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 🙂 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 🙂

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 😀 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, yes 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 😉


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!



Good Luck!


It is Friday the 13th. Yes, I am a very superstitious person. Maybe it has to do with the fact that in 8th grade every 13th of the month (it didn’t even matter if it was a Friday!) something weird (not necessarily bad) would occur. To prove that my concerns are warranted: Rebekah (my best friend since I was in 3rd grade) texts me on most Friday the 13ths to say good luck! OK I might be ridiculous but hey we all have our silly beliefs.  My grandmother actually loves this day, especially when it falls on her birthday! But it’s 5 o’clock and, well, nothing bad has happened. Then again I play it careful these days. I did forget my license today in another bag and drove to the hospital and back so some might even say I had good luck because no cop stopped me. It had to happen sometime!

Anyway I have some creations for y’all! Really easy meals I have made that were not only delicious but great for the body! They don’t require a recipe and can be altered for a person’s own taste preferences (these were just mine on that day and that moment)

Salmon, Provolone Cheese, and Mushroom Omelet w/ Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli (broccoli fresh from the backyard garden i might add!)

I got home late (ish… 9pm is late for me most nights) because I was hanging out with a friend from way back when. I wasn’t actually hungry but thought I should probably eat something. (more on this later). This was so easy and delicious! I roasted the Brussel Sprouts after shaking them up with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and I steamed the broccoli. I absolutely love omelets honestly. They are so easy to make, come with endless possibilities of creations, and they really can pound some nutrition into the body! So even though I felt no hunger before this meal I also didn’t feel stuffed afterwards… win win!!!

Deli Meat and Cheese Asparagus Roll Ups!w/ a roasted pepper

This was lunch today. I used to make these great pretzel rolls with “fake meat” and cheese and hummus or laughing cow cheese on a daily basis in high school. I would be looked at SO strangely, but did I care? well actually yes I did but it didn’t stop me from enjoying them. We don’t have the necessary pretzel rods in the house at the moment but we did have Asparagus! So I altered my creation (which I first got from the Today Show).

How To Make “Roll Ups”

  • Take some kind of  food that is like a stick (I can vouch for pretzel rods and asparagus spears)
  • Pick a deli meat and cheese (these are turkey and provolone)
  • And pick a spread (these are ricotta, but I also love laughing cow, hummus, or guacamole)
  • Spread the spread onto your lunch meat and cheese and place your rod food of choice in the center and…
  • ROLL! I then preceded to heat these up but I wouldn’t suggest it with pretzels (might get soggy)

So, other than a brief scare of o man I don’t have my driver’s license This Friday the 13th is turning out pretty good. Although I am getting very frustrated with this feeling hunger thing. What do I do on the the days I don’t feel hungry? If anyone has some advice I would love it. I know what to do if I am not feeling good, but on normal days with my normal exercise I know I need at least 3 good sized meals a day to get my body the nutrients it needs. I just run into the issue of when??? Today for instance I had breakfast around 8:30am (I was sort of hungry for it but not really), but wasn’t hungry when I got home from the hospital like I sometimes am so I worked out first. Well 4 o’clock hit and I still felt nothing so I decided to make that awesome lunch up there. I wasn’t stuffed afterwards either, just feeling a tad confused by my body. So I normally eat pretty late for dinner, but I normally have a rule of if I am not hungry by 9:15pm then I need to get downstairs and make something (especially if I plan on exercise in the morning). Am I wrong should I wait longer for hunger? I don’t think i should because meals take time to not only prepare but also to eat and I like my sleep as much as the next person! I am going to keep trying to feel this hunger out and hope for a break through soon. I am very determined!

O and my friend posted this on her boyfriend’s wall the other day and I found it hilarious 😉

Dad is Screaming for Ice Cream (with Encouragement)

Happy Father’s Day! Make sure to tell your Dad how much he means to you today and everyday!

I love that both days that honor parents are one Sundays, because that means I can learn in church some great life lessons about them and I end up loving this day and being reminded of how much this day actually means (it is not just a greeting card holiday)

I am my daddy’s girl through and through. My daddy is the lovable enforcer who pushes me to my limits. And I couldn’t be more grateful for that. He doesn’t take my nonsense, and he is my biggest supporter (well tied with my mom). I honestly think my dad believes I can do anything I put my mind to. Which is great because sometimes I don’t think that and I should. So he makes me put my faith back in myself.

Take a conversation we have after pretty much after every exam I take:

Me: I had my (insert class subject here) exam today (said in a rather timid tone)

Dad: So you aced it right! (said totally confident with no doubts)

Me: Ha very funny. I did my best and studied really hard so we will see

Dad: You know you did great

Well I never know if I have done great, especially for the first exam in any class.  And especially this semester, biochemistry almost tore me apart, but both of my parents remained confident in my abilities and my study habits.  That made me work even harder and when I had this conversation for the first time this summer at home about biochem final I knew the grades were up but too scared to look.  My dad’s convo made me go and look and well I got the highest grade on the final in the class and pulled off not just an A- but an A. So thanks Dad for always having confidence in me and giving me your strength when I need more than just my own.

So what have I cooked up for this very special weekend? Well I have my dad to thank for supper last night! My first flirtation with Salmon! Grilled to perfection!

I had it over Romaine lettuce with sauteed zucchini, peas (also grown by dad), and a yellow bell pepper. I will be having salmon again and soon!

Now I always make something for my parents on there special days. For Mother’s Day I made homemade bagels…

But my dad LOVES ice cream. I wanted to make an ice cream cake but we leave early Tuesday morning for Europe so i made 6 little chocolate ice cream cupcakes!

My Very Own Creation


  • The ingredients needed to make your favorite cupcakes
  • Your favorite ice cream variety (or what will go best with the cake flavor – dad wanted vanilla)

How To:

  • Bake the cupcakes and allow them to cool completely
  • crumble half of the cupcakes up into large pieces of cupcake
  • A couple hours (2 -3) before serving top the still in tack cupcakes with slightly softened ice cream
  • Top the ice cream with the pieces of cupcake you crumbled
  • Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for a few hours
  • Take out of the freezer and serve and enjoy!

What did you do for your dad today?

What does your dad do for you that you cannot be more grateful for?

What is your dad’s favorite food?