July flew by in a blink, and it was a particularly busy month for me. Here's what I was up to last month:
I started out with a quick trip to Florida to see my family for a brief vacay. We celebrated my mother's birthday and enjoyed some nice beach and pool time. Unfortunately, my sister Kim wasn't able to join us, so it wasn't quite the same. But we definitely enjoyed ourselves and did some serious relaxing! We even took a day to drive down to the Keys, something we'd never done before. I've found myself more and more eager to just book spontaneous trips lately, and this was one I was glad to partake in!
Ate Buffalo Wings in Buffalo
The day after I got back from Florida, E and I took a drive up to Buffalo for the wedding of one of his high school friends. As avid wing lovers, of course, we had to stop by and eat Buffalo wings in the restaurant that invented them, Anchor Bar. They were pretty typical wings… I personally like the way E makes them better than most restaurants. I'm not a huge fan of breaded wings, but that's pretty rare.
Went to a Hockey Wedding
The wedding itself was very unique! The couple met while playing college hockey at the University of Buffalo, so they chose to exchange their vows on the ice. It was definitely creative and outside the box, but I can totally appreciate when a couple makes their wedding day a reflection of their interests. (Plus, using such a unique venue was probably pretty #budgetsavvy!) It was a great wedding, and I really enjoyed attending. Many people ask me if I attend lots of weddings and the answer these days is not really, so it was nice to go to a wedding for a change.
Visited Niagara Falls
Since we'd made the long drive up to Buffalo, we figured why not hit Niagara Falls? I honestly don't know that I'll ever have a reason to go back to Buffalo, so this seemed like a great opportunity to knock this off my list. It was a cool, cloudy day, but the sun peeked out just in time for us to view the falls on the Maid of the Mist! I had *major* “The Office” feels riding the boat… that scene of Jim and Pam running off from their wedding is only one of the greatest TV moments of all time, after all. 😉 Seriously, if you have a chance to visit Niagara Falls, I highly recommend doing the Maid of the Mist. The falls are such a natural wonder, it is truly breathtaking to see it from up close!
Saw my Grandpa Honored as the Veteran of the Game at Yankee Stadium
My family submitted my grandpa to be the honored veteran at a Yankees game this year, and it was so special to see! If you want to take a peek at the clip, check it out here. As a 93-year-old Marine, he got such a warm response at the game. It was really touching to see him honored in such a way, and I was so proud to be in the stands cheering him on!
Wedding Blogger Brunch
I know having brunch with friends isn't necessarily a huge thing of note, but this one was special to me! After a couple of years of talking about getting together for brunch and never actually doing it, my friends Brittny and Kate and I finally made it happen! No more letting “busyness” rob us of quality time with people we care about. This has really been a mantra for me as of late. These two gals both run wedding blogs and live in the city, and we all enjoy each other's company, so it's super silly that we haven't taken advantage before. I'm looking forward to more of these brunches in the future!
Ate Cookie Dough from Dō
This is the current dessert craze in NYC, so of course, I had to try it. I went with some out of town friends who wanted to cross this off their bucket list, otherwise, I may never have been able to tolerate the hour long line. I couldn't help but think about Rory Gilmore's story she was working on in “A Year in the Life” all about New Yorkers standing in lines for things… 😂 Ultimately, my verdict on this trendy dessert it that it's totally skippable. Who really wants more than a taste of raw cookie dough? The portions are crazy large and while it's delicious, I could barely stomach more than a few bites. Sugar OVERLOAD. But if you're into that sort of thing, you may want to check out Dō.
Had a visit from Mom
Even though I just saw my mom in Florida earlier in the month, she planned a trip up to NY for a week or so to spend time with my grandpa and spent a short little visit with me, too! My aunt Jackie, Mom and I had a nice girls' night where we went out for Sushi and went to see Beautiful the Musical. It was such a nice evening, and great to spend time with both of them.
Spent the night in the Atlanta Airport
This was a major low point of the month, but it bears mentioning. I was headed off on yet another short trip and decided to try to save money by picking the cheapest possible flight. Thanks to Delta Airlines' complete idiocy, I was stranded overnight in the Atlanta airport. Not awesome. The good news is that I was able to meet up with my friend Brandi who happened to be flying out the next morning! We got to chat and catch up, even in my sleep-deprived state it was super nice to see her. 💕 Definitely looking at the bright side!
Girls' Getaway to PCB
When I finally reached my final destination, I enjoyed a few days of sand and sun in Panama City Beach with two ladies who I've known for close to 20 years 😱 #weareold. Originally Barb and Lara were planning a trip to come visit me in NYC this summer, but we all ultimately decided that a beach trip sounded better. SO thankful for this intentional time away with friends – I can honestly say I've never just gone on a girls' trip for no other reason than to relax and spend quality time. Most of my trips with friends have been involved in some way with an out of town wedding or a bachelorette party, but this was all about R&R with people I care about and it was so very needed.
A focus on quality time and true connections
In addition to these little trips I took, I also made an effort to meet up and reconnect with other awesome ladies in my life who live in the city. Though we didn't take photos at our various coffee, lunch, or dinner dates, our time together was still just as special. I can't explain how amazing it is to have such an awesome group of women around me. People who love and support me, who I can be open and honest and vulnerable with.
Life is messy and complicated and beautiful. I'm in a place where surface level isn't cutting it anymore, and I've been enjoying conversations about the things that really matter. I like talking to real people about real things… digging deep and getting to the heart of things.
Started online therapy
I've mentioned that I've been going through a bit of something and I knew I needed to talk to someone about it. After searching tirelessly for a therapist who wouldn't put me in the poor house, a friend of mine recommended TalkSpace, an online app that connects you with a dedicated therapist who you can contact via messaging, audio, or video. They have different plans depending on your needs which are super affordable– get an entire month of communication for the cost of one session with a therapist. So far I've really enjoyed using the platform, and have gotten some great insight through my conversations with my therapist. I really like that I can quickly send a message to my therapist in the moment that a thought or question comes into my mind, so I don't have to wait a week between sessions to bring up something. (#ADDproblems) Since I tend to only share the shiny happy stuff on social media, many people might be shocked to hear how much I've been struggling. This does all of us a disservice because it makes it seem as if life is perfect rainbows and roses for everyone else except you. I think that mental health is something that we should talk more about, which is why I'm trying to be more open about my own struggles. I think everyone can benefit from talking about anything they are going through with a non-biased, professional. You may prefer in-person meetings with a therapist, but if you want to TalkSpace give it a shot, you can use my referral link you'll get $50 off your first month of TalkSpace.
Hey girl. 💁🏽 This is your daily reminder that you are awesome and powerful and capable of amazing things. Don't be afraid to reach for the stars, take a leap, or be open to all of life's possibilities. You never know where a leap of faith might take you, but if you believe in yourself and trust your intuition it will never steer you wrong. 🙏🏼 #bebrave #bebold #girlboss #talkingtomyselftoo #inspiration #dailyinspiration #taketheleap #dobigthings
Whew. This was a long one! There was something else big and exciting that happened in July that I can't share just yet. Not trying to leave you in suspense but seriously… this particular news warrants its own dedicated blog post. You may remember last month I mentioned doing some deep digging and soul searching and this impending announcement has to do with the results of that internal exploration. I'm a bit nervous but super excited to share more, so make sure you're subscribed to the blog for updates, or follow The Jessentials on Facebook.