Favorites

Memorial Day

Growing up, this was just another holiday to me. I always knew that it was a holiday to remember the people that died that had served in our country’s armed forces. Although to me, it was a sign that school was almost out and that summer was right around the corner. Red, White, and Blue, family gatherings, grilling, and picnics. That was how I used to think of Memorial Day as a child.

As I became older, it started to mean a whole lot more. Both of my grandfathers fought in the war and made it back home safely. Have you ever stopped to think what it would be like to fight in a war? I can’t even imagine it really. I do think that those who fight are the most brave individuals. I’m sure they have life changing and unforgettable memories. Some chose to speak about it, some do not. I never really heard any graphic or detailed stories from either of my grandfathers, but I know both had faith and were grateful that they returned home. Not all that fight are that lucky to make it back home.

Many people will walk through cemeteries and attend memorial day services over Memorial Day weekend. I plan on attending one myself.  There will be American flags placed on the graves of our veterans. When I was younger, I would attend one of these ceremonies near my house, then for many years I stopped going. The last few years it became a tradition that I would go again to these ceremonies with my dad and grandpap. My grandpap is no longer with us, but as I was older, I was truly honored to be sitting next to a veteran. Every Memorial Day now, I look back at photos and a video of the last year when I spent the holiday with my grandpap by my side. I get tears in my eyes. One for being blessed that both of my grandfathers made it home, and how I was lucky enough to know them and have them in my life for so many years. Another reason, is watching the tribute and hearing the veterans play songs and shoot the guns in honor of those gone, hearing the shells hit the ground gives me chills every time. Also, I think back to seeing both of the flags that my grandfathers had, and I remember seeing them when they both passed away. That is when I think it hit me the hardest. These two men were beyond wonderful and great in my eyes. I don’t have enough words to explain how much they both meant to me and how they both added such special meaning to my life. Looking at those flags, brings their greatness to a whole other level.

We need to remember those that fought for our freedom.  Many leave to fight and protect us and many don’t return home.  It’s a true sacrifice on their end.  In today’s world, we have a lot of problems. It is important to always keep in mind that people risked and sacrificed their lives for us, so we could have freedom. Make sure when you are celebrating this weekend, have fun, be thankful for our freedom, and remember the real meaning of the holiday.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day weekend is almost here! The older I get, the more I appreciate my mom each day. She is my best friend, and is always there for me. We don’t always see things the same way, but she is always there when I need someone to talk to or need a shoulder to cry on. Life changes, and there are many challenges. My mother has always been there to try and help glue the broken pieces together.

I can’t even find the right words right now to explain what I want to say about my mom. She has made holidays, birthdays, and special occasions memorable for our family. She keeps traditions alive as best as she can. She is continuously trying to always make things right and perfect, to keep everyone happy. She has a heart of gold and loves unconditionally. I hope one day that I will be fortunate enough to have children and be a mother. I can only hope that I will come close to being a wonderful mother, like the one I have!

I know many women who have been blessed for awhile now, and many recently, that have found out that they are pregnant. I wish you the best! As years pass by, I’ve seen how motherhood is not always delightful. One day, I want to be able have the feeling that everyone says, that they never knew they could love someone so much before meeting them. To those of you that are lucky enough to have the gift of being a mother, make sure to cherish it!

Here are a few Mother’s Day gift ideas:

  • Going Out to Dinner

  • Having Brunch

  • Flowers

  • A New Outfit

  • Jewelry

  • Spa Day

  • New Set of Pajamas

I saw some of these items and thought that they would be cute personal touches as well! What are some of your Mother’s Day ideas, and what are your plans for Mother’s Day?

12

(My mom and I)     (The “Best” Mothers and “hopefully” Mothers in the Future)

Marvelous Marble

One of my favorite designs and trends right now is any item that is white and grey marble. I am really liking a variety of these products. Everything and anything from jewelry, paper products, soaps, home decor, etc. If there is a hint of copper or gold added within the marble, than that is an added bonus for me! My eyes are immediately attracted and I seem to gravitate over to the product when I spot this marble pattern. Here are a few marble items that I currently have my eye on.

123

December Wrap Up

I can’t believe that Christmas was here and is gone already! This year Christmas seemed to fly by faster than normal. I must say that I wish I could have slowed down time because Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were wonderful, but it felt like a whirlwind!

I had a lot of fun this month by keeping a few traditions as well as being part of a new one! This was the first year that I went through the holiday without all of my grandparents. One tradition as a child was that I would go to my grandparents house and watch, learn, and have hands-on training on how to use clothespins wrapped in foil and roll and fill ladylocks. This was the first year that my grandma was not with us. My aunt decided to bring back the tradition and attempt to make these light, delicate, delicious cookies. There were definitely some obstacles, such as trying to get it “just right” (like Grandma and Grandpa use to do) and then the power going off at the beginning, but that only led to more wine spritzers, shared memories, and laughter. At the end of the night and 380+ beautiful ladylocks later, we reached our goal of making our Grandma and Grandpa’s traditional ladylocks! (I’m sure they were proud and smiling from above!)

Another tradition that is a MUST is getting a live Christmas tree! There is nothing better and more fun than driving, hiking, and searching to find the “perfect” tree and sawing it down yourself! I was getting a little nervous as time was trickling down, and obstacles due to illness and weather played a role in almost running out of days to get a tree. Once we found our “perfect” tree, we had to be patient and let it warm and drop before decorating it. Each year at Christmas, we get a new ornament (another family tradition). I love the feeling each year when we decorate the tree, reminiscing of all the ornaments from the over the years and looking back on some of them and the memories that go with them as we hang them on the tree.

You cannot have Christmas without my mom’s fabulous sugar cookies! It is so much fun to bake these yummy cookies! The past few years, I have invited my aunts and cousins to come over and help ice and decorate the cookies! This year, I added a new “moose” cookie cutter from the movie, “Christmas Vacation,” which is one my favorite Christmas movies! Our cookies turned out awesome! They are even better because of our own personal touch and creativity! I will say that we get requests for our sugar cookies on a yearly basis! (So they must be pretty tasty!)

Christmastime is a beautiful time! I love looking at Christmas lights and decorations! This year, I was fortunate enough to visit Nemacolin Woodlands during the holiday. I walked into the life-size gingerbread house, saw the beautiful nativity, and walked through the resort and just took in the beautiful lights, decorations, the Santa, and the popular, “Joe Hardy ornaments” that decorate one of the trees!

Holiday food, what more do I have to say?! I had some of the most amazing food two days in a row! I love my fish dishes Christmas Eve and had such a wide variety of traditional entrees, sides, and desserts on Christmas Day!

This holiday was definitely not as normal as usual due to the loss of my Grandpap in September and my Grandma in January. Keeping busy and trying to keep traditions alive helped me to get through the season. Being with my family this year was very important to me. I wish time wouldn’t move so quickly, but there is nothing I can do to stop it. Cherish the time you have with the ones you love! I was fortunate to have had as many years as I did with my Grandpap and Grandma. We try our hardest to keep them alive by celebrating as they would have and keep the holidays magical. I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful holiday this year!

 

2 Days to Go and a Christmas Playlist

b3fe7dce1f0d99233d15c4e319f06b3d

2 Days to Go and a Christmas Playlist

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season! I can’t believe there are only two days left until Christmas! Last minute shoppers will be scurrying for gifts (unfortunately this year I am one of them) and it’s time to finish up the holiday baking and wrapping gifts! I have created a Christmas playlist that I wanted to share with you! These are some of my favorite Christmas songs this year! What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Christmas Playlist

  1. Mindi Abair-I Can’t Wait for Christmas

  2. Barbara Streisand- Jingle Bells

  3. Natasha Bedingfield-Shake Up Christmas

  4. LeAnn Rimes-Carol of the Bells

  5. Francesca Battistelli-Heaven Everywhere

  6. Sara Evans-At Christmas

  7. Amy Grant-Heirlooms

  8. Amy Grant-It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

  9. Amy Grant-My Grown Up Christmas List

  10. Lady Antebellum-All I Want for Christmas is You

  11. Lady Antebellum-On This Winter’s Night

  12. Colbie Caillat-Santa Claus is Coming to Town

  13. SheDaisy-Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag

  14. SheDaisy-That’s What I Want for Christmas

  15. Stevie Wonder-One Little Christmas Tree

  16. Zac Brown Band-Christmas Tree

  17. 5oh!-Home Alone (Christmas Dubstep)

  18. Dean Martin-I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm

  19. Kacey Musgraves-Ribbons and Bows

  20. Dean Martin-Marshmallow World

  21. Daniela Andrade-Christmas Time is Here

 

240_f_127472120_yzbxzbfwaa0ihoggzr8in8w7csvy70fv

I can’t believe that we are already into the second week of December already!  Time is just flying by…Today I’m posting my December Bucket List!  I need to start getting in the holiday spirit before time and the days in December run out!  What is on your December bucket list?  I’d love to hear from you!

December Bucket List

  • Pick out a live Christmas tree

  • Make a Christmas playlist

  • Brainstorm for the “Perfect” gift ideas

  • Write and Send Christmas cards

  • Wrap Presents

  • Bake Cookies

  • Make Hot Chocolate

  • Sit by the fire

  • Sip on a glass of wine

  • Decorate the tree

  • Enjoy passing by homes decorated for Christmas

  • Spend time with family

  • Make a Christmas DIY project

  • Watch a Christmas movie

  • Go to “Miracle” a holiday Pop-Up Bar

  • Walk around Nemacolin Woodlands Resort to look at the decorations

  • Open a gift Christmas Eve

  • Call an old friend and get together to catch up

  • Hang up the mistletoe

  • Make homemade ornaments

  • Take a family picture

  • Take holiday pictures all month long

  • Celebrate Christmas

  • Start a new tradition

  • Continue my “cherished” traditions

 

images5

Small Business Saturday: Shop Local

My entire life I’ve experienced the lifestyle of growing up in a family owned, small business. A successful business takes passion, dedication, commitment, and a lot of personal sacrifices. It is by no means a piece of cake to run or manage a local small business. There are long and stressful days where putting in extra effort is a must to become unique and well known. You must make your mark to stay open and still be profitable.

I am encouraging each of you reading this to understand how important it is to support your local businesses. I’m asking you not to only shop local on November 26, but shop local as often as you can. When you walk into their store, take a look around and realize the amount of time put into the business (which goes way beyond a 9-5 job), recognize the thought and passion that the owner has put forth to bring you the products that they have to offer and all that they do for the community. You would be surprised how many small business owners are the ones that volunteer and make an effort to go above and beyond to help make your community a better place to live in. Appreciate them, support them, celebrate them, and thank them!

Here are a few local, small businesses that are close to my heart! World Importing, MikeRo Marketing, and KingView Mead. If you have any small businesses that are meaningful to you, I would love to hear about them as well.

Romeo’s World Importing Market & Groceria

Established: 1935

Location: Uniontown, PA

Owner: Ron Romeo

Welcome to a world of Italian food products (such as a variety of pasta and sauces), baked goods, gourmet meats & cheeses, baked goods, daily soup & lunch specials, and more! This business began in 1935, it started from the ground up by my great grandfather, which was then passed on to my grandpap, and is now in the hands of my dad, Ron Romeo. My father is currently the owner of this exquisite, “Old World” deli and market. Although he has large shoes to fill after my grandpap, he continues to dedicate his time and passion with the food industry to provide you with the most affordable and fine foods that our little town has to offer!

When you walk into the store, you may smell fresh bread baking or fresh homemade pepperoni rolls hot out of the oven. Make sure to stop in for your morning cup of coffee, then return back in for one of the best daily lunch specials around! (You can find the weekly lunch menu on Facebook) If you are looking for lunch meat to take home or supplies for dinner, you are in the right spot.

The holidays are right around the corner, so order your meat & cheese trays, holiday cookie trays, and catering dishes soon! World Importing is ready to help you get ready to celebrate the holidays and make them special! Gourmet meats and cheeses are a great addition to your holiday parties and wine tastings. A few of my favorite items are: imported prosciutto, soppressata, smoked gouda, feta, beemster cheese, and I cannot forget Calabrian and kalamata olives! Some days I feel these food items are the only necessities that I need in life! Yum!!!! I’m making myself hungry just thinking about them!

When you are in search of great food, proceed to World Importing and you will not be disappointed! World Importing has so much history and endless memories dating from 1935, so shop local and keep the traditions and memories alive! Make sure to follow Romeo’s World Importing on Facebook!

MikeRo Marketing

Established: 2013

Location: Uniontown, PA

Owner: Mike Romeo

Website: www.mikeromarketing.com

MikeRo Marketing is your premiere source for imprinted items! My brother Mike is always up for a challenge and is ready to offer you the newest items and provide you with ideas to make your business stand out and be remembered! He will puts his heart into each inquiry and will treat your business as if it was his own.

Mike decided to start his own business to give you the best customer service and offer you affordable and unique marketing items. He will help get you what you want and try to get it for you at the price you want! Some of the most popular items that he has worked on are:  pens, business cards, calendars, t-shirts, hats, ribbons/medals, mugs, business signs, etc. There are endless possibilities when it comes to marketing your business! If you can put a logo on it, it can be done!

Check out MikeRo Marketing at: www.mikeromarketing.com. Also, follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

KingView Mead

Established: 2016

Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Owner: Scott Neeley

Website:  www.kingviewmead.com

What is mead? It is actually the oldest alcoholic beverage known to man. It may have faded away and disappeared for awhile, but it is now the new and upcoming beverage! Mead is wine made from fermented honey.

Scott, owner and mead maker started making mead as a hobby about 6 years ago. He entered competitions locally and around the world. His meads have won in several competitions and have medaled internationally. Scott pursued his passion and his business was recently established in 2016.

If you are wondering where you can find and taste KingView Mead, you may find the products in about 50 local bars and restaurants in the Pittsburgh area, as well as looking up the events KingView participates in, such as festivals across the state. You may purchase mead at: www.kingviewmead.com and it will be shipped directly to your home.

Scott not only wanted to provide you with wonderful, award winning mead, he also wanted to give back and help to save the declining bee population. He created the first and only, “Mead for Bees” program. This program was built into the business model. It is a free program for beekeepers. They are encouraged to sign up on the website and join the other 200+ beekeepers. 10% of KingView sales goes back to the beekeeping community. When this amount is reached, a name from the program is pulled and the individual is awarded with a hive or beekeeping supplies.

If you are looking for unique holiday gift ideas, one idea would be to sign up for the KingView Quarterly Club. (Similar to a wine club) The cost is around $40. Three meads chosen by Scott will be sent out to you four times a year. The shipping cost is taken care of by Scott. Gift crates, wedding favors, and other original items are available for sale online. Another added bonus, use the coupon code: Holidays for a 10% discount! Learn more about this awesome company at:  www.kingviewmead.com

. Get all of the latest updates and upcoming events by following KingView Mead on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

 

 

Remember to Shop Local not just this holiday season, but everyday! 

Best Childhood Memories of Fall

Fall is in the air and I’m loving every minute of it! I have had so many great memories over the years which have led me to believe that many of them are the reasoning to why I enjoy this season so much!  Apples, Pumpkins, Leaves, Fall Fashion, Getting Cozy on Chilly Nights, Bonfires, etc…I LOVE IT ALL!

Growing up I would love watching the leaves begin to change colors and taking a ride up into the mountains to look at the beautiful fall foliage of the Laurel Highlands Mountains. The air would be crisp and the sun shining on the leaves was such a breathtaking and radiant sight! My favorite fall trip a few years ago was when I traveled to Deep Creek, Maryland for the Autumn Glory Festival. Once again, amazing fall scenery as you are cruising through Deep Creek and Oakland, Maryland.

008009

Next, were the common traditions as a child, in which I still try to keep the tradition going year after year. There is something that excites me about going to a pumpkin patch and searching through hundreds of different orange shaded pumpkins with various shapes and sizes in the patch and searching for the “perfect” pumpkin to bring home and carve for Halloween! After picking pumpkins we used to walk to the checkout register and choose the boldest Indian corn and fun shaped gourds to put out for display when we got home. The tradition of watching, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” has been one of my favorite shows since as far as I can remember. It doesn’t matter how old I am, I can still sit and watch it and it never seems to get old. It remains a favorite of mine, and it is a reminder that Halloween is near! As the last week in October comes around, that is the week of pumpkin carving! The best part of carving pumpkins is removing the seeds knowing that I will be baking them soon to make my favorite traditional pumpkin seeds.  I CANNOT go a Halloween without them!!!

Here are two pictures from several years ago of two of the best carvings on a pumpkin that I have ever done.  (I never said that I was an artist, but I was proud of my work here.)

l  My love for Snoopy

melissas-pumpkin-2010-2  Let’s Go Pens!!!

Speaking of pumpkins…Here are a few ways to get creative and decorate them.

Ways to Decorate Pumpkins

68e42f1431c5c9825d9295282643e8e7

Although I am usually all about tradition, this year I have noticed some awesome and creative ways to decorate pumpkins. It’s time to go outside of the box and stray away from solid orange! I love, love, love white pumpkins! I think that they are absolutely gorgeous!!! I have also been seeing some black, grey, and light blue pumpkins this year and they are quite an eye catcher. The new use of materials added to pumpkins are a great way to add character and fun to your home. Simple materials such as metallic sharpie markers, printed papers, dried florals, and washi tape make endless possibilities towards creating unique pumpkins.

35f6d1ee57237dfc2338a117515f9692

I really liked some of the ideas shown in this article from PureWow. Here is the link to the article: 13 Chic Ways to Dress Up Your Pumpkin This Halloween.

http://thezoereport.com/living/home/7-chic-ways-to-dress-up-your-pumpkin-this-halloween/?mode=view-all

Advice from a Pumpkin

advice-from-a-pumpkin

 

f6ab8562454a0a5a07d55002b62dccc0

Hello Fall!

Happy Fall! Today is the first day of Fall, which is my favorite season!  I love the cooler temperatures, watching the leaves change colors, and pretty much apple and pumpkin spice everything! I’m looking forward to plaid and flannel shirts, hoodies, cozy sweaters, and comfy boots! Once Fall has arrived, there are holidays and festivities to celebrate in the near future.  I decided this year to make a “September/October” Fall Bucket List and experience each of these at least once if not more.  Here are some of the things that are on my Fall “To Do” list.

September/October” Fall Bucket List

  • Scenic Drive to see the Fall foliage in the mountains

  • Pumpkin Patch

  • Fall Hike or Bike Ride

  • Fall Sangria

  • Carve Pumpkins

  • Roast Pumpkin Seeds

  • Apple Cider

  • Cinnamon Apple Tea

  • Pumpkin Spice Tea

  • Pumpkin Spice Lattes

  • Toss Football

  • Cook Chili

  • Bonfires

  • Candy Corn

  • Fall Festivals

  • Bake Pumpkin Bread

  • Hayride

  • Mums

  • Halloween

  • Whole Hog Pumpkin Ale

  • Fall Scented Candles (Apple and Pumpkin)

  • Apples & Caramel Dip

  • Read Outside