going to hit a truck! I’ll admit,¬†I kind of freaked a¬†bit.

Welcome to Orlando where it is 20 degrees hotter than home. I walked outside and felt like I had walked into a brick wall. It was going to take some getting use to. It took us about a half an hour to get from the airport to the Double Tree Resort at Downtown Disney where we were staying. Dad and I stayed in our room for a little bit to cool off before venturing out to find something to eat for dinner.

We had passed a McDonald’s coming to the resort and decided it wasn’t that far away, we’d walk over there. On our way, we stopped so Dad could take my¬†picture in front of the¬†Welcome to¬†Walt Disney World sign.


I also took pictures of the Mickey sign and the Minnie sign. Then we had to cross 5 or 6 lanes of traffic to get to our destination, the coolest McDonald’s I have ever seen. To be honest, I just liked the palm trees!

McDonald's at Downtown Disney

We decided to stay at the McDonald’s for a while because we were gross from walking there…I felt like I was dripping with sweat! And it was tiring on my lungs, I felt like I was having a harder time breathing here than back home, not good for the asthma! (But I am happy to say it didn’t take me long to acclimate to the climate and temperature change and soon found Florida to be just the right place for me health wise!)

When we headed back to the hotel, we passed a guy running and I can remember thinking that guy was NUTS! I was waiting for my skin to melt off my bones and there he was CHOOSING to elevate his internal body temperature by exercising! But good for him, and I’m sure that since he was use to the heat (I’m assuming he was, nice dark tan and all) that he knew when it was too hot for an outdoor run. But I’ll tell you what, I have never been so thankful for AC as I was when we arrived back at our room.

And then a few days later because I hadn’t been properly introduced to the Florida sun, during one of my first training classes as a Disney Cast Member I got to go out and explore Magic Kingdom in the early afternoon (i.e. when the sun is at its highest). It was a surprise to us all. Can you just picture it…30 plus brand new cast members all dressed up in business clothing (heels included) walking around Magic Kingdom. Now, let me tell you, it was exciting but uncomfortable¬† at the same time.¬†It was 90 something degrees but felt more like it was 101 and there we were out in the sun! But I loved every minute of it. Here’s what I was wearing in the hot Florida sun while “melting” in Magic Kingdom on my first day….at least I looked cute!

Disney Tradition's OutfitIn the end, when I left Florida in August 2011, I barely noticed how hot is was, it just felt comfortable to me and I KNEW when it dropped below 70 degrees because I would start shivering! I knew I was going to miss the heat. When I returned home it was in the 60s and even wearing hoodies and socks, I FROZE. ¬†As I mentioned above, it’s been almost 3 years now since I started my journey in Florida and I am still trying to re-acclimate to the cooler temperatures here in the fall and winter….and lets be honest, for a good part of our summer, too. I guess I was just meant to live in the Florida sunshine where it’s warm!

Zebra Garden

Watching History in the Making

23 Jul

For the past 9 months the world has eagerly awaited the arrival of England’s newest royal. Bets were placed – will Kate and William have a boy or a girl? Will the child have red hair? Who will he or she resemble more — mom or dad?

I have to be honest, I was not one of the super crazy people who stocked the social media and tabloids searching for every last detail of the royal pregnancy — I have a life of my own ya know.

But, the last 48 hours I was swept up in the excitement as were many people around the globe. When I woke up Monday morning (5:30 AM EST) the first thing I saw on Twitter was the announcement that Kate was at the hospital. A groggy me wished her a speedy delivery (having never had a child of my own and recently hearing the labor stories of my co-workers and cousins, I really could only go on what I’ve been told about childbirth and that is that it can be long, tiring and very painful).

At the office, we were giddy as we awaited the news of the birth. A radio personality informed me that a prince had been born while I was on my drive home from work. Personally, I felt that was somewhat anticlimactic — she didn’t even sound excited as she shared the joyous news with me. Okay, so we don’t live in England but it’s still something that should be shared with a positive inflection in your voice. ¬†I mean, if nothing else, a new life was brought into the world that wasn’t here the day before and both mother and baby are safe, healthy and resting well.

And that brings me to today….again we were all excited at the office when we heard William, Kate and the royal baby were going to be making an appearance on the iconic staircase outside the hospital this afternoon (well, I guess it was evening over there with the 5 hour time difference.) And so we had our live-feeds going, determined not to miss anything!

Royal Baby, The Lion King Circle of Life momentAs a Disney fanatic, I LOVED this tweet! It really did seem like a Lion King “Circle of Life” moment. While they didn’t hold the little prince high above their heads or have a monkey spread red jelly-goop on his forehead, it was just as meaningful, probably more so as this was real life.

And then the moment arrived and there they were, the beautiful, happy royal family with their new precious bundle!

Prince William, Kate and the royal babyWhile his face was mostly covered, I couldn’t help but find it adorable to see his little fingers poking out above his blanket, waving to the world as if to say “Hello! I’m here! Thank you for celebrating with mom and dad!”

The royal baby

At only a day old, this little prince has no idea of the excitement that surrounded his arrival or the title which he holds. It is amazing to think that one day, this little 8lb. 6oz. baby boy will be King of England, and when the time arrives for his firstborn to arrive, he could be standing on the very steps repeating history as his father has done today.

The Royal Baby

I can’t help but wonder what was going through Kate’s mind. Has it really sunk in yet that she will be raising a future King? In our tech savvy world, I find it amazing that we will get to watch as the littlest royal grows up. (Is this what people felt like when Prince William was born….that was before my time by 6 ish years!) What will it be like to grow up with the world watching your every move? But then again, as this will be all he ever knows, it will be his normal. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this little baby. Knowing who his parents are, I think it is safe to assume we can expect great things from him. I believe they will teach him to be kind and loyal, humility and the joy of giving service.

And speaking of the future, I hope they announce his name soon! In my opinion a name is a very important thing, it is something that begins to define who you are before you are ever aware of it. You grow into in and it molds to reflect you so perfectly that many people can’t imagine ever being called anything else.

My top choices for boys names for the little royal: Alexander, Edward and David.

(Side note: I really hope they don’t choose George, I’ve never liked that name — sorry to any George’s out there who happen to read my blog. I’m sure you are a wonderful person. And it’s okay if you don’t like my name.)¬†¬†¬†


This little piggy went to market and this little piggy….

29 Jun

Was the star of the pig roast!

pig roast

Okay, so the real star was my cousin Eddie as it was HIS graduation party and the REASON behind said pig roast, but still.

Growing up in my family there are certain things you learn at a very young age:

  • It does not matter if you are wearing a shirt with your name on it, you will be called by all of your cousins’ an siblings’ names before you hear your own
  • You WILL be a Buckeyes football fan (I’m pretty sure we bleed scarlet and gray)
  • You will look forward to summer because it means it’s time for another PIG ROAST!

Now, I was especially excited for today because I MISSED the last pig roast (which was my little sister’s graduation party) because I was still on the Disney College Program living in Florida, and it was more important to me to get the time off to be at her actual graduation than to be at her party weeks later. (That doesn’t mean I didn’t pout a little when I was told all about it and saw the pictures on Facebook, I KNEW the deliciousness I was missing out on.)

My uncle has a special grill that he uses to cook the pig in…don’t ask me HOW he cooks it (well, for this party he was out of town, so the task was handed over to my grandfather and one of my cousins) because I couldn’t tell you. I just know that when it’s done it’s got a smoky flavor that is to die for! And we don’t JUST have pig, we include a turkey as well, because why not?!

pig roast and turkey roast

Now when the pig is ready, make sure you are standing close enough so that you can grab a piece of skin while it’s toasty hot! Trust me, the crunch and the flavor will be worth it! My cousin Mandy and I are pros at getting the first couple of pieces!

cousins at the pig roast


You don’t like pig you say. Don’t worry…. there’s always plenty of other food to enjoy as well! Believe me, when my family throws a party (and if you happen to actually KNOW my family, you’ll know we don’t even really need a REASON) we do it right – I’m talking taco salad, potato salad, macaroni salad, broccoli cheese rice, oriental salad, veggies, fresh fruit, deviled eggs, and who knows what else you could possible eat. Don’t believe me, take a look for yourself:

pig roast food


Okay so before you think the only reason I like pig roasts is because of the food, let me remind you that I have a VERY close-knit family (on my maternal grandmother’s side) that loves to socialize and we have get-togethers often. I’ll be honest, I love spending time with my family. They are some of the loudest, craziest and most wonderful people I know. It’s so much fun just standing around talking and hearing about everything that everyone has been up to. Yes, you could argue that because we are all on social media we already know how they are doing or what exciting things are happening, but it’s not the same as having a face-to-face conversation with someone, you never know what tangent you’ll get off on!

At the party today, I saw my cousin and her family (husband and 3 little kids all under the age of 6) who live in another country, but are back for a couple weeks because her sister is getting married on July 6, 2013! And I got to see another cousin’s husband and 2 of their kids (she and the baby are still in their home state until later in the week, but they will be here in time for the wedding as well).

And we can’t forget all the bonding time I had with my nephew who is 7 weeks old already! Oh how the time flies! I love being an auntie! He’s such a cuddle bug! Already he is trying to stand and climb up your body and over your shoulder!

Aunt and baby nephew

Needless to say, it was a great afternoon, filled with delicious food and wonderful company!

You know you were a band geek when…

23 Jun

Okay, I admit it, I was am a band¬†geek. Actual, if I’m being honest, I’m a music geek! Always have been and I always will be, there’s just a way music touches my soul that nothing else can!

MusicFriday afternoon my little sister got home from babysitting and told us there were band member practicing on the football field… actually I think she may have said something more along the lines of “there’s a bunch of shirtless band guys at the high school.” So of course we (my sisters, mom and I) piled into the car to check it out!

When we got to the school… this is what we saw:



Boston Crusaders practicing

This is only the brass ensemble, the drum corps, pit and the guard were each off practicing somewhere else.

Let me be the first to introduce you to The Boston Crusaders.

They are a junior drum and bugle corps. These musicians are between the ages of 15 and 21. They had to addition to be in this group. We talked to one of the volunteers and she told us that most of the students are from the Orlando, Florida area because once they make the group, the students have to attend a music camp (camps only in select locations) one weekend every month from November РMay. At these camps they work on memorizing music and marching technique. Then in May, they all move into dormitories for a few months before taking their show on the road. They travel with 4 or 5 greyhound buses, a mobile kitchen which prepares four meals a day for the 200 members, supply trucks that store the instruments and cots for the corps members (they slept in our high school gym), a merchandise truck and a truck with bunk beds so the kitchen staff can sleep on the road while they travel (they have to be up at 4AM to begin preparing meals). And in case you were wondering, it costs 2 million dollars to move them all down the road each season! They also have a nurse and physical trainer that travel with them.

Which brings us back to why they were at my old stomping grounds…their first show of the season (which started Saturday and runs through the second weekend of August) was at one of the local colleges and my high school was sponsoring them. They got here around 3:00AM Friday morning, and this was their schedule for the day:

Boston Crusaders schedule

When we got to the school it was around 4:00PM, the HOTTEST time of the day, therefore they are all out practicing in swimsuits and everyone is required to wear a hat. They also all have silver instruments and are wearing gloves, to protect the instruments or to keep their hands from burning, i don’t know. ¬†On the sidelines were tons of HUGE water bottles and it appeared that each member was wearing a fanny¬†pack, we guessed they might have salt tablets in them, as well as sunscreen.

Boston Crusaders practicing

The drum corps and pit (percussion instruments that can’t be marched with and remain stationary during a performance, i.e. bells, tympani drums) ¬†were using the practice field behind the school. We watched the different groups practice the same 30 seconds – 1 minute worth of music 5 or 10 times while we were there. The directors were amazing. They could pick out obscure individual notes and rhythms of specific sections and parts. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were able to narrow it down all the way to an individual player.

We decided to go back up later in the evening for the full dress rehearsal and show run-through. It would be the first time the whole ensemble practiced together that day according to the volunteer we talked to (her son was a Boston Crusader in 2006 and ever since she volunteers a couple of weeks a summer to travel with the corps). We went back up to the school around 9:00 PM and the stadium lights were bright and glowing, and to my surprise, there were a lot of people there to watch (small community, word travels fast I guess, and it was FREE to the public!).

It was really cool watching the whole corps practice. Again, they were still spot-checking 30 seconds – 1 minute worth of music and marching drill. There were three directors sitting up in the stands with a PA system picking apart the music and the drill. Then there were 4 or 5 “coaches” out on the field marching along with the corps picking apart posture, marching steps and horn angle (was the musician holding the bell of their instrument high enough…as a trumpet player I can tell you this can tire out your back muscles QUICKLY and these poor kids had been at this all day long in the hot sun). I felt bad for the members of the corps, the directors kept telling them they needed to commit more, focus more. Honestly, I have NEVER seen a group of young musicians MORE focused in my entire life. To me, they looked pretty dang perfect. The music sounded amazing, their marching lines were clean and crisp. They all hit certain marks are the EXACT same time, EVERY time. They didn’t trip. The guard didn’t hit the musicians with the flags, guns or swords they were throwing dangerously high in the sky… and let me just tell you, there wasn’t a lot of room between the guard and the musicians, I would have been scared for my life.

When it was finally time for the full dress rehearsal run-through I was excited! After watching the different parts and pieces I was excited to see it all come together before my eyes. Let’s talk costumes for a moment…for the most part, the drum and bugle corps reminded me of a soldier’s uniform from wars long ago – maroon undershirt, medium gray coat with double-breasted buttons, white plume (feather in the hat) and black suspender¬†pants, shoes and gloves. The guard (made up of males and females) all had different costumes which surprised me and was a bit distracting in my opinion. The various costumes included shorts, pants, dresses, skirts, fitted coats, coats with tails, coats without tails, long coats, short coats, off-the-shoulder shirts, and other combinations.

The show was FANTASTIC. I wish I could show you, but cameras and video recordings were strictly forbidden as no one has seen their show this season yet – yeah for previews! But I CAN give you my review…

The 12 minute show began with one of the guard members standing alone in the center of the football field. As the pit members began to play, the rest of the corps ran onto the field. I had thought someone had tripped, but it turns out they were all suppose to fall! A single member of the brass ensemble took a knee and began to play facing away from the audience — it was a haunting sound. The single guard member dances around the fallen corps. And then, just as gracefully as they had fallen, they stood and began to amaze the audience with their drill. I felt bad for one of the corps members, when he stood up, his plume came out of his hat (I wonder if he noticed?) and was there on the football field, just waiting for someone to trip on! But lo and behold, a member of the guard was paying attention and smoothly scooped it up all while staying in character. She danced around with it in her hands for a moment or two, and then when the opportunity presented itself, she shoved the plume down into the casing around one of the quad drums. GENIUS! The show continued, and it was fun being able to pick out parts of the music I had heard them practicing earlier that day or watching for the crab step the drum corps had perfected. One of my favorite parts happened about halfway through the show, the corps was nearing the end of a song and they all appeared to be about to slam their instruments into the ground when they changed their minds at the last second and paused forming a zig-zag line of brass! The strength and control in that move alone was impressive! This was followed by everyone running and falling to the ground (they spend a good amount of time on the ground, I sure hope they don’t perform anywhere muddy this season!). The guard member that started the show once again took center stage as she walked down a make-shift stairwell created by the other members of the guard out the their guns! She then danced and tumbled through the fallen corps members and when she passed, they stoop up. It was almost as if she were the resurrecting angel or something. The other guard members came running, crawling, falling and stumbling to the front carrying bright orange flags. It was a beautiful thing to see and the whole performance gave me chills.

But at the end, I was left wondering about the story line. ¬†Had I witnessed a war and the aftermath or a zombie apocalypse? I’m not really sure, the way they were moving and the sound of the music really leaves it open to personal interpretation. I hope that when they perform for real they tell the audience the names of the songs, I bet that would give some much-needed clues to help follow the direction and vision of the performance.

I will leave you with this, I would personally love to see them again! If you get the chance to see them perform JUMP ON IT! I can promise you wont be disappointed! ¬†For a complete list of all their events this summer, check out The Boston Crusader’s¬†Summer Tour Calendar!