Over the Mountains and Through the Woods, To Lake Placid We Go

Over the Mountains and Through the Woods, To Lake Placid We Go

How a weekend with friends was the highlight of my summer

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I'm not very into nature. I like to look at nature, but through a window from indoors where I'm not constantly being bit by bugs. However, when a full weekend of being in nature in Lake Placid, NY came up, I reconsidered my dislike for being in the outdoors for two reasons. One, a good friend that I don't get to see that often was going to do a triathlon which was the whole reason for this trip. Second, some of our friends were going and I didn't want to have FOMO. So I decided to go on the trip.

I have a bad habit of getting too ahead of myself when plans with friends come up. I also get really anxious about forgetting things so I overpack for every trip. So this combination kind of annoyed my friends when we were getting ready for this trip. As if texting our group chat every day saying, "I'M SO EXCITED" wasn't enough, I had packed and repacked my suitcase at least a hundred times in the month leading up to leaving. Yes, I am aware that's really annoying and yes I know packing a suitcase a month in advance is pretty ridiculous. Thank god I have friends who are very patient with me.

My boyfriend Andrew, myself, and our friend Klo decided to take the 6 to 7-hour drive to Lake Placid together. The ride was full of great music and my horrible dance moves in between stopping at rest stops along the NY highway. The rest stops there surprised all of us. They were so clean and HUGE and looked so so nice. Pennsylvania really needs to step up their game.

Driving through mountains and thousands upon thousands of trees on either side of the road really took my breath away. I felt so small but in the best way. Getting closer to Lake Placid, we went through a stretch of road where people would pull their cars over onto the shoulder and get out and explore. There were small lakes and streams and waterfalls on the side of the road and everyone was laughing, exploring, and just enjoying their time outdoors. Seeing all this before we even got to our home for the weekend definitely made us all super excited about what was planned for the weekend.

The house we stayed in was beautiful. A huge deck out front and surrounded by wilderness, we had such a peaceful little spot on this Earth. We sat around the couch laughing at funny videos on YouTube, laid on the deck in the mornings with our coffee, and counted how many bears were incorporated into the decor of the home. Although the home was beautiful, there was so much to explore and discover that we didn't really spend a whole lot of time there.

The ultimate reason for going to Lake Placid in the first place was to see our friend, Creamer, finish his first Ironman. An Ironman, if you don't know, is an insane triathlon consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and a marathon at the end. Yeah, my jaw dropped too. He's been training for this for a long time and he really wanted all his friends and family to be there with him for this experience. The morning was a little hectic as it was very early and we didn't really know how the shuttle system there worked. So all of us, decked out in our matching T-shirts courtesy of his family, anxiously stood in a gravel parking lot waiting for a shuttle and praying we didn't miss the swim portion of this race.

Although we didn't get to see him dive into the lake for the swim, we did get to see him complete the swim and hop on his bike as we screamed our heads off cheering and ringing cowbells. After he hopped on his bike we went back to the house to grab a quick nap as it would be several hours before we would see him again. By the time we got to his family's home base along the race route we really got to see the sheer amount of people who were doing this race. Sitting there for a couple hours, we got to witness people of all shapes, sizes, ethnicity, all striving for the same goal of completing the race. It was very motivating. We all made several jokes about how ridiculously out of shape we are compared to the people going the triathlon.

We all were at the finish line for a good chunk of time before our friend finished. That was the best part of the whole weekend. Getting to see people who were cancer survivors, people who traveled across the world, ran in memory of someone else, and teams who trained together for months maybe even years, cross the finish line was very emotional. There were so many friends and family at the finish line screaming, cheering and some even crying was truly a moving experience. We screamed so loud and jumped up and down and basically just kind of lost our minds for a few minutes when Creamer crossed the finish line. We were all so proud and felt so so happy for him to complete a bucket list goal.

All in all, this trip was the best trip of my life. We swam in lakes and streams that were crystal clear, laughed so hard our sides hurt, hiked, explored, ate our body weight in delicious food, met a lot of great people, but most importantly we all had a great time just being together and cheering on our friend. This trip was something we all looked forward to for a long time and something we'll definitely talk about for many years to come.

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If You Give A Girl A Little Brother

You've given her the world.
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I remember back to my childhood, standing at the top of the steps yelling down to my parents "Why did you decide to have another child?" I remember riding in the backseat yelling "Mom, was I not good enough for you?" as my brother threw snow at me .

I remember crying when my mom made us share our first cell phone. I remember playing in a pool at a waterpark, and my dad couldn't play with me because my brother couldn't swim and needed my dad to be with him. I played by myself, thinking "They must have not wanted a girl when they only pay attention to him."

But now, at almost 22, I realized that the best gift God has ever given me was my little brother.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a pain in her ass.

Oh, he'll be annoying. He'll get in the shower just because you said you were going to. He'll start talking every time you do. He'll pull stupid pranks, he'll make you listen to bogus music, he'll make you watch stupid tv shows, he'll smell up the bathroom (and probably smell himself.) and boy, I promise there will be day's you will resent him. But he's just training for living with your husband one day.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a role.

As a big sister, I had somebody copying all my moves. If I did something, so did he. If I didn't eat something, neither did he. If I didn't like somebody neither did he. He was like a little shadow that did everything I did, so I was always motivated to make good choices and make him proud of me.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a rough side.

I wouldn't have done half the things I did if it wasn't for him. Play basketball in the drive way, spend hours on our bikes, spend the summer days in the pool, or down at the park. I wouldn't have learned that it's okay to get in the dirt and have some fun. I wouldn't have played half the made up, imaginary games we played every day. I wouldn't have played with Hot Wheels, or Lincoln Logs, or Leggo's. I would have played with Barbies by myself all day long, and what's the fun in that?

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her the best friend she'll ever have.

In the end, when our parent's both pass away, I won't be alone, because I will have my little brother. When the world gets tough, and everyone turns away from me, he will always be there. No matter where he end's up in life, I know he will drop everything and come running when I'm in need.

For Christmas this year, I bought my brother his first tattoo. We got matching tattoo's on our sides. Our lives our different now, because we're grown up and live on opposite sides of the state. But no matter where we go in life, if we look up, we will be looking at the same sun and moon. We are made up of the same matter, 'made' by the same people, and love each other more than I think we'd like to admit.

Alex is my true other-half.

Give a girl a little brother, and you made her whole.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Engel

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​10 New York City Brunch Restaurants I Love A Waffle Lot

Trust me, breakfast is overrated, even if it is at Tiffany's!

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You guys knew it was coming! If you know me personally or follow me on Instagram you would know that the thing that I love most in the world is brunch. My life motto is "Mimosa es su mosa" or maybe "On Sundays, we drink mimosas." Just kidding! However, there is nothing I love more than having waffles, poached eggs, and a latte on a Sunday with my girlfriends. Brunch is a long-held tradition for us, it's a great way to relax and it honestly just brings everyone together. So I thought I'd share a few of our go-to spots!

1. Dudley's

This is my favorite place of all time to get brunch. Dudley's is right on Orchard Street, it has a quaint little interior great for dinner, as well! However, I suggest going during the summer to enjoy their outdoor seating. The food is just so delicious! The first time I went was actually at the end of August with my best friend Alexia. She had just gotten back from traveling and we wanted to brunch, go to The Met, walk the Brooklyn Bridge and go thrifting all before we went back to school the next day. We got brunch and were full pretty much the whole day, it was insane. It was also really fresh. Alexia even says when she comes home from Greece no meal ever compares to the food she eats back home, but this really hit the spot. The cuisine is American with an Australian twist. I normally get the chia muesli, a burger with a salad on the side instead of fries. Also if it's later in the afternoon, I'll just do cauliflower tempura with green aioli! For drinks, I suggest a latte or their cold brew.

2. Buvette

I literally just went last weekend with my friend Emily, so if that doesn't tell you how much I love it here, I don't know what does! Buvette has extremely friendly staff and great food, the portions are a tiny bit small but they are super filling, definitely try the specials! I suggest the Belgian Waffle with berries and a latte. My friend Emily got a lemonade and avocado toast!

3. Victor's Cafe

Best croquettes and burger to date. I also got yuca fries on the side. Best brunch ever, oh my gosh! Of course, I got a latte with that, too! The paella de vegetales and platanos are to die for, as well. Victor's Cafe has my heart!

4. Your Mother's House

I actually just went to Your Mother's House on Sunday. It's not the best brunch ever, but they have such a great menu with tons of variety. I even had this Groupon for bottomless brunch if you are of legal drinking age. The Groupon definitely makes it worth it!

5. Sarabeth's

This has been a long-standing tradition between my friend Sara and I. The first time we went was actually when I was like 13, I want to say. It was December and at the time Sara was like 17 and she bought me tickets to see the Radio City Rockettes. However, the only reason I took the train at that point was for work so I wasn't going to be allowed to go. So we devised a plan to convince my mother that her mother was going and it all turned out quite splendidly.

We went to Sarabeth's, I got the lemon ricotta pancakes, and Sara got the crab cake benedict. I would recommend both. Then we saw the Rockettes. However, the reason this is a funny story is that a month later on Christmas Eve, she and her parents came over and our mothers are extremely close because Sara and I have been friends since I was five years old. Sara and I went to my room to hang out and left our mothers to talk. After a few glasses of Chardonnay, Sara's mom told my mom that we went alone. I was grounded for three weeks. Well worth it though, not only did I see the Rockettes, but I found a regular brunch spot!

6. Chat Noir Tea

I know I'm a coffee girl, but I needed some tea to spill it at this brunch! Chat Noir Tea has an amazing Croque Monsieur and a great English breakfast tea. I suggest getting the tea service for two!

7. Juliette

I've told you guys once and I'll tell you again, all great things reside in Williamsburg! I'll be back here with my girlfriends in two weeks. I recommend the french toast at Juliette if you have a sweet tooth like me!

8. The Cheesecake Factory

This is probably one of my favorite places to eat, for dinner here I usually get the crusted chicken romano but for brunch, at The Cheesecake Factory they have plenty of sweet things, so I'll normally order a few things and split it with whoever I'm with!

9. Milk & Honey Cafe

I know this one is a throwback to the "10 Instagram Worthy Cafes" article I wrote but the Milk & Honey Cafe does have some great brunch options and come on, you can try one of the best cafes and brunch places in New York all at once! (Fun fact: My Odyssey profile picture was taken here!)

10. Cafe Mogador

So I wanted to include Cafe Mogador in this because it was actually recommended to me and will be my next brunch stop, so I figured why not leave this here as a little surprise for us both!

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