Archive | November, 2019


30 Nov

During the month of November, time was of the essence —  FaceTime, gym time, 59-hour work-week time. (“I thought you had that job so you didn’t have to work 60 hours.”)  After all that time spent, I decided it was time for me to take a day (okay, I took a week) off; I planned the PERFECT Tuesday.



Snow day? More like snow yay. 



Photo credit: Andrew Travis


My perfect Tuesday included therapy, Christmas shopping for my favorite Catholic, spending less money than I’d brought with me, texting with Helen, and eating the only thing I bought from the store (whipped cream) straight from the can.




Scrappy gets a snow day!


On my perfect Tuesday, it was freezing cold outside, and there were hardly any people on the roads. It was truly blissful, and I wanted more… so I took the next few days off, too, mixing business with pleasure.


Business: Getting my car fixed!
Pleasure: Getting my car fixed ❤ , being grateful for my car (which, at the moment, no longer sounds like a race car), heated seats, and the check engine light switching OFF.


Business: Getting my preventative Hep A and B shots.
Pleasure: Getting my preventative Hep A and B shots, which last FOR A LIFETIME.


Business: Getting food from a restaurant.
Pleasure: Being reminded not to dim my sparkle if I’m unhappy with food at a restaurant.


Business: New shoes.
Pleasure:  Getting new (matching) shoes from mom!


Business: Scheduling
Pleasure: The countdown officially begins! 287 days until “Move in Bae”.


Business: House hunting.
Pleasure: The best day with my mom.


Business: Appointments in general
Pleasure: An appointment to have my nails repainted gold 💁


On Friday, I got to hang out with Emily at the Colombian spot where we (yet again) forgot to take a picture.  We also went to The Vault.  Laura was there for that hang too 🙂  I got to hear about their trip to Boston…and reap some of the benefits.  We scurried back to Emily’s because her heater was to get fixed and I finally got to meet Brian and I didn’t smile once.  “No we were… yeah, you know what.  We were at a party.”

I also got to have a generous, hilarious dinner with Nina!



My favorite Niña


AND I got to hang out with Brian and Andrew (not pictured, per usual, but their dog is).



Our pick for Best in Show.


At the end of November, I saw the talented Collin Chamberlin perform his SOLD OUT show at the Arcade Comedy Headliner series.  But before that…my first time to Nashville! During the day I got to hangout with my funny boyfriend, eat, explore, and relax.  Then, at night, watch hilarious comedy.  The work I had been putting in at the club for weeks before this made Nashville really feel like a vacation.


It was a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.


I arrived at 7am and took a 6-hour nap. When I awoke I showered and learned to use 2 towels — thanks Baymont Hotel!

That evening, Col and I ate BBQ at Martin’s. I got a half rack of ribs, which, for the record, was way too many.  At Martin’s, 3 would have been just right.  And it was only because of Griffen (door) that I didn’t order 12. Thank goodness for him.

Sure, we were completely full of BBQ, but I’d already ordered pecan pie for dessert.  We sat, chilled, and chatted for 2 hours — Martin’s one of my favorite things we did all weekend.



It’s showtime!

After dinner on Friday night, Col had two shows (stupendous), and it was on our night-time stroll that we discovered Cafe Intermezzo, an old European-style joint with an amazing menu (we ordered a liquid dessert).  The resturant was an oasis of quiet.  They had a menu that was incredibly enjoyable to read, the funnest drinks, a helpful staff made up of people (like Mike) who liked their job, great lighting, home-made schlag (whipped cream), and Vivaldi Symphony no. 7 playing in the background. 



A nightly ritual.



‘Tinis for two


The next day, we had cold ramen, which was upsetting.  “What’s the point of having a menu?”  And even though our 3rd Avenue lunch wasn’t good, we were accidentally / always trying to stay a block away from our favorite spot (“Was that Bakersfield again?”).

We met some nice people, including an Ethiopian Uber driver who brought back my lost hat. We also went for a long walk – through a tailgate – and discovered a crystal shop before stopping for a glass of wine at a cool bar (per Rachel’s recommendation) followed by the Tom Hanks / Mr. Rogers smash hit.



Life is always rocky when you’re a gem.


At our (by the end of the weekend, I felt like it was ours) last show, we got to see Connor, Diego, and almost Chance, one last time before heading to the airport deceivingly early. You (yes, you, whoever is reading this very sentence) should have seen the glee on Collin’s face when they announced, at Laguardia, they were departing 10minutes early. 

Personally prefering to cut it close,

Giving Thanks

28 Nov

Thanksgiving this year was hosted by the gracious and lovely Cousin Richard and Cousin Laurel.


Dynamic duo ❤


Col joined me for the start of the holiday; literally speaking, we drove to FL in separate cars.  Once there, we relaxed by the fire, had a rowdy game of Photosynthesis (let it be known that I WON), and participated in yoga before my boyfriend headed back to Pittsburgh to be with his own, wonderful family.



Four wheel romance


My parents and I hit the road to Massachusetts, passed by a rainbow, and had a cameo stop at Subway to eat.  For the Travi, it was going to be a 7-hour drive (spoiler alert, it took us 9).

When we arrived, the gang was all there!: Wendy, Paul, Richard, Laurel, Zach, Nate, and Holly.  The first night, Zach and I stayed up late to chat ❤

Our entire visit was filled with activities. I’m talkin’ charades, Pandemic (the game, not an actual one), guitar-playing, a puzzle, a SECOND puzzle, Scrabble, a tractor ride…




Getting pulled by a tractor is their preferred method of travel.



A cooperative game that we lost.  But we all lost together, and isn’t that really what it’s all about?






Scrabble featuring an appearance by Collin on FaceTime



You’ll always be dad to the bone.


The laughs and love were palpable, and our hosts were incredibly generous and thoughtful, especially when it came to the delicious meal and cleanup! Here’s the spread:



Feast mode activated.



No matter how much I eat, there’s always room for dessert.


Of course, there was MORE food throughout the weekend, but I was too busy eating to take pics: the boneless chicken extravaganza, NYC bagels for breakfast, and a Thai dinner on black Friday.  



Healthy dessert spread. Those grapes were E.VER.Y.THING.


On Thanksgiving, I gathered the fam around the TV so we could watch — not football — but the National Dog Show where Col and I made our small screen debut.




3rd row intel:  BET ON THE BULLDOG


Thanksgiving was FILLING in so many ways — and you know I mean food, but also… love, laughter, and togetherness. And unlike the dinner and dessert, you can never have enough of that. (Ok, maybe this is not a good metaphor).



❤ Thankful ❤


I would walk 500 miles and would walk 500 more.


Love you all,

The Dog Show **co-authored

18 Nov

Get ready for one of my favorite blog posts ever:


I wanted to take Collin on a Mystery Trip.  I love to plan them and I’d had the idea for this one back in August. Collin said yes.  We were going to go ON A MYSTERY ROADTRIP!!!

**Hey, Collin here. I’ve been told several times how much I like surprises. I’m still trying to figure that out. However I was completely willing to let Sammi book this Mystery Trip. How could I not? She’s the most well-traveled person I know and it’s good for me to get out of the house. That being said, I would have never expected what was in store for us. 


[On Friday, the two of us prepared by having a pre-mystery-trip photoshoot in the bathroom (naturally) with matching clothes (naturally), a hangout with Emily and Laura which included a snail-mail gift card sent to make up for slow service, and a Club Cafe show where Col needed a bouncer. **This is true. Thankfully, after about 20 minutes of verbal assault, one of the bouncers came back from his vape break and apathetically asked the gentleman and his loving wife to leave.]


The next day, the two of us packed up the car.  WHERE WERE WE GOING??? You might ask (and Collin did ask)… **I did ask. A lot. 



Mystery Trip starter pack. 
**I mean how cute is this? Who wouldn’t want to travel with this angel


We left at 9:55am, at which time morale was high. But after several closed turnpikes and five hours of driving, the captain’s log read: “Delirium is setting in. Rations are low — we have consumed nothing but wasabi peas, grapes, and peanut butter whipped cream that was meant for the garbage.” 


**It’s hard to remember who said that. Was it me? Was it Sammi? Was it a voice in one of our heads? I do know that we were bordering full mutaney, and though I prefer not to stop often, it was necessary. We found the closest gas station, walked around for a bit, and remembered why we love each other. 


As we were getting close Col still wasn’t sure where we were going. Was I tricking him? 

**Sammi revealed that we were going to the National Dog Show. I didn’t believe her. I thought it was a false lead to shake me off the scent. This is a paranoia you can only get from watching too much Law and Order as a child. 



**She was telling the truth


Spoiler alert:  They don’t film this ON Thanksgiving. **Thank God or we wouldn’t have gone.


A Nederlandse Kooikerhondje – dare you to say that 5 times fast. 
**Heart. Melted


And even though I’d planned this trip, I was just as in awe as Collin. We wandered around to take in all the paws, tails, and ears as well as the side conversations like:

“Yeah, I got a new outfit. God forbid they actually judge the dogs.”


“My dog’s been getting a lot of thank yous– you know, best in group, best in breed, thank you.”


**The amount of drama and gossip we heard was unprecedented. Before this, I’d never seen a woman dressed like Jackie Kennedy, carrying a Dachshund, complaining about another dog’s attitude. This was an overload of stimulus. Like seeing the Vegas Strip for the first time, or Time Square. Truly awe inspiring.



Who let the dogs out, amiright?
**Faces of two people happy to be out of the car



First place for cuteness


We wandered for quite some time, not knowing exactly what was going on. After speaking with two (**extremely) unhelpful ushers, and a helpful man who worked the jumbotron, Col and I started to get the hang of things. **We were getting our paws under us, you could say.** We headed to the main event area where the judges were picking which hound dog was the best in group.



There were mounds of hounds (adorable). And Col and I were both introduced to dog breeds that we didn’t even know existed like the petit basset griffon vendéen (**imagine saying that when people asked). Then it was the working class dogs time to shine.  Go dogs, go, work the room!



Line up dem pups


The event was fascinating, but it was crowded and they were obviously running behind schedule.  Col and I were famished so, after a little deliberation, we dipped out early to get a yummy burger and discuss what to do next. 

**At this point we felt pleased with what we saw. We had no hard intentions of returning, that night or ever again. 


Hours had passed.  Was the dog show still going on?  Should we jump on trampolines in a glow-in-the-dark environment (our other option)?  We had driven this far…”let’s check in at what’s going on at the dog show one more time.” Col dropped me off to peek inside and see if it was still happening.  It was after 8pm and I popped inside …and ran immediately outside with news. “BEST IN SHOW IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW!” I said exuberantly.  So many parking spots were open to us! Had people left?! We scandalously parked in the judges’ spot.

**I was thrilled just to be able to park near the front door. So I was happy to go back in. 

Col and I entered the arena and got good seats on the side we wanted when WE NOTICED THAT THE BEST IN SHOW HADN’T EVEN STARTED YET!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!!!


**The lack in communication and delay in the schedule were shocking for the prestige of this event. But it couldn’t have worked out better.  

As the realization dawned on us…the show was running 3 hours late and we were about to see the best part …we noticed that there were EVEN MORE SEATS OPEN THAN WE HAD FIRST THOUGHT!

We snuck up to the third row.  THE THIRD ROW!!!!!


“We are definitely going to be on TV.” Col whispered as I squeezed his hand. It was EXCITING. Honestly, this was living!  A Mystery Trip? A TV credit? Adventure? Love? Dogs? Am I the best girlfriend ever? 



I’ll answer my last question with a photo.
**I’ll answer the last question with a yes. She is the best girlfriend ever.


The best in show event WAS THRILLING!! A week before it aired on “live” TV, Collin and I had the honor of watching Thor, the bulldog, win best in show for being the bulldoggiest bulldog out of all the other bulldogs (and other breeds).


Celebrity sighting! Thor’s owner!
**He was not as flattered to get a picture with us as we had hoped



The happiest duo watching the goodest pups.


The next day, we woke up still giddy.  How could we not?! And we hadn’t had enough!   We went to Day 2 of The National Dog Show. Where, ultimately, we finally left BEYOND satisfied — THRILLED with our weekend — and I still had one more thing planned … 


Indoor skydiving! **What a world we live in…



Arms straight. Legs bent. Spit on my chin. Perfect form.
**A vision of pure beauty.


We got in the car for our long drive back home, grateful for a weekend away, a flexible travel schedule, something to look forward to, and forever memories. I may have even have found a new favorite dog – the Irish setter.  The Mystery Trip was an undeniable success.  

**I couldn’t have said it better myself. If you would’ve asked me before this, “Would you like to go to the National Dog Show?” I would’ve said, “Who are you?” But that’s what Sammi Travis does. She’s a creator of experiences. You don’t just go and see something with her, you live it. I have become almost unbearable now in the way I talk about dogs. I’m interested in their breed and gate and bone structure. Short of taking one of the dogs home, that is the best souvenir I could have. The memory of the National Dog Show and plans to go back. 




Best in show
**I mean come on! Even in a red jumpsuit she looks stunning


Here’s to a new Thanksgiving tradition,
‘mi  **and Col


NYC, what is it about you?

4 Nov

(As I hit post on this, once again, I’m in New York City.  But this blog takes us back to the beginning, back to October.)

Collin, as you (may) already know, had moved to Astoria, Queens, in New York City to follow his dreams and the two of us were long overdue for a visit.  





I took an overnight mega bus to the city that never sleeps and made SURE to set myself up for success (I even bought two seats next to each other so that I could curl up and try to comfortably sleep). Even with legal amounts of melatonin, it didn’t work.   By the time I got to New York City, I felt MEGA car sick from the mega bus.  I ducked into a flower shop to appreciate their fresh air and purchased white flowers for all the boys. #alwaysbewooing



Can you say Stud flat?


Collin met me off of the train, we hurried to see his apartment, and then… it was off on an adventure!!  Collin had planned a secret mystery date that was starting soon!



Our first subway ❤


Turns out, we were heading to The Met; cool! And not only were we going to The Met but… we were also going to go on a Harry Potter tour!

“Disclaimer: None of the sights you will see here were actually in either the movies or the books. You’ll just use your imagination.” – Our tour guide.  

Col and I looked at each other and smiled. We love making eye contact.  This was going to be funny.  Soon, we started seeing Harry Potter imagery everywhere.  The staircase.  The doors (is that a griffyn… door?!). The chandeliers.   It was a private tour with a Harry Potter expert as my handsome date.  10 (more) points for Collin!

We built up quite an appetite and went somewhere close by for lunch – Thai food – and headed back to the apartment where I met Chester, Brandon, Dahlia, Carla, and hugged Ray.  Apparently, this was the most people that’d ever been in the Stud flat. 

In the evening, we got ready for Halloween. I was Carmen SAMdiego. “That’s what they call me.”  “Who calls you that?”  Collin was a stylish Waldo.







First name: Where



Ray Za-PAW-dni


We ended our day the best way possible.  Together.
Walking home, eating pizza, and falling asleep.

The next day(s) were perfect.



The bluest sky, the biggest phone


Activities during our weekend included: walking around multiple parks including Socrates Sculpture Park and Central Park (is the New York City marathon going on or do they keep those signs up all year?), crying in a delicious bagel shop (Col was just there for the ride); holding hands, playing, falling more in love, and EATING all the treats (I’m talkin’ healthy bowls, steak, Greek desserts, hot chocolate from Max Brenner, gelato, mini cupcakes, cookies and milk).   On the street, I saw a guy with a sign that said “$20 to punch me in the face.” It was a moral dilemma that I never thought I’d experience. 



Happy couple in the big Apple… The Big HAPPLE


To celebrate our anniversary we walked 8 miles  — say 8! — lol jk, it was over 10.



Happy Anniversa-tree


We ate dinner at an all-vegetarian Indian restaurant called Night Music where I ordered the Tea Swift <3. And I GOT A BONUS HOUR (thanks, daylight savings), which I used to watch the Steelers win their baseball game. 

Back at the apartment, we drank the best kind of wine and the best kind of popcorn.  IT WAS CLEARLY THE BEST KIND OF WEEKEND.  We laughed in bed where I learned how funny it is to watch someone (Collin) try to put something on a shelf while they are laying upside down.

We capped off one of the nights at a QED party.

Before it was time for me to go back to Pittsburgh – for now – Collin and I ate (more) pizza, had (more) bagels, did more walking, more listening, more talking, more loving, more dreaming.



When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie… that’s amore ❤


A(nother) long walk in NYC was how we spent our last night.  Which, at the risk of sounding redundant, was perfect. A well-deserved (delicious) bottle of wine, Sac’s Pizza, and a to-die-for mushroom appetizer. 

And since I was a miserable lump en route to NYC, to get me back to Pittsburgh, Col impressively used his connections to book a super cheap Jet Blue flight. I got the royal treatment on the airplane and even snagged some extra leg room. Take that, Mega Bus.



Back to the ‘burgh.



Don’t forget to chase me when we …. …….. (you remember the sign?)


My heart is in New York,