haunted spooks and scenic routes

If you missed where I left off, here's exactly how a happy hour can go wrong in under two hours. Let's all learn from our mistakes - and not snapchat all of our college friends who we haven't really spoken to in over a year while we're drunk in the bathroom at 6:30pm. Great idea!

On Saturday night 12 mutual friends, some of whom had never met each other before, were organized by my crazy friend Shawn (a self-proclaimed "spooky boy" aka someone more than a little bit obsessed with Halloween) to take a white 12-seat passenger van to Agawam, MA for the much anticipated New England Scare Fest. The ride up there felt like a field trip in a school bus, it was hilarious. The actual event was... meh. It was fun to go to a haunted house with such a big group of friends but it was truly just a glorified haunted house.

I think I was expecting a bigger area transformed into a spooky village a la Halloweentown. Give me a real life Halloweentown and I'll be one happy cookie. But this was okay. The actual haunted house took about 15 minutes to go through (thank god because my poor heart couldn't have lasted any longer, especially when L dropped my hand and sprinted away from me as a Texas chainsaw murderer chased us through a fenced maze). After the haunted house part there was an after-party in the parking lot with live music, drinks, and backyard games. We played a little cornhole and had our own dance party, then relocated to Bobby V's Sports Bar for cheese quesadillas, some more adult beverages, and a little bit of warmth since it was cold and drizzly and we were all shivering outside.

Saturday morning started slow. L and I went out for breakfast sandwiches and bagels since some of his extended family had stayed over that night. We had every intention of laying around and doing nothing the rest of the day, until I got that restless itch I sometimes get that turns me into a psycho bitch if I don't do something to satisfy is.

So we took the scenic route.

Literally. We packed road snacks and "road sodas" (spiked seltzers, 'cuz we're oh so bad) and took off on a spontaneous road trip. Best decision we made all weekend. Shawn and his boyfriend were kind of doing the same thing... so what if we stole their idea. We ended up meeting up at a castle and taking adorable pictures together. None of which I have to show right now because we were using a real camera with amazinggggggg quality that requires me to upload to a computer, which of course I don't actually have time to do.

After driving down to the Essex area (somewhere that I've somehow never been), I put a pre-planned route into my GPS via this dope app called Round. It's glitchy as hell but has scenic routes already planned in that direct straight into your GPS. We took the Connecticut Lower River Valley Scenic Route around Essex, East Haddam, and Old Lyme. After starting out our journey, we stopped for some beautiful foliage pictures near a pond that was probably (definitely) on someone's private property. Yolo.

It was probably the most beautiful day we could have picked for this random road trip. The sun was shining but not too brightly, it was brisk but not too chilly. The perfect fall day. We munched on turkey and cheese sandwiches and Goldfish crackers and rode into the sun while blasting Third Eye Blind. 

We stumbled upon the Essex Steam Train, and took Halloween pictures with some impressive decorations in front of a home improvement store. Hey, it doesn't take much to impress me! On our way to Gillette Castle, one of the major highlights in East Haddam, we pulled into a cafe called Two Wrasslin' Cats for a raspberry iced mocha. I wish I could teleport you to this place because it was like nowhere I've ever been. Every single surface, wall, and table was COVERED with cat memorabilia.

Cat pictures, paintings, statues, stuffed animals, books, mobiles, and more cluttered every single surface. It was stuffed to the brim, colorful, bright, in your face, yet somehow relaxing enough for high school students to sit in overstuffed armchairs by the windowsills and work on their homework. It was amazing.

Gillette Castle didn't disappoint either. Shawn and Trevor magically met up with us there - we even managed to snap some candid pictures of them sitting on a castle wall as we approached. Just call us the paparazzi. Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your long hair.

The views from the outlook were exactly what autumn colors are made of. We used the turrets and scenery as a backdrop for a myriad of adorable, yet shamefully basic pictures of lovers and friends. And a more fun time hadn't been had in a long time. Then they lived happily ever after. The end. 

Except not quite the end.

On our way toward finishing off the route, we saw FIFTEEN WILD TURKEYS CROSS THE ROAD. I'm sorry but ya girl is from the dense suburbs so this is not an every day occurrence for me. Along a desolate dirt road we stopped dead in our tracks when we saw two seemingly wild horses romping in a field, encompassed by a low wooden fence. I got out of the car and approached for some pictures, but immediately backtracked when they stopped what they were doing, gave me a dirty look, and started slowly approaching our car.

Nature is beautiful and scary.

We turned back because the sun was starting to set. But this was one of the most magical spontaneous adventures I've had in a long time - and it was all in my backyard. So go on a freakin' adventure. Pack some road snacks and take the scenic route. And don't forget your camera and the road sodas.

It's all right there, just a drive away. 

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happy hour gone wrong.

Good morning and happy happy Monday. But I am honestly devastated that this weekend is over because it was some of the most fun I've had in a damn long time. It starts out with me being the most drunk that I've been in... over a freakin' year. Because happy hour hit and it hit hard on Friday night. And when drinks are BUY ONE GET ONE FREE (literally, free. Totally free. I can't believe it either), happy hour can knock you flat on your ass. Also literally.

this shit is dangerous... 

So L and I were just chilling out, planning on having a totally relaxed Friday night, when we spontaneously decided to go to Asian Bistro, this magical happy hour place just minutes up the road. He was only drinking wine, so naturally he had three glasses - meaning that to take advantage of the happy hour special and "get our money's worth", as I kept saying, I had to get three drinks. So naturally I had one and a half personal scorpion bowls and a mai tai. And when I say that I was shitfaced, I mean it wholeheartedly. Because that shit tastes like JUICE and it's impossible to tell how much you're drinking. From what I remember of trying to run away outside the restaurant, refusing to give L my keys to drive us home, rolling in the grass in his side yard, refusing to enter the house, running into the storage room and throwing myself down on an extra mattress on the floor - yes, I was a disaster.

And this was all before 7:00pm.

Needless to say, we did nothing else on Friday night because ya girl was laid out. I woke up at 4am with the worst hangover I've had in over a year. After tossing, turning, moaning, puking, and fighting to stay alive for a few more hours, I had L run to CVS for me to get the only things I know to work to cure my unreal hangovers - yellow Gatorade and original cheddar Goldfish crackers.

I was so insane in college that I've probably been hungover to a point near death over 30 times. I pretty much have my hangover cure down to a science, and no matter what anyone tells me, this is the only thing that I'll believe works for me. 

- no less than 10 hours of sleep
- throwing up quite a lot 
- yellow Gatorade
- original cheddar Goldfish crackers
- not being touched or spoken to for no less than 10 hours 
- a lukewarm shower when I'm finally a little more human

After coming to around 2pm I was finally able to interact with the living, help L clean our apartment (which I'd partially destroyed) and settle in to binge a little bit of this season's American Horror Story. This show is usually too freaky for me and don't get me wrong, IT IS STILL SO CREEPY. But I'm kind of enjoying the plot line and different set up of this season. We're only on episode 3, so we'll see if this changes. 

The first day and a half of my weekend was eventful enough because of my intolerance to anything besides tequila (what was I thinking), but the rest of the weekend was so amazing that it deserves its own post so this one doesn't get too long. Check back to hear all about a haunted house, too many Coronas, a white van full of 12 adults, and a spontaneous decision to take the scenic route. 
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the friday five

Hey what's up hello? HAPPY FRIDAY.
This week started off strong, man. Those warm days, that sunshine. I had so much energy... by the middle of Wednesday though, I was dragging. Seriously dragging. I think it's because I didn't have a single sip of coffee on Wednesday - what was I thinking???

Here are five things from this past week that made me happy, made me ponder, made me feel a lil somethin' somethin'.

The weather. Am I a boring old lady for talking about the weather? Maybe. I don't care. Records were broken on Tuesday and Wednesday. It's kind of a big deal. When I got in my car to head home from work both of those days, the thermostat inside my car read 88°F and it was fucking glorious. I spent as much time as physically possible outside - walking the dog, power walking around the neighborhood, on an outdoor patio, walking the track on the riverfront, sitting outside in my backyard as spiders fell from the trees and landed all over me... good times. But seriously, it was good times.

My coffee order. For future reference, a medium hot coffee with almond milk and a flavor shot of toasted almond has been my shit. Thanks to my coworker Neil for converting me to this from my SUGAR LADEN, CALORIE BOMB regular order (medium iced mocha latte light and sweet... again, what was I thinking???) I like coffee so much more now, because it doesn't make me feel sick to my stomach afterwards.

side note/funny story: 
I always thought that "light and sweet" for a coffee order meant like, light in calories yet still somehow sweet... like I thought this was the healthiest option. Why did no one correct me on this until a couple of months ago. Why! 

My wanderlust. I have been stagnant for way too long. I haven't even gone on a day trip since... I can't even remember! I go crazy when I don't go anywhere for too long, even if it's just to Rhode Island or New Haven or Boston. So I need to talk to bae and see where we can realistically day trip, probably the weekend after Halloween since we have plans all the way up until then. We are busy bees.

these feet were made for travelin'... 

The new hair. People are so funny, because they react one of three ways to my cotton candy colored birds nest

1. No reaction. They don't notice at all, or at least don't say anything. 
2. I love your hair! 
3. Oh my god, you dyed your hair! 

The last one is the funniest because I don't know what to say besides, "yeah I did! It's pink!" Like hello, they have eyes, obviously they can see that it's pink. But I was worried that I'd be over it within a few days - nope, still love it. It's doing exactly what I wanted, which is make me take myself a little less seriously and feel a little more fun. And spontaneous. Example A, I had about a hundred tasks to complete yesterday but instead organized two of my friends to meet for an outdoor happy hour. YOLO

Abundant sunshine. Vitamin D is my best friend. Which is why I kind of side-eye people when they say that moving to Florida is over-rated... is it though? I kind of don't think so. I'll trade humid temperatures with dreary bleary gray and overcast winters any day of my life. The sun has been shining every day this week and my spirits are higher than the ceiling. Higher than a kite. I know this feeling won't last forever, but that's also why I've been taking two vitamin D supplements every day for the past month and a half. Can't start prepping for the dread of winter too early! 

Happy Friday friends, blog, internet people,
future Danielle (who obsessively re-reads all of her posts because she's weird like that). 
Have a great weekend. 
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it's 85 degrees + i'm not complaining

This Indian summer is ending today, but it was three days of total bliss and a jolt of energy in my little warm weather craving, sunshine loving body. Warm weather gives me the strangest feelings... a driving productivity, THE WORST WANDERLUST EVER.. and also this weird sadness?

The seasons give me crazy nostalgia. A lot of it revolves around college. I feel like my senses were 100 times more vivid when I was living in my charming (which translates to completely messy and disorganized) apartment in Bristol, RI. Sleepless nights, hungover mornings, hazy days packed with so much activity, faces, and places. Mostly I'm hit with waves of nostalgia for falling in love for the first time. I hate talking about this, and I hate writing about it even more. My first love was the biggest heart break I'll ever experience in my life. I truly believe this. I started falling in love in February. I was completely and totally wrapped up in a love that I believed would last forever by the time May rolled around.

So whenever a weather pattern hits that feels like spring is in the air, I get this mix of happiness (since I'm totally a warm weather person) oddly accompanied by a funny feeling in my stomach.

Earlier this week I surprised myself by doing a full body circuit workout with a trainer, taking Shermany-wormy (my old beagle dog whose name is actually just Sherman) for a walk, going for a 2 mile power walk, teaching a Spin class, and teaching an advanced modern dance class - all in one day. 

There's that crazy productivity! Is there anything more beautiful than wearing a tank top and crop leggings in the middle of October? All while working up a sweat surrounded by the brightest colors of yellow, orange, and red? I really don't think so! 

I did a lot of talking yesterday. I had a session with my therapist, who will always remind me of my grandma. Then I had an impromptu lunch date with Shawn and Melissa. I kept bringing up the same points. Over and over again. 

How much I hate my stagnant, monotonous schedule.
My need to go somewhere, anywhere, asap.
How spending money on stupid shit is the reason I don't have any money to make - what Shawn and I dramatically label - "memories that will last a lifetime". 

Shawn and I took a walk around the track at a riverfront park yesterday after getting lunch on an outdoor patio (he got butternut squash soup and French fries. I got a BBQ pulled work sandwich and a Caesar side salad. Melissa got fried mac & cheese, large meatballs, and BBQ pulled pork sliders. I mention this because I love food so fucking much). So yes, after those meals, we definitely needed to walk it off.

Shawn is one of my best friends. We just get each other most of the time and we can be so sarcastic and quick-witted and poke the most fun at each other. Like, yes, we did totally want to kill each other a little bit when we were in Costa Rica. But once we got started talking about Costa Rica while we walked the track, we couldn't stop. We STILL can't believe that we navigated traveling to a foreign, Spanish-speaking country together. Travel bloggers, you're cool and all, but this was single handedly the coolest thing I've ever done.

We had no travel agent, we had no big fun Groupon. 
It was just us, my friend who was staying there on a work visa, and a hostel with a full size mattress on the floor. 

So now our question that we contemplated as we walked was, where the hell do we want to go next? Costa Rica was in April 2015. So it'll be two years this April and we are seriously thinking we need to have a Grand Canyon Adventure. I've been saying this for literally years, but can never find anyone to help me put the plans into action. Shawn might be that person. I feel like going to the Grand Canyon and all those beautiful national parks is a weird rite of passage for millenials my age.

I'll be honest. It is brutally hard to be enamored with the idea of traveling all over and meanwhile be in a relationship with someone who suffers from pretty serious anxiety. Lucas doesn't have the same priorities I do when it comes to saving money for travel, so I've recently had to explain to him that this might mean he has to accept the idea that I may have to go solo, or with other friends. Baby steps, baby steps. I've gone to Boston and Rhode Island without him, and he was okay with the idea of me going to North Carolina for a few days to visit a friend there. Baby steps. Our relationship may have it's serious ups and downs but it hurts me a lot to see him grappling with anxiety that somethin bad will happen to me. But it's my life first and foremost. So we'll see.
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pretty in pink

I've been talking about doing something a little more fun with my hair for awhile now. On Friday I went to my go to salon in New Haven, CT and Lucy turned my Pinterest hair dreams into reality.

I decided to go the pink route because in my opinion, girls with pink hair have more fun. Also, breast cancer awareness month is October, so what an appropriate time to go pink. And I thought it'd just suit my skin tone the best out of all the colors I was contemplating.

So first she put some lightener in it because the ends were already blonde, then she detangled it which took about 30 minutes because I hadn't run a brush through it in a few days... oops. Then she applied the color which was called rose Tuscany.

Rose Tuscany. How beautiful does that sound?

Lucas was watching Lucy's baby, (Lucas and Lucy are twins, by the way) so while my color developed we played with him and watched him sleep in his stroller a little bit. He was being so good, he barely made a peep the entire time his mommy was doing my hair!

Pinterest inspiration // the final results 

I love it!!! Pink but not too pink. Fun, but not too crazy. 

And my hair is still brown at the top, so when I wear it in a ponytail it's all "business in the front, party in the back." Hehe! 

The only downside is that my hair feels a little bit like straw. It always feels amazing when I leave the salon and then I'm totally incapable of getting those results on my own. But I have some sulfate free color preserving shampoo, sulfate free wave gel, and did a coconut oil hair mask yesterday. I just may need to use that coconut oil every damn day. 

After the hair transformation, Lucas and I got a slice of pizza at a tiny Italian pizzeria downstairs from the salon. Later that night, we went to a pop-up carnival in his town where he won me a stuffed penguin by playing a squirt gun game against a bunch of 8 year olds. It was hilarious. Then I got me some fried Oreos because you just have to get fried SOMETHING at a pop-up carnival! 

We went pumpkin picking and I had some hot apple cider and apple crisp. So overall, it was a terrible eating weekend. *shrug* You gotta do what you gotta do when you have a serious autumn bucket list to accomplish and eating your weight in apple and pumpkin treats is a definite necessity. Despite the fact that you're participating in a weight loss challenge... oops again.

Saturday afternoon I had a little gathering of friends at my house. We decorated with minimal dollar store decorations (spider webs and Zombie Zone! caution tape) and ate veggie pizza and home-made mac & cheese in the backyard. We had a small fire roaring in our fire pit and toasted marshmallows for s'mores. It was our last little hurrah before the cold weather sets in, since we'd had a cookout in my backyard earlier this summer. Then a few of us went out dancing and I cut loose with a couple of tequila and OJ's and a totally expected impromptu dance battle with one of my best friends, Shawn. 

Sunday was spent relaxing, even though I did have to make a trip to the dance studio to work on a dance solo for my little cousin. My aunt, my mom, and Lucas hung out in our backyard while we were gone, gossiping and clipping coupons. On Sunday night we chilled hard, and watched a strange little movie called Five Dances - if you LOVE modern dance, you will be enamored by this movie, but otherwise you may get fed up with the heavy levels of angst, silence, and lack of real dialogue. 

Now, Happy Monday! 
This weeks forecast is literally unreal. It's going to be upper 70's, even 80(!!!!!) a couple of days. So I'm going to take full advantage of that and plan to go for a walk or work out outside every day that I can.

How was your weekend ?
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