Soooooo......Hi. How fitting that I'm naming this post "Playing Tourist" when on the other end of the Ithaca trip sandwich is named "I Am Not a Tourist". No one else find that amusing? Just me? Okay.

Justin and I have been in full blown wedding mode. I've had so much material I could blog about, but I didn't have the time to sit down and write them. Since things are winding down (I am totally lying...there is so much to do), I figured I should stop on in for a little check in.


take in the views

minnewaska state park

The thing about having your wedding in the that it gives you any excuse to go visit. This weekend in particular was two-fold. We had our tasting and my aunt is visiting from the Philippines. Sadly she won't be staying until the big day, but it was so fun having a little ladies trip and having them see the Catskills through my eyes (in a very quick 24 hour trip).

So as I was putting together, I was thinking, "Haven't they seen this place before??" So I scroll through a year's worth of writing and found out I never posted our engagement pictures here! There's a little snippet over here if you want to see. (Engagement photo shoot thanks to Josh Darpino.) Go on..take a few minutes, I'll be right here.

Okay? You're back? Great!


After having a quick breakfast in Beacon, my mom, aunt and I drove the back roads of Ulster County to a breathtaking park. So this wonderful little place is Minnewaska State Park. It's a little drive out from New Paltz and is a MUST for a little taste of what the Catskills has to offer. It's great in any season, but in Autumn is where it's at!! You get to see the change of leaves that the Philadelphia area just isn't seeing enough of these days. Also, for those on a time constraint, but really want to see some killer views, it's not much work for a great reward. A short walk from the lower lot is Awosting Falls. And a short walk from the upper lot is the scenic vista of Lake Minnewakasa. But I wholeheartedly recommend taking a full day in the park. The trails aren't crazy difficult, and it is just so dang beautiful.






The theme of this particular two days of hiking can be summarized in four words.

Bad News.


There's Stairs.

I truly believe stairs are the devil's masterpiece. Tell me. Who do you know loves that Stairmaster machine at the gym? Do you know anyone that sees a steep set of never ending steps and thinks that it is ever a good idea? I am neither the latter or the former of those two questions. I'm the one that stares from the base and wishes I could apparate to the top. But we sadly live in a muggle world.

Remember how a few posts ago / few months ago I was saying you need endurance to climb a mountain? The same goes for exploring gorges. The waterfalls, the views, the little chasms and caves...these are all the things that make it worth it.

After we hiked Watkins Glen on our way to Ithaca, we met up with The Craigs at the cutest Airbnb in town. When we settled in, we wandered around the gorge trail that was literally right outside the back door.

Day Two, we headed to Taughannock Falls State Park. It was a Saturday, so pretty busy, but we were able to snag a free spot in the parking lot along the North Rim Trail. Let me tell you, I lost track of all the stairs and inclines we had to do. Pro-tip: Bring Water. Lots and lots of water. But the birdseye view of the gorge is well..gorgeous. My favorite views were actually along the South Rim Trail upstream from the falls. But hey, I'm never going to turn down a TLC reference. And this waterfall, was pretty magnificent.


This trip was like a mini-bachelor/ette weekend with my matron of honor and her husband. While it was sad we couldn't have the whole crew there, it was super nice to keep it small. This day in particular was a big travel day. We drove from outside of Philadelphia to Ithaca, while making pit stops at Canteen900 in northern PA for brunch and at Watkins Glen State Park for an afternoon hike.

If you know me, I am not one to love many pictures of me. Whenever you do, it's probably only a handful in a set of 100+ images. The photo is either somewhat candid or posed in a not-so-casual-faux-style-blogger way. I can always pick myself apart. A wonky eyebrow. A weird shadow my clothes are doing. An awkward broken ankle look. That bit of love cushions and thick thighs and oddly shaped calves. Why do I always keep talking during a photo? I know the way I see myself is overly critical, and not at all what others see. Body image has always been something that I am aware of. If questioned about it, or even if the topic arises, I shrug it off casually and turn the conversation around because I don't want to get into that rabbit hole about talking about the issues I have with myself.

Body positivity has been a great topic lately. I love the idea of celebrating every shape, size, and color. I love this conversation that's been happening in society. Learning what is healthy for you doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy for another. That the number on the scale doesn't define you. That beauty norms aren't a blanket statement. That no matter what you look like on the outside, it's your heart and soul that matters most. We're all just bones underneath it all. We're all the same. Let's be honest, after this weekend in Charlottesville, the world needs a little bit more honest raw love out there. Eat the doughnut. Go on that afternoon bike ride. Drink the coffee. Hug your besties. You do you. 

Many of my friends keep putting themselves down because they aren't happy with the way they look and feel. And I constantly tell them that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Because that's Truth. That they are beautiful, inside and out. But how many times do I dish out those reassuring words, but not believe it myself? Almost constantly. I have to remind myself to fully experience these moments. Stop fussing with every single detail. Just exist in it and breathe it in. Because a photograph captures the memory. No one will know (or even care) that you felt like a complete doofus standing the mist of a waterfall. Sometimes you have to accept the moments where you're super tired and your makeup is sweating off and just smile.

Photo Jun 08, 3 35 52 PM.jpg



It's a saying around these parts.




Do you ever get tired of me apologizing for the lack of posts? I do. Life, real life goes by way too fast that sometimes its takes a little bit longer for me to document it for friends/families/readers to hear about it from a "blogger" perspective. So I'm done saying "sorry".






But that doesn't mean I won't stop sharing my stories/outfits/random-rambling-rants with you. It's just me letting you know there is a whole slew of adventures I have lined up in my writing queue that I will try not to bombard you with all at once. 




A short little train ride north of New York and a nice little getaway from the South Jersey routine lies the sweet idyllic town of Hudson, New York. Situated along a river of the same name, it has the makings of a perfect weekend getaway...especially to escape this awful awful heat spell we've been going through earlier this week. Justin and I had a walk thru at our venue in the Catskills one weekend, so we decided to make a mini adventure of an overnight trip in this sweet escape. I'm just gonna leave a list of links here of all the places we went to, but if any of our friends are up to taking a little trip for a change of scenery, my car is packed and ready to go.



I've been thinking about mountains a lot lately.

Maybe it's that PNW weather that came through the past week. Or maybe it's my inherent need to not be stuck behind a desk because I would rather be exploring. But, I'm thinking it's just the season that many people around me are going through. Many people in my life have been dealing with some sort of change. Husby just left a pretty stable job for a pretty awesome one that will help him grow. Others are just going through a season of unsteadiness, in their jobs, relationships, and the all too common "adulting" struggles.






Valleys are usually used to represent struggles in our life. But without those valleys, we wouldn't have mountains and I think the ascent is so much harder. And while I haven't climbed a mountain like Everest, I have experience my fair share of switchbacks and steep scrambles to honestly tell you: it's hard. But it doesn't have to be.

You can learn a lot from hiking mountains. You realize, with practice, you can build endurance for the climb. You know how to be better equipped (water / snacks / shoes). And with every ascent, you learn a new way to approach the trail.

Lately, my mountain has been "boldness". This mountain has two peaks. Two struggles that I've been facing in both hands.

I do not like being the center attention. I would rather be behind the scenes. So of course, anxiety struck me when it came to the days before my bridal shower. This was the first peak. I kept busy with prep and work. And found comfort in husby hugs. The day went as smoothly as it could (albeit: rain and an interesting wait staff). It was a beautiful day with friends and family that I'm thankful for.

The second peak was a boldness in faith. Funny enough, it coincided with a devotional about the Psalms of Ascent and my church's new sermon series: Summer Soul. This climb has been a lot evaluating and focusing on what kind of Christian I am to be. I have never lied about my faith to those who have asked, but I never shout it off the mountain tops either. I am not one of those Evangelizers on the corner flaunting their faith down a passerby's throat. I am private about my beliefs because I understand that love and grace is a better language. I hoped that my life and my actions are representation enough of being a Christian. But digging deeper, I know I was blessed with the talent of words that I can't be silent.

"Quiet Boldness" has been a phrase that has been sticking with me over the past few days. Quiet is not silent. It's gentle, calm, and ensuring. It's building up those around you so can climb their mountains with them. It's being a vessel to let something bigger to move and work through you. It's being strong and steady in knowing who and whose you are. 



ENDURANCE : Strong Faith // EQUIPMENT : The Word



What are the mountains you are facing? Do not be afraid of the climb. It will be difficult, but you are not alone. Push onward. Make your mark. The views from the top are definitely worth it.


Now that it's spring, I suppose it's appropriate to have a plethora of references to flowers and pretty green things. While there definitely is no shortage of that around here (I have some new plant friends I am desperately trying to keep alive), I want to take the time to reflect on some other things budding this season.



Can I get honest for a second? I was never a girls' girl. Or for that matter, I wasn't very good at the whole "friends" thing. Being in fellowship and in community was never something I thought was for me. I've been abandoned one too many times before. "May the bridges I burn light the way" became my modus operandi. A false confidence to show I could make it on my own. I am perfectly okay going on walks by myself and jamming to good tunes and making small talk to the squirrels. My sanctuary is a book in a cozy corner with a cup of coffee. Social interactions were always awkward and I took those insecurities as a facts I was going to live with for the rest of my life. 


I wore that Lone Wolf name tag like a badge.
And that was okay with me.


I few years back, someone said something that I has always haunted me ever since the words left her lips.  When a person with a seemingly nonchalant attitude is told "You need to get out of your head", it gets shrugged off immediately. My conversations with my inner thoughts were the only friends I knew that I could rely on. The only ones I could trust. Even if they were also the inner demons that sometimes shouted too loud. I welcomed that darkness like a dear friend. One I knew that would never leave me.



Maybe it's age. Maybe it's all part of getting older. Maybe it's the new and renewed relationships growing in my life. But I've felt these walls crumbling and making way for the light. The whispers turned into commandments. They pushed me into the unknown. Beyond my comfort zone. Beyond myself. To serve. To be in community. To have honest and real relationships, especially with fellow females. And like the clouds breaking for a beautiful brunch with beautiful souls, I am thankful.








The name of this post is a total rip off of husby's shop on Reverb: Pedals for Pedals. Technically I didn't steal it since I came up with the name for him. He was in the process of selling off some unused guitar pedals so he can get a new set of wheels. Now that the shop is empty, I'm counting down the days till we can start our little bike gang.






Over the past two weeks, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society hosted the annual Flower Show. Almost every year, I get in some good family time with my parents and look at all the exhibits with them. This year was no different. With past themes of National Parks, London, and even Disney and Pixar, it's hard to compete! Although not as lavish as years past, "Holland" showed an unconventional beauty that stole my heart.

Of course there was a fair share of tulips and bicycles all around. If you're a Philly native, you have probably seen videos of the bicycle fountain filling your Insta-story feed. There was a wall filled with statement pieces that married floral arrangements and bicycle wheels into beautiful sculptures. And let's talk about the AWE INDUCING INSTALLATION that is a wedding day dream come true: waves of flowers crashing and engulfing you in their beauty.

I especially found a kinship to the installations that focused on food (I am an inner fatty with a homesteader heart). As much as I love to support local farmers, I take notes on how the Netherlands treats food culture. I don't mean restaurant culture, but agriculture. The Dutch are able to be the largest exporter of produce while also creating sustainable, healthy food and respect nature all at the same time. It gives me hope that local farmers will incorporate this knowledge and how "the man" that real food is the good stuff and can be profitable without cutting corners. Although not a main theme at The Flower Show, it still left its mark on me. Live walls gave inspiration to vertical gardening. A beekeeper teaching their buzzworthy ways. Vendor tastings of delicious sprouts has me creating new recipes in my mind (Bull's Blood Beet Microgreens will LEGIT change your life).