Arizona: part three 

At last, the final post of my Arizona trip! As I’m writing this, it’s the first day of fall. All day I’ve been thinking about what an incredible summer I’ve had and I feel so lucky I got to spend it with my family and some of my closest friends. Nevertheless, I am SO excited for fall. I can never pick a favorite season, but I think fall would be in my top two.

Anyways… here’s the final post of my Arizona trip! It’s a biiiit longer than my previous ones, FYI!

We went to the MIM (Musical Instrument Museum) and spent a few hours there. I had actually been there one of the last times I visited Arizona. It’s SO big, I don’t even think we got to everything! It’s a really beautiful museum and the way they have it set up is really neat. Each room is a different continent and there are sections with countries throughout that room. Each section is filled with the instruments from a specific country. They give you headphones that automatically let you listen to the song or piece that’s being played on the TV and it changes through each section as you walk around. That probably makes zero sense, but trust me – it is VERY cool!

Beatles guitar!

I love this photo… that’s Camelback Mountain! You get the perfect view from upstairs in the museum.

After that, we relaxed for a while. Then we went to an Asian market that was a super cool experience. I had never been to an Asian market before and there were so many interesting fruits and all sorts of crazy food there. We left with a bunch of stuff, including GIANT POCKY! It’s SO good. I love pocky, but giant pocky is ten times better. After that, we went to a Chinese restaurant right next door to the market. I learned that I’m not a huge fan of shrimp and I STILL can’t use chopsticks! 😦 Someday!!! LOL. Other than that, the food was VERY good. We tried this soup that’s apparently a popular dessert in China. I was not expecting to love it, but it was delicious. It didn’t taste much like soup because it was super sweet, but I had never tried anything like it!

The next day, we checked out OdySea Aquarium. We were going to go here a few days before, but instead went to the Heard Museum because it was SO CROWDED! We went on the right day AND got there super early, so it was pretty perfect. The aquarium is pretty new and it’s one of the nicest ones I’ve ever been to…it’s also HUGE. I don’t go to aquariums often, but when I do I am always blown away.

If you ever go here, there was one cool “exhibit” I really loved that you should check out. I don’t remember what it was called, but it’s in this little theater that moves around and takes you through different tanks so it kind of feels like you’re actually in the tank. I LOVED it!

Nemo!

OK, so this was probably another one of my favorite parts of that day. There’s a sloth in one of the first hallways when you’re walking through, and the first time we walked by it it was sleeping. Then we walked past it again and it woke up! Apparently it’s super rare for this sloth to ever move around, but this guy went up the ropes and back down for a few minutes and it was the cutest thing ever. I got a video and it’s seriously one of the best videos on my phone. I hadn’t ever seen a sloth in person and now I love them so much!

Oh – the penguins were also super awesome. They are such cool creatures. I love the way they swim!

The otters were the funniest!! We got there just as they were coming out for the day and it was so cute.

After we got back we went swimming (again 🙂 ) and made lasagna for dinner.

The next day, we decided to check out Butterfly Wonderland. It’s the largest butterfly conservatory in the U.S. and it’s right next door to OdySea. I always think butterfly gardens are super fun and they’re a great place to bring your camera!

OMG. This photo. I am so proud of myself. These particular butterflies are absolutely gorgeous, but the minute they close their wings they’re neutral and blend in with the others. The second I took this it closed its wing! Ahhh! It made me really happy that I got this shot. Isn’t it just the prettiest?!

After that, we walked through Old Town Scottsdale for a while to look for gifts and souvenirs. We stopped at The Sugar Bowl for some ice cream after and I am so happy we did! When I was younger, The Sugar Bowl was one of my favorite places to visit in Arizona. I still love it!

I got the Dusty Road Sundae! (I think that’s what it’s called.) Chocolate ice cream, chocolate fudge, malt, whipped cream, and a cherry. Yuuuum!

And, alas, here we have the final day… *sigh!* This day was actually one of my favorites. We went to Desert Botanical Garden first. It’s absolutely amazing there, but we only walked around for a little while because it was way too hot! Definitely go in the earlier hours of the morning or the evening if you decide to go! I love this photo of the prickly pear cactus.

And this is one of my favorite photos I took the whole trip! Just LOOK how beautiful it is there!! I can’t get over it. I love New England, but going to new places always makes me so happy because the environment is so much different.

Ouch, I would NOT want to fall into that! Lol.

I don’t have any photos, but after that we went go-karting! I had never been and it was actually really, really fun. I was sooo scared at first because I had never done anything besides bumper cars in my life, but it turned out to be a blast.

After that, we went to lunch and then to SMOCA (Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art). I had seen photos of this place online because currently this light exhibit is the big thing there. It’s a pretty small museum, but they’ve got a LOT of interesting art there and an AMAAAAZING gift shop!!

It was around mid-afternoon by then, so we headed back and got all of our things together to get ready for our flight that would leave at around 10:30pm.

It suddenly started pouring and it went on for quite a while. The power flickered on and off for a bit too. Before the storm, we ordered pizza, and apparently the power had gone out at the pizza place, too! Luckily, they had made ours just in time.

When the rain stopped, we saw the owl in the backyard saying one last goodbye to my brother and I. 😉 On the way to the airport, a rainbow appeared and we saw another beautiful AZ sunset. The perfect way to end the most incredible trip!

So, there you have it: my trip to Arizona. It was the first time I had ever traveled alone, but it was also one of the most exciting and wonderful experiences I’ve ever had. I am so, so, so grateful that I got to visit my family and learn and see so many awesome sights there. I hope to visit again soon!!

I hope you enjoyed this little travel series and that you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Arizona: part two

In part one, we left off at the Grand Canyon. After that amazing sunset, it took us about five hours to drive back to Phoenix, meaning we arrived at around one a.m. I was SO tired but it was SO worth it!

The next day we slept in and went swimming for a little while in the morning. We were planning on going to the Odysea Aquarium, but since it was Saturday it was crazy busy and there was zero parking. We decided instead to go to the Heard Museum, which was something I was so looking forward to.

The exhibit going on at the time was Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. (Unfortunately, TODAY is the last day of the exhibit there, but I think it’s a traveling exhibit so it will be at other locations.)

In sixth or seventh grade I was told to do a book report on someone I knew nothing about. (AKA – not a first lady. I had done Jackie O., Eleanor Roosevelt, AND Michelle Obama in past years!) I found a book in my school’s library about Frida Kahlo and I recognized the name and face. I knew my mom was a big fan of her but I really didn’t know too much about her.

The book was a cheap, middle school-age biography with a little information about her personal life, but it didn’t go into great detail. Nevertheless I learned so much about her and I wanted to learn even more. I thought her story was just fascinating and I was in love with her work. I was so glad I branched out and chose someone new to write about!

Before we left for Arizona I was researching some museums and events I wanted to check out while there and I came across the Heard Museum. It’s primarily an American Indian Art Museum, but the Frida and Diego exhibit had been apparently been a huge hit so I had to put it on my Arizona to-do/to-go-to list!

Tons of Kahlo’s pieces were on display and it was so surreal to see all of them. I had only seen one of her real pieces at MoMA in New York, so this exhibit was so awesome. It had Rivera’s work as well and many photographs taken by Kahlo’s father, too.

This was of the coolest things in this exhibit. Designers researched Kahlo’s style in great detail and made replicas of her clothes. I thought they were actually her real clothes before they mentioned they were replicas! So much detail is put into those outfits and they’re all so beautiful. I LOVE the flower crowns, too!


My aunt and I stumbled upon a tour group and decided to join it. The tour guide was super helpful. She explained the interpreted meanings of many of the pieces and I went home with so much more knowledge about Kahlo’s life!

 They really need to make a year-round Frida Kahlo museum. This exhibit was absolutely amazing. It’s definitely in my top three favorite museums I’ve ever been to. (I think it just beats the First Ladies exhibit in D.C. 🙂 ) The gift shop was crazy awesome, too. (That’s always a plus!) I now appreciate Frida Kahlo’s work so much more knowing how much pain she went through throughout her life.

After the Heard, we went out for lunch at the Cafe at Phoenix Public Market. Other than it being super loud in there, the menu was great and the desserts looked gorgeous. I got the AB&J (Almond butter and jelly) and WOW was that good! It was just the right portion and the flavors were perfect together. I would totally eat that again.


After lunch, we went to SNOH Ice Shavery. It’s kind of like ice cream, but it’s kind of like shaved ice. It’s super weird but super yummy. They have boba and other drinks there too, but I was curious to try the “ice cream,” or whatever you want to call it! I chose one of the ones on the menu that was already created, but you can create your own too. The base was taro (that’s the purple in the photo) and it was so good. I had never tried taro before but it was really interesting and it doesn’t taste anything like it looks. (LOL, I don’t even know what purple is supposed to taste like. Grape?!) It was topped with condensed milk, almond cookies, and almond pudding. I would totally recommend this place if you want to try something new!

After that, we went to Changing Hands which is a local bookstore. I love bookstores and I so wish we had a Changing Hands on the East Coast. I got myself a copy of The Catcher in the Rye and had a lot of fun looking at all the books and little knick knacks and accessories they had there. It’s the perfect place for gifts!

When we left the bookstore, it was POURING. As we drove into Phoenix it began to settle down and really wasn’t raining too much when we got back. We went swimming again (it really was a daily activity for us!) and enjoyed the rest of the night.

The next day, we checked out the Arizona Science Center. It had a lot of cool activities and hands-on exhibits and I really enjoyed it there! Science is not my favorite – or best – subject, so the phrase “science center” never excites me. Whenever I go to one, though, I end up having a great time and learning a lot. Science IS cool, but it only interests me when I’m able to see it in action rather than sitting in a desk at school!

We were hungry after we left so we stopped for froyo on the way back. See the little hint of pink froyo? That’s mixed berry, AKA: me trying to be healthy. TBH, there’s no coming back from sprinkles, heath bar, oreos, AND butterfingers, so that decision was pointless.

That night, I think we swam again. I also witnessed the SECOND prettiest sunset on this trip! (First being the Grand Canyon, and nothing will ever top that!) I love the silhouette palm trees in these photos.

So there is part two of my trip to Arizona! There will most likely be two more parts… I have to decide how I want to split the trip up.

Happy Labor Day and Monday! Have a great week.

A Day at the Fair

A Day at the Fair

Every year I look forward to my town’s fair. This year I went on Friday and it was so much fun. I’ve gone every year of my life and I hope I never miss a year. I love seeing my friends from school, stuffing myself with endless amounts of fair food, riding the creaky carnival rides, and photographing it all along the way. Although I left with a headache, sunburn, AND heartburn, it was totally worth it. 😉 (Oh, and here’s my fair post from two years ago #cringe. LOL.) 

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day: 






Happy September! I hope you’re all having a great long weekend and enjoyed these photos. 

My trip to Arizona: part one

My trip to Arizona: part one

This summer (and year, for that matter) has really put me out of my comfort zone for a few reasons. Towards the end of July, my brother and I took a trip out to visit our family in Arizona… alone! Yup, no parents.

I have always loved traveling but I had never traveled alone before this trip. The idea of it never really scared me, but once it actually became a reality the nerves took over juuuust a little. I’m happy to say that I made it there and back and my first trip traveling alone was a success and so much fun!

I took about a million photos so I decided to not do a giant post and instead separate them into a few different ones! This post will be our first few days and the Grand Canyon.

We headed to Boston and our flight got delayed because of rain and it left at around 10pm. I just love this colored glass at the Boston airport!

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The plane ride was about four and a half hours so we got to Phoenix at around one AM. I (thankully) was able to sleep and wasn’t cursed with too much jet lag! We flew on JetBlue so there were TVs… unfortunately I did not ask where the headphone jack was on the way there but I later found out they’re right under the armrest, so pro tip for anyone who is looking for it next time you’re on the plane! 😉

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As I mentioned above we were staying with family which was so nice!! The first day we slept and just hung out and swam in the pool. Then at night we headed down to Chase Field to see a Diamondbacks game. They were playing the Atlanta Braves and, sadly, lost. I learned a lot about baseball… like, a lot! I played softball for a whole season years ago and still didn’t know the rules of the game! I also had about a million mini-heart attacks because we were right in the strike zone for the lefties and seeing those balls above my head was so scary. Thankfully, I made it back alive to tell you the story. 

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The next day we went down to Scottsdale Fashion Square for some shopping (mostly window shopping, actually!) That was a lot of fun because I don’t go to malls too often AND it was air conditioned. I mean, that’s kind of a must for any place in Arizona because it is SO HOT there!

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Boba tea! This was some sorta watermelon strawberry blend. I can’t remember, but it was good!

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We swam a LOT. Almost every day! Mostly in the early morning or late afternoon so it was a little cooler. I loved swimming at night because we could watch the sunset! Oh – we also heard AND saw an owl! More on that later…

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The next day we headed up to the Grand Canyon. We drove about two hours up to Prescott and stayed overnight there. The scenery changed so much as we headed up towards the Canyon! It felt like we were in a totally different state.

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Prescott was a super touristy town but it was really nice to walk around and check out all the fun gift shops and art stores. For dinner we ate at the restaurant right next to our hotel called The Barley Hound that was delicious. This salad was just part of our meal and it was spinach, beets, candied pistachios, and goat cheese which is my favorite! I could eat this salad every day.

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This is where we stayed, Hotel Vendome. I had never stayed in a hotel quite like this one. You could totally tell it was pretty historic from the claw foot tubs to the pull chain toilets but it was so nice. I would totally stay there again if I ever go to Prescott again! Plus it’s in the middle of the downtown area of Prescott and right next to The Barley Hound and another nice cafe that we went for breakfast the next morning.

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The next day we drove another two hours up to the Canyon! I have been to Arizona a few times before but had never been to Grand Canyon. I was so excited to visit my first national park, and this one totally did not disappoint. Seriously – we had the best experience ever!

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OMG a photo of me?! On my blog?! This is a historic moment. I rarely post photos of myself but oddly enough this post has two. TWO! Give me some credit for that, ok?!

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How amazing is that? If you haven’t seen the Canyon, you must go. I feel soooo lucky I got to experience it. It’s seriously the coolest thing ever.

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 Soooo by the way, guys, I baaaaasically hiked the Grand Canyon.

Well… maybe half a mile of it. My cousin, brother, and I hiked just a little bit of the first trail. Was I sweating my butt off by the time we got back up??? You know it. But honestly it would be soooo cool to go down there and actually hike and camp there. On my bucket list! Someday…

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OK, so right as we were getting ready to leave, a thunderstorm starting to come in faster from the other side of the canyon. (SO COOL, RIGHT?!) We had seen the clouds and heard some thunder a bit earlier that day, but it didn’t really seem like it was going to pass over us. Well, IT DID! We were planning on taking sunset photos but we weren’t sure if the clouds would clear up. We drove around and stopped at various points but found the absolute PERFECT place to stop. As soon as we got there the rain started to slow down and the sun began to set.

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And, BOOM. Basically the most perfect sunset ever. The weather that day was crazy and I basically experienced it all: hot & sunny, cold & rainy! It was kind of hard to capture the amazing-ness of it, so these photos will have to do.

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Oh, yeah. THERE WAS ALSO A DOUBLE RAINBOW. AHHHH!! 

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When you realize you made it out of the Grand Canyon without falling in… #yaasssss #iDidIt #proud 

LOL. So there’s part one of my Arizona trip! More to come this week. I had the best time ever and am super excited to share more. Happy Friday! 

A Day in New York City

HI guys! Okay, okay. I know I said I would put New York post up LAST week, but hey. It’s up now, so that’s all that matters! 

So yeah! For my birthday I was just dying to go to New York City again because I love it there so much. We weren’t able to stay overnight or anything like we did last year, (see those posts here and here) so we just went for the day. I’m so excited to share my photos with you! I didn’t really take many with my camera and so all of these are from my iPhone and edited with A Color Story. (my favorite editing app!) 

From the recent trips I’ve taken into the city, I’ve noticed it can be pretty tedious to have to a) take out your camera from your bag every time you want to take a photo or b) stop right in the middle of the sidewalk to take one. I’m sure there are better ways to utilize my camera around the city but I think I just need to practice! 

We left the house a little later than planned but got to the New Haven Train Station by around 8:30-9ish. Oh! Do you guys like my new shoes? Not really new now but I got them for my birthday and I love them! Here is the link to the style they are… I can’t seem to find the same color! I’m sure they’re somewhere on the internet, though. 

On the train! It was probably about an hour and a half or two hours to get there.

Grand Central Station! It’s so pretty there. And busy. VERY busy. 

Our first stop was the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). I had never been there and it had been on my bucket list for forever! They were CRAZY busy though. It probably would’ve been better to go on another day or earlier, but it was still really cool to see everything. Here are some of my favorite pieces we saw: 

From there we took the subway up to Greenwich Village where we spent most of the day. 

We were all pretty hungry after that so we went to Joe’s Pizza for lunch! It’s been on my bucket list for a while as well and let me tell you it did NOT disappoint. Probably the best pizza I’ve ever had and I’m not exaggerating! You have to try it. Oh – AND it was in the Spider Man movie so that makes it 100x cooler. 

Coincidentally, ANOTHER place on my bucket list was literally right next to Joe’s! I’ve seen Popbar over the Internet and it always looked so delicious. 

Yummm! I got pistachio with chocolate and more pistachio nuts on top. 

From there we walked around Greenwich Village a bit and found Washington Square Park! I was looking forward to seeing the pretty fountain in the center but sadly it wasn’t running 😦 but that’s okay. I know I’ll be back to see it! The flowers were also just starting to bloom and it was so pretty.

So after that we kinda just walked around and enjoyed The Village! I love it there. All of New York has so much to do but the village is so awesome and there are so many cool places! We stumbled upon a CREPE restaurant. I LOOOVE crepes so much. I’ve taught myself to make them, but you can’t go wrong with getting one off the streets of New York, right?! Mine had Nutella and strawberries and it was so so good. 

Then we visited Socketbit which is a little Swedish candy shop that (I keep saying this oh my god!) has been on my bucket list forever! I’m serious about this one. It’s so cute and colorful in there (well, the candy is!) and I loved it so much. 

After that we walked around for a while and found a spot to eat dinner. Then we took a cab (My first cab in NYC!! It’s nothing special. I prefer the subway. Haha.) back to Grand Central. It was a super fun day in New York and I can’t wait to visit again. Hope you guys enjoyed these photos – sorry it took so long to get them up! 

Happy Saturday!

Two years!

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Guess what today is?!

You don’t know? Well, that’s OK. I didn’t know until two seconds ago when I got the notification from WordPress! It’s all good.

I’ve been blogging for two years! Whaaaaat! Yep. Apparently on May 7, 2015 I wrote my very first post and Studio Josie had begun. Though I don’t use this blog as much as I’d like, I love love love writing and sharing things on here with you guys. I hope you all like what I share, too!

Hopefully I continue to write and share pieces of my life with you all. It’s pretty fun!

Anyways, before I got the notification, this post was called “Spring.” I think I’ll just continue from where I left off, and I’ll meet you at the end… 🙂

After an endless winter, spring is finally here! I know it won’t last long, so I’ll enjoy it while we have it.

I love flowers, and where I live spring comes with a plethora of them. My favorites are hydrangeas and lilacs, but it’s impossible to choose because they are just so pretty.

All of a sudden, they all came out from hiding and decided to say, “hi.” Dear flowers, please stay forever!

Here are some photos I just took of these lovely lilacs in my backyard…

And now for a little playlist I made in honor of spring finally arriving:

Oh hey! Nice to see you again.

So yeah. TWO YEARS! Hooray!

This was just a quick little post for today. I SWEAR the New York photos will be up soon. You know, I never seem to procrastinate for school-related things, but when I need to upload photos on my computer that already has 1,000,000,000,000 photos, making it insanely laggy, I get a little lazy. THIS WEEK, though. They will be up this week! I pinkie promise.

I’m trying to think if I’ve got anything else to share with you. Hm. Oh – I saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on Friday! So good. Chris Pratt, I LOVE YOU.

What else? OH! I’m currently binging two shows: Parenthood and Ugly Betty. Lauren Graham is the BEST. She’ll always be Lorelai Gilmore in my heart, but I’m loving Sarah Braverman, too. 🙂

I’ve been meaning to watch Ugly Betty FOREVER. America Ferrera is probably in my top five favorite actress/celebrity type people list. She is so insanely awesome! AND HER NEW-ISH HAIR. I want it so bad. Why can’t I pull it off as well as she can? 😦

If you haven’t seen Superstore please go watch it now. PLEASE! If you liked the Office, you will looooove Superstore. Season two just ended so now you have time to catch up! Go do it! Now! Ugh why did I just remind myself that I have to wait all summer for season three?! Nooooo!!!

Alright, I’m starting to sound crazy. Happy Two Year Anniversary to Studio Josie! Yay! Have a great week everyone!!

 

 

Vermont photos & happy Friday!

Hey guys! It’s been foreeeeeever since I’ve written on here. A whole MONTH. So, not foreeeeeever.. but you know what I mean. I’ve been a) super busy and b) lacking post ideas! BUT I just remembered I never showed my Vermont photos with you! I went a few weeks ago with my friend and her family, and it was, as always, soooo much fun! I went last summer and the summer before, so this was the first time I had been in winter! It didn’t snow as much as I thought it would, which was surprising but also great cause we didn’t get trapped up there in a blizzard! Here are some of my favorite iPhone photos I took while up there…

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You know you’re in Vermont when THIS is the gas station ice cream selection… I mean, COME ON. It’s basically the entire factory in that freezer! They even have my favorite flavor, The Tonight Dough!

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It was super late when we got there the first night, but the snow looked soooo pretty the next morning!

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I just had to take a photo of this house. It was right in downtown Stowe, and ALL the houses and shops just looked so beautiful!

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We went sledding that day and it was awesome!! I love sledding, and this hill was just the best. Plus, it wasn’t too crowded, and people started to show up just as we left!

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After sledding, we went to the general store, Stowe Mercantile! I LOVE it there. There are so many samples which I aaaalways help myself to. 😉 (If you go, you NEED to sample these corn nugget things… they’re AMAZING!!!) The jams are really yummy as well.

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Really wish I had gotten these cute succulent salt and pepper shakers! I am obsessed with them!!

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The penny candy I got! They have the best selection. My favorites are the nonpareils, candy rocks, those raspberry and blackberry things, and chocolate cookie dough bites!

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How cute would it be if you bought some of these letters and wrote out a word or something on your wall?! I love them. They remind me of Fixer Upper!

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That night we went to one of my favorite pizza places PIECASSO! We always go when we’re up in Vermont. It is deliiiiiicious. We got pineapple pizza (my favorite… why do people hate it!?!?!) and cheese! Oh – and garlic knots which are pictured above. Those are the best!

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Love these! They’re right in the main waiting area next to the mini arcade. We have gone to the arcade every time and it is so much fun because we win stuff every time! Haha! The first time we won bouncy balls, this time I won TWO stuffed animals, and my friend Emma won HEADPHONES! They were super cheap and basically broke on the ride back… but come on…who ever wins at those games?!

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Pretty lights outside!

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Laughing moon chocolate factory! We stopped there on the way home. I got some kind of chocolate almond bark and it was so, so, so good!

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Gorgeous sunset on the ride back!

I didn’t take too, too many photos this trip, but these were some of my favorites! Hope you enjoyed seeing them. I’m gonna be sharing my March playlist really soon… it’s a good month for music! Happy Friday, guys! Hope you all have a great weekend.