Thursday, August 28, 2014


This summer we visited Italy for the first time. We took our teenagers as well as my mom along. We had an amazing time. This country has so much to offer and so many different things to see and experience. Rome was fast paced, alive, energetic, crazy, romantic and delicious. It is not for the faint at heart. So much history and you start to see why it was such an important place for hundreds and hundreds of years. We loved it, yet the intensity is such I'm not sure I could live in that city. But I will visit anytime I can...

We are greeted by the nuns after landing!

The Basilica of St. Peter has to be one of the most beautiful spaces I've
ever been in. Located in the Vatican City, the interior is so large and the l
ight coming in made it feel even more spiritual.

Beautiful day spent exploring the Vatican City.

The Roman Colosseum & the Roman Forum are certainly "must sees"
when in Rome. The Colosseum is stunning and having gone to college
to study Architecture, I'm thrilled to finally see it in person. Can't believe
how versatile it was back in the day. The Roman Forum is the heart of the
ancient city and walking through the ruins is like stepping back in time.

Caffe latte at Relais de l'Opera, our little hotel nestled in the heart of Rome!
Great place.

We discovered that American Craft Beer is definitely influencing the
Europeans as well. Open Baladin in Rome was an amazing craft beer

Big Rolling Stones concert happening at the Circus Maximus, an outdoor
venue in Rome. We were wondering why everyone in the city was walking
around wearing Rolling Stones t-shirts!

Fantastic dinner in Trastevere neighborhood. Dar Poeta was great food
and atmosphere and clearly where the locals liked to eat. Just what we were
looking to experience in Rome. We loved it.

Hotel view.

Thankful for the amazing morning coffees in Rome at the Floris hotel.

Pistachio Gelato shop near our hotel. Loved the decor.

Ciao, Rome! You were amazing and vibrant.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

9/11 Day of Service in Raleigh

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
~ Albert Einstein

9/11 is only a few short weeks away and is always a time for reflecting and thinking of the lives that were lost on that terrible day in 2001. I will never forget that day and I will always remember that morning and what I was doing as the tragic events were unfolding. I remember a long period of time where everything and everyone felt sad and helpless and as we were glued to the TV and the news for weeks following, it was a sad, scary and helpless time.

Years later and I am now raising two teenagers and we are busy with school and dance schedules, work, chores and the occasional opportunity to travel. We have discussed often how lucky we are to have what we have and to be free and able to do the things we do. We've also recently been discussing how to give back to others as a family more, now that the girls are older.

I'm excited to share info about's 9/11 DAY OF SERVICE coming up soon in Raleigh. This is a full DAY and NIGHT opportunity to spend what is always a hard day to get through doing good for others. If you can participate during the day there is an entire day of activities that you can sign up and volunteer. The daytime service events/projects are at various times and locations from 7am-6pm.

If you are available that evening, they are hosting an event at Raleigh's Red Hat Amphitheatre  where you can come down and help out with many projects and bring specific items to donate.  The evening event starts at 6pm for service projects, music, refreshments and Mayor Nancy McFarlane will speak.

This year’s 9/11 Day of Service, coordinated by Activate Good in partnership with the Downtown RaleighAlliance and the City of Raleigh, aims to engage 2,000 citizens in acts of volunteerism and kindness. Citizens will honor those lost on 9/11 by helping out with projects like beautifying schools and community centers, packaging food for those in need, and more. More than 30 causes will benefit from volunteers’ work, including but not limited to Raleigh Rescue Mission, Note in the Pocket, Urban Ministries of Wake County, Carolina Tiger Rescue, Ronald McDonald House, and Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation.

Additional Ways to Help!

We plan to sign up for the evening event. You can participate in the day or night activities too or help by spreading the word about this day of giving back.

  • Pick your favorite daytime service event from the list and sign up, tell others or both!
  • RSVP for the evening event and invite your friends to come along!
  • Invite your local club, organization or church to get involved!
  • Print the 9/11 Day of Service flier and hang it in your office or other places in the community!
  • Save the cover image from Activate Good's Facebook page and share it to your facebook!
  • Tweet, Facebook or Instagram about the different events and tag @activategood (and they will retweet!)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

IG SNAPSHOT: Canaan Valley, WV

"To get away from one's working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one's self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change." ~Charles Horton Cooley

Sometimes you just have to get away.

Summer is a great time to pack up your bags and change your scenery.  Whether it's a trip to Europe or a trip to the closest beach or town, change is good. It's refreshing to get away from the routine, the chores and the predictable everyday things. 

We are fortunate to be able to escape once in a while to the beautiful country in Canaan Valley, WV. Generally if we make this LONG trek, its to see snow and do some skiing. This Summer, we decided to meet some family up in the mountains at Timberline Resort. The weather was cool for August. We enjoyed some leisurely walks filled with beautiful wildflowers, deer, lakes and waterfalls.  It was refreshing to get away and take some deep breaths and enjoy some quiet downtime before the start back to school, work, chores and the usual things that fill our everyday lives. It was a chance to be quiet. It was a chance to notice the little things. I enjoyed spending time with my family without our technology devices for a few precious days. We laughed, we had some great talks and played board games. We snapped pictures of the beautiful things nature shares with us everyday. It was a chance to refuel and appreciate what's important in life.

I will try and hold onto that peaceful place as we start our busy back to school, work and routine next week!

Timberline Resort in Canaan Valley

Timberline Resort in Canaan Valley

Blackwater Falls outside Davis, WV

Timberline Resort in Canaan Valley

Boomtown Java in Davis, WV

Timberline Resort in Canaan Valley

Mountain State Brewing Company in Davis, WV

Sunflowers in Thomas, WV

Follow @raleighwhatsup on Instagram!