If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that I love apple picking with a serious passion. So when I was introduced to the concept of berry picking, you can only imagine the excitement that ensued. Not only was I ecstatic that my fruit + veg picking experiences could now become a semi-annual affair, but I was also excited because I like berries way more than I like apples. With this in mind, I’m sure you could see why I was so ridiculously happy going into this day.

We ended up at Ochs Orchard in Warwick, NY, and man oh man it did not disappoint! I knew that we would pick a lot of berries + cherries, but I was blown away by the pure extravagance of said fruits at this orchard. We went on Saturday morning, naturally expecting it to be a little busy, but it was so quiet! There was hardly anyone there, and it was so beautiful. We started by picking cherries, and one of the men working there climbed up to the top of the tree and broke off a bunch of branches for us– giving us the best cherries of the bunch! We filled up our punnet in no time at all and headed towards the berries with a slight detour to get some fresh garlic. The day continued as we collected extreme amounts of fruit and enjoyed being out in the countryside. My favorite things to pick were 100% the raspberries and blackberries because you really had to search for the good ones. My family and I had such a good time looking through the bushes to get the best ones! Walking back to pay, we decided to walk through the strawberry fields and have a look at what was left, even though the season has ended, and we were so surprised to find many amazing strawberries! They were so red and big and honestly the absolute best strawberries I’ve ever had.

Once back at the store we decided to pick up a few things before heading back to the city, and couldn’t miss the opportunity to try some of their homemade ice cream. They had the best flavor selection, but I ended up going for their strawberry ice cream made from the strawberries at the farm, and it was seriously incredible. 100% the best strawberry ice cream I’ve ever had. We also picked up cider donuts 🙌🏼, local honey, and some pork chip things that are super weird but super cool. I’ll have them linked here if any of you want to try them, but I can’t decide whether I absolute love them or hate them. Such a weird experience haha!

We left our day of berry picking with full tummy’s and hearts, and I already can’t wait to go back! I love making new traditions, and I am so excited about this one now too.

I highly recommend researching farms near you that offer berry picking, and would love to hear about your experiences as well.

Hope you all have a great week!

Talk soon.

 

Sincerely,

M. xo.

 

I’ve always loved the idea of the 4th of July; pool parties, BBQ’s, fireworks, and color coordinated outfits– what more could I possibly want? In years gone by, I’ve experienced the quintessential 4th of July activities through the lenses of social media. This year however, I finally got to live out my pinterest dreams and have a real American 4th of July celebration!

With much excitement, my family and I headed out to the Poconos on Sunday with some of our friends, and it did not disappoint! From swimming in waterfalls, making s’mores, shooting, to reading the Declaration of Independence, it was the best holiday weekend ever!

With this in mind, I thought I would share some of this weekend’s best moments via pictures, because you already know I take way too many haha.

Enjoy!

 

Our first night, we made s’mores over the fire, and I was totally in my happy place! There I was, under a canopy of stars with some of our best family friends, making s’mores. Yep– 100% my happy place!

 

For lunch the next day, we headed to Callie’s Pretzel Factory, and man oh man was it amazing. We got to watch our 3 ginormous 1-pound pretzel’s be made, and explore the various ways pretzels can be consumed. Seriously, best pretzels I’ve ever had!

 

It was so nice to be out in the Poconos and out of the city for a little! I loved sitting outside every morning in the sun, and relaxing in a different environment. It was so much fun being able to do fireworks and have a huge barbecue and do other things that aren’t really easy to do in the city. One of my favorite things we did on the 4th however, was stand out under the stars and read aloud the Declaration of Independence with our friends. It was so special to take a moment to ponder and reflect on the foundational truths of our nation, remember those who fought for our freedom, and appreciate just how lucky I am to call this country home.

Being in the mountains, we got to go to the most beautiful creek. Yes, it was freezing, but it was SO much fun that the water temp. was justifiable. Scattered throughout the creek were several of these natural waterslides imbedded in waterfalls and covered in moss. They were so perfect, and so much fun! It was seriously one of the coolest experiences ever and I can’t wait to go back.

 

I had the most special holiday weekend, and I’ve returned to normal life feeling so incredibly blessed. Of course, the pictures and stories above only portray a tiny portion of my holiday celebrations, but I am nonetheless happy to show you the moments I captured.

I pray you all had a great holiday weekend, and are enjoying the summer!

All the love.

 

Sincerely,

M. xo.

Hey beautiful people! Long time no speak… I know! It’s been a while. BUT, I am back now and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been a big couple of months for me, and I am so excited to share all that I have been up to. This past week I was in my fourth off-broadway musical with my theater company, CYT, and it was so amazing. You may remember that last year we did Beauty and The Beast, well this year, we did The Music Man, a musical that I honestly wasn’t that familiar with. Through the short 9 weeks of rehearsals, however, I quickly fell in love with the show and its characters, a process that was more organic and beautiful than I ever expected.

As a featured dancer, I danced in every scene I was in, and felt so lucky to be in a space where I was being challenged in my dancing. Rehearsals were long and exhausting, and yet still somehow managed to become the highlights of my week. I grew so much closer with my friends from previous years, and made so many new ones too.

I have so many pictures that all represent such incredible moments and so I thought I would share some of my favorite pictures of the run. I feel so blessed to be part of a community that produces the highest quality work whilst still upholding and enforcing strong Christian values, and am so excited about the incredible memories I have made.

I hope you’ve all had a great start to the Summer!

Talk soon.

 

Sincerely,

M. xo.

 

 

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

 

Photo Credit: Paloma Parker

 

 

Photo Credit: Paloma Parker

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Paloma Parker

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Paloma Parker

 

As I’m sure you are all well aware by now, I recently turned 16 years old, an occasion I have been anxiously awaiting for what feels like forever. So far, 16 has not disappointed… At all! Quite honestly, I have had the most amazing two weeks since the highly anticipated 16th birthday, and the greatness will no be regressing any time soon if the past few weeks serve as any testament to the next year and beyond. I am so excited to share all that I am working on and how God has miraculously moved in my life; but for today, I wanted to share all the details of my 16th birthday celebrations.

This year, my birthday fell on a Monday, a reality which I was totally dreading until my parents made an agreement with me. The agreement stated that I would go to school on Monday (my birthday) and celebrate with my friends, and then come home that night, go out, and not go to school the following day, meaning that I wouldn’t have to do any homework and could stay out as long as I wanted. This, to me, seemed like a great bargain, so the whole birthday falling on a Monday didn’t really seem so bad after that.

I woke up to an extremely enthusiastic family and opened 40% of my presents. It sounds super specific LOL, but there is a method to my madness. I decided on opening 40% of my presents before school, and then come home after and open the other 60%. I’m crazy, I know, but I actually really like doing this haha. Anyway, so I opened SOME of my presents, got ready, went to school, and was greeted by extremely excited friends. At my school, we have a tradition in which your friends decorate your locker with wrapping paper, pictures, and ribbons for your birthday. And this year, my friends did a great job at matching my locker to my personality with the perfect embarrassing to cute pictures ratio.

On the day of my birthday, Law and Order: SVU were filming on our block. Movies and TV shows quite often film in or around our school building, but this situation was extra exciting for most. As someone who doesn’t watch the show, I was thoroughly confused when my friends attempted to explain it to me, but was still excited nonetheless. After being serenaded by my Trig teacher in several languages (this really happened), and a hilarious lunch and free period, one of my best friends from school Maggie and I were walking to her train when we literally ran into Ice-T on the street. Maggie was seriously starstruck so I did all the talking but we got a picture with him and it was such a whirlwind but still great (quick side note, Ice-T was honestly the nicest person. He was so sweet to us and stopped for everyone that asked for pictures even though he was on his break. I became an instant fan haha).

After that crazy experience, and a mandatory Starbucks pitstop, I made it home and opened the remaining 60% of my presents, and face-timed my grandparents to open their presents. I was so blown away by the generosity of my family, and felt so overwhelmed with love on my special day.

For dinner, I got ready in all my new clothes and accessories and headed downtown to the cutest little pink Italian restaurant called Pietro Nolita. It was honestly the cutest place, and as a self-confessed pink and Italian food expert, it went above and beyond in both areas.

After dinner, it was straight to Black Tap. If you aren’t aware, Black Tap is the super trendy place where everyone gets the extravagant “freak-shakes” that I am sure you have all seen on Instagram somewhere. I had high expectations, and it still surpassed all of them. It was amazing, and we didn’t even have to wait in line. I guess it was a cold Monday night, but the fact that we got seated straight away was nothing short of a miracle.

After this night, I thought my birthday was coming to a close. I figured that I had all year to celebrate, so I thought that the celebrations for now were over. Little did I know, however, that my parents and best friends had planned the most beautiful surprise party for me.

That Saturday night, thinking I was walking into a dinner with some good friends, I instead walked into an apartment full of the people I love most. I still cannot believe what happened that night, and am still shocked by the love, support, and loyalty of my friends. One of my life long friends from Australia whom I often refer to as the “big brother I never had” was on tour with his band Verses and flew to New York to surprise me. Yeah, I cried a lot. Friends came from all over to be there, and I was seriously so surprised. No one had said anything to me at all, and everyone had such elaborate plans and strategies that involved my party that I had no idea about haha! It was the most magical night, and I am so thankful for everyone who made it great.

I had high expectations for my 16th birthday, and yet I honestly can’t believe how amazing it was. To everyone who sent me sweet birthday wishes, and made me feel like a princess, thank you. I love you all endlessly.

 

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Talk soon.

 

Sincerely,

M. xo.

 

(Also for those wondering, the dress I wore to my party is by Ted Baker)

This is a picture of my Dad and I on vacation around 12-13 years ago. We used to go to a place called Fingal Bay in Australia every year after Christmas, and I have so many incredible memories of playing on the beach for hours with my dad. When I close my eyes, I can still smell the salty air, and feel the soft sand under my feet. I’ve come a long way since then, but I will cherish the memories I made on that beach forever.

Exciting news people! Tomorrow, I officially turn 16! Yay! Ugh, I am SO excited. I feel like I’ve been waiting to turn 16 since I was 8 and saw how elaborate Lilly Truscott’s Sweet 16 was in the Hannah Montana Movie. And now, it’s finally here! I sure have experienced a whole lot in my (almost) 16 years, and so today I thought that I would share 16 things I’ve learned.

Just like my letter to my younger self, this post is mostly for me. I think it is so important to reflect on what you have learned and how far you have come, and I want to encourage others to focus on what has already been accomplished for once, instead of constantly focusing on what else needs to be done. It’s great to be motivated, but sometimes it’s also great to appreciate the progress.

I’m not saying that I know everything, or that I’m super mature for 16, or that you need to do the things I list. Not at all. Our lives are all completely separate and unique stories, so I do not expect anyone to relate to this at all. If, however, someone does learn from this… Great! I am so glad that my journey can impact someone somewhere.

Life is so precious. And I am so thankful for the platform I have been given to further inspire, encourage, and influence the lives of so many.

Just know that no matter what season of life you’re in, no matter how much longer you need to fight, how much harder you need to work, you have already come a heck of a long way. And that in and of itself, is a huge achievement.

So, without further ado, I give to you, 16 Things I’ve Learned in 16 years.

 

  1. Different is cool. Don’t let the small-minded comments of fake friends hold anything over you. Because in the grand scheme of things, they have no part in your journey. Don’t let their judgement hinder you in any way, you’re better than that.
  2. Do not go to bed angry. Seriously, it never works out well.
  3. Surround yourself with people who are smarter, braver, kinder, more creative than you. Their presence will serve as constant inspiration, so never let yourself be the smartest person in the room.
  4. It’s okay if people don’t like you. No one is loved by everyone.
  5. Dancing to your favorite songs in your PJ’s can just about make any situation a whole lot better. Try it sometime.
  6. Negativity for the sake of negativity is never cool. Like, ever.
  7. You’re allowed to have bad days. Sometimes, it all gets a little too much, and you’re allowed to cry, to feel the weight of the burdens on your shoulders. No one expects you to hold everything together 24/7. Occasionally, things fall apart. No matter how bad it is though, you will rise up. You will overcome this; because for every bad day, there are twice as many good days.
  8. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or be somewhere super cool to have a great time. Adventure is everywhere, it’s up to you to find it.
  9. Take pictures. You’re going to want to remember these moments.
  10. When it comes to friends, quality > quantity. Always.
  11. No matter what, treat others with the kindness and respect you wish they gave you.
  12. Social media is fake. Don’t let the edited profiles of strangers affect you. It’s not real.
  13. In terms of makeup, less is more.
  14. Despite what you might think of yourself, you are beautiful. We all are. And sometimes, everyone but ourselves can see this.
  15. There is tremendous joy in doing what you know you’ve been called to do.
  16. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Our God is with us and goes before us. Trust Him. He has you here for a reason.

 

 

There is so much I wish to do in my time here on this earth, I have learned much, and will continue to spend the rest of my life absorbing as much knowledge and experience as I can. Tonight, on the eve of my 16th birthday, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to those who have been part of writing the first 16 chapters of my story. I am who I am because of the people who have guided me.

So… Thank you.

Talk soon.

 

Sincerely,

M.xo.

 

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted” – Jack Kerouac