Local Brands I Love: The Not-a-Gift-Guide Guide

Monday, November 30, 2020

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It's that time of year again, folks! With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season approaches, & damn, what a year it's been. 

Whatever winter holiday you do or don't celebrate, you deserve gifts. And so do the people you love. But precisely because it's been such a difficult year, it's more important than ever that we support local businesses, which have been hard-hit by the pandemic & continue to struggle. 

I know, I know: Every blogger puts together a gift guide. But I want to do my little part to lift up local brands share some places I truly love. I've only included here places that I've actually purchased from and/or know well. I can't make any guarantees, but all of these brands have done right by me. 

Now go forth & shop!
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Our Anniversary Weekend in Port Clinton, OH

Monday, November 23, 2020

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On November 11, Mike & I celebrated three years of marriage, a mile-marker than still sometimes feels hard for me to believe. Prior to meeting him, my longest relationship was three & a half years, & frankly, I wasn't very good at being in that relationship, so it's astonishing to me that I have so easily & responsibly managing a healthy, happy marriage for three years already.

We usually take a trip for our anniversary, but this obviously isn't the year for that, so we made do with what was available to us: my mom's friend's floating house in Port Clinton, OH, where we spent some time over the summer.
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Autumn in Northeast Ohio: Pandemic-Safe Adventures in CLE & Beyond

Monday, November 16, 2020

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We're fortunate to be able to experience all four seasons here in Northeast Ohio, but the one I consider to be the best of them – autumn – is also the most fleeting.

This year, it seems 2020 has thrown us a bit of a bone (finally), giving us what feels like slightly more autumn than usual, & I, for one, have been trying to make the most of it before cold(er) weather sets in for good. 

Here's what I've been up to as the air gets crisper & the leaves start change color (OK, fine, most of them have fallen by now...) How about you?

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What I've Read Lately (Pandemic Pt. II)

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

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I continue to notttt read much at all during the pandemic. In July, I shared reviews of the seven books I'd read (plus four Harry Potter audiobook re-reads) since the initial shelter-in-place order went into effect in March. Since then, I've listened to three more Harry Potter audiobooks & finished only eight others. 

Why? I don't know, really. I still love reading, it just hasn't felt like my jam this year. I'm still working on other hobbies, like cooking & baking & learning Spanish. But reading just hasn't been high atop my to-do list.

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How I Stay Active Online Without Letting Social Media Rule My Life

Monday, November 9, 2020

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In the wake of Election Day Week, does anyone else feel social media’d out? After aggressively refreshing every app & news site on repeat for days on end, I’m ready to remain largely logged-off for a bit.

But how do you ensure that while you’re keeping it low-key, social media’s tricky algorithms don’t forget about you forever, de-prioritizing your content & ultimately doing damage to your online presence? I’ve spent the last year figuring that out.

At the end of 2019, I transitioned out of my longtime job managing social media for the organization where I work; I still work there, but I’ve moved into a role that doesn’t require me to be on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram all day every day. After spending the better part of a decade in a job that had me perpetually connected, it was both strange & refreshing to suddenly be able to put down my phone & close my laptop & not need to check them all the time.

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I'm Trying to Learn Spanish (Again)

Sunday, November 1, 2020

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As a kid, I was obsessed with trying to learn Spanish. I had a book of Spanish words that I carried around with me for an entire summer, & I once convinced my grandmother to consider taking me to Mexico in lieu of having a bat mitzvah. (She didn't come through on this one, but I tried.) (Also, when I was young, I thought that Mexico was the only place where people spoke Spanish. Imagine my surprise & delight when I learned about Spain & allll of Latin America!)

I took Spanish in both middle school & high school, & for awhile, I even wanted to be a translator of some sort, or maybe teach ESL. My freshman year of high school, when my mom & I welcomed a Peruvian exchange student into our home, I was proud to discover that my choppy freshman-year-of-high-school Spanish was enough for us to communicate un poquito, enough for me to understand the book he brought with him to teach us, his host family about his home city.

Somewhere along the way, though, my drive fell: I struggled with conjugating verbs, & after my two requisite college Spanish classes, my commitment waned, even if my interest never did.

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