Tag Archives: special olympics

Special Olympics 2017 Banquet

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Special Olympics 2017 Banquet

Hi everyone! This past week, the Special Olympics hosted their yearly banquet to celebrate the athletes, coaches, volunteers, and families that dedicate themselves to such an incredible organization. I have been coaching Special Olympics figure skating for three years now and every practice, competition, and event is such a joy to be a part of. This year, I was honored as the Volunteer Of The Year for my involvement as a coach. It was such an amazing surprise and I have my award displayed proudly already! Check it out:

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^^^ Isn’t that cute?!

I know that I used this word already, but “honored” really describes how I feel about receiving this award. Out of all of the incredible coaches that volunteer their time to the cause, yours truly was chosen, and that is such an indescribable feeling. I am so proud to have been celebrated by my beloved athletes and their families, and I am looking forward to working with my skaters to be the best that they can be, on and off the ice, at our next lesson. ❤

What is something that you are proud of? Which organizations do you volunteer for? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: CBS DFW

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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!

gem1ollie

^^^ 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!

team

^^^ 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

TJMaxx Gift Card Purchases

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TJMaxx Gift Card Purchases

Hi everyone and happy Monday! This past week was the Special Olympics games and it was a fantastically fun time. All of my students were very successful in their events and I couldn’t be more proud. At the banquet following the games, one of my students and his family presented me with a late graduation present – a beautiful framed photo of myself and my student from last year’s games and a gift card to my favorite place on earth…TJMAXX!!! I was so thankful for such a thoughtful gift because they seriously hit the nail on the head. I love having my new picture of such a happy memory on my desk and I had a blast doing some shopping with my mom to spend my gift card this past weekend.

The prezzie actually couldn’t have come at a better time because I’ve been wanting to do a major skin care haul so I can have a year’s supply of all of my must have beauty items without the hassle of waiting around for deals all year. Until the price is right at The Body Shop for all of my necessities, I was able to put two new moisturizers (as I was running low on my Vitamin E TBS cream) and one of my favorite cleansers on back stock. Take a look:

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The Haul:

  • Destiny Boutique charcoal cleanser
  • Lanocreme day cream
  • Arad day cream

In case you guys don’t already know, I’m obsessed with Destiny Boutique and I got this cleanser from TJs not too long ago. But, I saw it in the beauty section and thought it would be a great addition to my skin care back stock so into the cart it went. After finding my favorite cleanser, it was time to look for some new moisturizers. When it comes to creams, my skin really isn’t picky at all but I had the hardest time finding them in the TJs beauty aisle. Seriously, all they seemed to have was night creams and masks so I felt lucky that I found two day creams that I think will work just fine.

I’m always excited to try products that isn’t native to the ol’ USA so when I saw that the Lanocreme moisturizer was made in New Zealand, I definitely wanted to give it a go. As far as the Arad cream goes, I have never used any of their products but I have heard good things so I decided to go with that one, too. I’m a little anxious to try both of these out considering I’ve been using The Body Shop’s Vitamin E moisturizer steadily for the past couple of months so we’ll see how it goes. Fingers crossed that I’ll have good things to say about it in an upcoming monthly beauty finishes post!

The last of my gift card was used on restocking the communal TBS body butter and lotion hoard that my mom and I share. A Raspberry body butter for me, Vanilla Chai for her, and a cocoa butter lotion – my favorite! If you love The Body Shop products as much as my mom and myself and you have a TJMaxx near you, then I can’t recommend stopping in and scoping out their beauty aisle enough. You never know what you might find!

So there you have it, my TJMaxx Gift Card Purchases! What is one of your favorite items from The Body Shop? What is one of your favorite scores from TJMaxx? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Taco Bell, Lol

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Taco Bell, Lol

Hiii everyone and TGIF! So I had a super fun night with my sister yesterday. Kristen came with me to watch me coach Special Olympics figure skating, then we went shopping in downtown Kent (the surrounding college town), and decided to top off our night with some delicious Taco Bell. This is the part where you go: But wait, I thought you and your sister have both been vegetarians since childhood. And this is the part where I respond with: You can get beans on everything instead of meat!

So, yes, Taco Bell. After we finished our shopping, I was completely starving. It was after seven at that point which is way later than when I’m normally used to eating and I was getting HANGRY. Lucky for us, there’s a TBell right up the street from where we were, so we decided to go there instead of our usual stomping grounds that is closer to home. After making this decision, which I now wish we didn’t make, I was getting really excited. Fantasizing about eating the entire menu, salivating heavily – the whole nine yards of hungry girl problems.

A few minutes later, we arrived at Taco Bell and hurried inside to begin our order. Because I knew exactly what I wanted, I went first and began my litany of the four items that I wanted. As I mentioned before, because I’m a vegetarian, my order consists of asking them to sub the beef for beans after each item. To a seasoned TBell employee, this is no sweat. But to the fresh out of the hiring process girl working the register, it was the most difficult task in the world.

For well over ten minutes, I repeated my order as she tried to put it into the register and doubled back into the kitchen to ask for help. At first, I was like “Okay, I get it. I remember being new at a register based job before, too” and tried to be as kind as possible. But then, the hangryness started hitting me hard and I knew that if I stood there any longer, I would maybe be not so nice. To avoid this problem after the poor girl was appearing to get no help and she was getting visibly frustrated, I told her not to worry about it because there was a Taco Bell so close to my home.

I was so worried that that was rude but I really didn’t want to let my hangryness get the best of me. I also didn’t want to watch the girl struggle anymore since it looked like no one was coming to her rescue anytime soon. So, Kristen and I went back into the car and headed to the Tbell that we live a mile away from. And I have to tell you, it felt really good to be back in familiar territory.

We ordered our food and was then informed by the lovely employee that if we take a survey and mention her and her coworkers that they would get four extra dollars on their paychecks. We also would get free taco coupons for completing the survey. It seemed like a win win, so while we waited for our food, we each took the survey. Just upon completion, our food arrived which included a super special Taco Bell message from a grateful employee for us taking the survey. Lol, take a look:

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^^^ Lololol

All in all, it was a beautiful evening but I still can’t help feeling kind of bad about the new employee at the Taco Bell that we fled the scene from. I hope she finds that her job gets easier soon!! Anyways, Kristen and I still had a lot of fun and just as our secret Crunchwrap Supreme message says, TBell truly does = life.

What happens when you get hangry? Was there a job that you ever had a really hard time getting the hang of? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Monday Update: Lil Red Edition

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Monday Update: Lil Red Edition

Howdy! I feel like I haven’t updated you guys too much lately on what is going on in the world of Lil Red and let me tell you – my life is a doozey! I have eight weeks left until I graduate from Cuyahoga Community College with my Associate of Arts degree. My full time course load is in combination with three jobs, volunteering for Canine Lifeline, coaching figure skating for the Special Olympics, and still having some semblance of a social life. All the while, I am planning my trip to Europe for the spring of 2017. Holy moly!!

To say that I am ready to graduate is an understatement. Without constant homework, I would still be doing a lot but to add it on top of everything else is getting to be a bit much, to say the least! Naturally, during the home stretch, all I can think of is wanting to do anything but school work! And, of course I had to put off my hardest classes until my very last semester because would I even be a college kid if I didn’t? Sigh.

Every single day for the past eight weeks has brought about new challenges and these following eight weeks are really going to be testing me. I just have to keep thinking about the end goal which is a nice little diploma with my name on it! College life is hard. Work life is hard. And you know what? Right now, life in general is just hard. What I could really use is a nice, long vacation. But, for now, that will be limited to this twenty minute blogging break instead!

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^^^ The face of a burnt out college kid. -_-

As you can tell by this Monday Update: Lil Red Edition, I am in the midst of some trying times! So I need all of you to leave me some suggestions on how you deal with your life when everything starts too feel like a bit “too much”. What are some of your best time management tricks? How do you work in time to relax during a jam packed day? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

TJMaxx Fall Haul (Pt. 2!)

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TJMaxx Fall Haul (Pt. 2!)

Hiiii everyone and happy Hump Day! I hope everyone is having a fab day so far. So, in case you haven’t noticed by now…I have a serious problem when it comes to shopping at TJMaxx. I love that store more than life itself and when it comes to an evening of “browsing”, my mom and I don’t mess around. You guys need to know that I literally have no self control and that these purchases had to happen. Let me show you some pics and you’ll see why! Take a look:

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The Haul:

  • Faux Fur Coat: Me Jane, $20
  • Fox Hooded Nightie, Munki Munki, $16
  • Animal Print Backpack: Unknown *read below*, $25
  • Knee Highs: Bonetti Giordano, $7

Sarah, you have too many clothes, shoes, and accessories. STOP GOING TO TJMAXX! Juuuuust kidding. 😉 Now that I reprimanded myself, let’s discuss the gorgeous new additions to my wardrobe in detail:

Faux Fur Coat: I didn’t mean to like this coat but it just kind of happened (that’s a lie.). I saw it hanging on the rack looking so sad and forlorn without me in it that it would have been cruel to not put it on. But, come on? Only twenty dollars?! It was practically begging me to take it home. I have been on the hunt for a beautiful, faux fur coat since last winter but they are just something that you do not see often in stores. Therefore, it was totally necessary for me to try the coat on, period, to see if my obsession was even worth it. I mean, you never know – it could have looked awful.

Lucky for me, it didn’t! I fell in love with the romantic, 1940’s feel that this coat had and don’t even get me started on those brooch style buttons! It is worth mentioning that this coat was also in my favorite color, BLACK, so it’s like it was meant to be. I do wish that they had it in other colors, though, because I think that it would look so gorgeous in a dusty gray or pale pink. It also would be super fun in a bright color, too, like cobalt blue or violet. I cannot wait until it gets cold enough to break this coat out because I plan on pairing it with vintage hats from my beloved grandma and its going to look so chic that I could just die. ❤

Foxy Nightie: As you guys know, I have developed an obsession for jammies! My one and only pair that I got recently from Target is just not enough so this little nightie was a total necessity. Not only is the pattern adorable but it also comes complete with a hood and the little holes in the sleeves for your thumbs which I thought was such a sweet touch. This nightie fits perfectly in between being too light or heavy which will make it ideal for snuggling up in this fall and winter.

Printed Backpack: My desire for an unbearably stylish backpack developed many a years ago thanks to the adorable assortment that Elaine from Seinfeld always had. I’ve been watching Seinfeld since my childhood with my parents so, to put that into context, it’s been a long time coming. Anyways, I was so excited when backpacks became cool this past year because that would mean that I would finally find one that was perfect. Wrong.

Every single backpack that I’ve come across just didn’t do it for me. They were all either boring or way too over the top. I needed something that was sleek and edgy, not an eyesore. So when my mom pointed out this little beauty from a brand that I do not know because I literally cannot find it ANYWHERE on the product/tag, I was thrilled! This bag has everything that I wanted – a great shape, a cool pattern, and the option to wear it with everything. I absolutely love it. I cannot wait to break this baby out when I change purses at the end of the month!

Knee Highs: In my defense, I really do need some new knee highs/boot socks. I begin my second year of coaching figure skating for the Special Olympics tomorrow and haven’t purchased new “wear with figure skates” socks since I quit skating…about seven years ago. I am so in love with my new Bonetti Giordano (made in Italy, darling!) socks and have already had such fun wearing them off the ice. I broke out these little babies on Monday for my boyfriend’s birthday with a burgundy floral print dress and forest green platform wedges. The look was a hit and I can’t wait to continue pairing my knee highs with sweet dresses and skirts for a fun fall look. Now, I just need a pair in every other style that was there and I’ll be set!

The reason why I am so okay with this wonderful TJMaxx haul is because I literally own nothing like every single item that was purchased. Everything that I found or was scouted out for me by my fashionista mom were things that have been on my fashion wishlist for forever so to not buy them would just be cruel and unusual. A very fashionable fall is in my forecast! Ciao!

So there you have it, my TJMaxx Fall Haul (Pt. 2!)! What are some of the things that are on your fashion wishlist? What store do you have a hard time saying “no” to? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Monday Update: Special Olympics Edition

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Monday Update: Special Olympics Edition

Hi everyone and happy Monday! This past week, my Special Olympic ice skaters competed in the winter games and it was totally awesome. The events took place on Wednesday and Thursday and they were single handedly some of the best days of my life. On Wednesday my sister, Kristen, joined me at the competition and the banquet that followed later in the evening. It was so nice to have her keeping me company and all of my skaters and their families just loved her! The days of the competitions were long but they were so worth it, so let’s discuss:

Wednesday’s competitions were the races for the speed skaters and then the figure skaters would compete in their skills and compulsorary events. On Thursday, the figure skaters would perform their music routines. Wednesday started out much too early for my liking because I had to get up, get ready, pick Kristen up, and then make the twenty minute drive to the rink so I could prepare my skaters for the events an hour or so beforehand. I felt like a zombie but god knows I looked fabulous! 😉

Once we arrived at the rink, my tiredness was a thing of the past because seeing all of the athletes and their families was so energizing! Everyone was so excited and I couldn’t wait to soak up all of the positivity and happiness that everyone was exuding. It was so much fun to make my rounds to all of the athletes upon our arrival and introduce my sister to all of my friends. I was so touched by the warm greetings I got from all of my skaters and their families. I think the athletes were more excited about Kristen being there than me though because they got a brand new person to show off to!

The events started promptly at ten with the speed skaters on the hockey rink and the figure skaters on the practice rink. I had athletes competing on both rinks so I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I had skaters to give pep talks to, athletes to cheer for, and competitors that I had to track down that were going to be competing next. I didn’t mind the fast pace though and thanks to my time management skills, I was able to watch almost all of the skaters that are in my group compete.

Saying that I was proud of all of the athletes was a severe understatement and before I knew it, the events were over for the day. After all of the events were complete, we made our way to the hockey rink for the award ceremony. It was so special to be able to watch the athletes and my students receiving their medals on the podium. I loved seeing the big smiles, surprised faces, and arms raised in victory of all of the competitors. One of my students, Rick, ran to his family after he received his medals and went in for a big hug from his aunt. During the hug he kept saying “I’m so happy, I’m so happy” and I started bawling my eyes out! I was so proud of everyone and being able to see them celebrate and know that they did a fantastic job was the cherry on top of a perfect morning.

After the award ceremony, Kristen and I stuck around for a little bit while everyone had lunch and then we rolled out. Kristen treated me to lunch and then we went back to her apartment to rest and watch Netflix until the banquet in the evening. The banquet for the Special Olympics winter games was held at the Clarion Hotel. There was going to be speeches, dinner, and some good old fashioned tom foolery.

Kristen and I got to the hotel around six and made it right in the nick of time because shortly after we got there it was time to eat. Dinner was served buffet style followed by a huge piece of chocolate cake. Once everyone finished eating, there was a bit of a lull so we could all chat and digest while the dance floor got cleared off. Before we knew it, the dance floor was cleared, a DJ was playing, and disco lights were flashing. That’s when the real fun began!

As soon as the music started playing, Kristen and I ran to the dance floor with our friends so we could get our groove on. We were all dancing and singing along to songs from Grease and the Top 40 hits. My sister and I had such a blast dancing the night away. We were on the dance floor for over an hour and by the time we left, everyone was still dancing and jumping around! Clearly, all of the athletes have far more energy than I! Take a look at some of my pictures from the banquet:

^^^ I love us!!!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million more times, I am so unbelievably proud of all of my students and the athletes who competed at the Special Olympics winter games. I’m so thankful for all of my new friends and I’m so happy that my sister got to share in the fun with us. It has been such a privilege to be able to coach such a talented group of athletes and I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had for anything! Coach Sarah loves you guys! ❤

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Special Olympics Edition! The winter games were a great success and I’m so grateful that I could be a part of it. What is your favorite winter sport? What sports did you used to compete in or are competing in now? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah