Tag Archives: ohio

Monday Update: Fall Fun Edition

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Monday Update: Fall Fun Edition

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I hope that all of you had a wonderful and relaxing weekend. The fall season is officially among us and I, for one, could not be happier. Actually, that’s a lie, I could be happier BECAUSE IT’S BEEN NINETY DEGREES IN OHIO FOR THE PAST WEEK!!!! All of you know by now that I live for the fall and this heat wave is simply unacceptable. So now instead of participating in all of my favorite fall activities listed below, I will simply have to daydream about it until it cools down to autumnal temperatures. Let’s discuss some of my fave fall outings:

  1. Apple Picking: There are TONS of gorgeous orchards in Ohio filled with trees that are spilling over with crisp, fresh apples. I love going to orchards with my family, friends, or on a date and then making something delicious afterwards with the bounty like an apple pie or crisp. So fun and so yum.
  2. Haunted Houses: Ohio also has quite a few haunted houses that I’m always keen on visiting. Being a horror junkie, going to a haunted house during a chilly, pitch black fall night is one of my favorite things to do. I went to the Factory Of Terror last year and would love to go there again and definitely would like to make it to the 7 Floors Of Hell, too!
  3. Fall Cooking: Lil Red loves to cook all of the vegetarian delights, but I especially love making (and eating) fall comfort food. Soups, stews, breads, and huge dishes of mac n’ cheese are just a few of my go to meals. And the fall sweets aren’t so bad, either! Cinnamon rolls, pies, crisps, and cobblers?! Yes, please. Fall food is so hearty, rich, and flavorful, and it makes sitting down for every meal such a joy.
  4. Fall Shopping: This list of fall favorites wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t talk shopping at least a little bit! Can you say boots and peacoats?! I LOVE IT!! I’m pretty well flush for fall clothing, considering it makes up about 75% of my wardrobe but that never seems to stop me from buying all the booties and oversized sweaters. It’s a curse!
  5. Perfect Weather: Although the heat in Ohio is destroying my favored fall weather, I live for the mid 50s and 60s temps that fall usually brings. I love being that slightest bit chilly. The bite that the fall air blows around, which reddens the cheeks and leaves your hands tucked in your pockets is always what I prefer to scorching summers. One of my favorite things to do during a brisk fall day is throwing on a thick sweater and combat boots and exploring one of the many beautiful Metro Parks in Ohio.

Here’s to hoping that the weather in my neck of the woods makes a drastic change so that I can start enjoying some of my fall favorites soon!

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Fall Fun Edition! What are some of your favorite fall activities? What is your favorite season? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Lil Red Loves: Giving Back!

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Lil Red Loves: Giving Back!

Hello everyone and happy Sunday! If you have been following lifewithlilred for a while or even are just friends with me on Facebook, you will know that there are two particular causes that are very close to my heart. One being animal rescue organizations and the other being the Special Olympics. Canine Lifeline, the rescue group that I volunteer for, and the Special Olympics are both organizations that I have worked with for about three years. Both causes are incredibly dear to me and I am here to talk about why. Let’s discuss:

Canine Lifeline:

I have had many a post on my blog about my precious rescue pups, Gem and Ollie, both of whom came from Canine Lifeline. This rescue group brings dogs up from rural, all kill shelters and tries to find them a new furever home in Ohio. Not only that, but they work hard to cover the medical expenses for the pups that are heartworm positive or who suffered in abusive conditions in their previous owner’s “care”.

My mom, sister, and I try to do everything within our time budget to help out with the needs of this amazing organization. Whether it be walking the dogs, bathing them, washing the blankets in their cages, or giving them some play time, we try to lend a helping hand as often as possible. We also have fun trying our luck at their raffle fundraisers where you can win amazing gift baskets! If it wasn’t for CLL, Gem and Ollie wouldn’t be here to be such a treasured part of our lives. With that in mind, the least we can do is try to give back!

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^^^ Gem is in the first picture and Ollie is straight lounging in the second one. *Featuring Patrick Starfish*

Special Olympics:

This will be my third year of coaching Special Olympics figure skating and I am SO excited for practices to commence in October. I have been working with people who have special needs for roughly three years, as well, and I can’t imagine being in a better, more rewarding field. Compliments to about ten years of competitive figure skating, I have been able to use my somewhat forgotten skills to help my students grow as athletes and it brings me so much joy.

Coaching and motivating my athletes in whatever way that I can has led me to wonderful new friendships as well as a weekly workout – it’s really a win/win situation! I live for the practices, the actual Special Olympics games, and the celebration banquet when it is all over. Seeing my students enjoy themselves and succeed in an incredibly difficult sport is all the payoff that I need, and I plan on coaching every year until I physically can’t do it any more. Plus, Coach Sarah has an excellent ring to it!

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^^^ Team picture!!! ❤

There is nothing better than volunteering your time, energy, and skills to an organization that is special to you. And, of course, monetary donations are also much appreciated, especially to both of my above causes, which are nonprofit.

And speaking of nonprofit organizations, if you are helping to plan a fundraising event for one of your causes, then the services at Eventbrite are a great place to start. Your raffle or dinner will be sure to be a hit with Eventbrite’s event planning, promotions, and social sharing tools to help your favorite cause reach new audiences and, of course, earn some money.

Lil Red Loves: Giving Back and I hope that this inspired you to help out with a cause that is meaningful to you! Which organization do you volunteer for? How do you give back? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Comal Habitat

Green Day Concert

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Green Day Concert

Hellooo everyone and happy Hump Day! This past Monday, I went to see Green Day at the Blossom Music Center in good ol’ Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Unfortunately, I was (and still am) feeling pretty under the weather, so I can’t say that I enjoyed myself as much as I would have liked to. I would by no means say that Green Day is one of my favorite bands or anything, but I don’t dislike them at all. I actually like them quite a bit, but their concert really just missed the mark for me. Let’s discuss:

I will say that the set list for the Revolution Radio tour was excellent. They focused on some old and new favorites that really took you through the thirty years of Green Day’s existence. Opening with newer heavy hitters like “Know Your Enemy”, “Bang Bang”, and “Revolution Radio” then transitioned seamlessly into older jams like “Holiday”, “Hitchin’ a Ride”, and “Minority”. Like I said, the set list really was good. BUT…

The major BUT(T) is the pure bullshit that happened throughout the show. Literally after EVERY SONG there was at least five minutes of dicking around that ranged from Billie Joe making strange noises into the microphone, encouraging everyone to get “fucking crazy”, or making the audience repeat “hey-oooooo” back at him for the thousandth time.

At the beginning, this was funny and entertaining. But, rest assured, that it got very old, very very quickly. I kept wondering if I would have had a better time if I wasn’t feeling so poorly, but I genuinely don’t think that I would have. The constant silliness of what was happening between the songs was just too much.

All of the bullshitting took away from how wonderful the band sounded live, and that’s sad that I’m just now bringing up how amazing they sounded. Everything about their playing was just perfect, even better than on the albums, really. BUT(T), their live performance turned into well over two hours of tom foolery peppered with good music. It was a shame.

It actually pains me to write such a poor review because I was looking forward to this concert so much. Don’t get me wrong, I have mad respect for Green Day. Thirty years of making music is something that should be celebrated. And maybe what they were doing during their show on Monday would have worked twenty years ago…but, sadly, it fell incredibly short of the high expectations that I had.

Am I glad that I went? I guess. Would I recommend seeing them live? If you’re a hardcore fan, then sure. But I can’t say that I would want to see them play again in the future. Whomp whomp.

So there you have it, my review of the Green Day Concert! Who of my readers are Green Day fans? Have you ever been to a concert that disappointed you? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

PS: Sorry for the lack of pictures! We were quite far away from the stage, so getting a good quality shot was impossible.

Featured Image By: NME

Bath Bomb Blitz: Lush Edition

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Bath Bomb Blitz: Lush Edition

Hi everyone and happy weekend! When my sister, mom, and I hit up Beachwood Mall in Cleveland last week, we had our very first Lush shopping trip. Throughout the years of blogging, I’ve seen posts about Lush products almost daily so, of course, I was eager to finally be able to try them out for myself.

To be honest, the entire experience was a bit underwhelming. The store was small and crowded, the products seemed to be outrageously overpriced, and everything there just seemed…unnecessary. I don’t know, I’m all for treating yourself and I’m happy that I bought some goodies just to try them out but I don’t think that I would ever purchase anything from there again. I guess I fail to see the point of becoming a Lush patron when there are countless stores that have better prices, products, and an overall shopping experience. This was a disappointing realization, to say the least, since I was pretty excited to give them a go.

But all of this is neither here nor there because the products have been bought and I have every intention of enjoying them when I have a pampering party. I started my Lush experience with their “DAD” bath bomb, which I thought was a hilarious purchase. Lol, like why? Haha, I saw it and, because I pride myself on my offbeat sense of humor, I just had to add this to my purchase pile. Take a look at my DAD bomb work its magic:

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So this bath bomb didn’t really smell like anything. Its scent was neither bad nor good so there wasn’t much of an aromatic atmosphere happening in the tub. However, it was pretty fun to watch the bath bomb explode into an array of blues, whites, and oranges. It fizzled for a fairly long time, too – at least twelve to fifteen minutes and by the time I eased into the tub, it still wasn’t done.

I liked the cyan color that the bath water ultimately turned in to and I also appreciated that it didn’t leave any crayon colored residue on the tub. The best part of my DAD bomb was how moisturized it made my body feel. I felt so silky smooth upon exiting my bath and my skin felt so nourished and well taken care of. This was a really nice touch, because the two bath bombs that I had used prior to this one didn’t leave my skin feeling any different.

Overall, I did enjoy using this Lush product. However, I can’t justify spending eight dollars plus on a bath bomb in the future. That shopping trip was fun and, like I said, I was okay with buying things because I had never been to Lush before. After I finish up my purchases, I’m beyond cool with sticking to buying random bath bombs at TJMaxx for three bucks a pop and face masks from The Body Shop, which I always manage to get excellent prices on either online or (once again) at TJs.

So there you have it, my first Bath Bomb Blitz: Lush Edition! How do you feel about Lush? What is your favorite product from there? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Monday Update: Zara Haul Edition

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Monday Update: Zara Haul Edition

Guys. I did something bad……

I spent way too much money at Zara yesterday. But before you all sharpen the pitchforks and yell at me for giving in to my shopping addiction – LET ME EXPLAIN!!! My mom, sister, and I had a GAO (Girls’ Afternoon Out) and ventured out to Beachwood Mall, which is about a thirty-five minute trek for us. This mall is freaking amazing. It’s home to Zara, Lush, a HUGE Forever 21, H&M, Saks, Nordstrom, and the list goes on. So, not only were we in exotic new territory that we never get to go to, BUT Zara was having an incredible sale. You can’t not stock up at your favorite store when you don’t get to go very often, right? RIGHT?!

And stock up, I did. This week will be dedicated to my gorgeous new wardrobe additions compliments of my all on sale Zara Haul. We’ll start with the newest update to my business casual attire with this darling little number seen below:

lady1lady

Zara button downs give me life and, coincidentally, quirky button downs make up a majority of my business cashe collection. So, obviously, I HAD TO BUY IT!! I snagged this lady bug beauty for twenty bucks. I’m not sure of the original price on this shirt, but the last button down I purchased from Zara was fifty smackers, so I consider this a steal!

This oversized button down is wonderful because it’s versatile. It’s long enough to be worn as a dress with a thick pair of tights underneath and a belted middle or over top of super skinny jeans tucked or untucked for a whimsical work look. I love wearing my other Zara button down as a dress, especially in this summer heat. However, both of these tops look totally darling tucked into pants or a skirt, as well.

Accessories are key when it comes to styling a business casual ensemble, so opt for a chunky necklace, a statement ring or two, and some killer heels to make you queen of the office!

This week on lifewithlilred will be an ode to all things Zara, starting with my Monday Update: Zara Haul Edition! Tune in tomorrow to see another one of my on sale snags. What is your favorite store to shop at? Who else goes a bit credit card happy when their favorite store is far away? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

P.S.: I bought some goodies at Lush for the first time so be on the lookout for some Bath Bomb Blitz posts in the future! 😀

Dear College Self,

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Dear College Self,

Hey everyone and happy Thursday! As a fairly recent college grad (Winter of 2016, baby!), I find myself missing my Alma Mater constantly. Cuyahoga Community College, AKA Tri-C, is where I obtained my Associate of Arts and I am so thankful for all of the wonderful teachers that I encountered who helped me achieve graduating Magna Cum Laude (woo!). And the students weren’t so bad, either! I am always playing around with the idea of going back to school because I loved it so much but there are definitely some things that I would do differently this time around if I go back for my Associate of Science in the future – like the following:

Dear College Self,

First, let me repeat for the millionth time that there is no shame in waiting to go to school like I did. Thanks to my two year hiatus after high school, I was able to build up my bank account while climbing the corporate ladder at my job. I also realized after a four year stint at the same place that working in the mall for the rest of my life definitely isn’t for me (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)!

After feeling unbearably stuck in life and at work, I decided to take a huge leap of faith and started classes at Tri-C as well as creating lifewithlilred. And you know what? College wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be! And by “wasn’t as bad”, I mean it really wasn’t bad at all. Being in a classroom, whether it be in real life or online, was definitely a change of pace but it was a welcomed one. Using my brain to solve adult problems felt so good after years of monotony and a zest for learning, which was nonexistent in high school, seemed to appear over night. Like I said, it was an exciting change of pace!

Despite an overwhelmingly amazing college experience, there are always things that you wish you would have done differently. Starting college a little later in the game made me hesitant to try new things on campus. Different clubs, events, and programs were constantly going on throughout the week and I never made one cameo appearance at any of them. The sad thing is, is that Tri-C is a place for people of literally all ages (from 16 to 90!), and my discomfort in my situation never allowed me to fully embrace what a unique community that Tri-C is. This is definitely something that needs to change when I eventually go back for my Associate of Science and I am committed to becoming more involved during my next go around.

And, of course, this is the generic “what I wish I did differently response” but I really do wish that my college self would have studied just a little bit harder. Not really knowing about graduating with honors until the literal day of graduation was a mistake on my part. How does someone not know about the world of Cum Laude if they’re in college? Lol, I’m not sure. Probably because even when I started classes at Tri-C, I wasn’t focused on the end goal and that was another major mistake. Had I known that I was devastatingly close to graduating Summa Cum Laude, I would have pushed and applied myself way harder to achieve that honor. But hey, there’s always next time – right?!

Although there are things that I wish I could redo about my college experience, I still graduated with flying colors and finally took an interest in becoming a more educated and well rounded individual. That makes me incredibly proud of my college self and I’m looking forward to applying an even more studious and adventurous spirit to college life if I go back to school again.

graduationpic1graduate2

What advice would you give to your college self? What would your advice be to college students right now? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

U2 Concert!!!

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U2 Concert!!!

Hi everyone and happy Tuesday! Saturday, July 1st was a fantastic and wonderful day, because I got to see one of my favorite bands, U2, perform live for the second time. My Irish lads graced Cleveland, Ohio with their presence for their last concert in America for the 30th anniversary tour of The Joshua Tree and I was lucky enough to be there for it.

Honestly, saying that I felt euphoric that night is an understatement. There is nothing quite like seeing one of your all time favorite bands live. Like, you’re hearing them in person, actually seeing them with your own two eyes, and breathing in the air that they are. In CLEVELAND, OHIO?! Lol, it’s insane. I still can’t wrap my head around it, but it happened. U2 was so nice that I saw them twice and this tour was even more magical than the first.

Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss. BUT, bear in mind that my iPod camera sucks so some of them are pretty low quality. However, there are some awesome shots that my dad took with his camera thrown in for your viewing pleasure!

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^^^ Pics taken by yours truly!

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^^^ Pics taken by yours truly’s father!

Unfortunately, we don’t have any halfway decent photos of OneRepublic during their opening set. The sun was just beating down and naturally, it seemed to focus right in on our seating section, so snapping any type of pic that actually looked good was damn near impossible. Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed myself while they were performing. It’s not like I hate OneRepublic but it’s also not like I’m their number one fan, either. But, my god, do they sound good live. The lead singer was an excellent showman and they did a wonderful job of hyping up the crowd.

OneRepublic sounded the same, if not better than they do on their albums and it was nice having an opener who actually did a good job. Interpol opened for U2 during the 360 tour, which I attended, and they were abysmal at best. OneRepublic essentially performed a best of their radio hits compilation including “Apologize”, “Counting Stars”, and “Good Life”, which I thought was an incredibly smart move on their part. No one wants to see an opener play obscure songs that they can’t sing along to. Despite never listening to the radio, I still was able to sing along to all of their songs, which was a great way to lift my spirits even higher for when U2 took stage.

Am I OneRepublic’s biggest fan now? No. Not even close. But they really did put on a sublime opening act. They were charismatic and had great quips with the crowd, which is always fun. But, most importantly, they showed genuine talent and musical ability and that made listening to a band that is far from my favorite an utter delight.

Now, let’s get to U2 because I almost had a heart attack when a lone Larry Mullen appeared on stage, sat himself down at his drum set, and began pounding away the iconic beginning to “Sunday Bloody Sunday”. And when I say that I almost had a heart attack, I literally did. Hello. They just opened the show with my favorite song instead of with The Joshua Tree’s opener of “Where The Streets Have No Name”. I genuinely believed that I had died and gone to heaven.

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” was followed by “New Year’s Day”, which was another obvious crowd (and Sarah) pleaser. My god, it was just magnificent. After two back to back strong openers, the pace slowed down a little with “Bad” followed by “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”. Despite an almost abrupt feeling change of pace, it was pure U2 and they were so in their element that you couldn’t even be mad at them.

Now, up until the band began playing The Joshua Tree in its entirety, they were performing solely on the tree silhouette, which can be seen in the pictures above. But, the show didn’t even seem to begin until they made their way back onto the main stage and “Where The Streets Have No Name” started to play.

With the shift into U2 playing their 30th anniversary album, the infinitely long screen backing the stage turned into the background for videos specially designed for each song. With every hit you were transported into videos that told stories of the land, war, poverty, agony, love, and pride. From ordinary citizens placing an army helmet on their heads to strong and stoic Native Americans gently guarding their homeland, you got the sense of what the songs on The Joshua Tree were originally written for and what they mean to the band now in a time of such political and emotional turmoil.

Throughout the show, you could tell how much the band genuinely enjoyed bringing this album back to life. A light-spirited Bono playfully called his whole band sexy as well as the entire city of Cleveland (ayyy!) and halfway through The Joshua Tree set he graciously took a moment to welcome us to the second half of the album. What a guy, what a guy, what a heck of a guy.

It was funny hearing The Joshua Tree live, because you often forget about that almost country twang that the second half of the album brings. This was even more emphasized with videos of a skinny jeaned and denim button down clad woman painting an American flag on an abandoned home. She then showed off her lassoing skills in a red, white, and blue bikini top. Mama Mia!

After The Joshua Tree set ended with “Mothers Of The Disappeared” that came with a powerful backdrop of children holding candles that eventually blew out, we were invited by Bono to “stick around” for their encore. You would have been a fool not to. The encore was a fun, upbeat party to some of their most well known hits, which included “Elevation”, “Vertigo”, “Mysterious Ways”, and my all time favorite – “Beautiful Day”. You guys already know how much that song means to me, so yes, the water works were definitely flowing at their hardest then!! (I have no shame in admitting that I cried like a baby for a majority of the concert – I really just can’t help myself!)

U2’s encore ended with a gorgeous performance of “One” to draw a perfect night to a close. Guys – it really was perfect. I can’t explain to you how special it was to see the band that is so loved by my entire family while standing side by side with them in the stands. I consider myself so lucky that I have gotten to see U2 not once but twice now at 23 and both shows would literally have to be pried from my memory banks to be forgotten.

So there you have it, my experience at the U2 Concert!!! What shows have you seen recently? Who is attending any music festivals this summer? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah