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Confessions of a Mall Walker

I have been feeling very unmotivated lately even though it is the beginning of a new year. Malaise is turning into lazz-iness.

It’s been so cold and snowy and my usual twice a day walks have not happened and it’s hard to get motivated to go to the gym when you have to warm up your car and brush off the snow.

 

Please enjoy the short movie.

 

 

 

Then it came to me, throw your sneakers in the car when you are running your errands and stop at the mall and start walking!

Mall walking is great. It has an even surface, it’s temperature controlled and protects you from the outside weather and it has the most interesting scenery.  You can really get a good stride going. You don’t need any special equipment except a good pair of sneakers. You can walk at your own pace.  It’s safe and there is even mall security. Let me add, the hours are long and it’s absolutely free.

I started to notice other mall walkers. They are easy to spot. They leave their coat in the car, they are wearing sneakers, and you tend to see them over and over. Men and women are mall walkers. Chances are they are over 50. Some walk as couples, some walk with friends, some walk alone, but one thing is for sure, mall walkers are focused. They are at the mall for one reason and that is to walk an hour (or whatever is their goal) and nothing will stop them. You can try to tempt them with 70% 0ff signs in the window but they will not bend.

The more I walked the more I got distracted and spotted sale signs, and looked for a place to get something to drink.  I looked around at the Kiosks. I lost interest. Yet, I started respecting the mall walkers. Nothing is going to stop them. We should all be like mall walkers as we go through life. Focused.  Determined. Jeans and sweatshirt with white sneakers.  Life throws us temptations all the time. I am not just referring to buying new clothes. The worst temptation on earth is to dwell in our own unhappiness. Let’s hear it for the mall walkers who stay the course. Woo Hoo. I got some bargains. Extra 60% off. And, I’m back on my walking course!

Happy January.

Sincerely, Trish

 

A look back at 2017

As we get ready to ring in a New Year – 2018, it’s easy to say, where has the year gone? Did I even accomplish anything? I know I wanted to organize more, entertain more and clear the house out of things that don’t spark joy (wink) well, I fell short on most of those goals.  But instead of focusing on that I did not accomplish I came up with a list of things that did happen in 2017 that made this year one to savor and celebrate. Weddings of friends and a baptism for Wesley come to mind. But hey, we are alive and experiences are what keep us feeling engaged in life. How about #1? Improved my health! Guys, I look back at pictures of me and think..what took me so long? Take care of yourself and walk away from processed foods. Here are my top 17 highlights of the year.

1. Eating more greens, greens, and proteins. Starting my days with salads and making soups. Positive changes in my overall health. My check up was a celebration and my doctor called me her “gold star” patient.

2. The University of Richmond Athletic Hall of Fame honoring Natalie Lewis and the 2011 swim team. Also, Ginny Doyle the Woman’s basketball coach and good friend. Being back on campus with Natalie’s friends, swimmers, Ginny’s family and coach Matt Barney was good for our souls.

3. The annual Heart of Nardin Award – Mass and award ceremony.  Past winners include in 2015 Ariana Revelas, 2016 Maggie Logel, and in 2017 Maura Casey. So heartwarming to see the qualities of Natalie live on and inspire the high school students at Nardin Academy. Also, nothing means more to our family than a celebration of a Catholic mass.

4. New Career! I am a Tour Hostess at http://www.knowhowtours.com which opened my eyes to appreciating the beauty of the world so close to us and all just a bus ride away! A trip to Vermont and New Hampshire was the highlight. I lead tours that visited Groundhog Day off season! Punxsutawney, Pa and seeing the economic impact one little groundhog can make. Amish Country in Ohio, Seneca and Del Lago Casinos, Stratford Festival Ontario, and how about lunch at Hurd Orchards? They were all first time experiences thanks to my new position as a tour hostess.

5. New windows in the front living room and upstair bedrooms. So happy to have windows that open with a finger, well insulated to bring in the fresh air. I tend to keep the windows opened just a crack all winter long. I had no idea these old houses had window pulleys and as much as you like to keep the old / original to the house and are so thankful for the old craftsmanship, the easy open and high efficiency of the new windows won.

6. Canadian Swimming Olympic star Penny Oleksaik makes an appearance at the 3rd annual Natalie Lewis Town of Tonawanda Titans Spring Invitational Swim Meet. What a thrill to meet this delightful 16 year old Canadian sensation and hero. We cannot thank her enough.

7. College Reunion at the University of Dayton. Seeing my old roommate Sara Miller and catching up with classmates and seeing the beautiful campus was fantastic! So glad I finally made the time and committed to return to campus – I cannot believe it took me this long. 

8. Fancy birthday cake from my daughter Caroline. Wow. I can still taste it. Thank you for making it so special. Never underestimate the importance of a birthday cake to a celebration.

9. Visiting Detroit. We went for our neighbors wedding and fell in love with the grit and resurgence of the City of Detroit. The history of the Henry Ford automobile plants almost came alive.

10. MacKenzie Childs Barn Sale. Oh boy, I always wanted to experience it and I was not disappointed.  Funny how you can say “never again” when you are experiencing the event and then think back with gratitude and make plans to do it again.

11. PAL Athletic Award. In 2014 Nora Brown, 2015 Taryn Koeppen , 2016 Maggie Schmarder and in 2017 Akbar Muhammad. You have no idea the importance and example you imprint in others in something as little as a summer job. Natalie made a lasting influence and the PAL tennis is now know as “Love to Serve” and replaced “Raging Racquets” Lead by example and Live to Inspire others!

12. Just One Overnight Visit to Pittsburgh. How fun to visit Pamelas Diner and the Strip District, visit friends and stay in a downtown hotel. It can really give you a boost. Just one night away.

13. Festivals with good messages! Right down the 90 thruway to the Fingerlakes. The Charles Dicken Christmas and the Wonderful Life Festival. How delightful!

14. Florida after Thanksgiving and bike riding coaster bikes made us realize how much we like it and why not enjoy it here in Buffalo too? Inspired by our bike renting, we bought ourselves bikes for Christmas to continue the fun up north!

15. Just like that- 15 new blog posts and 32 movies that I created in 2017

16. Service trip with Nardin girls to Cincinnati!! I had no idea how much this experience would mean to me. The young ladies I was privileged to get to know better put me in a better place. Deweys Pizza was a score. We enjoyed helping others, visiting Xavier, praying each morning and evening together and being exposed to the city of Cincinnati with far more bridges and hills than we are use to.

17. Free Coffee for a year! On a whim, I woke up early to be one of the first in line for the new Lexington Co-Op. Guys, I love this place. It’s part of my daily ritual. I know I’m going to have a great day when I go to daily mass followed by a healthy breakfast at the Co-op. Heavenly food to earth’s finest. It is like having a personal chef create for me fresh salads, soups and dishes. Now that is feeling groovy!

 

Never underestimate the joy of a fancy birthday cake.

 

We beat ourselves up pretty hard at the end of the year thinking nothing has changed except we are a year older. We may feel the aches and pains a little more and find a few more grey hairs. Did I mention lines on the face? Stop. We need reflect on what positive things we were able to do at all last year and give thanks for all the opportunities and experiences we did have. I am certain if you look back you will find moments to celebrate too in 2017. Go ahead, take a minute to pat yourself on the back for what you accomplished this past year! Get out your note pad and sketch your new goals for 2018. It’s never too late. Just keep striving! We are all examples to others. Be easy on others and don’t let your phone control your life.

See you soon 2018.

Sincerely, Trish

 

 

 

Bigger than the Story

        This past weekend I was fortunate to lead tours to both Seneca Falls and Skaneatelas in the Finger Lakes.  One town featured “It’s A Wonderful Life” festival and one featured “Charles Dickens Christmas.” This post is to show appreciation for these festivals and the people who created them and continue the good will. You gotta give credit to the folks who begin festivals to showcase their uniqueness and goodness.  The whole idea of a person finding out what the world would be like if he had never been born offers such food for thought. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is such a realistic movie with struggles and joy. The movie is bigger than a movie, it is a lesson. Everyones life touches so many other lives that we never stop to realize. If we could just imagine how our actions influence others.

        “Charles Dickens Christmas” demonstrates the transformation we all can make in this world. A little child can change your heart even Scrooge! We all have time to change our ways and grow in compassion and tenderness.

         Singing Christmas carols, roasting chestnuts, drinking hot chocolate and going on a horse drawn wagon ride just feels so good. A little child can change your heart even a Scrooge. Thank you for these festivals.  So memorable and so good for your soul.

 

Please enjoy the movie. Sincerely, Trish

 

 

 

Quick Tour of Vermont & New Hampshire

       There are several reasons that I really enjoy being a tour hostess. The obvious of course is to experience new places. You expand your horizons. Your perspective changes. Yet it goes further.

 

*Please enjoy the video of our trip to Vermont and New Hampshire

 

 

1 . You realize you place barriers in your life that prevent you from taking more trip. Maybe it’s your kids sporting events, or money, or just thinking that it’s just out of your realm of thinking. Yet, it does you so much good. Nothing beats connecting with the ones you love on a vacation. Returning home, your appreciation grows.

2.  You learn how to act and realize how much your actions affect others. It’s so easy to spot the “one” who is the complainer. It becomes clear how you want to live your life and how you want to be perceived.

3. You learn about other people’s struggles and realize we are all the same. Yet inside of all of us are limitless possibilities that it is up to us to discover and use them.

4.  You connect with others and learn from them. Perhaps you witness 3 sisters traveling together with their husbands and think “I should organize that” too while we can.

5. Putting others first makes you feel so good inside. Making sure everyone is on the bus, the train, has gotten served first, likes their meal, is pleased with their room. The less focus on yourself opens you up to greater glory of the creation and of this world.

 

Sincerely,

Trish

 

Thanks for coming with me Evan.

 

A pumpkin totem pole. Wow. How cool.

Hello Again Olean

     It seems more and more that grandparents play essential roles in the lives of their grandchildren. Kids need the stability, calmness and a place to escape from the pressures of the busyness of this world. Even in the 1960’s and 1970’s when our family would drive to Olean to visit my mother’s parents there was a special box of paper dolls and farm animals neatly stored for me to play with. They were kept there for me to play with at their house only. I was forbidden to take them home. Crazy how much in turn I valued them.

I remember my grandpa telling me that the Jolly Green Giant lived in the Enchanted Mountains of Olean and I still remember with such sweetness eating dinner at 3pm at carefully prepared table with delicious homemade food mostly from their victory garden.

 

  It has been too long since I have visited Olean to pay respect and pray for them. I went back last week and made a little movie about it.

  You should visit Olean, see the squirrels, be inspired by the beauty of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and eat at the Union Tea Cafe. You’ll enjoy it.

  All so lovely. Keep looking up.

  Sincerely,

  Trish

Let’s Go To Pittsburgh

      Come along and join us as we visit Pittsburgh for two days over Labor Day weekend 2017. The best pancakes I have ever had in my life, and I have had my share- believe me- is at Pamela’s Diner. You gotta try um. Do it while you can. We always have to remind ourselves of how many great places there are to visit so close to any place you live. For us in Buffalo, Pittsburgh is only 3 plus hours away. Get stimulated and motivated but most of all enjoy the food, views and the people. Traveling always makes you appreciate home and the people there.

       Follow along as we visit the Strip District, ride the incline at Duquesne, check into our Kimpton Hotel, eat at pretzel at the rooftop bar, visit Pitt, Saint Paul Cathedral, dine with friends in Sewickley and eat the delicious Pittsburgh Salad topped with french fries. I know we will be back. Thank you Pittsburgh!

Sincerely, Trish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cincinnati Experience

        Somehow I was granted the privilege of being a chaperone for 10 Nardin High School young ladies along with Stephanie Malinowski and Rosalie Sperrazza.  In two mini vans we headed to Cincinnati, Ohio to give a week of service to others.

 

           I cannot tell you the amount of people who said to me, why Cincinnati? We have so many opportunities to help people right here in Buffalo. True enough. But staying in your own city fills you with distractions, and you stay in the safe zone, and the unknown tends to bond with the group together.

 

           The best reason to go on a service retreat is that you see the world differently and you see each other differently too. You really grow in admiration of each other. New friends. New perspectives. And you become so grateful for what you have waiting for you back home. A family, a home, a comfortable bed, a dog, a school you are proud to attend, and the list goes on and on.

 

Please watch the movie to better understand.

 

        Our world was expanded in the city of Cincinnati. Driving over the Ohio River into Kentucky a few times, all the hills, all the stairs, the trains, and the historic row houses. We over came fear and we had a boost in our confidence that we can return home and paint a deck for someone too. We discovered the positive difference you can make in someones life. You witness immediate results and see the smiles on their faces. The young ladies saw the good in their own city of Buffalo too. Little things that they took for granted like our beautiful view of Lake Erie, walking along Canalside and the cooler temperatures. No matter where you go, you always stay loyal to your hometown and getting out of town just reinforces that.

 

 

 

 

          We lived in simple housing, cell phones were restricted, mirrors were hard to find in the house, and meals were prepared together.Each day began and ended in the chapel for reflection and prayer. What a peaceful way to live.

 

 

         We all have opportunities to mentor, to share our talents, to influence for the good , to life people up, to love and encourage each other, to believe and help others. I hope that Ava, Amelia, Adrianna, Caroline, Isabella, Leah, McKenzie, Melanie, Shannon, and Tori all realize how much I care about them and see their goodness and light shine so bright.

 

           Thank you to the City of Cincinnati who opened our eyes to the amount of non profit agencies that we don’t have to help people along when they need it most. The generosity of it’s residents is so impressive.

 

 

          See the world differently. Leave our distractions behind and go on a service trip. You will return home in a new light.

 

Sincerely, Trish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://franforthepoor.org/

The Pug Story

          It doesn’t matter if you adopt a rescue dog, a mutt, or a pedigree pup from a top breeder.  Dogs benefit mankind immeasurably.

 

I was so excited to follow along.  You know I am a dog lover and it also involves my sister and Instagram!  Home run!  I love taking pictures, I love my sisters, and I love dogs.

Sit back relax and enjoy “The Pug Movie” The story of Hank.

 

My sister Anne who lives in California in the LA area called me a month ago to say one of her best friends is flying to Buffalo (Tonawanda to be exact) to pick up the pug puppy she had reserved. They are both fabulous friends and complete and utter dog lovers. It’s fun to hang around these two ladies. They share many stories of their dogs together and Noreen recently went with Anne to pick up her new pair of puppies at a local animal shelter where she scored 2 adorable litter mate puppies. Follow Beatrix and Butters on Instagram at beatrixandbutters. So, of course Anne had to be with Noreen as she met her new puppy.

 

 

 

 

Noreen fell in love with the Pug breed after one mysteriously appeared at her house one day, and that was 18 years ago. Every since then, this family of 5 has been hooked on pugs. They found the breeder by following different Instagram accounts featuring pugs. They really liked the looks of the pug in one account and contacted the owner who gave them the name of the breeder named Kelly in Tonawanda, NY.

 

I’m so happy that I went along on the exciting journey of Noreen meeting her new puppy “Hank.”

These little stories help you see the good in this world. Lessons from dogs are countless but one I will leave you with today is the ability to love and invite others in your life. A dog simply wants you to love him/her but a dog also wants to be loved. Savor those lessons. Love and be loved. Dogs don’t live a long life yet we keep going back and buying a new puppy. They are unforgettable and steal our hearts.

Stay tuned to find out Hank’s Instagram account. It’s coming.

 

Enjoy the true story,

Sincerely, Trish

 

 

 

 

 

http://marketplace.akc.org/puppies/pug

Skaneateles Lake

My thought today is to take a look around and notice all the splendor of this beautiful world. Just 2 and a half hours from Buffalo, outside Syracuse, is a quaint little lake town called Skaneateles. If you enjoy dining (with so many delightful options), shopping, boating, fishing, swimming, and simply experiencing a lovely place to visit, please visit Skaneateles.

Skaneateles Lake itself is 16 miles long. It is smaller than the biggest Finger Lakes which are Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake at 37 miles long. The waters are so clean and pristine. People just drink from the water!

 

Follow along in my video and see why this place is so special. Take the time to look around.

Sincerely,

Trish

MacKenzie Childs Barn Sale

On a 85 degree, no clouds, no shade kinda day in the thick of the summer, with 15,000 of your closest friends, there’s nowhere you’d rather be than the MacKenzie Childs’ Barn Sale. Holy Checkers!  For Buffalo people, this is Aurora, NY on Cayuga Lake about 2 hours and 20 minutes away. It can be confusing because Buffalonians have East Aurora as a suburb and the Town of Aurora. To repeat, this is Aurora, NY. In the Finger Lakes. Plan your road trip accordingly. It’s not 20 minutes away!!

 

 MacKenzie Childs is located on a 65 acre farm as peaceful and picturesque as any fairy tale. They started selling their unique and whimsical handcrafted ceramics in 1983. It’s pricey. Sticker shock is real. But so is the desire for something unique, a couple treasured objects, the sport of hunting for a bargain and a lasting memory. As crazy as this seems, this is an annual tradition for so many. The vast majority of the crowd was female but there are always the guys that are really into decorating or the helpful husbands who run back and forth to the car with bags, chairs and coolers. It’s crazy because the wait to get in is a couple hours or more. The lines are insanely long. This is in the heat of the summer. So yes, pack water. But yes, also enjoy meeting others in line, discussing the past sales, what you are looking for this year and time passes quickly. Everyone has a story. Everyone traveled here. People will pull out lists and lists of presents they are buying for Christmas, and you realize the joy and excitement people are feeling in that moment, transpires to different holidays and homes across the country.  Soon the paper bracelet of the day is applied to your wrist, the specials of the day are announced, you are given brown paper bags with handles, the music plays and in you are on your way to tent 1, 2, 3 4, and more. It’s impressive the vast amounts of merchandise there is and also the large amount of easily identifiable staff working the sale in the turquoise Tshirts.

This is our first experience and I have a few tips.

Timing is Everything – we decided to go first thing on day 2 of the sale. I have heard that Day 1 is a mob scene but quite frankly, so was day 2. I think the absolute worst time to show up is at 10 or 11 am because you will have your longest wait. Go early and later. I also think that the last day Sunday is a good choice. There are further mark downs and maybe a little less people.

Stamina – you will need it. You will be standing, hunting, talking, and many people coming up to you and admiring something in your shopping cart and saying “where did you find that?” You will need water if it’s hot out (another reason we chose the morning hours). Also, on the topic of shopping carts, don’t grab one until you are in the barn sale- they will take it from you while you are in line. I’d bring a wagon if you want your own caddy.

 

Please watch the video. It will make you feel as though you were there.

 

Goal- People come with a goal or a list and many get all their Christmas gifts at this sale. People go through catalogs and have long plotted out their plan. Also, have a budget. You could really go crazy and blow a lot of money. People tend to over load their shopping carts and thought out the tent sale there are restocking shelves for you to place if you decided not to purchase something you grabbed. There’s a lot of stimulation. It’s easy to over grab, so make a list and stay focused, but also have fun.

There are not that many things that are unique experiences anymore. So many friends do this annually. They make a memory of it. If something asked me right now..what was the best memory for you in the summer of 2017 ? I would hands down say….The Mackenzie Childs Barn Sale. It was because I was with my daughter Caroline. It was because we made a trip out of it. It was because we stayed in Seneca Falls and enjoyed our stay there. We swam, we visited a winery, and we discovered such delicious dining places. The Finger Lakes are God’s fingers on earth. Just taking a couple days to be together to laugh and escape is invaluable. It was a new and exciting experience. It’s easy to criticize and say “look at all those suburban women with money buying more stuff,” but it’s so much better to see the greater vision of this small town with artists who inspire and make you feel like you can create anything by mixing patterns and crazy designs. I can’t help but admire these artists who created this pottery and made this town famous for the black and white checkerboard design.

And just like anything in life, you need to experience it for yourself. Someone can give you a checkerboard MacKenzie Childs piece and you’ll be happy, but it is just so satisfying to wait the two hours to get into the sale and find your own checkerboard piece…now there is a story behind it. It’s just like money, someone can hand you money, but when you earn it yourself it simply means more and is more valued.

Keep making memories.

Sincerely,

Trish