Woke up and drove to New York… :D


View from the upper falls area


Duuuudes…  you ever have one of those mornings when you feel an overwhelming desire to get the heck out of town or you may just lose your mind?!?!?!  That is exactly how I felt Saturday morning.  I was suppose to go snowshoeing with friends and was really looking forward to it as I have never been snowshoeing before.  However, when I opened my eyes I knew I had to pack up a few things and hop in my car.  It was a loooong week at work and some personal stuff was just brewing up inside me and that my friends makes for a great “get the heck out of dodge and drive to somewhere beautiful” kind of a much needed day!  So I pack a bunch of warm clothes, a thermos of hot coffee, some snacks, loaded up on gas and hit the highway.  I am not going to lie…. the weather was somewhat crappy but I didn’t care.

I knew exactly where I wanted to go.  I friend had told me about a place called “The Grand Canyon of the East” about a year ago.  I googled it and found it to be located in Letchworth State Park in Castile, NY.  So dudes, I plugged it into the map app on my phone, hit the open road and let my car take me there.

There is something about a road trip that gets me so totally excited and I feel so at peace and free.  I remember when I was moving from Venice Beach, CA up to San Francisco, I felt this feeling of relief knowing that I get to move someplace new and exciting…again!  Having the freedom to travel whenever I want to is so….sacred to me.  Sacred is the only word that I can think of to describe the feeling.  Although Cleveland is my home base for now, I would never rule out moving someplace new again.  😉

First I entered Pennsylvania (very short drive through this part of PA) then onto to New York.  The drive to New York wasn’t that bad.  I hit a few snow squalls heading of out Cleveland and in PA as well but I never thought to turn around.  It turned out to be a pretty decent drive for the most part.  I just took my time and wasn’t in any kind of hurry 🙂

I love driving along long stretches of land and looking out over the farms with really old barns and old houses with high pitched roofs.  Everything looks really pretty when it is snow covered.  Like a moment from a postcard from 60-70 years ago.  The landscapes seem to stand still in time when they are blanketed with snow.

After driving 4.5 hours and plenty of beautiful farms, I finally arrived at Letchworth State Park.


It. Was. Cold….very cold!  I arrived and checked into the ranger’s station only to find out that that part of the park was closed due to the weather.  A lot of roads in the park were closed because they were not passable.  I also inquired to see if I could get a cabin for the night.  I had this idea in my head that I was going to take a nice warm shower, read, write, relax and meditate until my heart’s content.  That didn’t happen!  I figured no one would be wanting to spend the night in a sub zero temps out in a state park, even if it was in a cabin.  Wellll I forgot that it was Valentine’s Day weekend.  Bummer because there was not single cabin available.  So what’s a lady to do?  I put on my winter gear and went for a hike around that part of the park.  It was breathtaking!  The following description is from the New York State Park website,

“Letchworth State Park, renowned as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” is one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the eastern U.S. The Genesee River roars through the gorge over three major waterfalls between cliffs–as high as 600 feet in some places–surrounded by lush forests. Hikers can choose among 66 miles of hiking trails. Trails are also available for horseback riding, biking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Letchworth offers nature, history and performing arts programs, guided walks, tours, a summer lecture series, whitewater rafting, kayaking, a pool for swimming and hot air ballooning.”  It was also named by USA Today,  America’s favorite state park 2015.


I cannot wait to go back in the late spring or early summer!  I want to hike for a couple of days and tent camp.  I don’t know if there is much backpacking in the park but I will have to find out for sure.  Wikipedia does a great job of explaining the history and formation of the canals and waterfalls within and around Letchworth State Park.   I tell you guys it’s worth the read 🙂

I hiked around and soaked up the scenery for while before heading back to Ohio.  The skies were so blue with wispy clouds spread out over the horizon.  The sun was bright and I could not have asked for a better day.  Even if it was insanely cold out!  The cool (pun intended!) part was the contrast of the blue sky against the evergreen trees. The trees just POPPED against the blue.  Very cool 🙂  Also the water below that was flowing through the canyon was a greenish blue color.  The color of VERY VERY VERY cold water.  Brrrr….  I had this thought that what if the cliff gave way and I slid hundreds of feet to the bottom of the canyon!?  Morbid I know but seriously…lol!  As I drove out of the park the wind picked just enough to blow some snow of the evergreen branches and they kissed my car gently as if to say, “Thank you for wandering around and see you soon.”

I stopped in a little town (the name of it has slipped my mind) to have dinner which was much needed after eating only a few snacks over the course of 8 hours.  I thought about staying in that little town but I really wanted to be in a cabin surrounded by snow and trees.  A small town hotel would not have had the same effect!

Well folks that is it for now!  I hope you had a good start to the week and I will check in again very soon.  I have to tell you about Sunday’s mini-road trip!

Oh and my friend Pete just posted a trip to the Wind River Range in Wyoming in August!  So stoked!!!

Happy road trippin’ ;D



“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



Free to wander and wonder…


I just finished a good solid 15 minutes of stretching and meditation.  I was driving home from my niece’s track meet this evening and was feeling incredibly tense from another heavy work week.  Once I arrived home I immediately changed out of my day clothes and into my comfy men’s button down shirt and pink and yellow pajama bottoms…aaaahhhh.  I love sleeping in men’s dress shirts!  Quirky???  They are just incredibly comfortable!   Next, I put the kettle on and cut myself a thick slice of juicy lemon to put in my hot mug of water.  So simple and pure and so good for an after yoga/meditation session.  

Refreshing hot lemon water :)
Refreshing hot lemon water 🙂

It never ceases to amaze me how only 15 minutes of stretching and meditating can rejuvenate your mind and body and erase all the tension.   

Yesterday evening I was suppose to attend night two of the  Banff Mountain Film Festival.  


Night one left me so inspired to do even more than I already do and have done over the last several years.  The above video is definitely worth watching so…CHECK. IT. OUT!  But yesterday I left work with a second wind and called my mom to see if she wanted to go mosey around Marshall’s for a bit.  I needed a few things for the apartment and I still have gift cards to use.  So I picked her up and we went for a bit and she kept saying to me (because I couldn’t stop yawning and closing my eyes intermittently), “Why don’t you just skip the film festival tonight and get a good nights rest?”  I said no, and that I really wanted to go.  So we left the store and she suggested we grab a bite to eat.  We grabbed a small pizza from Zeppe’s in Avon along with two Diet Cokes and headed down to the lake.  

Lake with my momma :)
Lake with my momma 🙂

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As my mom and I were sitting there listening to the waves wash up on shore and watching them splash upon the rocks, I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures because I get so inspired by Lake Erie and really just water in general.  On the last backpacking trip that I went on and the one before that actually, I sat on a dry rock in the middle of the creek and silently meditated.  I am a water gal and I am soooo happy to be living within walking distance to the lake.  It was such a beautiful evening… the sun was bright as it was setting in the far distance and it cast a glow on the lake that my iPhone couldn’t quite capture.   I kept looking at the boats still docked on land and kept thinking about the stillness of winter.  I can’t wait to see the Lake Erie alive with boats of all shapes and sizes!   And I really can’t wait to get out on the lake and kayak again this summer!  The grass was so vibrant and green and it provided a beautiful contrast to the rest of the landscape.  I was so thankful to spend a very peaceful, soothing and beautiful evening with my mom.  And I would have rather been right there soaking her and the lake in than be at the festival.  So my quest for awe and inspiration came not from night two of the festival but rather from my mother and our sweet, delicious and beautiful nature filled evening watching the sunset over Lake Erie.  Thanks Momma 😉

A zany zesty friend of mine who is always in a fine frenzy sent me a link the other day to a website that has just completely resonated with me.  So much so that I feel that I want to be a part of it.  If I have ever felt “connected” (hahaha…get it?  connected!?) to this crazy world wide web it is definitely to the the site She Explores .  I feel connected to the people who have written and shared these stories and I don’t even know them.  They just speak my language!  The site is about traveling, artistry, and exploring.  What I loved most about this website are the stories of women, some single and some traveling with the husbands, boyfriends or partners, in vans of sorts across the country and world and making it a lifestyle.  I have road tripped several times across this vast nation but I have always come home.  But what if the road were my home?  The vehicle that I was traveling converted to a portable home?!  Can you say DREAM?!  I was lucky enough in this life to fulfill one of my dreams.  Now it is on to new ones.  Of course living a traveling life on the road would take monetary planning but it is not impossible to do.  People do great things everyday.  I set off to California with $500 and a yearning for the outdoor life.  Mission accomplished.  How, you ask?  Because I wanted it THAT bad!  You HAVE to make life happen for you.  You can’t force things but you can put hard work and dedication towards your dreams and accomplish them if you want it bad enough.  The Zac Brown Band has a song titled Free.  It’s about living in an old van and traveling all cross the land.  Just being together traveling through life.  

With that I say goodnight friends and may you have blissful vibrant dreams,


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Home, trips and Tulips!


Lovely morning everyone 🙂  I am so glad to be back into the swing of things.  I have been hunting for a new place to call home and I have finally found a wonderful place to lay my head 🙂  I was really searching hard for a place that is affordable and in my ideal location and I have found it!  I am able to go out my front door and WALK to my favorite bakery, natural foods store and the most important, my beloved Rocky River Reservation.  I have never been more excited and felt more whole and complete than I do right now since I have been back from California.  It was very important to me to follow what my mind and heart wanted.  What I wanted was something small, cozy and intimate with LOTS of character.  I have always gravitated towards much older spaces.  You know, the ones with skeleton key locks, original woodwork, built in cabinets and old cast iron bathtubs.    I really like my new home and I am taking my time to decorate it and make it my peaceful dwelling space.  

So now that you know what I have been up to for the past few months let get going!

It has been a long cold winter but I was able to get out a few times and lead a beautiful day hike and weekend backpacking trip.  

Jaite to Boston train CVNP.
Jaite to Boston train CVNP.

That was such a fun day!  The Jaite to Boston trail is one I originally did with my cousin Anna.  It is 5.6 miles one way (we only did part of it in the above pic.)  It is a great trail to hike in the winter because not only does it work your big muscle groups in your legs but it is a great hip strengthening trail because of the balance you have to maintain while trekking up and down in the snow!  I loved it and I know others did too 🙂

Back in February I led a small trip to Archer’s Fork Loop down in Wayne National Forest.  I first found out about this trail in an issue of Backpacker’s Magazine.  I was so stoked to see a local trail that was is only about 3 hours away featured in a national magazine!  Whoo Hoooo for Backpacker’s Magazine!  This trail was very cool because it feature a natural rock bridge and a really cool cave.  Now being someone who has explored our national parks well and has lived in California, I have to say that when I find these gems that are all over the Yosemite, Yellowstone etc, it is very nice to find them in your own backyard!  Beauty is everywhere,  big or small it all has an impact on our senses and psyche.  Breathe it all in.  Let it go.  But keep a small breath in your lungs and carry it with you always.  I was born in Montana and my family moved back to Ohio when I was only a few months old.  But I swear I breathed in the air of  Big Sky country and it has never left me.  My folks took us everywhere.  Camping and traveling to parks.  I am so incredibly thankful for that, for it instilled in me my sense of wonder/wander (lol…) and what really stuck with me is my parents saying, “Why not take you kids everywhere?  Kids are portable!”  My dad did the driving and navigating and my mom…. holy moly…she organized EVERYTHING and thought of EVERYTHING for her four children!  She was like a Native American woman who could set up and pack up  her Tipi (or teepee) in record time all the while being SUPER organized.   I hope to be that organized and resourceful one day!  

Archer's Fork Loop Trail, Wayne National Forest :D

Archer’s Fork Loop Trail, Wayne National Forest 😀

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 The weather started out cold, then became much colder and then warmed up to almost 45 degrees by the end of the trip!  It was so much fun!  The trail is in the middle of what we believe is fracking country.  It was a really beautiful trail but I could have done without the gas lines that we would sometimes trip over.  We set up camp next to a small brook and it was the perfect place to meditate and do yoga in the morning.  What was funny was the guys were having a debate about some very close sounds that surrounded our camp that night.  Mihai believed them to be coyotes and in his true Romanian fashion set off to scare them off by hooting, hollering and running wildly up the hill!  Hahahaha!!!! Wish I had it on video!  Anthony on the other hand believed them to be owls and was a very perplexed as to WHY Mihai would want to scare off owls!  So for the remainder of the trip almost everything was a reference to coyotes and owls!    

I am excited to be heading out again next weekend.  Friends and I are meeting up tomorrow to vote on the place we want to go.  I am also in the works of planning a big trip out west.  More on that one later!  

Now I am on my way to wonder the woods and later take my best friend Sara out for her birthday dinner!  Little Italy here we come!

Hope you all have an amazing day!

I would love to hear some of your travel stories so please feel free to post in the comments section!

“Give what you have.  To someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Walla Walla, Thanksgiving and Buffalo, NY!

Hello Everyone!!!

I am SOOOOO excited for this ENTIRE week and weekend full of F.U.N.!!!!

Lets head back to Sunday morning… I awoke at my brother and sister-in-law’s house, after a night of playing darts and Five Crowns, to my crazy nieces and nephew and some serious little kid morning breath as they gave me hugs and kisses in the morning.  Hahaha…I still love the little dudes.  I was scheduled to lead a cardio session on Sunday morning with another group of backpackers!  I LOVE The Hopeless Wanderers! Rant: Being around like minded people that totally get why you’d want to winter camp in freezing temperatures is quite awesome. 😀

I was getting ready to head out the door when my big brother Donnie said he was joining me on my Walla Walla Wing Ding Workout (yes, that is the silly fun name for it.)  So with no coffee to be made we piled in my car…first stop: COFFEE…Mmmmm.  Next we headed to the park so I could map out exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it. I know this park like the back of my hand but always like to be extra prepared when I am actually in charge of something. Lol..  I was trying to convince him to drink some water and do a little stretching before hand but he was all, “No no no… I don’t drink water when I work out.”  He has so much to learn from his little sister!

When everyone arrived we headed to the infamous set of stairs behind the nature center to do 5 climbs (134 stairs up, 134 stairs down) as a warm up.  We then headed over to the outdoor amphitheater.  Here the park as several backless benches that were perfect to do planks, push ups and tri dips.  Performing planks on a partially ice covered bench was a bit tricky but also took it up a notch for the ol’ core!

The guys doing lunges and Shelly being camera shy!
The guys doing lunges and Shelly being camera shy!

Next up were lunges…oh how I love lunges. LOL!  But I really do love lunges!  We did 4 sets of 12 walking lunges and 4 sets of squat kicks.  Let’s just say that that was on Sunday, today is Tuesday, and I am still having trouble sitting down unassisted!  BUT in my defense I did just of come off of the injured list after being on it for two weeks!  A couple of people messaged me on Monday saying that they couldn’t walk.  I said, “That’s the point!”  There was a reason it was called Walla Walla Wing Ding Workout Part 2: Feel the Burn!  Next those of us who could, jogged to the trail head of super short but steep hill.  I waited for those who didn’t jog and we all hiked up the hill and went for a short hike on the rim of the cliff overlooking the valley.  It was a beautiful day and my phone camera didn’t do the view justice!  😦

View of ice covered Rocky River :)  Kind of...haha
View of ice covered Rocky River 🙂 Kind of…haha

After the mini hike we all headed over to one of my favorite cafes.

Post hike fire-side coffee chat :D
Post hike fire-side coffee chat 😀

I love coming here post hike because 1. it’s local and 2. a fireplace!

I almost refuse to go to a cafe that doesn’t have a fireplace.  Being that close to Lake Erie and getting smacked in the face with the wind that whips off the lake?!  Ya need a cafe with a FIREPLACE!!!

Speaking of being all warm and cozy!  I am heading to my folks house the morning of Thanksgiving.

That would be me!  hahaha!
That would be me! hahaha!

I have to work at 3pm that day so I am going to get my vegetarian Thanksgiving coma on early!   After that, black Friday (which I do not participate in because I have a will to live!) and then comes Saturday!!!!  Me and five friends are heading to Buffalo, NY, yes the same Buffalo, NY that was buried under 7 feet of snow, to go to the Browns vs. Bills game!  I figured we could either sled to the stadium or kayak if the all the melting snow caused flooding.  Either way I’m cool!  I am so totally excited as I have not been to a NFL game since the 1980’s when the Cleveland Browns were on strike.  But I never will forget the wonderful time I had with my dad watching the replacement players in the old Municipal Stadium. That was back in the day when the football and baseball games were held in the same stadium.  I can still remember seeing the outlines of the baseball diamond on the football field.  I love you Dad!!!!

I am excited for this little mini get away with friends.  Hopefully the game will still be on.  They had to reschedule last weeks game and it ended up being held in Detroit.  Any way it plays out, it will be an ADVENTURE and adventure is my middle name!

Photo from: ttareq10.typepad.com
Photo from: ttareq10.typepad.com

So in conclusion…oh wait!  My brother DONNIE kept saying how he hasn’t been mentioned in my blog yet.  So I thought I would take this time to mention my brother DONNIE.  DONNIE is a great big brother to me and my two sisters!  He is also an amazing son, husband and father (and a bit of a dork sometimes 😉     So without further adieu… Heeeeerrrrrre’sssss Donnie!

My big brother Donnie...lol.
My big brother Donnie…lol.

Ta Daaaaa!


“Give what you have, to someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Questions:  What are your run plans for this Thanksgiving? and How do you combat the holiday 5-10lbs?