Louisville…….. and bourbon

My best friend Melissa and I took a long weekend to Louisville Kentucky this past weekend.  If you follow me on twitter or instagram you’ve already seen many of these photo’s but of course I have to add some commentary now and let you know what a fabulous little get away it was.

We left early Friday morning and took a very short detour to Frankfort, KY to the Buffalo Trace Distillery so that I could load up on their Bourbon Cream… It’s pretty much to die for… you should try it… seriously…



We hit up a local, well reviewed cafe called Adelia’s which I have to say didn’t disappoint.  I had a baja panini and it was fantastic to say the least.  The cafe is locally sourced and without a doubt had that fresh flair.  Melissa opted for a wrap which she described as stir fry in a wrap.


Then it was onto to Louisville.  We checked into the hotel and after a quick recharge headed downtown to begin the Urban Bourbon Trail which is a great way to not only see downtown Louisville but to challenge yourself to try new bourbon drinks.  You check into designated bars after a purchase and after 9 bars over the course of time you get a t-shirt. Now, I am not a bourbon drinker…. at all…. like I catch a whiff and I’m like ok eyes burning and coughing… Melissa is a bad ass and drinks it straight…

But the bartenders were pretty amazing and when I’d say I’m kind of scared of bourbon they’d make me something that would mask the flavor a bit and boom before a knew it I had a new love for bourbon.  And who knew the drinks could be so pretty.

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Don’t worry those weren’t all mine!

Stopped at Bluegrass Brewing Company for dinner… Nachos were consumed so fast that we couldn’t even snap a picture and the pizza wasn’t too bad either.  I picked up a 4pack of bourbon barrel stout to bring home too.


Saturday we were up early enough to hit up the anniversary tour of the Evan Williams Bourbon Distillery downtown (Heaven Hill) which was really neat because it was a commercialized and modern way to present the history of bourbon.

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And then we ventured onto the City Taste Tour of Louisville.  If you go to Louisville you need to do this tour.  You see a little bit of everything in 3 1/2 hours and it is affordable, the guides are fantastic and just DO IT.


Just some of the sites we got to stop at…


A candy shop across the river in Indiana open for over 120 years that had great chocolate covered honeycombs

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Old Louisville with Victorian Mansions just to die for and walking paths that mad you feel like you went back in time, gas lamps and all.

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Churchill Downs – we even caught a race!


The Falls of the Ohio River

That night we stopped at Havana Rumba in St. Matthews right outside of Louisville for some Cuban food and yes – can we please get something like this in Pittsburgh… or can someone tell me where a cuban restaurant like this is hiding?

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We grabbed breakfast on the way home Sunday and called the trip a success.  All in all it was quite a fabulous trip.  Affordable – great history and you can easily fill up a weekend there.  Go – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Here’s to you Louisville – thanks for your hospitality.


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Filed under drinks, food, travel

Land of the Free

And home of the brave…

I’m so proud to say I come from a family where both my grandfathers served in WWII and my father served 5 years in the Army including a peace time mission to Korea.  This is a day where there is not much that I can say in words that will really do justice to the honor that every one of our veterans deserves.

It’s honor they deserve every day of the year too, not just today.  Hold your heads high and proud and know that at least for a moment we are all saying thank you in our own ways today.


My dad upon graduation from West Point circa 1972. Last clean shaven photo he ever took probably.


Pap Stanley during his Army MP days WWII Pacific


And when he did his tour in the calvary


He was certainly a handsome one


And still came home to work in the Pittsburgh Steel Mills


Not to mention the cousin in the family that radioed as his sub was sinking and came home a hero


And finally – my other grandfather… the man the myth the legend… who, when he would give you a glimpse into the things he saw would reveal a war surgeons life that you weren’t sure was real… who landed on the late waves in Normandy and eventually found himself all the way across Europe… who instilled beliefs in his children who passed them on to their children and who in many ways in the reason I am who I am today.

So just stop for a minute.  Realize what today really stands for.  Pay it forward.  And say thank you.

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The power of a song

It was a few months ago at the end of a show called NY Med (some reality show produced by Dr. Oz that follows ppl through NY hospitals) that I heard a song that froze me in my place and rocked me to my core.  It was at the conclusion of a story where a man had been diagnosed with inoperable cancer but against the odds other therapies had been able to eradicate the cancer and they were showing the man with his wife and family at their house having dinner and the camera pans out and and shows a cliff and shore line and this song begins to play…

I wish I had the actual clip from the show but this will do… and everything just stopped for me.  The story line was hard enough for me but then that song dove into the depths of my soul to wounds that I wasn’t sure I still had.  I immediately did that spotify thing and found out the song was Follow You Down by Matthew Mayfield.  I bought the song immediately and played it on repeat.

There’s no other way to describe it other than I let the song, the melody, the lyrics wash over me in waves.  While I know it wasn’t meant for a father daughter relationship there is so much in it that was transferable to what my dad and I went through when he died. It’s a song that I can guarantee will cause me to swell up and cry and release everything that is pent up inside of me.  It’s a song that makes me vulnerable and makes me be honest with myself.

The chorus:

“If you’re gone and I’m here, I could meet you, meet you
If you’re lost and you fall, I’m beneath you, neath you
No matter where you run I’ll be the one to follow you down”

I’ve since bought many of Matt’s albums – he’s an amazing artist, pours his heart and soul into his work and does it for his love of it and I encourage everyone to check him out – I’ll link more videos and his website at the end of this.

Last night – I had the chance to see him live at a little spot in Pittsburgh.  I got dolled up.  Put on my Dad’s wedding ring, and a ring I dug out of some box that had been hidden in the back of my drawers – a ring he brought back from Korea for my Aunt 40 years ago and she since gave to me.  And as I held one of the few pieces of him that I still have I listened to Matthew Mayfield soak into my heart and soul for 90 minutes and I wish it could have been longer.

Matthew Mayfield - Club Cafe Pittsburgh - November 9, 2014

Matthew Mayfield – Club Cafe Pittsburgh – November 9, 2014

He didn’t sing my song.  But I got something better.  I had a chance after the show to talk to him for a few moments and tell him what that song meant to me.  That in the 12 years since I lost my dad to cancer that song was able to do something nothing else has.  It was hope and sadness and peace and grief and healing.  And I told him when I come home some days and I’m sad because I can’t remember what my dad’s voice sounded like I put on that song and I let it carry me away.  And Matt thanked me for sharing that story with him and that he was touched by it and gave me a hug and I’m sure singer/songwriters hear that a lot how their music moves people, but I’m glad he heard my story.

Check out his music.  Go see him.  Maybe it’s not one of his songs but find a song that heals you.  Find a song that lets you FEEL again.  Find a song that makes you be honest, raw, real.



Filed under emotional healing, life, Music

stop, drop and REST

As I mentioned in my first post back I’ve been going non-stop since May.  This has been my face pretty much every morning.


and my own pets are starting to impersonate me a bit


This weekend I crashed and I crashed hard.  I did pretty much nothing and I didn’t have much of a choice as my back (which was injured in a ziplining accident 2 weeks ago) regressed dramatically and I was on my butt on the couch for 48 hours straight pretty much.

Had I not been in pain it would have been pretty glorious.

While life will not go nuts and crazy again for a couple months, I have 3 trips planned between now and the end of January including a week out of the county for my 30th birthday with my best friend who will also be turning 30.  There’s major holiday’s in that span and one so not exciting holiday in my book (new years).

Not to mention there are some MAJOR changes happening at my job that I’ve got to start preparing for now because as we all know life catches up with us far too quickly.

Friday was Halloween – about 120 trick or treaters… Yeah we do work in my neighborhood… I also ate a lot of this at work… weekend

I call it trashy sweet and salty popcorn… soooooo good

So – we watched 3 movies… Chef – Five stars – loved it, fantastic, give me all the food…. Deliver us from Evil – three stars it was good for a scary movie because I don’t like scary movies but demonic horror isn’t too too bad… and Neighbors – one star, my god it was bad… only an hour and a half and it dragged on FOREVER… not even Zac Effron’s looks could salvage the movie – probably because his character was so just horrible.

And Saturday we went to my favorite new restaurant – Dorothy 6 Blast Furnace Cafe and I had myself some awesome drinks.

Apple cider martini

Apple cider martini

Spicy Moscow Mule - the faces I made during this were quite entertaining but it really was good... Just FIRE

Spicy Moscow Mule – the faces I made during this were quite entertaining but it really was good… Just FIRE

Dark Horse Too Cream Stout with maple and marshmallow flavoring added... yes beer purists everywhere are screaming but sooooo goooood

Dark Horse Too Cream Stout with maple and marshmallow flavoring added… yes beer purists everywhere are screaming but sooooo goooood (i’m saying that a lot today sorry)

And yeah other than that spent a lot of time cuddling with this little girl… who is doing much better now that she’s over a week into her medicine for hypothyroidism.


Have a wonderful rest of the week!!!

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Finally getting an answer


For the past three years, Minnie, my Great Dane, has battled with a pretty nasty medical condition.  One night in November 2011 she suddenly had a seizure and life was really never the same.  The doctors diagnosed epilepsy but said they couldn’t be sure – she presented in such a strange manner… no two sets of seizures were ever the same, some times they clustered sometimes they took 30 minutes to recover from sometimes 5 minutes…


She immediately went on medications, and nothing “fixed” it.  We struggled with her constant desire to eat EVERYTHING, she was put on a diet but lost no weight.  She continued to have seizures every 3-4 weeks.  Her attention span got worse and the specialist dog trainer I hired actually told me that the closest thing he could think of was that she actually had short term memory loss.

I was heart broken.  I started to wonder about her quality of life.  She was 30 lbs overweight (140lbs) and at almost seven years old I had to start thinking about her heart and her joints and I was really struggling.


Then, last week, the vet asked if I wanted to test her thyroid after I was adamant that I wasn’t over feeding her.  I immediately agreed.  Her levels came back at 0.5… half of what it should be.  I began looking into hypothyroidism in dogs and the connection with seizures and there’s a possibility that it could all be linked.  Her behavior problems too.  I wanted to cry and in the same breath felt horrible that I hadn’t demanded they test everything three years ago when they were hesitant to give her a blanket epilepsy diagnosis.


She’s been started on thyroid medication and three days in she’s already starting to look a bit more like the dog I used to know.  She listens, she calms down faster, she seems to know what’s going on.  To know that for the rest of her life she’ll be able to live it in comfort and maybe with less seizures and happier, well that makes my heart sing a bit.


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Where did the time go?

Hard to imagine my last post on here was over 2 years ago…


I’m surprised I remembered my log in for the blog to be honest!

Let’s see what have I done in the last two years…

I’ve been promoted, certified in my field, officially became a Board Member, lost almost 50 lbs, took a road trip through Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Chicago… went to San Diego and Phoenix, went to LA for my 29th birthday, remodeled my kitchen and bathroom (like down to the studs remodeled)… was single for almost 2 years… bought a new car… didn’t have any more surgeries!, went partly grey (yay hair dye)… and fell in love with my city again…

Ventura Beach - even when the sun isn't shining the view is breath taking.

Ventura Beach – even when the sun isn’t shining the view is breath taking.

Basically I’ve got more than enough to keep my blog busy for a little bit… even if it’s just a once a week post…

On myfitnesspal today I put this list up…

Things I’ve done since  May of 2014…

  • Served on a local professional Board including co-chairing a committee (10 total meetings over those months)
  • 10 Professional networking events or mentoring sessions
  • 6 Educational events
  • 16 Hiking/Kayaking/other outdoor adventures
  • 6 Races
  • 18 Baseball games and 2 football games
  • 6 Concerts
  • Kitchen Remodel

Well then…  Here’s to the next two years ;)  And here’s what I did just this past week…


Look down every once and a while and you might be surprised at what is right under your feet

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New restaurant in Homestead – Dorothy 6 Cafe… pretty much to die for from the atmosphere to the craft brews to the food…


Just taking a little hike in Allegheny Cemetery – that’s Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in the background… how can you not love this city…


It might not be the clearest picture but the sun set over the skyline of the city just made me melt Thursday night as I drove to my cousin’s downtown…

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I’m back!

Does anyone remember me?! I can’t believe that it has been seven months since I logged in here and put up a post….

Life has taken many crazy twists and turns and it is just now that I feel as if I am back and centered… I underwent knee surgery in April, graduated with my masters degree, began my life as a 9-5er and found myself single…

And yet, I think I may be the happiest I’ve ever been… I began working out again in August, have lost almost 20 lbs and am running a 5k next weekend…

I’m not sure where this blog is going to take me now, what the focus will be or how often I will post but it will be nice to have somewhere to put everything down again…

In the mean time here are some pictures that make me smile!






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