Happy Friday! I can't believe how quickly the summer flew by. Fall and football is about to be in full swing and I've been able to see Derek's coaching skills in action - Go wildcats! Although I don't know much about the game of football (yes, I'll to admit that), I thoroughly enjoy the company of friends and family and the beautiful fall colors that accompany football season! Bring on the boots, sweaters, & hot beverages :)

 A few things as of late... I made a trip to Michigan with Derek & his family Labor Day Weekend. Next I made a much needed Cedar Point trip with friends & co-workers. Then adding to my travels and fun, I have a friend's wedding this weekend. Yay! I will certainly enjoy celebrating an adorable pair of newlyweds with my friends! There will be lots of wonderful people I haven't seen in awhile.

Birthday Booze Cruise

This past weekend was a lovely little reunion with my college gals :) We celebrated Catie's 24th birthday by purchasing booze cruise tickets for a little trip up & down the Chicago River. It was a chilly evening, but super fun! We had a great view of Navy Pier, and ended the evening with fireworks, before heading out to a Chicago bar to karaoke the night away!
Some pictures from our reunion & birthday celebration weekend:
{Jeni's vending machine is the only compensation I want for a delayed flight}
{stolen from Sam's instagram}

{a gorgeous chicago sunset}

{stolen from Alyssa's instragram}

{beautiful chi-town skyline}

{stolen from Catie's instagram}

{stolen from Margaret's instagram}
I love that my friends make such a point to try to get together each year on separate occasions for everyone's birthday. I know it means a lot to me, and I wish I could see them twice as much!

I have to add a note to myself (& anyone willing to listen) don't fly American Eagle. So many absurd delays and there was zero communication about it! I had to reference the departures board for 3 different delays and 2 gate changes... with both my flight there and back!! Sheesh.

The move & life after...

Upon moving into my new house, I immediately started work on my closet. My closet, by the way, is ginormous! It's like an additional bedroom. Oh, did I mention I have the attic room? It's a good size compared to my last bedroom, so the extra space is much appreciated! The closet work, pictured below, shows the transformation from blue to antique white. It is much more comfortable and homey! That handsome helper is my boyfriend Derek. He was eager to help out and it's always more fun to tackle a project like this with someone!

Anywho, it has been a few weeks now and the three of us are almost completely moved in! Last night, Erin, Courtney, and I had our first roommate dinner. Courtney fired up the grill and we drank wine and had a fantastic little meal on the back deck! I'm excited to finally be in-town this weekend to really break in the new house!

The Great Bday

This past weekend, a co-worker had a Great Gatsby themed birthday party. Have I mentioned that I LOVE themed parties!? Oh yeah; I do. It was so much fun! So well decorated too. Yep, that's Catie in the blonde wig, she visited for the occasion!

Oh, and surprise, surprise! I got a new tattoo on Saturday :) A lotus flower. Symbolizing compassion, beauty, purity, and wisdom. And, I just really love lotus flowers!

Ever wonder where my blog banner came from? My first tattoo! I got it a year after studying abroad in Italy (so 2 years ago now). "Il mio viaggio" is Italian for my journey. It reminds me to be selfish occasionally and do some things for myself, to travel, to take-in the world (as much as I can), and define myself in this crazy life!


Jackie, why have you been so terrible about blogging lately? 

(( long pause )) I suppose I've just been busy. 

Too busy? Too busy for a 5 minute post now and again?!

 True. At least once a week I've got 5 minutes to spare and work hasn't been busy...

 So post something!

Just a small monologue that went on in my head today when I thought about blogging. 

I think I hit that bridge that I thought "Why blog? My writing is average, at best, and my photos are awesome only half the time. I'm not a fashion blogger, posting about my outfits and inspiring others and creating trends. So, why?" I can only assume most bloggers come across these thoughts at some point, right? Then, I looked at one of my very favorite blogs for some inspiration, Bleubird, and was thinking how beautiful her kids and how I feel like I'm watching the youngest one, Sailor, grow up! What fun to look back on those posts when he is a grown man, maybe showing a girlfriend or fiancé funny and adorable pictures of himself. It dawned on me, that some bloggers just enjoy the documentation of it. Duh, Jackie. Isn't that the reason you started this little blog? I wanted to document my adventures, things that inspire me, and things that get me down. I wanted to share stories, things I love, etc. A little bit of anything and everything that I came across.

So... some things I would like to document...

1 & 2. I visited my lovely friend, Getzy, in STL for Mardi Gras weekend. Along with other fun activities, we saw the penguin parade. It was just about the cutest thing ever. Of course, they got too close and pecked at my leg, so it freaked me out! But overall, a fantastic weekend!
In other news: Getz is head to Costa Rica for 2 years in the Peace Core :) CONGRATS!
I think she'll need me to visit her at some point... YAY!

3 & 4. I spent my St. Patrick's Day in Cleveland with some great friends.

5. I always love visiting my little brothaa. 
Exactly ONE MONTH before my Spain trip to visit him for his Bday!!!!

6. Erin & I went to the Delta Rae & ZZ Ward concert. FANTASTIC!
We got to meet Liz Hopkins of Delta Rae & we hung out with ZZ Ward's band after the show...
Super cool! They're awesome people.

7 & 8. Spent Easter with my family in Cleveland. And yes, I do still hunt for my Easter basket.
I will never be too old for these things. Love you Ma for your love of all Holidays :)

9. Ryan Bingham concert. Country-Alt. Very good music!
He brought his dog out on stage and had him sit for a while. It was adorable.

10. I made an easter basket for this fella because he poked fun at me for still hunting for one.
And guess what... He loved it!

11. That same fella; He took me to an 80's themed Murder Mystery Party. It was super fun!
Meet Derek. I suppose I should mention he's my boyfriend. Yeaaaah. It's the truth. He's pretty rad.

I'm gonna go ahead and repeat one thing... ONE MONTH 'TIL SPAIN!!!!!!!!

Fashion Show Viewing Party

Another successful VS Fashion Show Viewing party ya'll! This year we held the viewing party at Sway, which is a new swanky little place – just a hop, skip, & a jump away from your typical Park St. scene. It was extra special though, because I got to help plan! Ohhhh how I love fancy events, fancy drinks, fancy dresses, fancy foods, and fancy dance moves (duh). Oh and my fancy friend Adam was our photographer {member him...} YEP! It was a good show and a great time!

This weekend I will be Chicago bound for some December festivities with my college roommates. Tis the season for T-BoX; See you soon Chi-town :)

Happy Friday!! 

Thanksgiving Instagrams

{wednesday night out with friends}

{christmas ale}

{happy turkey-day! photo cred. to michael kenneth}

{family fun on a friday night}

{check this beautiful sky out - holy moly!}
I am so very thankful for my friends and family and the ability to travel home to see both over the Holidays. Many are unable to make it home, and one day that may be me - but for now I cherish each Holiday I am fortunate enough to make it back to Cleveland to spend time with people I love!

Hope you all had as deliciously filling of a Thanksgiving meal as I did :)

 I am also thankful for some little things that make me smile! As pictured above; a good light-up sign that brings some festive element to the bar atmosphere, Great Lakes Christmas Ale (the best seasonal beer EVER), selfie-photos, and amazing sunsets on a road-trip!

Windy City Love

I just adore Chicago and all of its charm! This past weekend, Sarah and I visited our college roommate who recently moved to the city, for Sarah's birthday weekend - mine was the weekend before and every year since sophomore year we have celebrated them together. Now, being in different cities (for now - she is soon moving back to Columbus- YAY), it is hard to round up all 7 of my roommates to get together for each birthday celebration. This weekend Margaret, Alyssa, and Sara Lyn were around to celebrate - but we are soon venturing back  to Chicago for T-Box and Sam will join us then!

Twelve bars of X-mas.... a bar crawl with Christmas costumes. 
YUP. You guessed it; totally my kinda thing!

Birthday Celebrations

Last Thursday was my twenty-fourth birthday; Almost a quarter of a century old. ALMOST people, that means one bore year ((yikes)); I celebrated it all weekend long! Starting with thursday evening, my roommate surprised with wine, dinner, and a game night with friends! Simple but perfect, considering I love most games ((i.e. catch-phrase))!! So much fun!

Then friday, we planned a Brazilian birthday party with dips and cairpirinhas ((the national drink))! So many of my co-workers showed up and I was surprised by so many different friends, not from Columbus! Two of my college roommates made the truck down from Cleveland, a friend from Dayton came up and showed up a few minutes after my roommates. Then my two best friends from high school showed up!! Also- two of my guy friends surprised us all with an amazing piñata filled with little tequilas, candy, and mustaches!!! Ohhhh how I love surprises :) I genuinely had no idea that any of them were coming! I used to think I was not easily surprised, nor caught of guard; but props to Erin for successfully doing both from thursday through saturday!! 

And I can't forget to mention my Dayton visit! My brother is a junior at UD and I visited him for part of my birthday weekend! He and his girlfriend made me a delicious cake that was devoured within minutes! I always have so much fun visiting.

{desk @ work – thanks Melyssa!}
{flowers, favorite snack, and a stash? ha}

{college roomies}
{dayton friends}


{yuppp. note the faces}
{high school friends}

{dayton love} 

Thanks to all who really made this birthday super memorable and absolutely amazing! I love my friends dearly and cherish the importance of having good ones in life :)

Ps. Erin: you rock at surprises ((I don't... ha))

So long Cincinnati

I went to Cincinnati this past weekend to celebrate Catie's new job (she moves to Cleveland this week) and to celebrate her last weekend in Cinci, where she's been for almost a year. It crossed my mind the other day that after Alyssa moves, I will have no reason to visit Cinci again! And as I typed this post yesterday, Alyssa had not yet accepted a job, nor made official plans to move – but as of today, she is officially moving to Chicago! It's so weird the way our lives change because of where our friends are, or the changes and decisions they make.

Anywho, it was a fun weekend: Karaoke Saturday night and fun activities all day Sunday. A great way for her to say "soooo long Cincinnati, till we meet again!" Looks like now, Alyssa also needs a 'sayonara cinci' weekend!
{Market entertainment}
{Renting bikes by the River}

So this little post is honor of Alyssa & Catie getting new jobs, furthering their careers, moving to a new city, and new adventures to come! So proud of all of my friends :)

Fancy Friends #3

Let me tell you something... I have some really awesome friends! Yes, yes, let me brag a bit cause they're really great, I swear it! You may remember, last year I blogged about a couple of my "fancy friends" in different posts, but recall my two friends who made a cookbook together in "fancy friends #2"? Well the designer from that endeavor has started a little something I'd like to brag about cause it's super neat!

Meet Adam:

But they start out like this:

The next step kind of look like this:

And then they turn out a little something like this:

I think it might be a little more interesting and informative from his perspective so I asked him to tell us about his process: "I start every piece the same: I roughen up the wood, paint it, stain it, paint it, then stain it again. I've discovered a unique painting technique that enables me to achieve the 'vintage look' that I've been embracing. I then work with the purchaser to design exactly what they're looking for; whether that's colors, city information, or a completely custom design." 
"I print the design and match it to a piece of 'vintage wood' that I think will work best. Next, I do a matte medium transfer of the print to the wood, and once that's finished I seal it. Then I draw on it, or use marker, or I paint it, or spray paint, and I sometimes use stencils. I then add on some final details to make the composition more dynamic and give the piece more depth. Lastly, I put a final gloss seal on it and ship it off to my (hopefully) happy customer via the pony express."

How's that for a process? Sounds fun, doesn't it? They look really awesome, and watching him make a couple was interesting and really inspired me. When I asked him why he was embarking on this little business adventure, he said "It lets me explore and create by instinct, and not so much design principle learned in school, although I believe it does influence a lot of my aesthetic decisions. I have fun playing with mixing the different mediums to figure out how they interact and the different effects you can achieve with them. It's exciting because even if someone orders a design that's on that site or one I've already done, every single one is different. I learn something new with every print, and it keeps the process interesting."

Now that you know allllll about Adam's schtuff you need to check it out, design one, and order yourself or a friend one!

Windy City Surprise

This past weekend I decided to surprise my roommates, Sam and Margaret, for their birthday celebration! Catie & Alyssa were already headed there, but because of previous plans, I wasn't able to go until the very last minute! So I got myself to Cincinnati Friday evening and we trucked it up to Chicago. We got in fairly late, but I didn't let that wouldn't get in the way of my excitement (you see I have this thing for surprises... I'm quite hard to surprise myself, but I love being a part of them)! Catie and Alyssa went ahead of me, said their hellos and then I leaped up the stairs, nearly shaky with anticipation and hollered... actually, Sara got a video of it... it goes a little something like this...

{sorry for the sideways video stuff... couldn't fix it!}

{Friday night after we settled in - we went out downtown to see friends}

{I took full advantage of the fact that my friend Freddie uses his moped to get around}

{Dri, Sara, Me, Sam, Alyssa, Marge, // Abby, Fred, Catie}

{Saturday we perused the city and the lovely patios it has to offer}

{Oh yeah, we stopped at a new bar & signed their very first dollar - hope to see it framed one day}

{Out again - drink specials @Duffy's for Sam & Margaret's 23rd}

 Oh how I love my friends! I can hardly believe I almost missed out on this little reunoin! Each time I see them all, I'm reminded of what amazing people and good friends they are. I've come to discover that there's a special bond you make with your college roommates/friends, something unlike any other friendships I have made or will make... it's something to treasure!


Italy Reunion

This past weekend my lovely girl-friends from Italy had a reunion! I always say I never get to see them, but honestly I've gotten to see a lot of them a few times over this past year! It makes me smile!

It was a weekend filled with laughter, memories, sun, and of course... VINO!
Oh. AND a little celebrating... Jackie and her husband's move to their own house, as well as their baby-on-the-way :)
Let's just say us girls are so ready to spoil that little baby!! EeeK!

Check List {TGIF}

I haven't posted in forever... mostly because work and life in general have been incredibly busy! Don't get me wrong, it makes me so happy! I've always been a go-go-go type of person and adding things to my long list of to-do's only makes me smile!

Recently I was in Vegas with two of my best friends from home! VEGAS! Wow. Too much fun.  Much needed sun. Time with friends. Fancy drinks. Ohhhh it was just a much needed vacation overall!

Here's a sneak peek of some the adventures we had:

LMFAO {Friday}
DJ Tiesto {Saturday} 
Pool Parties.... all day every day
Big winner at the slot machines {Sami}A whole post of Vegas will follow soon... most likely next week but it will come!
Anywho- it's friday and apparently I was feelin a bit spendy aaaand [drum roll please] I bought a ticket to Bonnaroo!!! Yay! Y
eah... even after my expensive Vegas trip :/ hmm... here you say 'Jackie are you nuts!?' My first music festival though, I had to jump at the opportunity! Oh gosh – and a friend offered a few open hotel rooms for the derby this weekend, so on a whim, I'm headed to Kentucky for the races!!! Woo!! Hence I've decided that 2012 is my check list year... Working and finally having the money and freedom to make big girl decisions about how I spend it may end badly in the future when it boils down to 'how much did you save for retirement' – I say oh well [for now]!! So as I reach for my pen and paper my check list begins, and already I can check off Veags, the Kentucky Derby, and Bonnaroo, all in one year!! Soooo.... more posts to come!! 
So in true southern spirit:


Cooking with friends

Some friends and I have decided that once a week, work schedules permitting, we would cook a completely home-made meal for one another. I think it's much more fun cooking for friends, as opposed to a cooking for one. The first week, Erin and I cooked at our apartment. I made cilantro shrimp with onions, peppers, and tomatoes in a white-wine sauce, paired with whole grain rice and Courtney brought the wine!

The following week, Courtney cooked at her apartment. She made a us a delicious feta and spinach wrapped chicken with couscous. She also made a lovely caprese salad! This time, Erin and I brought the wine!

This week is Melyssa's turn! She said she will be making stuffed shells. I don't believe I've ever had a stuffed shell, so I look forward to trying it!

NYE Extravaganza

New Year's Eve this year was basically a reunion with a hundred of my closest friends from college. Haha, but really! Many of my friends met up in Chicago this year for NYE weekend. I had so SO much fun and I genuinely wish I could see everyone once a month! Oh these real world problems...

Here's a recap of our windy-city weekend :)

Kelsey & I

College Roommates (plus 2 friends)

25 Degrees

Alyssa, Chris, & I

Me, Kelsey, & Laura

Margaret & I

Amanda & Adam

Yes, my goofy roommates with their goofy glasses at the bar crawl that turned into everyone staying at one bar the entire day and well into the night! It might have been even more fun than NYE itself!!! We danced A TON!

Ran into a grade-school friend out and about in chicago!

Just a lovely weekend in general!! I got to see a ton of my wonderful friends from college in one of my very favorite cities!!!

Hope you all could spend NYE with friends or loved ones!

Gobble gobble gobble

Thanksgiving at home was simply divine! I love spending time with my family... especially over a delicious meal!
My baby Nikki!

THE BEST: Christmas Ale before dinner

salad, turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and corn bread= perfect turkey day meal!

finish it off with peanut butter pie YUMMY

Love that I am near the lake at home... its beautiful no matter the weather!

Decorating before heading back to Columbus!

Dad, Michael, and Mom
Did you have a fulfilling Thanksgiving!? What were you thankful for?
 First, I am so incredibly thankful for my family and friends :) 
Second, I am thankful for my college experience that led me to an amazing job right after graduation!

Fall time fun

This past weekend was a whirl-wind of fun adventures... a friend from college visited me this weekend, Kelsey! Another friend from UD, Courtney, came over to hang out with us and we had wonderful conversations over lots of wine... we nearly forgot to go out! Saturday we bopped around and ended up at tail-gate that Courtney's boyfriend (also a friend from UD!) put together! It was a lot fun! Kelsey and I had to leave early in time to make it to (co-worker/friend) Krysti's thanksgiving dinner! YUM :) Nothing like a pre-thanksgiving feast with friends! 
Oh and I cannot forget to mention the addition of her lovely blog button to my page — CHECK IT OUT! She's pretty inspired ;)

Oh my... and on Sunday I almost bought a puppy... until I took a step back and decided to think on what a huge responsibility that would be for me right now... still thinking. But right now I'm thinking might have to go back for Dori's precious little face... eek!