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I've Been Keeping A Secret. A Very Tropical Secret.

So, there's been a little something going on in my life that I haven't let you in on!
I've mentioned before that I'm half Puerto Rican (and half Canadian, which is quite the mix)!
My father's family is from Rincon, on the West Coast.  More specifically, they lived on Maria's Beach.  Maria happens to be my great grandmother, so I feel really cool when I go there and buy Maria's Beach souvenirs!
Maria's Beach is one of the best locations for surfing in the world (the top 50 according to CNN!) and many generations of surfers have fond memories of coming to Maria's and getting taken care of by my great grandmother, or drinking with my grandfather!  
When my father inherited the property (after my grandfather died well into his 90s) he wanted to turn it into something that drew people to Rincon, and kept the warm loving spirit of Maria alive.
Thus, Maria's at Maria's Beach was born!
After many years of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears, Maria's was finished last month!
It is a luxury vacation rental that sleeps 16 people with snazzy kitchens, master bedrooms, wet bars, living and dining rooms on both sides.  It can be rented out in total, or just one half, which would sleep 8 and have all of the amenities above!
Not to mention a pretty awesome pool.
Can I just say how jealous I am my parents have been going down every month to work on it and they haven't invited me?!
Not cool.
Luckily, they invited me and Dom to come with them right after New Years, and Dom's family will be coming too, so they're off the hook. ;)

Anyways, it just opened last month, and we already have people booking, and some destination weddings booked for next year, which is so exciting.  But, as I'm sure you know, the hardest part about starting a business is getting the word out!  My parents are very lucky I have a blog!  So, if you are thinking about heading down to Puerto Rico, or know someone who is, please keep us in mind and spread the word!
We have a Facebook page (with 9,995 likes.  Who wants to be the 10,000th?!) and just started a twitter, so we would love for you to follow along on this new adventure!

Plus...can you imagine the fun 16 bloggers would have if we took it over for a little reunion? ;)
The possibilities are endless! :)

Check out out website here / Follow on Twitter / Follow on Facebook


Things I'm Loving Right Now!

That title doesn't quite have the same ring to it as "What I'm Loving Wednesday," but since life has been a little boring I don't have enough material for you to wait until Wednesday!  Without further ado, some things I have been loving lately!

My beautiful new design from Erin!  
I wanted it to feel bright and tropical, like a little slice of Florida.  She did exactly what I wanted and I am so obsessed!  If you're looking for a new design, she is absolutely your girl!

Katrina Campins and Hot Listings Miami
It all started Tuesday night when I was watching Giuliana & Bill, and was too lazy to get up when it ended.  The next show was Hot Listings Miami, and since I jump at anything South Florida related, I decided to see that it was all about.
I. Am. Obsessed.
Not only is the show filled with beautiful shots of Miami Beach and other neighborhoods in South Florida, it also stars Katrina Campins.
She's spunky, goofy, powerful, stylish, driven, and exudes the happiness and confidence all us girls wish for (and if I looked like her I would too)!
She's definitely my new girl crush.  Almost PLL & Carrie status.

Last minute dinner dates!
 Medical school is no joke.
Dom gets up at 5:30 during the week, studies until he has to go to class, goes to the library after and studies until about 7, comes home (if I'm lucky!) and takes a 15 minute dinner break before going to study until about 11pm.  Everyday. 
Saturday?  He went to the library to study just after 10 and didn't come home until 11pm!
So, on Sunday when he called and said they were taking a 45 minute break and wondered if I wanted to come into Greensburg for dinner I was so excited.
The only thing opened was this tiny greasy pub, but I got to see Dom for a whole 45 minutes and it was amazing!
When you're dealing with an insane schedule and very tight funds, you realize it really is the littlest things that count.

Green's Gluten-Free beer 

Holy Yum.
I'm not a huge fan of ciders (although Stella's is not too bad!) and some gluten free beers can be absolutely awful.  Last summer I was introduced to New Planet, which is a really good gluten free beer.  Even Dom says it's good, and he doesn't have to drink gluten free beer!
When I was at my lake house last weekend, Seth, a guy at a local store gave my parents a bottle of Green's to try.  It is a lot darker and heavier than the other gluten free beers I've tried, and it is so good.  I find myself reaching for it before wine this past week!  I only tried the dark ale, but I can't wait to try the others.

That's all for now!  If you have anything you're loving lately please let me know.  Goodness knows I need all the entertainment I can get!


3 Phobias That Make Me A Total Weirdo.

Yesterday was a very, very scary day.
I was faced with two of my phobias, and while no tears were shed, it did get me thinking that I have some very weird things that scare me.
First, you know those huge windmills the power companies use for wind energy (I think there's a fancy term for it but I can't for the life of me think of it right now)?  Well, I happen to find them to be very creepy.  They're big, ominous, and the way they spin is just...creepy.
Yesterday, while driving on the Thruway from NY back to PA I had to pass a blade being transported!
So. Scary.  That thing was MASSIVE and literally gave me goosebumps.  I passed it as quickly as I could and tried to not look in my rearview mirror.  Of course, I had to stop in Rochester to pee and when I came out IT HAD PASSED ME.  So I had to go by it again.  There were lots of palpitations and hyperventilation...but I made it.

My next phobia is pretty common, those pesky arachnids.  I've always been afraid of them, but as a respectable person in her mid twenties I have evolved to being able to handle killing very small ones that I am certain can not kill me or touch me in any way.  However, I was doing laundry last night in the laundry room off our basement and say the BIGGEST spider ever.  Like baby tarantula status.  It had a huge fat body and long thick legs.  OMG I'm stressing out now just knowing it's in my zip code!  Needless to say, Dom had to come down and guard it while I got the clothes out of the dryer.  he took a picture, but I'm too nice to put it here.  It's that bad.  Neither of us are brave enough to do anything with we'll see who picks the short straw and has to do the laundry next!

My third and final weird phobia is airplanes.  Yes, I am afraid of flying, but I have a bigger phobia of airplanes themselves.  And yes, I have had to pass plane parts on the Thruway too and tears were definitely shed.  I have no idea what it is about them, but they terrify me.  When I lived in DC? I only went to the Space side of the Air and Space Museum.  Walking under an airplane strung from the ceiling? No, thank you.  Way back when on a high school trip to Denmark I unknowingly walked into an airplane museum and had a nervous break down. Wierdooo.  Driving by airports gives me the heebie jeebies and when you have to board a plane from the tarmac?  Awful.  My heart literally starts pounding and I try to keep my eyes down so I don't have to look at the plane I'm getting on.  Once I've boarded I relax and deal with my mild nerves over flying.
Not kidding you, google searching airplanes for this image made my heart rate increase.  I don't even like looking at them!

Please tell me I am not the only crazy one here!  Do any of you have weird phobias?


I Escaped!

I might be a day behind on my weekend recap, but one of the few joys of funemployment is that my weeks and weekends kind of start to blend together.  Plus, last Thursday I couldn't stand the thought of sitting alone in our townhouse for another 12+ hours, so I made Dom dinner, stuck it in the fridge and escaped to my house on Keuka Lake!
I pretty much traded a truck stop that tries to be a "hamlet" for an actual cute little lake town in the country.
Friday was cold and rainy, so we headed to the outlet mall for some window shopping!  Much less fun, but much better on the wallet. :)  When it finally cleared up I went with my parents on one of their crazy super duper bike trips.  Thankfully, since I was coming they picked one that was about 10 miles, almost all downhill.  It ended at Seneca Farms, only the best ice cream parlor in the world!

Saturday, my mom headed back to Syracuse to meet some family coming through town, so my dad and I got to play unattended.  For us that meant...
Lunch at my dream wedding location (since I was a little girl), the Esperanza Mansion!  They were setting up for a wedding that evening, so of course, being my father, he asked the waitress if she could sneak us in to see how they had it all set up.  It was gorgeous!!  They set up the ceremony right next to where I took that picture from our table.  You get that view of the lake the whole time! Sign. Me. Up.

After that, we headed to Canandaigua, a town a little ways away for a Riesling Festival!
Neither my dad nor I are huge white wine fans, but if I like anything it's riesling, so we thought we'd give it a go!  After tasting upwards of 16 kinds, we left with our favorite...a moscato! Just don't tell anyone...

Lastly, the Esperanza Mansion has a boat, the Esperanza Rose that has public dinner/bar cruises, and is also chartered for rehearsal dinners for the Esperanza Mansion weddings.  Of course we had to go on a bar cruise..just to check it out. ;)
What can I say?  When Mama's away, dad and I will play!

Sunday, we kept the fun going by having one of my best friends, her boyfriend, and his sister come out for the day. Before they came, I went with my mom and aunt to the next town over to check out the shops!
{It's true!}
 {Can you tell we're in wine country?}
 Contrary to what everyone thought after reading my post about Hunker, I do love small towns!  Unfortunately, Hunker is not a town, but actually a "control city" which means they gave a name to a stretch of land between two towns/cities.  So, we have no main street, stores, or anything that makes a small town a town!  
I could happily live in a town like Hammondsport for a few years!

Once my friends arrived, it was still freeeezing by my standards (and a little chilly by everyone else's) at 70 degrees, but I happily played on the water, and watched my brave friends play in the water!
And no matter how cold it is, a sunset is still a sunset.
I'll take one every night, please!
Today I make the 6 hour journey back to Hunker, where I have a poor, tired and hungry mancake waiting for me!  We'll see how long I last before I escape again.  If only I could stuff Dom in my suitcase next time. :)


What is "Home?"

I've had the ideas for this post floating around in my head for a few days, and then yesterday I saw Beth from Hang on, Honey write about almost the same thing.  It made me feel so much better that I'm not the only one who feels this way!

So today, I'm going to write about "home," although I really don't know what that is for me.  The ideas started coming as I was sitting at "home" in our townhouse in Hunker, watching Hot Listings Miami.  Every time they showed a shot of the beach or palm trees, my stomach did a flip.  Then, they showed a house in Delray Beach, my favorite place in Florida, about 20 minutes away from where we lived.  Granted, I am a little over emotional, but I got a little misty thinking about how I would give anything to go home.
Then I got to thinking.  This usually happens when I've been alone all day with the only company of a glass or three of vino.  Anywho, how weird is it that what I consider home is somewhere I only lived for 11 months?

Technically, Syracuse, NY should be home.  I guess in a way it is.  It is my hometown and the place I spent the first 18 years of my life.  While I had an amazing childhood, I always knew I had to get out of Syracuse.  It didn't feel right, and it wasn't me.  Even when I moved back to Syracuse for a year before Florida, I was opening an account at Chase Bank and when I gave him my address he said "really?  You don't seem like you're from Syracuse."  I'm still not exactly sure what he meant by that, but I knew I agreed completely.

When it came time to go to college and almost every single one of my friends stayed local and went to Rochester (about an hour and a half away, where Dom went!), I peaced out and headed alone to Washington, D.C.  To this day I still love coming to Syracuse (or Fayetteville, if we're getting technical) for holidays and visits and it always feels good to come back to see everyone, but I really feel no connection to the place.  It might be my hometown, and my parent's house is definitely home, but the city? Not so much.

Then, there's D.C.  The first place I lived on my own, and the place where I really grew up.  Whenever I drove into the city after being away, I saw the monuments and always felt a sense of peace, that this was home.  This was my city.  Over the 4 years I came and went for summers and holidays and some weekends away, but I always felt content when I got back to D.C., where I belonged.  If I could afford it I probably never would have left!  Still, two years later, whenever someone says they're headed to D.C. my stomach flips and I get jealous they're visiting my turf. My home.

People say that home is where the heart is.  So, in a way Hunker is my home, since it's where I live with Dom.  On the flip side, neither Dom nor I feel like our hearts are here.  It's only been a few weeks so that could change, but home for both of us, deep down, is West Palm.  When people ask us where we are from, we automatically say West Palm, the thought to say Syracuse or Glens Falls doesn't cross our minds.  We even joked that for holidays if our families want to see us, they can meet us down there!

So how can we consider a place we lived for less than a year home?
I think it's because we finally found a place that is us.  I feel like "me" when I'm in South Florida.  I love that everything is beautiful.  The buildings are bright, cream, clean and surrounded by palm trees. Even on the stormiest of days, everything is beautiful.  The people there are different.  It's hard to be in a bad mood when the sun is shining constantly.  People are on island time, and everything feels a little more like a vacation.  We might be broke students, but we love that we can drive down to Palm Beach and go tour the yachts.  We love that all year round we can go eat outside at a restaurant and watch the ocean.  I love that when I wear Lilly I get stopped by other people wearing Lilly to talk about our shared love of living a colorful life.

So maybe home really is where the heart is.  I left part of my heart in the house where I grew up, part in D.C., where I really grew up, and most of it in the place where I found myself.


{Greek is Greek} S-I-G-M-A Sigma Kappa 1 Heart 1 Way!

It's true. I am a loud and proud sister of Sigma Kappa Sorority!
As if my love of Lilly Pulitzer, wine and pink weren't big enough hints. ;)
I'm linking up today with Kristyn and some other former sorority girls to share what we loved so much about being Greek!
Carolina Fireflies

I know we sometimes get a bad reputation, but I can not imagine what college would have been like if I hadn't joined my sorority.
There is a difference between friends and sisters, and I never really understood that until I joined Sigma Kappa.  Was I absolute best friends with all 120 girls in my sorority? No, of course not.  But I could 100% call every single one of them in the middle of the night if I needed help, and I could guarantee they would be there.   We would always joke about the bond between sisters, but it is really there.

I know I would have never survived my freshman year without my beautiful and amazing Big Sister, Rachel.
One day I was an overwhelmed freshman, and the next I had a best friend, a confidant, and the big sister I never had to look out for me and show me the ways of college life.  My obsession with her is only rivaled by my obsession for my little...and grand little! (not to mention my great grand little who is just too amazing for words as well!)
Ugh, my love for my sorority family just kills me.  I now have a great great great grand little! I'm getting old.

Past all the love and snuggles, there were the parties.  Going to school in DC, being Greek really made the school seem smaller, and there was always something fun going on!

My favorite party Sigma Kappa did was My Tie.
For My Tie, you partner up with another sister, and pick her date.  Except, she has no idea who her date is.  So, you get the guy's tie and give it to your partner to wear over her dress.  Then, at the pre-game before the date party, all the guys go around and find the girl wearing their tie! Viola! You have a date. :)  This lead to some hilarious stories, and at least one marriage!

My second favorite was Tacky Prom.  This one is pretty self explanatory.
Don't judge me, k?

And then there are the formals. :)

Oh, and the Bid Day Booze cruise...
Yes, that's the captain breaking it down!  What better way to bond with your new sisters than drinks and dancing while cruising around the harbor?

Needless to say, I made a ton of fun memories in my four years as a Sigma Kappa!  But, all partying aside, so many fun memories revolve around the "Senior Prom" we threw every year for the nursing home in our area, waking up at the crack of dawn to walk the Memory Walk with thousands of others on the National Mall to support Alzheimer's research, and all the fundraisers we did as a chapter, and with other chapters, to raise tens of thousands of dollars for charity.  There's something about setting a goal and reaching it as a group that really bonds you for life!

I truly mean it when I say I couldn't have made it without these ladies.  I will forever lead my life as a Sigma Kappa, one heart, one way. <3


We Found Civilization. And Crabs

I will be the first one to tell you that Hunker/New Stanton, PA is pretty much the pitts. One thing it really has going for it is that it's only 40 minutes away from Pittsburgh! New cities can be a little daunting, but luckily we had two pretty good tour guides. ;)

When my parents came down to help us get settled in our new place, they got to show us all about their old stomping grounds! Wayyyyy back when (kidding, mom!) my dad had to move to Pittsburgh for his fellowship and asked my mama to move with him. Soon after, they got engaged! Awwww! So the whole moving-to-the-Pittsburgh-area-for-doctor-things is a repeated theme in our family!

We started by heading to one of my parents' favorite places, Joe's Crab Shack!
 You might think I'd be too prissy to fight for my food, but you would be seriously impressed.  That poor king crab didn't know what it had coming!  Plus, I knew it was laughing at my bib.

After the sun set we went up on the Duquesne Incline to see the city lights from the greatest view you can get!  You take this little trolley car all the way up so once you get to the top you're looking back down and over the whole city.
 Not too shabby.

The next day, Dom had to study (sad face) so the three of us headed back in and took a Duck Tour! It was goofy and hilarious.  The Duck Tours are those tours where your car is also a boat.  So we got a tour of the city and then had a little boat ride and got to see Heinz field from the water (Sorry, Erin)!
I wish I had gotten a picture of us on that car/boat in our ponchos, but for now you'll just have to imagine.

As hard as it's going to be surviving in Hunker, knowing we have this gorgeous city at our fingertips makes it a million times better!


Football Friday!

Happy Football Friday!  The whole just relocated don't have a job thing kind of makes Fridays seem like any other day, but Dom has a short day and we have the Med Student & Spouse Welcoming Picnic tonight, so it is a little exciting.  Just no one tell them I'm only a girlfriend, okay?

Today is even more exciting because my bloggie bestie (and real life, let's be real) Erin is hosting her Football Friday link-up!
Here's the rundown on me and football:

Contrary to the photo above, I am a born and raised NY Giants fan!  If any of you have been to a game at the Meadowlands, you know you're probably wearing 8 layers, a poncho, and tears.  So I had to pick a picture from a Dolphins game instead. :)

{He is NOT goofy looking.}   

I would go so far as to say my dad is the Giants' #1 fan.  Anything even remotely related to the Giants is in our house.  For Christmas Dom even got him a panini maker with the NY logo, so even my dad's sandwiches are Giants!  We are not fair weather fans either.  Even when my main squeeze Eli wasn't doing so well and people were chanting "Eli's adopted!" (SO RUDE) we stood by our man.  Little known fact is that he is actually my future husband.

Anywho, I've never followed college football at all.  Being from Syracuse, we don't exactly have the most amazing football team ever.  Before I went to college we did go to every single home football game and cheer though!  Like I said, not fair weather fans.  But, we always lost, so it was hard to get into it.  Then, I went of to college at GWU and didn't even have a football team! I was always intrigued by the exitement of college football, but didn't really have a way to get excited about it.

Oh wait, didn't I just start school again? BAM.  You guys are so smart. :)  If you missed it, I started the Nutrition & Dietetics program at the University of Alabama this summer!  Just in time for football season.  I might be a distance student, but you can bet on Saturdays I'll be decked out in red cheering for the Crimson Tide!

Hopefully after this post I haven't made any new enemies!  Who are your favorite teams??
Don't forget to link up!

Love, Fun & Fotball


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