Tuesday, December 17, 2013

IfOnly, Extraordinary Experiences for Good

Established in the heart of San Francisco, CA IfOnly continues to prove why they are one of the best destinations, for only the best experiences. IfOnly not only works with global industry leaders, they search the planet for only the best memory breeding experiences.


And if that isn't priceless enough, IfOnly believes in seizing the moment, rather than living day-to-day. IfOnly infuses an inspiration into every experience. Every item and/or experience goes towards helping various charities and causes. And every luminary's proceeds go towards a different charity. For instance; Joseph Gordon-Levitt's proceeds go towards Stand Up 2 Cancer whereas; Miley Cyrus's proceeds go towards the Ronald McDonald House.

Individual luminaries (or individuals who inspire) range from celebrities to people like you and me. Some of them include: Miley Cyrus, One Direction, Mike Tyson, Bruno Mars, Kobe Bryant, Shakira, Fall Out Boy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Chris Cornell, Demi Lovato, Joe Montana, Justin Bieber, Amitabh Bachchan, Michael Chiarello, Tyler Florence, Brian Boitano, Dan Jansen, Salman Khan, Justin Tuck, Summer Sanders, Andrea Agassi, Ray Lewis, Jerry Rice, Stefanie Graf, Bonnie Blair, Greg Norman, Rajat Parr, and much more.

Don't miss out on this year's
Meet Demi Lovato with
VIP Jingle Ball Package which
will benefit the Ryan Seacrest
Foundation.
With experiences such as Pasta Making Class + Dinner for 2 with luminary Thomas McNaughton to a meet-n-greet with luminary Kobe Bryant to the Greenmarket Tour with luminary April Bloomfield to a VIP experience with luminary Mike Tyson to a meet-n-greet with luminary Justin Bieber to a recipe showcase with luminary Tyler Florence to a 1 hour figure skating instruction with luminary Brian Boitano to a weekend tennis getaway with luminary Andre Agassi to a private workout on the hill with luminary Jerry Rice, and more; you can make someone's life brighter with just the click of a mouse.

IfOnly also offers last minute gifts that range from personalized gifts from your favorite luminary to individual gift sets put together by your favorite luminary to signed memorabilia that is actually owned (or was once owned) by your favorite luminary, and much more.

And when you become a member, you have additional access to all of the categories that you can't see if you were lurking IfOnly.

You can contact IfOnly directly where they offer Concierge via telephone from 9 AM to 6 PM PST and email. Whether you want to inquire about an experience or even suggest one to a specific luminary, you can. For instance, if you want to hang out with luminary One Direction, you can suggest this to the staff of IfOnly.

Would I recommend IfOnly to a friend? Absolutely. Especially to those that are interested in engaging in an experience they will remember forever. And the best part is, the proceeds go directly to charity. There are simply no words to describe the experiences you will have, as they will be something you will remember and cherish for the rest of your life.

To get started right now with IfOnly, simply click here right now or click the banner below...

The IfOnly Constellation Caramel Collection - Order Now!
 
 
 
Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with IfOnly. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

RIP Nelson Mandela

It is official, activist, political leader and philanthropist Nelson Mandela has died. At 95 years of age, I would say that he lived a really great, long life. As South Africa's first black "head of state" (or president) of South Africa, he did a lot to change the internal resistance to apartheid. He was one of the first leaders in the world to create his own social movement using a nonviolent approach. He also proved that you did not need to go to war to make changes, hence why he really embraced the passive resistance concept. 

In addition to being South Africa's first black leader from 1994 to 1999, Mandela was president of the ANC from 1991 until 1997. In the early 60's (I think 1964) Mandela actually went to prison, where he would serve 27 years until his release in 1990. Having been arrested for treason for simply advocating nonviolent approaches to violence, the former attorney then left the country. Eventually Mandela was released.

Having been one of few to want to combat the poverty problem in Africa, Mandela exhibited a commitment to the value of life, liberty and love. He wanted to genuinely help people and strongly believed in free speech. Personally I didn't agree with some of his political beliefs; however, he was very true to his beliefs and never put his country in a bad place nor made a decision to jeopardize the people. 

His story is quite fascinating and if you are looking to read an interesting one about a political figure, I definitely recommend that you read about Nelson Mandela. In 1999 he officially retired from all things political, but remained a strong advocate for many years up until his death today. 

Nelson Mandela was a man with a voice, a vision and a message. A message so powerful, he will forever be the force and the face for the change of the internal resistance of apartheid in Africa. 

Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus, Indiana, America's Christmas Hometown.
 
Christmas Lake Village.
 
Holiday World.
 
Holiday World and Splashin' Safari parking lot entrance.
 
Louis J. Koch and Christmas Blvd.

Holiday Foods, the main grocery store in Santa Claus, Indiana.

Are you going to call Santa's mom?

Holiday Blvd.

The largest church in Santa Claus, Indiana.
 
The Santa Claus Christmas store offers more than Christmas
ornaments and decor. It even offers food.

A glimpse inside the Santa Claus Christmas Store.

Christmas Blvd.

Old Tyme Liquors, the Wines & Spirits state store of Santa Claus.
 
The Santa Claus Christmas Store located at 33 North Kringle Place in the heart of Santa Claus, Indiana. Open Monday through Friday from 9 am until 6 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am until 8 pm.
 
The Santa Claus Christmas Store is fascinating and possesses so many beautiful Christmas items, that truly do put you in the spirit of the holiday. The best part is, they allow you to shop from home. With 5,000+ ornaments alone to choose from, there are so many things to love and appreciate, including their extensive personalized selections. + Free Shipping over $40 or if you purchase 4 or more personalized ornaments. Don't believe me? Just click here right now.
 
I've been to many holiday stores (including amazingly exciting Christmas stores) and this is one of the best Christmas stores you will visit.
 
Inside the Santa Claus Christmas Store.

If you ever decide to visit Santa Claus, Indiana, you must check out
the Santa Claus Christmas Store.

Look at all of those Santas...

Lots of Christmas trees and Christmas accessories. The
ornaments are amazing here.

You can even get your picture taken with Santa.

Frosty, is that you?
 
 
I absolutely love this sleigh, inside the Santa Claus Christmas
Store.

A look inside the Santa Claus Christmas Store.
 
I am struck by the Christmas trees and the color coordinating ornaments. To purchase one of these ornaments, just click here right now.
 




 
You just have to love this snowman.

 
I absolutely love Santa Claus, Indiana. It's an amazing place. You can travel the world and see a lot of incredible places, but there is nothing like this place. It's Christmas every single day. Whenever I get struck by the glory of being in a fairytale-like place such as Santa Claus, what I find fascinating is that the people who live here treat it as an amazing place to call home. 
 
The post office in Santa Claus, Indiana.
 
 
Location: Santa Claus, Indiana
Photos/Pictures by Sarah Afshar


Friday, November 8, 2013

Nashbar

Established in 1973 in the heart of Northeast Ohio, Nashbar continues to prove why they are the #1 destination for only the best deals in cycling. Nashbar searches the planet for only the best values and as a result, you will not find unbeatable prices anywhere else.
 
Fuji SL-1 Comp LE Road Bike.
Nashbar has an extensive selection to choose from which include bikes (BMX bikes, mountain bikes, drop bar road bikes, cyclocross bikes, full suspension bikes, single speed bikes, women's bikes, kids bikes, and more), bike frames (mountain bike frames, various road bike frames, and more), bike helmets (adult, children, etc.), bike sunglasses (single lens, multi-lens, cycling lens, etc.), bike shoes (everything from mountain biking shoes to casual biking shoes to even road biking shoes and much more), bike tires, as well as, tubes and wheels (tires, hubs, wheels, rims, you name it, ie.), bike trainers, bike tools (various tools and workstands, as well as, lubes, degreasers, transports, packs, racks, and much more), bike lights, bike pumps, bike locks, GPS, heart monitors, energy drinks, energy bars, hydration packs, personal care aids, and more.
 
Nashbar also includes various clothing and accessories for both men and women which include standard cycling clothing layers, cycling shorts, jerseys, socks, full finger gloves, various cycling headwear, and more. They also include stuff for triathlons and marathons.
 
Providing with 100% customer satisfaction, Nashbar accepts VISA, Mastercard, Discover, and Paypal only.
 
Would I recommend Nashbar? Absolutely, especially if you are looking to purchase an amazing bike for an amazing price. After searching the world wide web, I have yet to find a place like Nashbar which incorporates both quality and quantity in the same MO. The customer service is fantastic too.

To get started shopping at Nashbar, simply click here or click the banner below...
 

 
 
Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with eAccountable. All opinions are my own.

Discount School Supply

Established in 1985 by Ron Elliot, the Discount School Supply provides you with over 500 pages of 5,000 essentials for children of all ages, across the globe. Located in the heart of Monterey, California, this amazing store provides you with a 110% product guarantee. In fact, if you find a product elsewhere that is cheaper, not only will Discount School Supply refund the difference they will deduct another 10% off.
 
Big Book Easel.
These essentials include arts & crafts (paper, markers, crayons, glue, and other adhesives), infant & toddler (strollers, changing tables, high chairs, and more)active play (balls, active play kits, playground, and other play spaces), dramatic play (animals, puppets, kitchen, role play, and other accessories), furniture (tables, chairs, carpets, and more), manipulatives (puzzles, building blocks, various games, and more ways to test a child's skills), cirriculum support (books, pocket charts, pock standards, and other various resources), angeles (various products involving the angeles name), and other (special needs, techology, clearance, etc.)
 
Discount School Supply also includes free publications which include information on free kid activities, iPhone and iPad apps that cater to children which involve crafts and biocolor, information about the Head Start program, Highscope, free grant database, and individual product reviews and ratings.
 
Discount School Supply accepts American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. Discount School Supply also accepts Paypal and offers a credit program, which is great for small institutions such as Head Start. 


 
Colorations Marker & Crayon
Combo Pack.
Aside from the numerous savings you will receive as a result for shopping with Discount School Supply, you will also get free shipping on all orders over $79 which is automatically calculated during checkout so, you don't have to worry about adding a code. Your purchases will be delivered UPS, however; if you have a PO Box, your purchases will be shipped via USPS.
 
 Would I recommend Discount School Supply to anyone? Yes. Not only do they provide you with the lowest prices (which lets face it, everyone wants to save money) they offer some of the best customer service you will receive. Whether you are in charge of budgeting a small institution or a simple program, this is the place for you.

To get started shopping at the Discount School Supply, simply click here or click the banner below...
 

 
 
Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with eAccountable. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sephora OPI Jewelry Topcoat in Not Your Average Turquoise

 
When Sephora marketed this jewelry topcoat as being Not Your Average Turquoise they were not lying. This stunning glitter top coat truly is a force to be reckoned with, as it is extremely pigmented and stands out. The optics in this polish truly give your nails the right about opaque, which I really enjoy.
 
Although I wore this alone, it is primarily recommended as a topcoat to your favorite polish. It can also work as a nail d├ęcor. As much as love all things bling, this isn't a glitter so it is a bit chunky and tends to hang on the nails if you don't apply a topcoat. It is very crucial though to use a non-matte formula so it doesn't change the formulation and glitter of the product.
 
This jewelry topcoat and amazing Sephora addition is part of their recent collaboration with OPI and is definitely one of my favorite nail effects I have discovered. I am looking forward to trying the rest of them I purchased, as they are currently on sale at Sephora as I type this.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Violet Velvet Cake

 
As many of you know, I just had a birthday this past week and might I also add, it was great. Not only did I get to have dinner with family and friends, but I made my own cake too. I know, it's not really traditional when someone makes their own cake, however; I wanted to try something new. I decided to make a vegan violet velvet cake. It was not only colorful, but delicious too. As soon as I posted this picture on my Facebook, I received so many inquiries about how I made this cake.
 
First and foremost, you want to make sure you have the following ingredients...
 
4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour (if you are on a diet, you can use Almond Flour)
 2 cups Granulated Sugar (if you are on a diet, you can use Truvia or Stevia)
 3 teaspoons Baking Soda
 2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Cocoa Powder
2 cups Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk (if you are allergic, just use Silk's Chocolate Soy Milk)
 1 cup Coconut Oil
 2 tablespoons Red Food Coloring
2 tablespoons Blue Food Coloring
1 tablespoon Yellow Food Coloring
 3 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
 
For the frosting, you want to make sure you have the following ingredients...

 2 cup non-dairy, nonhydrogenated butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup non-dairy, cream cheese (I used Follow Your Heart)
 3 cups Confectioners' Sugar
 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoons Silk Very Vanilla Soy Milk (if you are allergic, just use Silk's Vanilla Almond Milk)
 Wilton Color Mist (optional)
Edible Cake Pearls (optional)
 
Let's Bake!
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your batter by combining flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. As you continue you want to  fold in the remaining ingredients. So you want to add oil, milk, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla, and mix until thoroughly combined.
 
Once you continue, it is important to lightly oil (1) 12- inch round cake pan. Bake for about 40 minutes.
 
Let the cake cook for about 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges, to loosen the sides. Once you have accomplished this, let the cake cook for an additional 20 (this will make up the entire 40 minutes in the oven). 
 
As you can continue, let the cake set for 5 to 10 minutes before transporting it onto a plate and then, onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Set it aside.

Let's Frost!
 
I used my KitchenAid mixer to make the frosting.  It is important to combine all of the ingredients, except the confectioners' sugar (or powdered sugar), vanilla, and milk into the mixer and mix until it is smooth and begins to fluff. With the mixer on low speed, add confectioners' sugar and fluff for another few minutes. Add vanilla followed by the milk.
 
Once all ingredients are well-combined, beat on high until frosting is light and fluffy for about 5 minutes. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons more milk to achieve the consistency are you hoping to achieve.
 
Take your cake and start to apply the vegan frosting. You an pipe this because of the consistency of it. Decorate the cake however you choose. Add the edible beads on first before using the food color mist. As you continue, take your food coloring mist (I used Wilton's) and spray whatever colors on top.
 
Guess what?! You're done! Congratulations! You have just made the violet velvet cake.

 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Estee Lauder's Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Black Plum

I am always finding myself discovering new nail polishes. One of my most recent discoveries is Estee Lauder Nail Lacquer in Black Plum. It is truly amazing. A little goes a long way, but what I loved most about this particular polish is the fact that I didn't need a top coat and it lasts longer than most polishes. Plus, aside from being long-lasting it's extremely pigmented which can be hard to find in a polish these days. The color is fantastic and the color pay-off even more so. Definitely a new favorite.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I am a Steelers Girl

 
Although the Steelers have their ongoing tribulations where they tend to fail to play up to the average fans' expectations, I can admit that I still love them. In fact, my love for the Pittsburgh Steelers continues to grow, no matter win or lose. I am a true Steelers girl at heart and will continue to support them through thick and thin and black and blue.
 
Photo created by my talented friend Joe Labbe. Feel free to right click, save, and share.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

GMO-Free List

GMOs (or genetically modfied organisms) are used to create genetically modified foods using various forms of mutagenesis and other genetic modifications. Although eating foods that possess GMO are not radically dangerous, there is evidence that they do play a role in causing an array of problematic health issues later on in life.  GMO foods have also been linked to the decline of farmers losing money and benefits.

I know a lot of my readers have told me that they are interested in knowing what food brands do NOT contain genetically modified organisms so I have decided to compose a list of food brands that are non-GMO.


Silk
Tofurky
Lightlife
Gardein
Yves
Tofutti

Quorn
May Wah
Field Roast
WholeSoy
Nasoya
Vitasoy
Amy's Kitchen
WestSoy
House Foods
Soy Dream
Whole Foods Organic
Trader Joe's Organic
Safeway Organic
Meijer Organic
Whole Soy
Viana
Pacific Soy
Soy Delicious
Wild Wood
EdenSoy
GeniSoy
Bountiful Bean
365
Organic Valley Soy
Small Planet
The Simple Soyman
Tillamook
Imagine Foods
Annie's
Woodstock
Eco-Planet

Bolthouse Farms
Clover Stornetta Farms
Earth's Best
Nature's Path
Mom Made Meals
Garden of Eatin
Bob's Red Mill
Que Pasa
Zen Don
Healthy Times
Blue Sky
Organic Planet
Pure Indian Foods
Eden Foods
Seven Stars Farm
Zukay

Hannah Max Baking
Cascadian Farms
Quinoa Gold
Frito Lay's Naturals
Annie's Naturals
Lindt
Tropical Traditions
Kopali Organics
Chippewa Valley
Pacific Village
Smucker's
Gindstone Bakery
Rising Moon
Thai Kitchen
Ian's Natural Foods
Erivan Dairy
Berlin Natural Bakery
Jelly Belly
White Wave
Kirkland Organic
Muir Glen
French Meadow Bakery
Wisconsin Organics
Bearitos
Odwalla
Health Valley Organic
Tradition Miso
Hain Pure Foods
Lundberg Family Farms
Stremick's Heritage
Joseph Farms
Ruth's
Big Island Organics
Rising Moon
Late July
Seeds of Change
Follow Your Heart
Casbah
Sweet Cloud
Dr. McDougall's Right Foods
Kamut
Promised Land Dairy
Arrowhead Mills
Rapunzel
Outta The Park
Rogue Creamery
Luna
Ghirardelli
Oakhurst Dairy
Carrington Farms
Divine Foods
Barbara's Bakery
Sunridge Farms
Grandma's Best
Harvest Moon
Tinkyada
Kettle Chips
Emerald Valley
Simple Sweets
Uncle Matt's Organic
Cedarlane
Seeds of Change
Newman's Own
Yami
Stonyfield Farms
Oregon Gourmet
Walnut Acres
Grindstone Bakery
C&H
Miso Master
Emperor's Kitchen
Purity Foods
Wholemato
San J
Hain
Walkers


This list will be updated sporadically. In the meantime, check out my frequently updated vegetarian substitutes alternatives list.

Monday, September 23, 2013

MAC Cosmetics Viva Glam II

 
If I had to choose one of my favorite “go-to” nude lipsticks, I would definitely have to say Viva Glam II by MAC. Like most MAC lip products, the color payoff is amazing and because it is heavily pigmented, you can build color to the desired shade you want. 

I also love the fact that it has a vanilla undertone, making it not only wearable but really pleasant to wear. Great for virtually every skin tone, this is a fantastic nude shade. Swatches are coming soon.

To snag this lipstick, visit the official MAC Cosmetics website today.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Friends remember Morgan Ingram

December 2nd 2011 is a day that will always be remembered by many who loved Morgan Ingram as she was found dead in her Colorado home. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to some of Morgan's closest friends about life and death after Morgan Ingram.

 
"Morgan was beautiful, unique, and brilliant" says Nicole Cowan, a friend of Morgan Ingram's whose favorite memory was when she and Morgan would babysit together. Nicole informed me that there were quite a few memories, but she will never forget the time that they traveled to Denver for shoes and found themselves lost.
  

"We just spent an entire weekend just watching the children of military couples. We were on our way to get fitted for ballet pointe shoes and somehow we found ourselves lost. After about an hour or so, we finally made it. I never said anything to Morgan about living there and all of the sudden she asked if I use to live there. She was very perceptive how she would pick up on almost everything."

 

When I asked Nicole if she believed Morgan committed suicide, she said "absolutely not" stating "she was one of the happiest, well-adjusted people I have ever met." She continued saying "it just wasn't in her character."

 
Rainer Jundt, who has known Morgan Ingram longer than most people says that she is a warrior. He says she was a "giver" stating she had endless compassion for others and even at her weakest point, she would give light and love to others who needed it. "She was a beautiful light. Someone, no matter how thick, could never forget."

 
"Morgan was my first love" Rainer says. "I have known Morgan since the 4th grade, for 9 years of which 4-5 of those years we spent as lovers. We started dating in the 9th grade." So, how did Rainer find out about Morgan's death? He received a message from Morgan's mother Toni. How did he react? Rainer recalls "I was staring at the corner of my apartment blankly wondering why such a sick joke would be played, thinking she wasn't dead. I said to myself that she couldn't be dead. Eventually I went to the bathroom, threw up, and fainted."

 
Rainer definitely believes that Morgan did not take her own life saying "I believe I know Morgan more than anyone other than the two people who brought her into this world. I can tell you without a doubt in my mind that she would never have tried to take her own life." He also mentioned that Morgan hated taking medication.

 
According to Danny Rodden "Morgan was a free spirit, a truly caring yet loving soul. She was rarely ever in a bad mood which is why we all loved being around her." Although Danny has only known Morgan for a short period of time he says "the impact she has made on me will last forever."

 
Danny also says "Morgan was a strong person who didn't want sympathy. She didn't need drugs to help her mood, as she believed in other things like breathing and nature. She didn't want attention and there was no reason she needed to escape. She had way too much talent and way too many plans to throw it away."
  
"Morgan was the kindest hearted person I ever knew"
says Sage Friel, a friend of Morgan's since 6th grade. "She was always understanding and loving, but knew how to talk about anything without offending you. All she desired was to help others." She also says she found out about Morgan's death through the popular social networking website Facebook. "On December 2, 2011 I remember reading RIP Morgan. At first, I thought it was some sort of sick joke. After visiting her Facebook and talking to friends, I discovered that it was true. That night I cried myself to sleep."

 
Sage also states "I miss and love her so much. There is not a day that goes by where I don't think about her. I look forward to having the case re-opened. I can't wait for everything to gain speed and her family to have some contentment with the results."

 
Katie Issacson who has known Morgan Ingram since the 9th grade says "Morgan is the best friend I have ever had" saying "she was incredibly passionate about so many things". She continued ... "Morgan always had a project - whether it be knitting, baking, perfecting songs she learned on the piano, photography, and writing - she was always writing."

 
Katie went onto say that Morgan loved her family and friends more than anyone she knows saying "she was the kind of friend that would drop everything to help you out. She had a knack for making family out of friends, which is why everyone loved her." She continued saying "Morgan is amazing and although she wasn't perfect, she lived her life the way she wanted to. I learned how to love from her. I hope others will understand what a beautiful soul she was and that she would never leave this life on her own accord to this."

 
Cassie Simmons, cousin and best friend to Morgan Ingram said Morgan had the biggest heart. "She was always there for me and should could always make me smile." Cassie also says despite being outgoing and caring she was also a great listener. She has so many fond memories of Morgan because she use to live with she, Toni, and Steve growing up. "Morgan had spunk, but her spunk was beautiful."

 
Now residing in the Los Angeles area, there was quite a distance between she and Morgan. Cassie and Morgan would keep in touch by Skyping often. When I asked Cassie if she believed Morgan Ingram committed suicide she said to me "absolutely not, she would never do anything like that." She continued to say "Morgan put an extra pep in every step, she walked on this earth and everywhere she went, she touched peoples' lives."

 
Although Nathan Ulrych-DiFiore says he can't remember an exact moment where he didn't love being in the presence of Morgan Ingram, he does have great memories with her. "Morgan was exceptional. She helped so many people by making you look into yourself and really figuring out your problems" he says. He also went onto say "She had a niche for knowing what exactly was bothering you."

 
Nathan also says he was questioned by one detective the day of her death. "I talked to one detective on the day of her death. He asked me very basic questions. Things like 'Where was she last night' and 'Did you speak to her?' and 'How was her persona?' and 'Was she using drugs? After that, I was never contacted again by the police or any other official. That in itself made me feel that more could have been done."

 
When I asked Nathan how he would describe Morgan he said "she was beautiful, outgoing, artistic, and very free spirited." He also adds "She will be missed."

 
Leticia Cheatham described Morgan as a beautiful lady inside and out. "She was unconventional, but free spirited and loved life. Morgan was a friend to anyone. It didn't matter who they were. She had a very compassionate heart."

 
Leticia states that Morgan was affectionate and says "she hugged every person she saw and made them feel special." Leticia also believes that Morgan did not commit suicide, stating "she embraced life way too much."

 
Isabella Hash, a long-term friend of Morgan's who Morgan met on Etsy and Makeup Alley says Morgan looked forward to the present and the future a lot. "She was very practical in an artistic sense, but appreciated the arts more than anything else. She was always creating goals for herself and coming up with new ideas. She always had a project."

 
Isabella says there is no way that Morgan would have committed suicide stating "Morgan has helped me, when I went to take my own life. She talked me out of it. Life has been a struggle for me, but Morgan allowed me to see that life is too valuable and worth living. There is no way she would have left this world by choice."

 
She continued to tell me "Morgan appreciated life for what it was worth and loved every single moment of living in it. I will never forget the impact she made on me for the rest of my life. She will be forever missed."

 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fireworks Display in Pittsburgh, PA 2013


 
Thursday, July 4th 2013 at a little after 9:45 PM in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the fireworks were set off for the entire city to see, kicking off the July 4th celebration and Independence Day festivities. Although I have lived in Pittsburgh for years prior, I wasn't able to discover the fireworks until 7/4/13. As Pittsburgh has a reputation of being one of the best cities to display the best fireworks in the United States, I truly loved being a part of this experience and even more grateful to capture it on video. Sorry if the video was shaky, I also was taking pictures from my iPhone.
 
If you can't see the video above, simply click here.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

2013: Happy Independence Day

Today I spent my 4th of July with Joe reminiscing the joys of being an American citizen. As many of you may or may not know, my boyfriend served in the United Armed Forces (US military) for several years. In fact, when I first met Joe he was working in the Army National Guard. At that time, I was only 17 years old. He was 19. 

He and all talked about the memories of meeting in 1998 and what he went through while serving in the United States military from 1998 until 2002. I am extremely fascinated by his stories. A lot of what he has shared is incredibly intense and I am deeply reminded of his bravery. 

When I look at history, the United States has been through a lot yet still remains standing as the greatest country in the world. History speaks for itself and I am honored to be a citizen of the United States. Currently, I am in the steel city of Pittsburgh where I went to college and of course I am here with Joe. 

The day was filled with great food (veggie burgers, veggie dogs, potato salad, root beer floats, etc.), great conversation (liberty is one thing I love to exercise on a daily basis) and a celebration of fireworks (in downtown Pittsburgh) and real, tried and true happiness. When I hear songs like "God Bless The USA" and "Stars and Stripes Forever" I am happy. And when I look at fireworks, I am reminded of how lucky I am to live in the home of the free and the land of the brave. 

What more can I say? Happy Birthday America! Happy Independence Day!