Where to Begin?

I am back! And I missed you friends while on my mission trip in Atlanta, GA! But Atlanta was nothing like I expected and everything I needed in life. I cannot even describe how my eyes have been opened because … Continue reading

A Mother-Daughter Adventure

This weekend was needed. This weekend broke me from a rut of a routine. This weekend made me realize how lucky I am. This weekend did a lot of things. And it was all thanks to my momma.

Mom and I spent the weekend in Lynchburg VA for my Fall Break. I once lived here (for 6 weeks) and although my experience as a whole was not what I wanted or needed, Lynchburg made its way into my our hearts. And not because it is the one place I can go to get Bob Evans (although that is a plus!). It is because the city of Lynchburg is quite and peaceful, it has beautiful sites, kind people, and provides for an amazing weekend away.

We went hiking both days to see the sites of Lynchburg a little more. We got lost a couple of years ago on the same hiking trail. This time we picked a trail, looked at a map, and were successful in our adventure! Plus we found this great little garden dedicated to those who have had cancer affect their lives.

Lynchburg also has an AWESOME farmer’s market! I am stocked up on produce fresh from the farm! Squash, peppers, sweet potatoes, and of course apples!

Giant Sweet Potato!

Finally, Lynchburg has some awesome food. Highlights include Panera, breakfast at the farmer’s market, and dinner at Robin Alexander– We received our meal free of charge, which was completely ridiculous because the service was impeccable and the food was amazing. Next trip they can rest assure we will be back.

Pumpkin Pie Bagel- Mom let me try a little! yummy!

Cheap Walmart dinner of a sweet potatoes and PB and Co Dark Chocolate Dreams

Mediterranean Crepe- It is so cool to watch them make the crepes!

Appetizer- Con Queso dip!

Mom’s Swordfish dinner. OMG I need to get this next time!

My Chicken with goat cheese, spinach and tomatoes.

Mango Madness- Favorite drink so far!

Dessert to share- Delicious Apple Crumble

I am super sad to see the weekend come to an end. My mom is amazing, she centers me, and certainly helps me through the roughest of times. She is absolutely amazing. Thank you Mom for always being there for me and guiding me through my struggles. We have had bad times and good times, but no matter what you have stayed strong in your belief and faith in me. Because of you my life is full of once and a lifetime experiences that have helped to shape me into the person I am today.






Buffalo Family Time

Well Hello!

First off good luck to all of the students starting college this morning! There is a part of me that is very jealous of you, but then I remind myself it will be me next Monday starting my Junior year (Where did the time go!) Speaking of starting college, I visited Buffalo, NY for a couple days last week and got back early last night. I spent some great time with my family up there, especially my cousin Paige who will be beginning her Freshman year in college next week!

Here are my trip highlights!


Seriously this store is my heaven on earth. I woke up every morning looking forward to my walk over there. It is so great that my grandma lives in walking distance to TWO grocery stores- Tops and Wegmans. I just prefer to frequent Wegmans. I went about 5 times the first day πŸ™‚ but in my defense it was because we had to go to a bazillion stores to find the right bread for dinner. But anyway Wegmans has all of these brands I never get to try unless I order online. AKA Siggis yogurt. I love it and can’t get the flavors I love here in my town. AKA Blueberry and Plain.This was one of my happy finds. I have yet to try it, but I have built up epically in my head. Looks like the perfect addition to a cold night in Blacksburg this year.Just a fun fact. Every morning I got a banana at Wegmans. Yes one banana. I am very picky about my bananas and like them a certain size, shape, and color. Well I guess I like them a certain weight as well. I kid you not every banana from the time in Buffalo was $0.29. I told you I was picky.

My Cousin

I have a TON of cousins, but only one of them is from my mom’s side of the family and only one of them is younger than me. That is Paige and I love her. We are complete opposites to be honest. I am obsessive and a worry wart, while she goes with the flow. I have no athletic ability whatsoever, and she does. But when it comes down to it we are cousins and grew up as only children together (states and miles away) and we know what it is to go to bars and play the megatron game thingy for hours, take trips to Niagara Falls with your grandparents and dress like twins the whole trip, bring playing cards to every restaurant, and coloring books to bars so we don’t get bored. So some highlights in pictures from our time together…

Paninis made by Paige’s mom. AMAZING Balsamic Portabello, Roasted Red Pepper on Ciabatta

Have you tried these?

Because they totally work and I love my new toe nail designs! And no drying necessary!

Coloring in the bar my uncle works at. Going to Buffalo and not visiting a bar is like unheard of in my family πŸ™‚

Yeah it was a great time. We also shopped until we dropped for stuff for her dorm. I swear if I never set foot into a Bed Bath and Beyond for the rest of my life I will be good. That store is too confusing for me. Great stuff! But so confusing. I also got to go to the Galleria Mall. I love that kind of shopping! Highlight purchase? Two dresses from the store called Delias (never been before) and they were buy one get one free! Bargain Shopper!!! Plus we got froyo. I actually prefer real scoopable ice cream to froyo BUT I certainly didn’t pass up the chance for it! Strawberry, Marshmallow, and Neapolitan mix. It was just what I needed to fix a sugar low from lots of walking and shopping.

Backyard BBQ

We always tend to get together at my Uncle Grant and Aunt Kristen’s house for a little family fun. This visit was no different except that we had something to celebrate! Paige going off to college πŸ˜€ and we sort of combined it into the two September cousin’s birthday celebration in which we made PB Brownies by Betty Crocker and put 39 (18 + 21) candles on the brownies and tried to light them all. Fail. I got maybe 10 candles lit before the wax started going all over the brownies and we had to hurry and blow them out. As the grown up say, yesΒ the children are our future and this was an epic fail on my part. But the brownies went over well. At least the ones that didn’t get wax on them. And the get together was great!Our first Hanley get together was on the day of some golf tournament so my Uncle said he needed to get an outdoors TV. Well we still use it so I guess it was a good buy πŸ˜‰


Meet Scooter. This is my Uncle Grant and Aunt Kristen’s new puppy. He is so precious and well behaved! No begging at the cookout at all! And he likes beer… Must be a purebred Hanley according to my uncle. Now what is a cookout without food? This a part of our spread. Kristen made a great Greek pasta salad and a green salad to accompany the usual cookout out attendees. And we brought a veggie tray so the greens were prominent!My plate of veggies. I actually plated these right when we set the appetizers out (veggies and chips and dip). I knew I wanted veggies with my cookout meal and I have a tendency to worry that by the time we eat all of the stuff I want will be gone. Irrational? most definitely. Something I intend to work on? Yes. So it’s all good. Whatever makes me the most comfortable in the long run is best. My uncle was sweet enough to notice my plate of veggies just sitting there and offered to refrigerate them until the other food made an appearance.Now this was my highlight foodie thing. Salmon burgers from Wegmans. If you have been following me you know I just recently gave up being a vegetarian because I realized that my reasons were not ethically sound but eating disorder sound instead. So I shouldn’t need to bring a “Shannon” alternative to the Hanley cookout for the first time ever correct? Wrong. I am still very intimidated by eating burgers and hotdogs so I asked to bring the salmon burgers I spotted at Wegmans. My family is awesome and only made minor jokes at me. By bringing something I felt comfortable with I was able to enjoy my family time so much more. And there is nothing wrong with bringing your favorite foods. My cousin had her own “Paige” requests as well (cheese and pickles, special kind). The fact is we all don’t like the same things, but we all do need to eat and like what we eat. If you know you won’t like what is offered at a party ask if you can bring a dish. Most likely your host will be fine and dandy by it!

The party was filled with jokes and games. AKA Washers. Has anyone played this? It is sort of like Cornhole and games like it. I am terrible. I didn’t get a single point in the 3ish games I played. My excuse? You should play this game with a drink in your hand and alas I am not yet 21. We also have a family of iPhones… I am not apart of this family yet sadlyI cannot wait until December when I can get an iPhone. So many apps and games to play with my family! It will certainly close the distance between VA and upstate NY a tad!

It was a great trip and I am sad that it is over. School starts in exactly a week and this time next week I will be finishing up my Psych of Research Class… I am glad school is starting but extremely sad to see this summer end. This is weird for me because normally I am so ready to get out of summer mode. Not this year. I have discovered a ton about myself and made some huge strides in my life. But school doesn’t have to be the end of that! No school is just the beginning! So I am going to enjoy this last week at home in which I have nothing taxing to do but pack. I just bought the Hunger Games DVD and The Sims 3 and I am going to enjoy them! I also have a few blogs to write so be looking out for more posts as the week continues!