Oxford, OH (Lauren's Graduation)

So, now what? 

Just kidding, I'm not graduating for another two years! My sister graduated this past weekend, and the phrase "now what?" is a common joke every college graduate says, either joking about it, actually meaning it, or both. Lauren is excited about finally being a graduate, especially since she won't have to study for any more exams and will be living and working for advertising in Chicago! Of course, she wasn't too happy to graduate considering she went to one of Ohio's best colleges: Miami University. 

IMG_1916.JPG

On Friday, my parents and I drove four hours down to Oxford (fifty minutes outside of Cincinnati) and met my sister and her boyfriend Jordan for dinner at Quarter Barrel, which served pizza, wine, and club sandwiches (yum!) We then spent till 12 or 1 am drinking Redskin drinks at New Bar (The Woods) in uptown Oxford. It was definitely a great start to a great weekend if I say so myself! 

Dinner at Quarter Barrel. 

Dinner at Quarter Barrel. 

Me, Lauren, Jordan, and some of their closest friends. 

Me, Lauren, Jordan, and some of their closest friends. 

Me, Lauren, and her best friend Kaitlyn. 

Me, Lauren, and her best friend Kaitlyn. 

Just a few drinks and chilling at New Bar (The Woods). 

Just a few drinks and chilling at New Bar (The Woods). 

The next day my sister and mom (who also graduated from Miami along with my dad) wanted to walk around the campus one last time and sink in all of the memories. It was so great to walk around and embrace all of the happy times. I even enjoyed the little tour despite the fact that I don't attend the school, although sometimes I wish I did! Many people say that Miami is the "Harvard of the Midwest", not just because of the great education but the fact that all the buildings resemble to Harvard University's buildings. Miami is also very well known for the students' preppy sense of fashion! 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
Meeting with our dad at 45 East Bar & Grill. 

Meeting with our dad at 45 East Bar & Grill. 

Stopping by Brick Street for a few drinks. 

Stopping by Brick Street for a few drinks. 

Later that evening, we held a mini graduation party for Lauren and some of her close friends at her apartment. We ate some really good food, had a great time chatting with everyone (I even talked with some siblings of the graduates who are also interested in working in the fashion industry like me!), and sang along to some great 80s tunes! Of course, right after my dad became in charge of the music playlist ... 

Kaitlyn (left) and Julie (right) singing Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" using beer bottles as "microphones".  

Kaitlyn (left) and Julie (right) singing Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" using beer bottles as "microphones".  

FullSizeRender.jpg
The graduates!  

The graduates!  

FullSizeRender.jpg

Afterwards, Lauren's godmother Nicki finally arrived after driving all the way from Cleveland and we all walked over to Brick Street, one of the most popular bars in Oxford, for a couple of drinks and to hang out before the big ceremony the next day. It got super crowded late at night, and we stayed there until 11:30 pm. I was surprised that I wasn't tired at that time, I'm usually tired even before that time! 

FullSizeRender.jpg
Me, my mom, Lauren, and her beautiful and kind-hearted godmother Nicki. 

Me, my mom, Lauren, and her beautiful and kind-hearted godmother Nicki. 

The gang's all here!

The gang's all here!

IMG_1933.JPG

What's a great way to celebrate Mother's Day? One of her daughters earning a Bachelor's Degree of Science in Business! Sunday was the big day, although it was only for the graduation for the Farmer School of Business, since my sister was a marketing major and a member of Delta Sigma Pi. The main ceremony was held the day before, and we didn't want to go because it would've been too long, boring, and dreadful in the heat. 

That morning after taking a few pictures around campus before the commencement, we stopped by every Miami student's favorite place: Bagel & Deli. There's no doubt as to why everyone raves about it, it's so good! My favorite sandwich is called the "Crunch A Munch", a bagel with turkey, American cheese, lettuce, honey mustard, and actual Doritos! It sounds like a weird thing to put chips in a sandwich, but it tastes so good that it's impossible to think of as weird! 

Eating a delicious "Crunch A Munch" bagel sandwich from Bagel & Deli (featuring half of Jordan's head).

Eating a delicious "Crunch A Munch" bagel sandwich from Bagel & Deli (featuring half of Jordan's head).

After breakfast/lunch,  we took more pictures with Lauren and her fraternity friends outside one of their houses, which looked weird inside considering it was empty compared to the last time I was there. One of my favorite things about college graduations is when students decorate their caps with a funny or serious quote/picture relating to college and the future. That's exactly what Lauren and the majority of students did, and they all look so creative! 

Lauren's graduation cap.  

Lauren's graduation cap.  

IMG_1944.JPG
FullSizeRender.jpg

The commencement for the Farmer School of Business was held at Millet Hall, the same place where they hold basketball games and where we saw shows such as Aziz Ansari, Seth Meyers, and the annual spring fashion show by MUFD (Miami University Fashion and Design). Dinesh Paliwal, the CEO of Harman, was the guest speaker and gave the graduates an inspiring speech about his early life and how he came to be where he is now through business. He even sent every student home with a free set of stringless earphones from his business, kind of like Ellen or Oprah!

The ceremony overall was very bittersweet. Being able to watch my sister receive her diploma after four years of hard work truly is a blessing, and I could not be more happy for her.

The Farmer School of Business commencement at Millet Hall. 

The Farmer School of Business commencement at Millet Hall. 

She did it!  

She did it!  

One last family photo with Delta Sigma Pi!  

One last family photo with Delta Sigma Pi!  

IMG_1919.JPG

And of course, what is a big celebration without a little bit of champagne? 

Champagne time! 

Champagne time! 

One last picture with the apartment!  

One last picture with the apartment!  

But having a hard time saying goodbye to something makes that something even more special, and that's exactly the impact that Miami University left on all of the graduates including my sister.

Thank you to Miami University for giving Lauren so many opportunities, including becoming the vice president of Delta Sigma Pi and a committee member for Phi Mu. Thank you to my mom and dad for allowing Lauren to experience the best four years of her life at the same place where they spent some of their best times in four years. I especially thank God for blessing my sister with a wonderful college experience and allowing her to exceed greatly in her education. 

And finally, of course, thank you to Lauren for making me a proud little sister. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for you, especially in a few weeks when you move to Chicago to follow your dreams! 

IMG_1913.JPG

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

IMG_1101.JPG

College is super exhausting at this point of the semester, so why not take a break and get out of town for the weekend? I'm always down for a new adventure as long as I have enough cash and an excuse to write another blog post! 

This past weekend, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel with my friends and other Malone University students to Pittsburgh for the Jubilee Conference, a gathering of college students not only coming to praise God but also learn how to worship Him. One can assume that being a Christian means to work in the ministry and never sin, but that is not always true. One of the speakers, Anthony Bradley, gave an inspiring speech on how you can be a Christian and pursue any dream possible, not just in the ministry. Not only did the conference open my eyes to diversity in the church but also allowed me to  understand more that I can do all things through Christ and I don't have to be a perfect Christian to do so. 

Besides the conference, the best part about the weekend trip was getting to hang out with my friends and explore the city. I have never been to Pittsburgh before, so this was a great new experience for me! I honestly believe that the main reason why Jubilee is so amazing is that it's God's opportunity for you to spend time with people you love and redefine friendship in many ways. 

IMG_1042.JPG
IMG_1048.JPG

We stayed in a very fancy hotel called the Westin, which is not a far walk from Market Square and one of the bridges. There was a pizza place a few blocks down the road, so we got some on late at night on Friday. A great way to celebrate the weekend! 

The next day was warm and sixty degrees, which felt like summer! We got to wear shorts, which was good since we were going to be walking a lot. A few of my friends and I first stopped at Market District where we stopped at Nicholas Coffee Co. and got some iced coffee. Then we walked around, took some fun pictures and selfies like normal tourists. 

Market Square

Market Square

FullSizeRender.jpg
The various flavors of coffee beans inside of Nicholas Coffee Co.  

The various flavors of coffee beans inside of Nicholas Coffee Co.  

IMG_1093.JPG
IMG_1090.JPG
Watching people ice-skating! 

Watching people ice-skating! 

One of my favorite parts about touring Pittsburgh was over at one of the river sidelines. It was a perfect sunny day, which made it totally acceptable to sit on the edge of the river. It felt really surreal and it was just a delightful and beautiful experience. Thankfully, none of us fell in the river! 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
IMG_1077.JPG
IMG_1063.JPG
IMG_1075.JPG

Later that Saturday, before another conference, me and some girlfriends went out to get milkshakes for dinner. Rebellious AND delicious, you know what I mean? 

We went to this cute ice cream shop blocks away from the convention center/hotel called the Milkshake Factory where you can get milkshakes, sundaes, smoothies, and little chocolate goodies. I got a cookie dough milkshake and it was so freaking delicious! 

FullSizeRender.jpg

We actually ended up getting lost on the way back to go to the conference, which kind of made it more adventurous yet frustrating when traveling in an unfamiliar city. But thankfully, we had Google Maps to lead us the right way. Plus, our milkshakes made it less frustrating! 

The next morning we attended one more conference before our trip back to North Canton. The last worship was the best one yet, a great way to celebrate an amazing weekend. Jubilee really has made a big impact on my faith. Not that I wasn't as faithful before, but I definitely believe it boosted my confidence within myself, I enjoyed the bittersweet moments with my friends, I had a great adventure in a new city, and I learned more about the troubles of our world and how we can use faith in Jesus as a way to make it a kinder and better place. I'm so blessed and filled with joy that I was able to attend such a weekend getaway, and I already can't wait for Jubilee 2018! 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Cleveland Cavaliers Championship Parade

Normally Disney World is considered the happiest place in the world. As of Sunday, it is Cleveland! 

On June 22, my family and I were lucky enough to watch the super huge parade in honor of the Cleveland Cavaliers becoming NBA Champs. It not only was the most crowded event I have ever attended, but also the biggest crowds in downtown Cleveland for a long time. There was about 1.3 million people, some even camped out the night before to get a good view of the parade! It was just as big as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, maybe even bigger! 

This was just a wonderful opportunity to be of something so historical. Watching the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Golden State Warriors and ending the 52-year drought in Cleveland is a moment I will never forget for the rest of my life. It was so amazing to watch my favorite team become champions and bring a championship to my city. It was so surreal, and to listen to their inspirational speeches, like LeBron James and J.R. Smith, brought happy tears to my eyes. And now I'm lucky enough to say that I witnessed the most historical Cleveland sports event following the win! 

My mom and I woke up at about 5:30, freshened up, and left at 7:15 with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and her friend. My other cousin works for the Cavaliers in the ticket sales, Traffic, obviously, was backed up entirely. However, we managed to take the side streets through Valley View Road and Canal Road, which easily took us to downtown without being stuck in traffic for five hours.  By the time we parked, we walked with the crowds to the streets of East 9th and Euclid to watch the parade. Unfortunately, we had to stand and wait two hours before the parade finally came to our street. It was very hot outside and we were surrounded by so many people, it was so crowded that some people even scaled on top of buildings and portable toilets to gain a better view. Talk about a crazy commitment! 

Finally, police officers cleared the streets to make way for the parade. The Ohio State Marching Band marched down and performed some of their hit songs. It was so cool to finally see them live! Then, cars came by and sprayed confetti out of machines into the audience, both rectangle and star shaped. I've never seen so much confetti in my life, it was totally picture worthy! 

A few big trucks and trollies drove by, which my cousin Jenna was in one of them! It was so cool to see her be a part of something so special, especially something that she, me, our family, and the whole part of Northeast Ohio love! One of the big trucks had Cleveland-born rapper Machine Gun Kelly performing "Till I Die". There also was Jim Brown, former Browns legend, Tyronn Lue, Cavaliers coach, and of course, the beautiful NBA Finals trophy!

The NBA Finals gold trophy. 

The NBA Finals gold trophy. 

The best part, of course, was finally getting to see the players drive in. J.R. Smith was the first big player to come in, and he received the greeting that he deserved. He was also kind enough to sign autographs for anyone who asked. There is still one question out in the open that everyone is trying to figure out: where did his shirt go? 

A shirtless J.R. Smith. 

A shirtless J.R. Smith. 

But of course, J.R. was not the only player to appear shirtless. Soon enough, Kyrie Irving came down the street without top or coverup on as well. Like J.R., he signed a few autographs and even gave someone a free shoe of his! It was so cool to see him up close, I think he even made binoculars out of his hands to look at me while taking his picture! Of course, there could have been several people he was looking at, but I'll still say that we made eye contact and interaction!

Kyrie Irving looking at me! 

Kyrie Irving looking at me! 

I was a little caught off-guard after Kyrie drove away because that's when the King himself drove in! He worse a yellow baseball cat, a Nike shirt, and sunglasses and showed much pride and love like a true monarch. I was a little disappointed, however, because he somehow was in a smaller car rather than a big van which he could stand up and reveal himself. It made it hard to see him fully, but I at least managed to catch a quick glimpse and snap one good picture!

LeBron James in the yellow hat in the lefthand corner. 

LeBron James in the yellow hat in the lefthand corner. 

Other players such as Iman Shumpert, Mo Williams, Matthew Dellavedova,  Richard Jefferson, Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, and a few more passed along after LeBron. One of the last big players that I got to see - and was totally worth the wait to see - was my super handsome future husband Kevin Love!

I've had a big crush on him ever since I found out the Cavaliers drafted him. He just has such a pretty face, and he's such a great basketball player! I enjoy watching him play with the team, I think he has been a great help to allow the team to win the Championship. Kevin was so sweet as he came by. Like the other players, he gave high fives and wanted to sign autographs, but unfortunately did not have a pen. But his sweetness was so flattering, I wish I could have pushed my way through the crowds just to say hi and get a handshake! 

The incredibly handsome Kevin Love. 

The incredibly handsome Kevin Love. 

By the time the parade was over, we were exhausted from the overwhelming heat and claustrophobia from the confined crowd. He finally made our way to an open space as the streets cleared up, where confetti and trash lay everywhere. I finally got to eat some Subway sandwiches and Dunkin Donuts pastries which was very fulfilling and delicious, my favorite combination of food. We then made our way back to the car and drove home after a long day full of exhaustion but excitement. 

I now wish I could got back in time to re-live the incredible event, a terrible and wonderful experience all at once. If I could go back, I would try to get closer to the full on action and get better pictures and interactions with the players, but I think the amount we received was awesome no matter what. I had the best time of my life, especially since I got to spend it with my family. Let's now pray for another awesome season this fall and for our team to win it all again next year, that way we can have another historical parade to experience once more! Who knows, maybe even the Indians will win the Championship and have their parade earlier in November! 

Thank you to the Cleveland Cavaliers for striving for greatness and achieving more than that. As the King would say, "Nothing is given, it's earned." 

Carrie Underwood: The Storyteller Tour - Cleveland, OH

This week has been super hectic, in very good ways! I started work on Monday, so I've been a bit busy but I love it! My 20th birthday is tomorrow, so that is something that I am very looking forward to! But even more better, I got to attend the Carrie Underwood concert in Cleveland with some of my favorite people! 

It's been almost three or four years since the singer had a big tour. We had bought four tickets a few months ago, so I asked Lauren, Natalie, and my cousin Brittany to come. The date was perfect because it was at the beginning of summer and two days before my birthday! The weather was not that bad, which is a bonus because May has been kind of chilly so far. The fact that we were going to see one of the best country singers ever was absolutely awesome, and we couldn't wait for it! 

I love dressing up for country shows. It's always about the boots, jeans, shorts, cardigans, tank-tops, sandals, everything that brings back summer! Since the weather was a little warm, I wore my sister's old romper from Forever 21, my light nude knit cardigan from Urban Outfitters, sparkly sandals from Dillards, and a black purse from Matt & Nat. The other girls very stylish summer clothes as well, they looked like adorable country girls! 

Natalie (far left), Me, Lauren (center right), and Brittany (far right) 

For dinner, we ate Barrio, one of Cleveland's best restaurants. It is a Mexican bar and grill, the name "barrio" means neighborhood in Spanish. They have the yummiest tacos, and it's a make-your-own menu! My favorite is the spicy marinated chicken soft tacos with rice, white cheese, lettuce, and guacamole. My stomach growls whenever I think about them! 

Unfortunately, the wait was about fifty minutes. But once we sat down and ate, we were ready to get to the concert on time! Plus, waiting gave us some time to take some fun pictures together! 

Also a little surprise happened, I found out my friend from Malone University, Jordan, was at the concert, too! We messaged each other and decided to meet up somewhere quickly before the show started. We talked for a few quick seconds and got some pictures together. It was so awesome to see her! I know it's only been about two weeks since spring semester ended, but I have missed all of my friends so badly! 

Me and Jordan 

Me and Jordan 

The show opened with the Swon Brothers and Easton Corbin as the first acts. I have never heard of either one of them before, so it was kind of hard to sing along to their songs. They did a very good job though, any song that's country is a great song! 

The actual show finally came on at about 8:40. Carrie came onto the show opening with "Renegade Runaway", one of my favorite songs that she sings. Her voice was absolutely incredible, she has such a powerful tone! We also loved all of her various wardrobe changes. From dresses to one pieces, she looked outstanding in every outfit. My favorite was the gray dress she wore for "Blown Away", "Two Black Cadillacs", "Dirty Laundry", and "Choctaw County Affair". She's a super classy woman, one of the main reasons why she is my favorite singer! 

Some of my favorite songs that she performed were "Renegade Runaway", "Church Bells", "Jesus Take The Wheel", "Blown Away", "Clock Don't Stop", "Little Toy Guns", "Before He Cheats," and my all-time favorite, "Something in the Water". I remember that was the song I listened to a lot at the beginning of my first semester of college to help me get through rough times and to have hope for what's about to come. Two semesters later, I came back home satisfied with my first year and I got the opportunity to hear this song live. It was such a beautiful moment, to listen to the song a while back with hope and to hear it in concert with satisfaction. I could not be more thankful to God for blessing me with wonderful people and amazing opportunities in my life. 

I'm so glad we bought tickets for this, it was totally worth it! One of the best concerts I have ever attended for sure, and the perfect way to celebrate my birthday being two days away! It was even better to have my sister, my best friend, and my cousin with me to dance and sing along! Thank you Carrie for your incredible performances, never stop being amazing! 

Keep Calm and "Carrie" On! :)