Dream Big & Buy The Shoes: July 2015

July 27, 2015

Slow Down & Be Kind

On Friday I was heading over to my grandparents for some cake and ice cream to enjoy a belated birthday celebration where I was meeting Chuck and my brother. I was sitting at the stoplight that had just turned red at one of the busiest areas in Erie when a car flew through through and hit another car in traffic. 

My jaw dropped while I watch the car speed away. The light was still red as I sat there in shock watching things unfold around me. The car that hit the SUV was still driving away from the scene and not a single car that was in close proximity to the vehicle that got hit did anything. As the light turned green my instincts kicked in and I drove ahead to follow the car who ran. 

I called Chuck and quickly informed him what I was doing. He told me to be safe. The scary thing about Erie right now is all the gun violence. In the city itself shootings have been happening daily, at any given time children, teenagers and other victims are being shot. I wasn't thinking anything crazy would happen, so I proceeded to chase the car. I had to turn in to a local business to cross the street and get back to the area where I saw the vehicle turn because of the several lanes of traffic. Once I pulled down the street and in to the parking lot, the girl was outside of her car walking around it to inspect the damage. The minute I pulled in she hopped in her car as I quickly drove up the road so I could turn around and get behind her. She pulled out in the street in front of me and was stopped at a stop sign while I pulled out my phone and took several pictures of her car and license plate while she stared at me in her rearview mirror. 

She didn't have a turning signal on and continued to sit at the stop sign so I honked my horn. She waved for me to go around her so I pulled in front of her and put my right turning signal on even though I planned to go left back to the scene of the accident. I didn't want her doing anything crazy to me or my car. I pulled out and watched her go straight down the road and not back to the accident. I couldn't believe that even after I went and found her she continued to run. 

About 7 minutes later I was able to get back to the victim. I parked my car at a nearby business and found her inside her SUV that was on the sidewalk. She was on the phone when I ran up to her. I told her that I had the license plate number and she broke down into tears. 
When she got off the phone with the police she was bawling uncontrollably and was obviously shaken up. She said that I helped her so much. She was on her way to her second job. She is recently divorced and trying to make ends meet. She was so scared and worried about how she would pay for the damage without having information about the driver who caused the accident.

I told her I was a victim of a hit and run two years ago and it was a nightmare. I was on my way out to meet some friends on a Saturday night when I was hit in the driver's side door by a van who ran a red light. I was driving Chuck's car and it spun 3-4 times down the road and I went up over a sidewalk and hit a telephone pole. I was pinned in the car facing the road that the other driver was on. Two people came running to my car to help me get out while I witnessed the driver get out of his van, look down the road and get back in and speed away. The car was totaled, I had multiple visits to the ER from back and neck pain, physical therapy for months, unpaid missed time at a new job, and a fear or driving for several months. In the end, I am alive and that's all that matters. Luckily, this woman is also alive. 

I'm not a saint, nor am I a hero. I'm simply someone who wanted to help this woman. I couldn't believe that no one came to her rescue or to at least check on her. Her car was badly damaged and she hurt her wrist. I am telling you this story today because I am someone who is almost always in a rush. When I get out of work I'm either ready to be home or headed to run 18 errands. Being able to help this woman made me realize that life will wait. If something doesn't get done immediately, it is okay and will be fine. 

Slow down. Take a moment out of your day to be kind and helpful to someone. Take it easy. Don't drive like an idiot. Life will wait. Kindness is important, so please treat others how you would like to be treated.

July 22, 2015

Bachelorette Bash Recap

This past weekend I celebrated with my best friends & some family for my bachelorette festivities. To say I was overwhelmed with love and surprises is such an understatment.

We started the day at Narcisi Winery outside of Pittsburgh. The venue is so beautiful and exceeded my expectations. We had some fun tasting and then enjoyed lunch outside. There was a band playing close by while we sat and had our lunch. The food was excellent and the wine was too, of course.

After the winery we made our way in to Pittsburgh to our hotel. My hostesses arranged for us to spend the night in a beautiful suite right in the heart of the city. The room was decorated with touches of purple and gold...our wedding colors and some of my favorite things.

There were banners, lingerie, cupcakes, photo props and was so beautiful. I was so excited to see everything around the suite; it was beyond perfect. My Maid of Honor Nicole, bridesmaids and other friends went above and beyond to make sure it was all about Emelia. 

We got ready while we jammed out to a customized playlist courtesy of one of my bridesmaids, Elisa and took some pictures before we left to meet the other ladies for dinner. I seriously felt like a Queen & loved every second of the day. 

We met up with some more of the group for a delicious dinner at Sienna Mercato located in the Cultural District of Pittsburgh. Sienna Mercato is a multi-level building with a meatball joint, a pizzeria and a rooftop beer garden. We sat in the meatball level and it was pretty cool and had some tasty options. 
They spoiled me with gifts and we took some more pictures of course. Duh, photo ops galore!

After dinner, it was time for my favorite part of the evening...the piano bar. We walked a few blocks to "Howl At The Moon" and had SUCH a fun time. We had a reserved table right next to the stage so we were at the center of all the excitement. There had to be about 7 other bachelorette parties there that evening, and it was such a great celebration.

They called us all up on stage a few times. I sang (more like rapped) and danced to "Baby Got Back", they played Britney, Madonna, and we all had the best time. The piano bar was definitely my favorite part of the night. I laughed so hard and loved being with all my best friends celebrating.

We spent a few hours at the piano bar and then took a taxi up to Mt. Washington to take some pictures. You can't spend a night in The 'Burgh without taking some pictures with the view of the city for a backdrop.

Our last stop of the night was at CAVO nightclub, and by that point we were all pretty spent. We enjoyed a few drinks there and then headed back to our suite.
My friends had my favorite late night snacks ready...french onion dip and chips, how cute are they?! 

I couldn't believe how my bridesmaids went all out for me. I was brought to tears several times with the amount of love I received. I couldn't believe all the spoiling, gifts, special touches, and thoughtfulness throughout the weekend. From personalized playlists, beautiful decorations, that gorgeous purple and gold sash (the best one we saw all night) , the amazing gifts and all the attention...my weekend couldn't have been better. I am truly blessed to have such beautiful and caring friends and feel like the luckiest lady. I wish every weekend could be spent celebrating with my best friends.

Another HUGE thanks to my wonderful friends and family for making this an unforgettable experience and the best bachelorette weekend...I love you ladies!!

Only a few more weeks until my bridal shower when we get to continue the party!!

Enjoy your weekend friends, hope it's a beautiful one. 

Why Divorce Isn't An Option For Me

So apparently Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert are divorcing. I've only read 823 tweets & Facebook posts about this very matter. If I had a penny for every single time I've heard about this relationship in the past few days I'd be a millionaire retired living in the Bahamas sipping on margaritas.
I'm not sure what infuriates me more about the subject...the fact that I had to Google why this is a big deal, or the fact that people are so shocked and concerned.

Another celebrity divorce, well well well....that can't be right. Don't get me wrong, I've been known to get excited over celebrity relationships. Nick and Jessica, Justin and Britney, Brad and Jennifer...been there, done that. 
I find it upsetting that people are so torn up about another celebrity breakup. 

Breakups happen every day, and so does divorce. The divorce rate in the United States is 40-50% and seems completely unacceptable to me. I'm a child of divorced parents, and so is my soon to be husband. I know that divorce is the result in relationships for several reasons; I'm not naive. I also refuse to be a statistic.

Let me tell you something, Chuck and I have been through some shit. We've had a few fights that I wasn't sure we would recover from. The thing about love is, you fight for it. I'm not going to act as if my relationship is perfect, because frankly, 8 years later there's a lot that has happened. One of the reasons I continue to love Chuck more each and every day is that we work hard at making our love work. We are constantly learning new things about one another and doing things to show each other compassion and affection.

So tell me why is it such a heightened story when celebrities divorce? Instead of putting all the attention on the fact that it didn't work...why aren't we asking what could have been done to keep them together? I'm not saying that someone should stay with their partner if infidelity is at hand, but I think people are so quick to move on this day and age. Call me old fashioned, but I believe in 'till death do us part. 

I am not hear to say that divorce is wrong, unacceptable or unnecessary. Certain circumstances make divorce a necessary evil which is very unfortunate. I do know that I will continue to give my relationship all I've got because I don't want to experience anything that I have had to as a child of divorce as an adult. 

Divorce is not an option for me. I am glad that Chuck and I dated for so long before we begin this journey of husband and wife. We have learned the ins and outs of what makes US work. We know each other's quirks. We have been by each other's sides to witness some of the worst experiences and hardest battles. We are a team and nothing will ever change that. 

Instead of being so heartbroken that Blake and Miranda are no longer together...let's start commending the couples that live out the vows of marriage, for better or for worse. 

What are your thoughts about divorce these days?

July 21, 2015

Rainy Day Activities

I swear with all the rain so far, I am starting to think we are stuck in spring. Instead of enjoying summer fun outside, most days we are in the house finding things to do.
I've come up with a list of summer rainy day activities that you can enjoy in the house, or venture out to see at other local places.

Create a new recipe. What about making some fun popsicles?

Visit a local museum...most places offer coupons.

Make a fort...there's nothing greater than acting like a kid again.

Aquariums are indoors...and they're awesome.

Puzzles and board games don't need to be a thing of the past. Enjoy one in the comfort of your air conditioned home.

Watch a movie. While you're at it...make some popcorn. I suggest making it the old fashioned way and doing a popcorn dance in the kitchen.

Read that book you've been putting off. I have so many on my list. There's also some pinned on my Pinterest page, check it out.

Follow Dream Big & Buy The Shoes's board R E A D a Book on Pinterest.

Try out a DIY project that you have always wanted to. A few fun and easy ones can be found here: Chalkboard Menu Planner
Wine Glasses & Coffee Mugs
Succulent Garden

Have a Nerf gun battle.

Organize your closet, cabinets, and everything in between. I may be crazy...but I enjoy this kind of thing.

Take a drive through the rain and wait for that rainbow, I promise it will be beautiful.

Create a new summer cocktail for when the rain stops. If I can make a suggestion, I think you should try a Moscow Mule. My recipe can be found here, and it's amazing.

Scroll through Instagram and find some inspiration. While you're there, follow me.

Try a new hairstyle. Master that sock bun, or test out your new curling iron and make waves.

Light a candle and catch up on your favorite blogs; support one another in this crazy fun world we live in.

I hope your summer stays sunny, but if it happens to rain...you now have some options.

What's your favorite thing to do when it rains?

July 20, 2015

It's My Birthday // Dream On

Hi friends, it seems like it's been a while since I was last around these parts. I have a few posts coming soon that I didnt' get to finish & hit that publish button on last week. Partner that with a bachelorette celebration and call me unproductive. But today it doesn't matter, because it's MY BIRTHDAY!

Birthday Wish List

Tory Burch tote bag

Lips makeup

Beauty product

Fujifilm Instax Lens Filter Set

I love birthdays. I think I've only mentioned this 572 times before. Celebrating in general makes me happy. Today I plan on enjoying the day and whatever may come my way. I had an amazing weekend celebrating with my best girlfriends for my bachelorette party. If you missed it (not sure how you could with my 18 posts) but you can catch up on Instagram before I get to the recap.

As I turn another year older, I think I gain a little more. My heart seems to grow with more love for those around me. It's a beautiful thing to have amazing friends and family that stick by your side through all the good times, and bad.
This year I got a promotion, planned a wedding, took a fun vacation with friends, watched Ethan move on from elementary school and made so many beautiful memories. The future keeps me hopeful that so many more great things are still to come.
So many of my dreams have come true, and with each year comes more possibilities. I am so blessed to have the opportunites and life that I do. I'm feeling extra thankful today and happy that my birthday allows me to reflect on all the good things.

In celebration of my brithday...why not a giveaway brought to you by some of my lovely friends?!
We have a great treat for you today! Some of my favorite ladies and I are giving away not one but THREE awesome products: BECCA Champagne Pop, a NARS Blush (shade of your choice), and a Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick (color of your choice)! Enter below! 

July 15, 2015

Choosing Your Bridal Shower Venue

When you're the bride to be, it's pretty safe to say that the list of tasks and to-do's does not end. It isn't all that bad, especially when you get to do the fun items on the list. Choosing a venue for any event can be a hard task, but add in the pressure of a wedding and it can become a little crazier. Selecting the perfect venue is a big task, but I am here to share some tips on how to make it your best celebration yet.

Incorporate a piece of personalization
Do you and your soon to be husband love golf? A local country club may be the perfect place for you. If you are foodies and want to bring some great elements in to the mix, one of your favorite restaurants would be a great spot for you. 
I chose a winery, because we originally wanted to have our wedding at one. The winery venues we had looked in to didn't hold as many people as we planned on inviting so we had to move on in our search. When it came time to pick a bridal shower venue, a winery was one of the first places I looked at. I am so happy to be able to include a part of my original wedding wish with my upcoming winery shower.

Lay out your plans early
Before you head to potential venues lay out some of your plans. Here are some questions you may ask yourself:
Do you want a large shower? How many people do you estimate inviting?
Will you have it catered or do you want somewhere that has food on site?
Do you want it in the outdoor elements or something inside that doesn't risk the weather?
What is your budget? Do you have one?
Do you want minimal or DIY decor, or are you planning on going "all out"?

These are things you will definitely want to know before heading in to meetings or beginning your venue search. It's good to be prepared and have a plan that will be set in to action.

Does this venue fit all your wishes and needs
You may have a vision board, or ideas pinned that you want to see come to life. Can this venue fulfill those desires? Can you turn your local restaurant in to the Tuscan themed bridal shower of your dreams? Does the gazebo on the lake meet all of your nautical desires for your celebration?
Don't be afraid to tour more than one venue. Get quotes and ask plenty of questions. Also be sure that the manager or event planner is easy to reach and friendly to work with...this will be a huge help as you are planning your shower.

Ask questions, lots of them. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I'm kind of a freak when it comes to planning, I like to have allllll my information in line. Here's some great questions you can ask the staff at your potential venues.

Does the venue have ample space?
Can you bring a caterer in to the venue, or do you have to use one of theirs?
Are they charging you for tables, chairs, tents, etc?
What is the price per plate if you are using their dining options?
Can you bring in your own alcohol or do they have a bar?
Are you being charged per hour or one set fee?
Can you come in early enough to set up prior to the shower?
Is your potential date already taken?
Is there any minimum food or beverage prices you have to meet?
Is there a maximum amount of people the venue holds?
If it is outside, what if it rains? Are there other options?

While there is a lot of things to keep in mind while planning your shower, I feel that if you have a plan in action and questions ready you will be able to celebrate at a perfect venue with ease.

Check out my plans, menu & decor ideas and all things wedding on my Pinterest page.

Follow Dream Big & Buy The Shoes's board WEDDING* Craze on Pinterest.


July 14, 2015

Berry Light Summer Refresher Cocktail & A Giveaway

I love a good summer cocktail like the next proud American. There's nothing quite like sunshine and sippin' on a delicious drink all at the same time. I am a big fan of flavored vodkas too. Creating cocktails that are light and refreshing at the same is my idea of perfection, and where my latest favorite drink came about.

Smirnoff Sorbet Light- Raspberry Pomegranate
Splash of cranberry juice
Lime garnish

To make:
Pour 1 oz of vodka in your glass
Fill 3/4 of the way with fresh water
Add a splash of cranberry juice
Garnish with a lime

This cocktail goes down so easy, which can be good or bad. I may have had a few sipping by the pool, as it has become my go to drink to wind down in the evenings. The water keeps it nice and light so it's not too sweet. 

What's your favorite summer cocktail?

As if a tasty cocktail wasn't enough to make your day, I have partnered up with some beautiful ladies to give away the brand new Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette. There is 9 exclusive new shades, and three from past palettes. You can enter via the Rafflectopter below. Good luck friends!

July 13, 2015

How To Have The Perfect Summer Day

I'm a big fan of all the seasons, I like experiencing change. There's something about the warm sunshine that just does it all for me though. While the options are endless for fun in the summertime, I know that some of my favorite moments are the ones spent relaxing.

Best Summer Water

I put together some of the essentials so that you can have the perfect summer day. 

Step 1: Infused Water
I made some delicious water with basil, lemon & strawberry...talk about amazing. This was my first time concocting something like this and it turned out so good. I can't wait to try different combinations. Not only was the water refreshing, but it's low calorie and is a great drink to boost metabolism.

You will need:
1 lemon
6 strawberries
Handful of basil

To make:
Slice 1 lemon
Slice & quarter the stawberries
Put all ingredients in a pitcher
Fill 1/4 of the pitcher with ice
Fill pitcher to the top with water
Let sit at least 4-6 hours for full flavor

Pour & Enjoy!

Best Summer Water

fruit water

Step 2: Ultimate Summertime Playlist

While you're outside basking in the sun, or cruising to the beach, the right music can really get you in the mood. I love to jam out to my favorite local hip-hop and rap station, listen to Britney Radio, or enjoy Dance Pop Radio on Pandora, but my favorite is Spotify.

I love Spotify because you can choose your own music without paying per song and create awesome playlists. I enjoy a wide variety of music, so my Summertime Jams playlist on Spotify is kind of all over the board. I promise it will make you want to throw your hands up in the air and dance though, so check it out.

Step 3: Make summertime plans

It's nice to relax and get your mind right, but I often use that time to plan some future adventures, sort out some activities for fun in the sun or coordinate my next outfit. Pinterest for the win! 
The world is at your fingertips on Pinterest; whether you're looking for great summer snacks or the best places to venture to on a roadtrip you can find it there. If you're in need of some new ideas, I have you covered. Check out all the fun I have going on this summer on my Pinterest boards

Follow Dream Big & Buy The Shoes's board S U M M A * L O V I N on Pinterest.

If you decide to sip on some summer cocktails, blast your favorite music or plan your next adventure, I hope whatever you choose makes for some awesome sunny memories.

What's your idea of a perfect summer day?

July 9, 2015

DIY Coconut Coffee Face Mask

What woman doesn't love taking care of herself? *hand raised* Being a female can be expensive, so I like to find ways to treat myself and stick to a budget.

Some of my favorite DIY projects include homemade scrubs. You can find my Coffee Lip Scrub here, and read about how to make my Sugar Lip Scrub here & my favorite body exfoliant, the Baby Soft Sprinkled Sugar here.

Face masks are great to use periodically to treat your skin and bring it back to life. 

You will need:
2 tablespoons room temperature coconut oil
2 tablespoons coffee grounds

To make:
Mix the coconut oil in a small bowl alone until it's smooth in texture, like frosting
Add in the coffee grounds and continue to mix until combined
Rub on your face in circular motions
Leave on for 10-15 minutes & then rinse off

 I love trying out face masks from different places. Some of my favorite ones are Cupcake from Lush which is great for oily skin, Glamglow Supermud from Sephora because I love how it pulls out the impurities from my skin and the Clariflying Clay from Skinceuticals which has done wonders for my often problematic skin. 
It's nice to have some at home options also which is why I chose to try the coconut coffee one. 

I chose to make one with coffee because I have read that many beauty companies are using caffeine to to help brighten & tighten your most beautiful features. Coffee helps gently exfoliate the dead skin and leave it smooth without irritation.
Coconut oil is great for softening your skin, breaking down dead cells, and hydrating your skin. 
This mask will leave you feeling refreshed and your face smelling great. Treat yourself and enjoy this one soon, just don't eat it. 

What's your favorite beauty DIY?