Category Archives: Current Events

I Celebrate Valentine’s Day Every Day

First, thank you to everyone who chimned in on my blogging thoughts yesterday! It really meant a lot!

Valentine’s Day is almost here. That special Hallmark holiday that comes once a year where people give gifts and cards to their loved ones to show their love. It seems like each year it becomes more about what to buy than how to celebrate.

I’m seeing a lot more articles written to help with what to buy and what to do for Valentine’s Day, such as 6 Valentine’s Day Dos and Don’ts, The Ultimate Guide to Buying Valentine’s Day Flowers and What Women Really Want for Valentines’ Day.

But not many articles on how to celebrate your love.

I remember when Valentine’s Day was such a huge deal to me. Back when we were in elementary school and we passed out those adorable paper valentines in a box. We made special envelopes to leave taped to our desks, and our teachers made sure we gave a valentine to everyone in class so no one felt left out.

After elementary school, middle school and high school were just confusing.

Did I want a Valentine? Didn’t I? What if I have one? What happens then? What if I don’t have one, but someone gives me something, and I don’t want to be their Valentine? What if I don’t get anything?

Yes. Confusing is the best way to describe those years.

I worked at a gift shop throughout high school and college. And during that time, I witnessed so many people running in the night before Valentine’s Day to buy cards, presents, candy… whatever they could find. That’s when I realized that this holiday was becoming less about celebrating your love, and more about buying your significant other something to physically show them your love, with a material object.

Why I Celebrate Valentines Day

I’m engaged. I have a Valentine for the rest of my life. And I’m madly in love with him.

But I don’t need a holiday to celebrate our love. We celebrate it every day.

Sure, I love flowers. I love jewelry. But do I expect it on Valentines Day? Absolutely not.

All I need on Valentine’s Day is a simple text telling me he loves me while we are both at work, followed by a cozy dinner in and watching our favorite movies. Just like any other night.

In my world, love is much larger than a single day. Love isn’t in the material objects you receive. Love isn’t in the cards, the chocolates or the teddy bears.

Love is in that look between you and your partner when you’re together. Love are those words you never have to utter because your partner knows exactly what you’re thinking. Love is enjoying every moment together, no matter how large or small.

Love is enjoying your normal routine, whether you exercise together, go out to dinner often, or just enjoy sitting on the couch and watching your favorite movies over and over.

Love is so much more than a single holiday.

Which is why I celebrate Valentine’s Day every day.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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Cabin Fever.

I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from such terrible cabin fever. Every winter I deal with a bout with it. I think most New Englanders do. It’s cold. It’s snowy. There isn’t as much sunlight.

On the positive side, at least the sun is starting to set a bit later now. At least when it’s out it does.

But after being buried under over six feet of snow in just 2 weeks, I can officially say that my cabin fever has hit an all-time high.

Cabin FeverUnsplash // Breather

I’m not a snow bunny. I don’t enjoy skiing. I’ve never been snowboarding, but I’m guessing I’ll have the same feeling towards it as I do skiing. I don’t mind playing in the snow, but I don’t like getting wet and cold. The only thing I really like about snow is taking pictures in it.

I am thinking about buying snowshoes. Just to give something in the snow a try. Who knows. Maybe I’ll find a winter activity I’ll actually enjoy.

Needless to say, I’ve had enough of winter. I’m over the snow. I’m over the arctic cold that seems to follow every storm (can we say windchills below zero at least once a week?). I’m over wearing eight layers of clothes no matter where I go.

During yesterday’s storm, where we got another 18 inches, all I wanted to do was get in my car and drive somewhere. Now I know that would have been stupid, and not feasible, but that’s how bad my cabin fever was. So I continued to get some work done from home, all while trying to imagine being in a warmer climate.

Cabin fever can be an adventure in itself – think The Shining. Thankfully, I’m not at that point, nor would I ever, but I’m definitely to my breaking point with it. I’m trying to conquer it. I’m trying to get myself into a more consistent workout routine. I’m taking advantage and reading more (if that’s even possible). I’m trying to relax more.

Cabin fever just makes me cranky, with zero motivation. So the above tasks seem even harder than normal. I pretty much either want to:

a) Run around in the sunshine (clearly not happening anytime soon.)

or

b) Sleep until spring. Hibernation sounds like an excellent solution at this point. Now I know why bears do it.

But I’m definitely feeling the burn. And am anxiously awaiting the snow, and the cold, to stop. I don’t think it will be happening anytime soon though. We’re due for another storm on Thursday into Friday, with the potential for blizzard conditions.

Sigh. This is definitely the winter that won’t end. Can we please just have a break from the snow and cold? Like one sunny 40 degree day is all I’m asking for. That’s it!

Is anyone else suffering from horrible cabin fever this winter?

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In the Event of A Blizzard….

In case you haven’t heard, the entire northeastern United States is currently enduring a long-duration blizzard. It began on Monday evening (although it started snowing in my area by 11 AM), and will be lasting right through Wednesday morning. In the end we could have towards 36″ inches (or 3 feet) of snow in some spots.

Obviously the hype around Winter Storm Juno, or Snowmageddon 2015 as many are calling it, has caused the normal “How to Prepare for a Winter Storm” tips to come out in full force.

One of the main ones you always hear? “Stock up on bread and milk!” That particular one has always confused me. If we lose power, won’t my milk go bad? What if you’re lactose intolerant? Or have a gluten allergy? Or both?

Anyways, I thought long and hard about the preparation tips, and decided to come up with my own.

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Eryn’s Snowmageddon Tips

Don’t stop charging your electronics. Seriously, keep them plugged in at all times. You never know when or if you’re going to lose power. I know, it’s bad to keep them plugged in and constantly charging. But would you rather cause your battery to have issues down the road, or have a dead battery in your electronics when you actually lose power and need them?

Stock up the foods and beverages that you prefer to eat. And can make without the use of power. I know many of us in the northeast have generators. But most of the time, those generators are used to keep the heat on, or power the refrigerator so the items you do have in there won’t go bad. Canned soups and microwaveable meals won’t work very well if you lose power. Unless you prefer eating ice blocks full of turkey and vegetables.

Keep flashlights nearby. This is an important one. Especially if you’re scared of the dark like me. I fully agree with this. You never know when the power is going to go out. Which mean you’ll never know when you need that flashlight that you stuck in the back of a drawer after the last blizzard.

Pretend to be a little kid. And build blanket forts. Because they are fun, and warm. Then read under them with flashlights. (Would I like to do this? Absolutely. Will I do this? Probably not.)

Shower when you still have power. Okay. This might be a no-brainer. But for some people, when the power goes out, you lose hot water too. And if you lose power for multiple days, and decided to put off your shower until it was too late, well.. let’s just say you’ll be thanking me later for this tip.

Adult beverages can make the blizzard fun. Blizzard party anyone?

Take lots and lots of pictures. But only from safely inside your home. Or right outside your front door. When the government issues a travel ban, they mean it. It’s not optional. But taking lots of pictures, and posting them to Facebook, will make your friends in the south, or in other parts that aren’t getting snow completely jealous. Also, it will be fun to look back on said pictures to see the before and after.

Remember, we live in New England. It’s only snow. And some wind. Okay. It’s a lot of snow, and a lot of wind. But we live in New England. Blizzards happen. Hunker down and know the clean up begins tomorrow. Along with some sweet snowball fights, snow angels, snow forts, and snowmen!

But in all seriousness, be safe out there today everyone. Stay home. Don’t drive. Be warm.

Happy Snowmageddon 2015!

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Missing Planes, Protests, and Ebola – What Stories Stick in Your Mind?

I’m a news junkie. I always have been, and even more so while I was studying journalism during my undergrad years. And now, thanks to social media, my addiction to the media has grown.

2014 was filled with an abundance of news stories. Some happy, some horrific and some just mind-boggling. There are plenty that will stick in everyone’s minds, while others just disappear into the endless knowledge of our brains. I am one of those people. So many things are thrown at us on a daily basis, myself included, and sometimes I just have a hard time processing it all. But since I’m a news junkie, I wanted to take a moment to recap the top news stories that have stuck in my mind, among the endless knowledge, since the beginning of 2014.

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  • The Missing Malaysian Plane (MH370): This particular story will forever stick in my mind. I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but I’ve definitely found myself reading some of the theories on a few different occasions. How can I plane that large just disappear? Even if it crashed into the ocean, wouldn’t something have been found my now?
  • The Market Basket Protests: This began as a local story, but quickly evolved into one that made national headlines. It went beyond just boycotting the ousted CEO and into human rights and equal wages. I wrote a blog post on it, but more as a letter to the protestors who we could hear at all hours of the night. I fully supported their efforts, but many disagreed with my post. It was the first time I learned that if I wanted to blog, and write what I wanted, I needed to have thick skin.
  • ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: With all of the horrible news happening, this was one of those stories that filled me with absolute joy. I actually waited for the day that someone would nominate me to participate. And I was more than happy to donate money to this cause. Especially with the local ties. To read more about my experience, and see the video, check out my blog post.
  • The Gunned Down Malaysian Plane: I was in Spain when this happened. I sat in my best friend’s living room, on a navy base, watching this unfold. And I was due to get on a flight in less than a week. I knew we would be safe. I knew we weren’t traveling over any countries that have this kind of hatred and fighting. But I couldn’t wrap my head around this happening. All 298 lives were lost.
  • Ebola: Ebola is a horrible, scary disease and I can’t even imagine what it’s like with the threat in West Africa. Those Ebola fighters were named “Person of the Year” by Time Magazine. While the epidemic in West Africa was a story itself, the panic in the United States is the story that sticks out in my mind. The United States has seen 10 confirmed cases of Ebola, with 2 deaths, neither of whom had contracted the disease in the states. But the hysteria that came with Ebola entering the country was insane. People panicked. Flights were diverted. People who had the flu were contained. It seemed like for a good month, all you heard about was Ebola. With good reason of course, but it did show how the media can cause widespread panic when something like this enters our borders.
  • Leaked Celebrity Photos: This story might be the most ‘fluffy’ that sticks out in my mind, but it was a serious matter that exposed how easy it is to get into our virtual lives. Hollywood stars had their photos leaked after an iCloud hack. Many people (not celebrities) thought it was great… for obvious reasons. But many didn’t really think about the other side of this; our online safety. The majority of us who have Apple devices backup our data to the iCloud. Of course, no one really knows where or what the cloud is, but we know it’s there and we can retrieve it when necessary. Our lives are on our devices, at least I know mine is. When this hack and leak happened, I think it made many of us feel vulnerable. If it can happy to those celebrities, it could just as easily happen to one us. It brought on many debates over the internet about the safety of the Cloud, and just goes to show that no one is really safe if the cyber world. I certainly learned. My photos are not backed up to iCloud; I store them directly on my computer and back them up in an external hard drive.

That’s my round-up. Obviously, there are a lot more. I could write about everything in my head for hours, but this post would end up incredibly long, and you’d probably get bored reading it. So I stuck with 6. And some of them may not be the ones that are at the forefront of your mind.

Having said that, I want to know: What news stories stick out in your mind? 

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Apple Can Put Stuff In Your iTunes Library… Without You Even Realizing It.

If you’re an iTunes user  then you have probably heard about the free U2 album that arrived in 500 million iTunes libraries. For Apple, and for U2, it seemed like a pretty ingenious marketing plan when it was announced at last Tuesday’s event, but for those 500 million accounts that suddenly had an album in their libraries that they may not have wanted, it was just a nuisance. I should know. I was one of them.

And I’m a huge Apple fan. I watch the live events. I read about them. I don’t recall ever reading something about a free album being pushed to my iTunes library. Maybe I just missed it? But I’m pretty sure that would have stuck out in my mind since I would have thought two things – “Cool.” and “Borderline Creepy.”

I’m sure those U2/Bono fans were pleased to discover their latest album already loaded on their device, if they were like me and didn’t hear about it last week. In fact, they were probably thrilled they didn’t have to spend the money, even though a fan would aptly buy it. But for those of us who aren’t fans, let’s just say displeased, is putting it lightly.

Amid the backlash, Apple did create and push out a tool that will allow Apple users to easily remove the CD from their iTunes libraries. Smart move on their part. Except, people could have just gone in and deleted it too. But maybe that makes me old-fashioned in an age where everyone needs instant gratification.

What it did do, at least for me, is open up an entirely new conversation about the capabilities of Apple. May I remind you that this all comes just a couple of weeks after the alleged iCloud photo leak. Not only is Apple able to push something out to their 500 million iTunes users, but they can also create a tool that can remove content from your library?

Is anyone else slightly bothered by the fact that Apple can do this?

Okay, it’s probably not a huge deal. Honestly, if they want to throw some more free albums my way, I’ll happily take them. As long as that’s all they plan to use that ability for. I won’t lie. If random apps start showing up on my iPhone that actually interest me, but I have never downloaded, I’m going to be a bit freaked out.

Because that would mean that they, theoretically, could also have the ability to know what every Apple user is doing at all times. Which means they could start pushing content, products and apps to users based on what they like. And yes, I know the ‘I’ devices have a way to limit ad tracking, but I’m talking about on a much larger, more futuristic level.

I digress. Mainly because now I’m just thinking about what COULD happen. Especially with the way Apple moves. I’m not saying they can, but it certaintly begs the question that can they? Or will they?

But what does this prove? Besides the fact that Apple has managed to royally annoy several million users?

Obviously Apple is going to take over the world. And Tim Cook will be the next President of the United States. 😉

Providing a free album to 500 million customers was just a test, clearly. And they successfully pushed it out to 500 million customers. Even though it didn’t go very well (A costly $100 million mistake).

What do you think they will try next?

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Disclaimer: I’m an Apple-obsessed fan. I am not a conspiracy theorist or sci-fi junkie. I’m just a person who is convinced that at some point Apple will take over the world. Or Google. Or Amazon. One of those three, but probably Apple. Just based on their abilities and advancements. Just saying.

Never Forget.

It’s been 13 years since 9/11. And yet, it feels like just yesterday I was watching it unfold on the television in front of me.

I have no words. But today, please take a moment to remember. I know I will.

Even if the other 359 days out of the year, you push this day out of your mind, take today to reflect and remember.

Remember the bravery, the courage, the heroes, the victims, and all those effected.

And as another passes, remember to never forget. Even if it’s just on this day each year.

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A Letter To the Market Basket Protestors

By now, many of you have probably heard of the protests occurring at many of the Market  Basket stores around Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as well as anywhere there is a Market Basket store. The protestors are picketing to bring back the former president, Artie T. DeMoulas, who, from what has been said was a stand-up president and an all-around great guy. (I know that’s not the only reason. I know it stems far deeper into issues like fair-wages and equality too.) Artie T., you see, was ousted  from his post as President and CEO by his Cousin Artie S. Say what? That’s right, his cousin — so much for family love.

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The protests began while I was out of the country. When we returned to the states and heard what was happening — we shrugged it off. We don’t shop at Market Basket often. In fact, we prefer the quiet aisles of Shaws or Hannaford’s, and don’t mind paying a teeny bit more because of it. And quite honestly, we’ve never seen a huge cost difference in what we pay between Market Basket or the other stores. If there is a difference… it’s maybe $10, not much more. If we go to Market Basket, it’s purely out of convenience seeing how we live around the corner from one.

Once we were home, we noticed the slew of protestors gathering in front of the Market Basket across the street from our neighborhood. Holding signs up that ranged from ‘Don’t Support the Greed’, ‘ Bring back Artie. T’, ‘Thank you for not shopping here’, and ‘Honk for Artie’. As well as shouting into bullhorns, cheering and screaming.

It’s been about 2 weeks, maybe just over and I felt the need to write something about this. For the record, I am not passionate about what’s going on with Market Basket. I do support their efforts, but it’s not a front and center issue for me. I have more important things going on then protesting Market Basket. There are other grocery stores, and I’m totally fine supporting the others as I always have. Having said that, I fully support what they believe in and what is written below is not meant to bash their efforts.

If you aren’t fully in the know with what is going on, please check out this article in Esquire.

I am writing this because it’s time to stop the noise.


Dear Market Basket Protestors,

First, let me start by saying, I support your cause 100%. In fact, it’s nice to see people protest because they love their former president that much. And it’s also nice to see people care so much about where they are employed. I am not writing this because I don’t support you. I believe in your cause. I believe in your fight.

I’m writing this because, quite honestly, the noise has got to stop. By all means, wave signs, yell at cars, protest — but the bullhorn and urging cars to honk for Artie T. does not help your cause and NEEDS to stop.

I do not have a problem with your passion; I have a problem for how you demonstrate your passion. Your protests are directly across the street from a neighborhood, that I (and several other families) call home. When I am home all I can hear, from my backyard, are cars laying on
the horns and your voices through the bullhorn.

I don’t know what it’s like at other Market Basket’s in the area; I don’t know if the other neighborhoods are also dealing with the honking and the bull horns, but what I do know is that I have had enough.

Please end the noise. Stop the honking. Stop with the bullhorn.

But by all means, keep protesting. Keep raising your signs and cheering as cars go by. Keeping fighting for what you believe in.

But please, no more car horns and bull horns. You can protest without the noise. And people will still support your efforts just as much. I know I will.

Sincerely,
A neighbor that lives across the street from Market Basket


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Newtown, CT – Wrapping My Brain Around Such a Horrific Tragedy

I am utterly shocked that I haven’t blogged for “pleasure” since the summer. I mean, blogging my photo shoots and such over at erynephotography is still for pleasure, but I haven’t blogged my thoughts and feelings in quite sometime. I guess now is as good a time as any.

I am not going to update you on my life in this post; that isn’t what this blog is about. When I started it, it was strictly to blog thoughts, feelings, observances and such, it quickly became a way to express my photography (which I am sure there will still be a bit in here, just not photo shoots). And then I went dark unless you continued to follow my photo shoots on the new site.

But I am back. And what has brought me back to the blogosphere is not necessarily as a good thing.

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Newtown, Connecticut. It will never again be just a small town in Connecticut, but will forever more be known as the town where an absolutely horrific massacre occurred just days before Christmas. Just like everyone else in the country, I was sickened by the horror that was unfolding before my eyes. Unfortunately, social media becomes a blessing and a curse in cases like this. While it’s great to get constant updates, you must also contend with untrue facts and even more evident, having something so awful constantly in front of your face.

That night, I couldn’t stand to watch the news. Not because I didn’t want to listen to everything unfolding, but because I couldn’t bear to watch the images of those children and their teachers running from the school with their eyes shut, I couldn’t bear to see another picture of a grieving parent, child or law enforcement officer. The images were some of the most painful I have seen in my existence; quite possibly up there with 9/11. Despite not being able to watch it, I mourned for those families. Not just for the ones who lost a loved one that day, but also for those who survived because the wounds they suffered that day will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

I’m trying very hard to walk the line here between ranting/preaching and purely expressing my own grief to this horrible event. I am not going to compare it to any other mass shooting because quite honestly, you can’t. When else in the history of the US has a gunmen walked into an elementary school for a reason the authorities have yet to determine and murdered children? I am pretty sure the answer is never.

Just in 2012 alone we witnessed a shooting at a movie theater, a mall and now an elementary school. All places where joy, entertainment and a sense of escape and youthfulness come into play.

But I digress, enough preaching. The day after Newtown, I was at the barn, teaching my adorable kids riding lessons. And I made sure to praise each of them and high five them and enjoy each of their individual stories, jokes and laughter. And we never discussed the events that happened the day before. It was not necessary. We all knew and we just smiled and gave those extra hugs and high fives. It made all of us feel a tiny bit better.

So to Newtown; my deepest sympathy and condolences to everyone affected by this horrific tragedy. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily.

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A Little Nostalgic – Childhood Memories

It’s officially an end of an era. Friendly’s Ice Cream is closing due to bankruptcy. And when I heard the news, it made me feel a little nostalgic, which then lead to me reminiscing about all those places you went as a child that seemed like they were indestructible and would still be there in 30 years so you could take your own children.

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For me, there were plenty of places. My uncle’s condo in St. Petersburg, Florida. Mr. K’s Ice Cream. The Pioneer League where I played countless hours of softball and watched as my father coached the High School Varsity girl’s team. But the one place that stands out the most in my mind was a little breakfast and lunch joint that all the locals knew of and loved. Kathy Ann’s.  It was where we would go for breakfast nearly every Sunday and where my Nana, Papa and I would go for lunch whenever possible. It looks (the building still stands today, but now as Marina) like a dinner with a handicap ramp on the front and inside was just as quaint. When you first walk in, there was a breakfast counter with loads of cases holding their famous baked goods. The dining room was also small but had several booths and tables and it was decorated to feel homey. If you sat in the back section, you could look out of the river.

But the one thing I remember most from Kathy Ann’s were their cinnamon sticks. They were just pastries that were drizzled with a white frosting, but they were probably the most delicious things when I was a kid.

We would make pit stops there nearly any time of the week just for those incredible pastries. The day I found out they closed up shop was a sad day in my life. It was a place I had spent countless hours with family and friends, and became a staple in my life.

Just last year, I learned from a friend that they had re-opened but under the sign of Carmen’s Chicken Shack. I convinced my boyfriend that we should go there for breakfast (it just so happened to be my birthday too!). When we got up there, while it looked different, it had that same familiar smell. And the first thing I noticed was the case of my favorite cinnamon sticks.

Needless to say, I left with enough to go around my whole family twice as well as their cinnamon stick pie (its basically a cinnamon stick in a pie shape) and I couldn’t have been more excited. I recently found out that they have since gone out of business again (and is now a Mexican restaurant called the Red Iguana. We ate there. It was yummy.), but I’ll always remember my days at Kathy Ann’s.

What places gives you a sense of nostalgia?

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