Tag Archives: ohio

It’s A Walk In The Park

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It’s A Walk In The Park

Hello! A super nice thing about October other than all Halloween everything is that Johnny has every Friday off. I, on the other hand, always have Fridays off so it has been really fun having an extra day to spend with him on our weekends. Although we are always okay with staying at home with our video games and streaming services, we decided to have a little field trip this past Friday.

Johnny and I loaded into his mini van and went for a drive through the Cuyahoga Valley. We admired the changing leaves while enjoying the pleasant temperatures of an autumn day, all set to the tunes of Dire Straits which Johnny deemed appropriate driving music. Sadly, he passed on my offer to play some Cardi B but that’s neither here nor there.

Regardless of what our soundtrack was, it was exciting to be doing something with my boyfriend other than sitting in the apartment. He had just gotten his hair done and looked SO fine and driving around and talking and laughing had me falling in love all over again. :*)

We stopped off at one of the hiking trails before heading home and took an excursion around Indigo Lake. We explored train tracks and Johnny proved to be an excellent stone skipper. I proved to be… Anyways, it was a hoot. To be out in the public of nature together was refreshing for both of us because we don’t venture out often now, as safety is our primary concern.

Johnny and I were both kitted out in our fall Sunday’s Best but, as always, it was back in our comfy clothes as soon as we returned home. We settled in for an evening of weird comedies like Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories and The Mighty Boosh and it was a great day. ❤

If you’re feeling cooped up from being at home a lot now, don’t discount the benefits of spending some time outdoors. I think you’ll be glad you did. 🙂

How do you safely go out right now? Where is your favorite place to go hiking? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Quarantine Weekends

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Quarantine Weekends

Hello! Going from being out and about every weekend with Johnny at the beginning of this year is a far cry from what we do now. With COVID and the fact that my county is now in a threat level red, our weekends have went from full and busy to full of binge watching in the blink of an eye. The worst part? The weekend still ends quickly even though we’re not doing much of anything, lol!

Johnny and I have a pretty standard weekend format that goes a little something like this: Video games, movies, and TV. I am currently obsessed with the video games he gifted me for our anniversary so I have been playing a lot of Paper Mario and Diablo III. We also take turns picking movies to watch in between our viewings of The Last Kingdom and SuperStore – both of which I highly recommend.

Does it sound boring yet? I know it does but it actually isn’t all that bad. For the first time literally since I started working at sixteen, I have weekends that are completely agenda free. All I have to do is sit on the couch and stay safe and I’m confident that Johnny and I can keep doing that.

One of the best parts of our weekends is actually thanks to the change in weather. Because fall temperatures are upon us, it has cooled down our apartment significantly. Believe it or not, I find myself telling Johnny “I’m cold” more often than not now. This makes being stuck in the apartment much more tolerable and there is nothing better than bundling up in hoodies and blankets while it’s nice and crisp in and outdoors!

Speaking of cooling down outdoors, I can’t wait to start taking hikes and doing all of the Halloween themed activities soon. Have fun and keep on staying safe. ❤

How do you spend weekends in quarantine? What is the weather like in your neck of the woods? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

A Change Of Scenery

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A Change Of Scenery

Hello! As you all know from yesterday’s post, Johnny and I went on our first date this past weekend since the beginning of all of this COVID business. It was insanely refreshing, to say the least, and we are both eager to get out and about a bit more under circumstances that we are comfortable with. We really did have the best time and the only thing that was different was that we were sitting outside with our drinks instead of in the bar – and social distanced from our friends, of course.

Although our excursion was edited slightly to fit the current times, it just felt good to get out of the house! If you are itching for a change of scenery, why not try the following:

Picnics:

In Ohio, downtown Kent has a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) where you can enjoy food and drinks on spread apart picnic benches. This is how Johnny spent our date night out and we loved it! It was so nice to be in a downtown area and seeing so many people who we’ve been missing since March.

If your neck of the woods doesn’t have a DORA program, pick your favorite Metro Park or even set up a blanket in your own backyard. Purchase take out or make your own meal, sit back, and enjoy the sunshine.

Hiking:

How about a trek through the woods to get you in some different scenery? One of my friends has a goal of hiking one hundred miles by October and he is well on his way to achieving it. If you prefer having company, there are plenty of local animal shelters with lots of dogs to walk along with you. Who knows, you might even end up adopting your new best friend!

Dinner Party:

The next time Johnny and I visit another couple who we are friends with in Kent, I plan on preparing dinner for us. Their house is one you can social distance at. Our apartment? Not so much because it’s so small! I’m bringing the ingredients and “borrowing” their kitchen and we will light a bonfire and eat outdoors. Johnny and I used to go on double dates with this couple often pre-COVID and it will be so fun to continue this tradition in a slightly altered way.

Fun & Games:

There are plenty of games that you can play all while being spread out from people. Video games, charades, Dungeons & Dragons, Bingo, and even silly story telling can all be part of a social distanced game night with your close friends or family. You could even have a paint night right from your own backyard! All it takes is a little creativity and I’m sure you can come up with plenty of social distanced activities, too.

Of course, things are not close to being “back to normal” yet. However, the last date night Johnny and I had was the most normal thing we’ve done in a while. Set up your safety plan so everyone feels comfortable and try out a change of scenery for yourself!

How do you safely see your friends in the COVID era? Where do you go when you need a change of scenery? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Super Happy Fun Times

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Super Happy Fun Times

Hi! This past weekend, Johnny and I went on a date for the first time since March. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “A date? You and Johnny barely leave the house!” Believe me, I would be thinking the exact same thing. But, thanks to a little something called DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area), Johnny and I were able to enjoy some drinks from our favorite bar in Kent while sitting outside in the park!

We spent two hours eating takeout from Taco Tantos and drinking Moscow Mules from the Zephyr and we did it all completely social distanced. Granted, it was a lot different than back in 2019 when we all had no problem being on the Zephyr’s back patio playing games and hanging out. However, what we did was the next best thing! Some of our Kent friends even stopped by for a chat, which was great because we haven’t really seen anyone since March, either.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem sitting in my living room with Johnny day drinking and watching The Last Kingdom. But, there is absolutely nothing better than getting dressed up and going out with my boyfriend. Sitting on that park bench in Kent laughing and taking selfies was one of the most joyous moments I’ve had in weeks and I am going to treasure it for forever. It brought me back to our first date almost one year ago and it was kind of magical.

The best part? Now that we know that the open container areas in Kent are something that we feel comfortable with, we can go on dates again whenever we want! As soon as Johnny brought our drinks to our bench, the first thing we both said was “this is so nice” and we are already looking forward to our next date very soon! ❤

How do you do social distance hang outs? Does your downtown area have a DORA program? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Quarantine Life: It Can Still Be Fun

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Quarantine Life: It Can Still Be Fun

Hi! When I first moved into my apartment, I LOVED that shit. Seriously, it was awesome. A young business owner going here, there, and everywhere and then returning to my cool little place once the day was over. The annoyances of every apartment like loud neighbors and crappy air conditioning didn’t seem so bad because, in all reality, I wasn’t there that much.

Fast forward a year and some change later and, now, my boyfriend and I are confined to our apartment on the daily. Our on the go life style of a blogger (me) and working musician (he) got severely cramped by the coronavirus and the minor annoyances at chez nous have turned into major headaches.

Despite our quarantine living quarters not being ideal (It’s like living in your own personal sweat lodge.), Johnny and I still manage to have fun in our tiny little sauna. So, I am here to remind you that it is still possible to enjoy yourself from the safety of your home. In fact, the fact that I know I am safe at home makes my time that much more enjoyable.

It has been a big change to go from constantly being out to sometimes being fearful to leave the house. Unfortunately, that is the current state of things right now and once I accepted that boredom came with being safe, I felt a lot better about being home. It took Johnny and I while to come up with the perfect combination of at home entertainment but now that we have hit our sweet spot, this whole quarantine thing ain’t so bad. (Our most effective combo is playing The Office after Law & Order SVU.)

Yes, we have consumed more media content than is probably recommended for a lifetime but we still experienced new things. For example, Johnny bought me my first LEGO set and since then we have been hooked on building together. Or who can forget Hanks For The Memories when he introduced me to Forrest Gump and I taught him a thing or two about Cast Away.

Lame? Yes. Super fun? Obviously, or I wouldn’t be blogging about it! Now is the time to watch all the TV you can, so get hooked on a series with some friends and gab to your heart’s content. Watch something totally random. Order a book you would never read on your Kindle. Try cooking a difficult but delicious looking recipe. Your activities are, admittedly, limited at home so you might as well try to keep them interesting!

The most important thing I try to remember as Johnny and I continue to hunker down is a positive attitude. Of course, I’m not thrilled by any of this. But, it’s the best thing we can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. I also keep in mind that I will never get the chance to sit through an entire season of America’s Next Top Model in one day totally guilt free again. That is a positive and it makes sinking into the couch and hearing Johnny’s disgruntled comments about my favorite show all the more sweeter. 🙂

How do you keep a positive attitude during the coronavirus pandemic? What has been your favorite hobby to pass the time? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Keeping Sane In Quarantine

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Keeping Sane In Quarantine

Hello! Yours truly and my boyfriend have essentially been in quarantine mode since March nineteenth when the restaurants and bars in Ohio first shut down. Johnny was on furlough and just recently went back to work while I have been holding down the fort with my clients the whole time as an “essential” employee.

Our interactions with others (outside of work) has been very limited to occasional social distance hang outs with a friend or two and a weekly errand if we need anything from the store. This has, by no means, been the most fun I’ve ever had but with numerous high risk clients and family members, safety always comes first.

There was a point when cabin fever was really setting in and “this sucks” was my signature catchphrase for most of the day (Just ask Johnny!). So, what have I been doing to keep myself sane during close to four months of lock down? All of the following:

Writing Daily:

It has been really important to me to try and keep my daily schedule in tact, which means writing every day for lifewithlilred. Is coming up with content difficult when there’s literally nothing to do? YES!! But, it keeps my brain active and it’s fun for me. I have been continuing on with my schedule of getting up early before work to write and it is just the push I need to get myself up and going each and every day.

Reading A Ton:

There is only so much TV you can watch and video games you can play until your brain feels so mushy it would be a pleasure to read a dictionary. I have definitely been at that point, myself, in quarantine so I try to read a little every day. As usual, I have been loving reading my thriller/mystery books. The best part? A good whodoneit keeps my mind working once I’ve put the book down as I try to figure out what happens next. Bonus!

Perfecting Skills:

It has REALLY sucked not being able to go for my weekly figure skating practices because I looked forward to them so much. So, now, I have been focused more than ever on perfecting things that I can do from home. Like learning languages, for example. About two to three times a week I practice French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Czech while once weekly I work on American Sign Language.

Is sitting on my couch practicing languages as fun as hitting the rink? Yes, actually, in its own way. And, it gives me something to do on a scheduled basis which is why I think I have been so dedicated to Duolingo for the past few months.

Not Going Social Media Crazy:

With everyone butting heads with different opinions right now as well as constantly being flooded with news of the mainly bad kind – social media can feel overwhelming, especially right now. If scrolling through your newsfeed is making you feel more upset than entertained, then maybe it’s time for you to take a brief hiatus. Plenty of my friends have and I find myself shying away from checking my Facebook 24/7 too.

There’s only so much bickering and bad news you can take and if you’re seeing it all of the time, it’s no wonder why you might not be feeling your best! Take a break from your social and replace that time with something that makes you laugh online like your favorite comedy YouTube videos or dog related memes. :*)

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How have you been keeping yourself sane in quarantine? How have you been keeping yourself safe? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How Do I Go Out Social Distance Style?

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How Do I Go Out Social Distance Style?

Hello! A follow up question that Johnny and I usually get asked after “what do we do all day?” while in quarantine is “how do you go out?”. The answer? Very carefully, of course! Other than going to work, we limit ourselves to one to two individual errands per week and we always have our face masks on and hand sanitizer at the ready.

As far as grocery shopping goes, I try to do a big shopping haul once a month. My supermarkets are trying to social distance the best they can with one way aisles but I feel like not everyone cares to use them. So, if groceries are needed, I try to go first thing in the morning before stores get too crowded.

If there’s a random place we need to go to like the gas station, bank, etc. both Johnny and I formulate a game plan that will get us in and out the quickest. We also have masks and sanitizer on hand in our cars in case we need to make an unexpected stop. It’s just best to be prepared, is all.

Finally, as you all can see, I got my hair and my nails done. How did I do that? Very carefully, of course! Lol, actually, all of the salons I go to for my beauty treatments are being exceptional at following the highest safety precautions. I was informed by either the owners of the salon or an employee of what was being done to keep everyone safe and I felt comfortable with all of the measures being taken. Like the following:

  • Getting your temperature taken before entering.
  • Masks required by all (Employees and customers).
  • Washing hands required immediately after entering.
  • Limited number of employees and customers in at one time (Under ten).
  • Way beyond six feet of room between everyone for social distance standards.
  • Plexiglass between employee and customer (At nail salon).
  • Sanitizing after each customer.

With all of the amazing steps being taken to keep each salon up and running safely, I felt okay going in to get pampered. I spread each appointment out by a week or two so I wasn’t going out too frequently and I was so happy each time because I felt safe and totally awesome after going months without being able to go to a salon.

Johnny and I are taking all of this craziness in stride and are living our lives right now by doing only what makes us feel comfortable. How we feel might not be the same as everyone else but it works for us and that’s all that matters to me. ❤

What social distance standards did stores in your area put in place? Are masks required where you live? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Cotton Candy Grapes: YUM

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Cotton Candy Grapes: YUM

Hello! Everyone has a different taste when it comes to their preferred snacks. Some have a sweet tooth and others enjoy the salty and savory. I, myself, love my salty snacks and don’t eat sweets very often. However, a certain time comes around every month that leaves me craving ALL of the sugary goodness. The worst part? I never have anything to satisfy the cravings in my apartment! Until now. Allow me to introduce the cotton candy grape:

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I don’t know if any of you have heard of cotton candy grapes or if they are an Ohio thing. But, every summer when the farmers markets begin opening, my Facebook newsfeed is flooded with customers raving about this cotton candy flavored fruit. I have always been interested in trying these because, despite lacking a sweet tooth, I love cotton candy… Go figure, lol. Unfortunately, I have never seen them at the grocery store before…

Until my last grocery shopping trip, that is! For Mother’s Day, I went to Giant Eagle to get flowers and decided that I might as well restock my cabinets while I’m there too. Giant Eagle has a much wider selection than my normal stomping grounds of Marc’s but they are definitely more expensive, which is why I don’t shop there often.

Although I felt like I was splurging on all of my Giant Eagle purchases, it was hard to say no to things that I’ve never even seen before. Like my grapes, for example. I couldn’t believe it when the cotton candy grapes were just casually sitting in their fruit department and put the bag into my cart with cat like reflexes, eager to go home and try them.

And, let me tell you, these grapes did not disappoint. Popping one into your mouth is the equivalent of taking a tiny bite of cotton candy and it’s delicious. And it is a WAY better option than eating an entire box of chocolate while Aunt Flo visits for the week! 😀

Do you have a favorite food that not many people have heard of? What are some foods that are unique to your area? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Keeping Things Exciting In Self-Isolation

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Keeping Things Exciting In Self-Isolation

Hello! It has come to the point in Ohio’s stay at home order where I am beginning to realize that this shit sucks. Lol, of course being at home is for the best right now and I completely agree with it but, damn, I’m going bored out of my mind. A few days ago, I decided that a little more excitement needs to be happening at my apartment before I go crazy. Here are a few of the ideas that I know I’ll be trying and a few extra ones for all of ya’ll:

Drinks On The Balcony:

Literally one of the first things my boyfriend, Johnny, and I say to each other on a nice day is how we wish we could be outdoors at one of our favorite bars in Kent. So, the next time the afternoon is bright and sunny when we both get off work, we are going to make a delicious mixed drink, set up some chairs on my balcony, and enjoy an evening pretending we’re out with our friends.

So, that last part was lame. But, concocting a rum punch, making some snacks, and spending an evening outside isn’t! If we can’t go out to our old stomping grounds, we might as well just make “Sarah’s Balcony” our new favorite bar!

Build A Model:

Johnny and I have been on a big Lego kick lately because of the insanely fun contest show “Lego Masters”. We have watched the documentaries and the movies and, now, we are ready to try our hand at building some for ourselves. One of our next plans is to order a big Lego set like the two thousand piece pirate ship and work on it together.

I have never played with Lego before and Johnny loves it so I know it will be a fun evening or two spent in block building harmony. Plus, seeing the end result of what we created is a huge exciting bonus. 😀

Make Things Grow:

Although there is nowhere in my apartment community to garden or plant flowers, I can still have some indoor plants! Potted flowers, herbs, or plants are a great project to work on. Or, if you have space to plant on your property – take it outdoors! Tending to a plant and helping it grow is so rewarding and there is nothing more exciting than seeing the first sprouts of your success.

Take Advantage Of Your Options:

In Ohio, carry out is still going strong at restaurants. And, what’s better? It just became approved to do take out drinks, as well! Although Johnny and I have cooked at home almost every day of this quarantine, it is still nice to get a treat. Hopefully this upcoming weekend, we will be ordering Mexican food from our favorite restaurant and Margaritas to go for a day date.

Is this the best option? No. But it’s a damn good one and no matter how bad I want to eat at a restaurant, sitting on the couch while eating Mexican food, drinking Margs, and watching Community with my beau sounds like an enticing close second. Take advantage of the options going on in your area and use it to spice up your day!

There is nothing wrong with saying that everything about right now sucks. But, be that as it may, there are still options to have some fun. Use the ideas above to help you get started!

How do you keep things exciting in self-isolation? How do you plan on treating yourself during this crazy time? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Things I’m Looking Forward To

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Things I’m Looking Forward To

Hello! Sometimes the best way to keep yourself sane during these difficult times is to just plan ahead and think of all of the exciting stuff you’d like to do once stay at home orders have been lifted. Believe you me, I have quite a few locations on my list as soon as I can safely go but with safely being the key word! When I am feeling down and out about the current situation, I just think about spending time at the following:

TJMaxx:

Lol, obviously TJMaxx is going to be number one on my list! Had I known that the last time I went shopping at TJs was the literal last time, I would have gone much harder. So, now, I look forward to a future massive haul filled with warm weather clothing, skin care, accessories and whatever else my heart desires. Hell, I earned it after months on end of being in lock down!

Elysian Nails:

When I first realized I wasn’t going to be able to go for my monthly fill at Elysian Nails, I was really upset. I know this sounds petty but that is the one thing I look forward to every month like clockwork. To me, there is nothing better than that hour or so of pampering and I always leave the salon feeling so good about myself.

I couldn’t imagine being without my acrylics so, until those salon doors open up, I bought myself an at home acrylic kit so I can attempt to DIY them. There will be more to come on that later when the kit arrives in the mail – we’ll see what happens. 😀

The Shear Shop:

I have to tell you all, I do feel quite lucky because a few days before the stay at home order was issued in Ohio, I got my hair cut and my nails done. But, Lil Red is going to be making a drastic change to her locks once this order has been lifted and I am absolutely itching to get into the salon chair. Look out for a brand new me!

Going On A Date:

Of course I love hanging out with my boyfriend at home and our impromptu date nights but I cannot wait to go on an actual night on the town with Johnny. Drinks on the patio at a bar, a dinner out – the works. I don’t care where we go and it doesn’t have to be expensive, just being in an actual restaurant and having a drink and dinner made for me is more than enough. And getting dressed up will be the cherry on top!

The Skating Rink:

It has been well over a month since I was last able to go for a lesson with my coach at the skating rink and I miss it dreadfully. Ice skating is not only my favorite form of exercise but it’s a creative outlet for me and it’s hard not to be out on the ice once a week. I’m thankful the weather in Ohio is clearing up so I can go for walks but nothing is better than a brisk skate on the ice.

Above are just a few of the things I’m looking forward to doing once it’s safe to do so and just thinking about it makes me feel a little better. What are you looking forward to? Where is the first place you’re going to go? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah