Instagram accounts I love this week

In November, I showed you some of my favorite travel ‘grammers. While I still love those accounts, there are some new ones I’ve taken to:

  1. TheAdventureProfessional

12. PNWonderland2




3. Wilderness_Culture


4. TreasuresandTravels


5. RecreationNews


OK, this one is cheating because I run it, but hey! We’re doing some pretty cool stuff over at and across social media.  Like this #LivePlayDo contest – all you have to do is use the hashtag to be entered to win travel prizes monthly!

Oh, and that’s me on the left, totally enjoying hammock life.



Travel ‘grammers I love

On a rainy day, I can spend hours scrolling through Instragram feeds, looking at what travelers throughout the world are experiencing.

That’s not healthy, I know.

Nonetheless, here are a few of my favorite accounts, as of late:

  1. Cameron Anderson

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2. Kylie Turley

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3. Queston Van Horne 

Fullscreen capture 1182015 121525 AM(PS – he lives near Indiana, PA – and some of these photos are local!)

4. Cassandra Haverland

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5. Camping With Dogs

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Stories that inspired me in 2014

As a writer, I’m often overwhelmed by deadlines and gloom and doom stories that no one wants to work on. I’m lucky enough to usually only be assigned feature and human interest stories .

I’ll admit it — in 2014, I had plenty of times that I wanted to drop everything — but something kept me going.

Here are a few stories that inspired me, that really fueled my passion in 2014:

1. Indiana native makes TV debut as comedian

In 2013, Indiana native Rachel McDowell quit her job to become a full-time comedian. Who does that, seriously?

Why I loved it: Anyone that has the courage to quit their six-figure job to pursue their dream gets an A+ in my book. And, she was so much fun to chat with.

2. Weight-Loss Warriors: Couple loses 320 pounds10500310_1503986999835305_2726137846150209507_n

I had the opportunity to interview Indiana couple Danny Patton and Kalean Duffy and follow their story throughout this year.

Why I loved it: They are truly one of the most inspiring couples I’ve ever met, and writing their story really felt like it could reach others who need that extra motivation to lose weight.

Later in the year, the couple got engaged on LIVE, national television! So cool.

3. Beeken has high hopes for Restless Road

19780636_16219Even though they were voted off “The X-Factor” in the semi-finals in 2013, Zach Beeken, of Indiana, and his band Restless Road kept on the path to stardom.

Why I loved it: The community really came together in support of Beeken and Restless Road. I was happy to have my chance to hang out with a new celebrity 😉

4. Father, son explore Europe on bicycle built for two

Indiana’s Stuart and Eddie Chandler rode thousands of miles through the elements over the summer on a tandem bicycle.

Why I loved it: What an AMAZING experience! I can only hope that someday I can see the world in the way that these two have.

5. Day celebrates acts of flowery kindness

Some area flower shops participated in the national Lonely Bouquet Day this year.

Why I loved it: It was wonderful to see people in the community spreading some cheer. What’s even better — After the story was written, many bouquets popped up in different areas around town for unsuspecting passers-by to find.

6. Woman expresses feelings by crafting collage art

Becky Solar’s story inspired me initially when she came to speak to a class at IUP’s Journalism Department. Becky crafts collage art with tiny clippings from newspapers and magazines — and they’re beautiful!

Why I loved it: Becky is a constant reminder to me that when things get rough, you’ll always find a way to get through them.


Exploring Niagara Falls State Park

Last week my family and I took a trip to Niagara Falls. We rented a house on New York, and checked out the scenery on both the New York and Canadian sides of the falls throughout the week.

Niagara Falls State Park has miles and miles of scenic trails that go through the gorge, right near the falls and down past the whirlpool created by the rapids.

The first day of vacation, we planned a hike to see the falls, up close and personal. We packed our bags, some lunches and were on our way.

The path we followed took us right up to the American Falls as well as the Horseshoe Falls, one of the Natural Wonders of the World. Here’s what we saw:


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Closer to the end of the trip, my Dad and I did a hike through the gorge, hiking right down to the edge of the river near Whirlpool State Park. The views were spectacular, and the hike can definitely be deemed my favorite part of the trip.




If you’re planning your next trip, Niagara Falls is definitely a must-see.

What working at an Indian restaurant has taught me

Working at an Indian restaurant, or any restaurant for that matter, has its ups and downs. If you asked me if I would still be working in food service at this point in my life, as well as at a job in my field, I would probably tell you no. But I don’t continue to do it because I’m broke, I do it because it’s an interesting experience.

Yes, I wrote this post while sitting at said Indian restaurant.

Yes, I wrote this post while sitting at said Indian restaurant.

Working at the restaurant has made me a better listener. Not only because 95 percent of the customers that visit barely speak English, but because the people that come in to the restaurant are different than most customers. They’re interested in having a conversation with you, talking about Indian culture and food and telling you about their day. It makes the time go by fast, and when I leave at the end of the night I feel like I’ve made a good impression on at least a few customers.

And speaking of the customers barely speaking English, there’s that too. I feel that many Americans get angry when they need to speak to foreigners on the phone, when they call a customer support center or when they’re just trying to talk to someone walking down the street. Those with limited English, in turn, get easily frustrated when we don’t understand what they’re trying to say. Learning different accents and understanding different pronunciations of words is definitely a skill that can be used for a lifetime.

Then there’s the food. I used to be the kind of person that wouldn’t try anything new. Once I branched out, I realized I liked all kinds of foods–including ethnic foods. Now, I’ve tried most of the items on the Indian menu, and have yet to stumble across one that I don’t like. There’s more to life than chicken tenders and french fries. If you ever get the chance to eat authentic Indian food, I highly suggest it. It’s definitely become my favorite.

And one more thing, that really applies to any job: working here has taught me to manage my time wisely. I thrive off of having extra responsibilities, and if I’m super busy I’m more likely to get things done, and get them done right.

On to the next phase of my ethnic experiences, who wants to travel around the world with me?

All things chevron…again

By now you probably realize I have a slight obsession with the chevron pattern…in any form–clothes, home decor, you name it. Here’s a few of my new favorite things, some that I don’t necessarily own yet, but you can probably bet I will in the near future:


1. Chevron Melamine Tray. It’s got great colors and can be used for a million different things. Unfortunately, you have to be a member of the site (click the picture) to purchase. But hey, something like this has got to show up soon at Tj Maxx, right?

2. Feeling crafty? Visit this cute craft blog to see how to make your own chevron wall art. Which I think I’ll be doing very soon, now!

3. Much to my dismay, this item is sold out, but how great is this dress? A great style, bright summer colors, and the model even has some cool accessories, too.

4. One of my other favorite things in life? Weddings. So you know when I found this chevron aisle runner I was pretty excited. See photos from the couple’s wedding here (it’s adorable!), and scroll down to see the aisle runner.

5. For all of you nail-art lovers out there (I’m not one of them, I can’t bring myself to put so much effort in to something that lasts only a few days), check out this cool pin and get inspired to do your own nails.