Category Archives: Thoughts

New tastes

20130212-230439.jpgThis evening I tried a new soup recipe: Cooking Light’s roasted corn, pepper, and tomato chowder. Without a grill, corn on the cob and in-season tomatoes, I had to make due with two hot skillets, canned corn and four mediocre tomatoes from the grocery store. Needless to say, my dad wouldn’t approve; those pink-skinned tomatoes would appall him.

However, I tried a tiny taste of the soup with a spoon – just to clarify since hot liquid had already splattered all over me as I wrangled with the blender to purée it all together – and it wasn’t half bad. I look forward to hearing what my fellow yogis think of it tomorrow evening during our post-yoga soup tasting – I wonder if the crumbled blue cheese and chives I’m going to bring will add a lot to the flavor?

I love trying new things, but too often I don’t have the time to make a commitment.

This week, however, I joined a local fitness center – LifeCenter Plus in Hudson. As I toured the facility I became more excited to go there often – to run, my usual routine, but also to try new classes and machines. I love yoga but LifeCenter will provide me with those classes and so much more. And let’s be real, if I want to survive the Color Run in Cleveland this June, I need to get back in shape! Stow’s Great New Year’s Eve Race was most definitely a challenge, regardless of the snow, and to tackle more hills with fewer pants and desperate gasps for air, I’ll need to force myself to accomplish more than the occasional jog.

Let’s see how this goes.

What gets you going? What motivates you to try new things, in cooking, at work, or even while scrapbooking?


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Monday motivation

20121022-124036.jpg I could see the checkered flag waving in the short distance, the finish line just a few paces beyond it.

My stomach had began cramping just a few moments ago, as I entered the final leg of the race. By that point I had established a very slow, yet steady pace – an old lady shuffle, if you will – but I had not stopped running at any point along those 3.2 miles behind me. That was my one goal.

So although I felt like I could pass out, throw up and/or collapse all at once, I kept chugging along until the end. I thought to myself, “Why stop now?” as I remembered past moments of more extreme pain while I trained myself to run longer and longer distances. Modern English’s “I Melt With You” serenaded me as I crossed the finish line to greet my mom waiting on the other side.

All that time I spent searching through my iTunes to perfect my running playlist have apparently paid off.

That mindset was the motivation I had been building up all these months. And it’s a similar feeling of motivation when I work on my cards, scrapbooks and other creations for fun, for gifts or for profit. Just keep going, enjoy it, and you’ll benefit in the end.

So, here’s to a week of productivity.

What motivates you to start working on any given project? And what keeps you going?

PHOTO: My expression of relief as I crossed the finish line at the end of my first 5K race in Akron, Ohio, on Saturday, Oct. 20. (2nd annual Race Around the Park, to benefit the Knights of Columbus; Schneider Park, Akron)

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20121017-124627.jpgToday is a good day.

Outside, it feels like gorgeous fall weather. Not too hot, not too cold. Just like last Sunday, when a friend I met while studying abroad in England came to visit from New York. Together, with Olivia, we comprised the moccasins crew, as pictured above. Those cozy shoes are perfect for chilly weather.

Also today, I was able to snatch a free spot on the cozy couch in Tree City Coffee and Pastry during my lunch break to relax and enjoy their tasty peach jasmine iced tea.

I have this weekend to look forward to, including more time with friends and family, my first 5K and some catch-up time with one of my favorite Medina teachers.

But I also have this evening to enjoy a much-needed dinner at Ray’s with some Kent friends. A cozy meal and a beer is the perfect way to end a great fall day.

What is your favorite part about fall?

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My grandpa’s birthday isn’t for another few weeks, but when I visited my aunt’s house on Saturday for the extended family’s annual late September/October birthday get together, I thought I’d bring his card along as well.


When Grandpa opened the card, he noticed the Stonehenge photo on the front and said, “Now I’m not that old,” with a chuckle.

I always love his comments. Not expecting his reaction to my card, I had a good laugh about it with my uncle, who was standing nearby and overheard the conversation.

Speaking of birthdays, I celebrated my 23rd last Thursday. Although I don’t like the sound of being 23 years old (it’s an odd, prime number – not a good combo), I must say it was an excellent birthday. And I have specifically my friends and co-workers to thank for making it so special throughout.

It began with a surprise trip to All Fired Up! the evening before, when I painted a giant beer mug:


A lovely dinner at Hudson’s followed. Then, I came home, not expecting the dining room to be decked out with zebra print balloons, a Happy Birthday sign and gifts piled on the table:


A “confettied” desk, Insomnia Cookies, a singing cat card and a delicious lunch at Fresco (on its opening day) made my actual birthday very special, thanks to my mom for the lunch and my friends at the Tree for the remaining surprises:


And finally, a fun night out with friends concluded a great day:


Can you tell I had fun documenting the entire day on my phone??

So, maybe when I turn 88, as my grandpa will on Oct. 19, I will remember all the great memories I shared with my friends on my 23rd birthday and enjoy a good laugh. And although I plan to be a veteran card maker by that point, aware of my hoarding tendencies, I expect to have kept two very special store bought cards from this birthday that nearly had me in tears from drawn-out bursts of laughter:
(from Olivia)

(from my friends at Davey Tree, who have maintained my nickname “Space Camp” since May, when I revealed I have been there before)


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The plan.

I started making handmade cards close to 10 years ago, at the very least.

But now, I want to expand my hobby to become something bigger, more fulfilling. I love customizing my cards for the people I know well and love, to brighten their birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. But why not share my creations with others as well?

I wandered into a local shop in downtown Kent a few weeks ago after hearing the owners might be willing to help me out by selling some of my cards.

I love the atmosphere of small town shops. They’re cozy and unique, and their contents interest me so much, to the point that I could spend hours just browsing around.

After walking around a bit, glancing at gorgeous handmade jewelry – and a few other handmade cards – I approached the front counter and asked the cashier about a consignment opportunity. She simply told me to bring in a few samples of my work, and then we can assess whether my cards are a good fit for their customers from there.

To try something new, but also utilize other media of my work, I decided to print some photos from my dad’s garden at home, my travels overseas and even random photos of my cats to mount on the front of my cards, instead of resorting to the countless other scrapbooking supplies I use so often. (Although I won’t let those all go to waste!) So, 250+ prints later, I have quite the photo collection to get started.

Like the example below, I’m hoping these new cards will entice local visitors to buy them and hopefully become more familiar with my work.


I’m very excited about this opportunity, and as I continue to make progress, I will be sure to document my accomplishments along the way!

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Trees, please

Two Ohio communities got a little “greener” last week.

Thanks to the writing assignments I have for my job at Davey Tree, I know that fall is a good time to plant new trees. But I also have the Tree to thank for two back-to-back traveling opportunities I had last week.

On Monday, a coworker of mine and I drove up to East Cleveland to witness a ceremonial fruit tree planting at the McGregor Home. The nursing home won a grant through Edy’s Fruit Bars Communities Take Root program to receive a new fruit tree orchard. Because McGregor is located within a “food desert,” the new orchard will provide area residents with easy access to fresh, local produce. Davey donated fertilizer and mulch for the trees, which will most likely begin producing fruit as early as next year.

It was great to see so many volunteers involved with the plantings. I even met the program’s chief arborist, from the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, who shared stories about similar plantings he has assisted with in Africa, Brazil and even Alaska. Before I left, a woman who is a resident at McGregor walked up to me and shared her excitement about the new orchard. She wasn’t able to physically help with the plantings, but I could tell she simply enjoyed being present while the volunteers planted the trees.

That afternoon, Elaine and I hit the road for Columbus to attend Keep Ohio Beautiful’s National Planting Day event at the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday. Although the weather didn’t hold up that day, the rain clouds cleared up later in the morning to allow Keep Ohio Beautiful and Tolles Career and Technical Center volunteers to plant some perennials the Davey Nursery donated. Davey also donated a redbud tree, which was the centerpiece of a ceremonial tree planting that occurred after a short presentation of speeches and remarks from a U.S. senator and Keep Ohio Beautiful board members, including a Davey Resource Group employee. The wind and rain didn’t stop the event from being successful; in fact, it was great to see so many people dedicated to such a great cause. The perennials will enhance the statehouse grounds and the redbud tree will forever commemorate the purpose of National Planting Day as well as the significance of native plantings.

Sometimes it simply feels good to get away from my desk and witness the responsibilities that other Davey employees have on a regular basis out in the field. And it’s also a good feeling to be part of an organization that cares about its communities.

And with that, happy first day of fall! *cheers, with pumpkin spice latte in hand





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May 5, Kent State Commencement & Cinco de Mayo

They say college goes by fast.

And they weren’t kidding.

In a few short days, I’ll walk across the stage during Saturday morning’s commencement ceremony to mark the end of my unforgettable four-year experience at Kent State.

I’ll then join my family and friends for lunch and a cookout to celebrate our accomplishments – and a special holiday that happens to fall on the same day, Cinco de Mayo.

I’ll then make an appearance downtown at some point that evening. Weather permitting, maybe my fellow classmates and I will catch a glimpse of the supermoon, set to make its debut at 11:35 p.m.

So after spending a great deal of time on two high school graduation gifts this semester (with many more hours to come), I have nearly missed the opportunity to completely reflect on the fact that I’m graduating, too. (Not that I do not enjoy scrapbooking photos and memories for others!) I particularly think about my freshman and sophomore years, living in the dorms, spending meal plan money in the market on (un)healthy snacks and the occasional substantial meal. Then I reminisce about the four months I spent in England and other neighboring countries abroad as a University of Leicester student. Was that really two years ago?

Then I remember the beginning of my first internship and how little PR experience I had at that point. It’s amazing to think about all the writing and work samples I have completed within two internships since then and how that’s helped me land an entry-level position to begin later this month.

It seems like just yesterday when I anticipated moving into our apartment, decorating my new room with numerous photos of family and friends and then beginning the second half of my college career.

PRKent PRSSA senior officers

PRSSA's 2011-2012 graduating senior officers

Reflecting on all the great experiences I’ve had with my three roommates, my PRKent classmates, the Kent friends I made during our semester abroad and many others, I realize I’m blessed to be surrounded by so many great people. They make me laugh, they make great travel companions, they share useful knowledge and experiences when I need advice and they’re all special to me for those reasons and more.

I’m so grateful to be where I am right now, and I have my Kent State experiences and opportunities to thank.

My parents, grandparents, professors, friends and relatives told me to enjoy these special four years of my life. And I’m confident to say that I couldn’t have asked for any better memories than what I now have to embrace for many years.

#PRKent #seniors2012

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