Well, the robins are back. That’s a sure sign of Spring.

I’m experiencing my first Spring in Western New York.

Some of the first blooms to show up around our new house.

Some of the first blooms to show up around our new house.

More than being a lovely season, it’s been an honest time of “firsts” for me.  One such realization came not too long ago… Continue reading

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Sandy Relief: How I’m helping, what you can do, lists, info, + more.

It’s been a busy weekend of emails, calls, and pulling things together.  My little mission to help out Sandy Survivors is actually coming together.  I’m pretty impressed with myself, not gonna lie.  I think that after living in Florida for two and a half decades, dealing with hurricanes is just in my blood, it’s a normal part of life to me.  And well, if you don’t know by now that I tend to be the take-action-do-gooder type, well then you hardly know me at all.

Generous hearts make the world go ’round.  And coming into contact with truly generous people who are so excited and happy to give is a truly humbling experience.

i’m so grateful to anyone and everyone who’s pitching in to help.

When I started the tiny idea to see what I could do to help the Sandy Relief efforts, I had no idea what to expect.  The call for supplies, donations, and any kind of help went out all over the Interwebs.  I’ve posted on Craig’s List Buffalo, reddit, Facebook, all kinds of organization’s Fb pages, Twitter, and more.  And well it hasn’t been a downpour of support, there’s been more than a trickle and it’s really exciting.

i stand by my cheesy lil’ logo!

A few people have chipped in some financial support, I have a pal for the car ride down who will be staying in the NYC-area long term to do clean up work wherever she’s needed, and I have a couple helpful people found out about my plans online and have been putting together donations that we can bring with us.

TWO AMAZING STORES have generously donated items to the effort as well:

Smith’s True Valu in Irving, NY and the Sears Hometown Store here in Fredonia (just down the street from where I live) have been super awesome.  Once we get this whole thing underway, we’ll give them official shout outs and post photos of the items they provided.  We’re hoping in the next day or so to find some more stores will to donate supplies, or at least cut us a break on the cost of items.

NEEDS LIST:

thanks to mj for the link to this awesome list!

The clean up efforts are paramount right now, and thus some things in huge demand are:

  • dust masks
  • gloves – rubber, work, leather, all kinds
  • mops, mops, mops
  • paper towels, regular towels, shop towels
  • tools of any kind, the smaller and more mobile – the better (and remember, power in nonexistent or limited), crowbars, screwdrivers, hammers
  • work boots in all sizes
  • contractor-style garbage bags
  • tarps, plastic sheeting
  • duct tape, rope, zip ties
  • garbage bags
  • gas cans
  • food, formula, water, snacks, OTC meds
  • winter clothing, blankets, bedding
  • and finally – stuff for kids to occupy the boredom and help life their spirits: toys, games, etc.

If you have any desire to get these items to me, I’m more than happy to take them to NYC for you.  There are plenty of grassroots efforts of people who I personally know can use and need these items right away – with zero overhead going to “operating costs,”  just straight from the shelves of stores into the hands of those who need them.  If you trust me, paypal some cash money my way: happyhippierose@gmail.com is my paypal handle!

If you’d like to send your own care packs, there are several places that you can ship stuff to:

Warehouse donated as in-take center

New York Container Terminal
Attn: Sandy Relief Warehouse
300 Western Avenue
Staten Island, NY  10303
or

Staten Island Recreational Association
599 Fr. Capodanno Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10305
Attn: Megan Delmar

….

she seemed so nice at first, but woah did she turn out to be a super bitch!

As many of you know, Duggs (my husband) grew up on Long Island.  His family and friends have been seriously impacted by this storm.  My brother-in-law, and mother-in-law are both still displaced, and unable to return home,  In fact, since we have so many loved ones from Long Beach it’s crazy to try and name everyone and explain the carious states of disarray their lives are in right now.   If you’d like to give money to the Long Beach recovery effort –  here’s a great group:

City of Long Beach Relief
One West Chester Street
Long Beach, NY 11561

There are TONS of groups using Facebook and Social Media to get the word out.  Some great resources to learn more are:

So. Whatever you end up doing – be it making a huge donation to the Red Cross or just sending well-wishes and prayers to those affected, every contribution is wonderful and they all work together and come together to help put things all back together.  Major disasters like this are so terrible, so many lives are just ripped apart, and millions of people are experiencing high levels of stress, sadness, anger, devastation, and more.

Yet… time and time again we see in the darkest of days the most startling displays of true beauty.  Strangers coming together to help each other out, true generosity and kindness, we see helping hands and warm hugs given out freely.   There’s no time machine or magic eraser that can un-do the tragedy… sadly, what’s done is done.  But when given the option of HOW to react, seeing everyday people pick the good, noble, wonderful choice – is an amazing thing to bear witness to.

For everyone who is suffering: you have my warmest thoughts and prayers, as well as my sincere encouragement.

For everyone who is helping:  you have my gratitude and thanks, you are awesome and inspiring.

For everyone who doesn’t know what to do: listen to your heart and you can’t go wrong.

Thanks for reading, y’all!  The donations, support, and well wishes my little caravan have been given are truly inspiring.  And my only hope is that we do some good and help out as many people as we possibly can.  Want to help?  Paypal me some moolah, and I promise it will go to great use:  happyhippierose@gmail.com 

XOXO, HHR

Buffalo’s Stampede of Love: Sandy Relief Effort (Yeah, I’m starting a relief project)

Hurricane Sandy sucks, downstate is a mess, and many of us with hearts and consciences want to do our part to help.  So rather than twiddling my thumbs and hoping someone else takes care of it, I’m stepping up.

Sandy, you tramp! You messed up so much stuff.

I’m starting a relief drive for people affected by Hurricane Sandy in NYC and Long Island.
The project is tentatively called, “Stampede of Love.”  Because it’s coming from Buffalo.  Get it?  I’m so witty.

Facade collapse on a building in Alphabet City – what a nightmare.

This ain’t a 501c3 and I’m not creating an official organization.  If you trust me at my word, and I hope you will, let’s do this and help out some folks who really really need it.   Money, nonperishable food, WINTER CLOTHES, and any and all transportable household items are welcome.  I’m willing to physically collect items people are interested in donating, I’m also willing to be the hub for fiscal donations and see to it that 100% of monies collected go to this effort.  The ONLY thing (other than handing it directly over to a reputable shelter and/or organization down state) that I’d use money collected on is potentially a U-haul or trailer should we get that much stuff donated.  I’m assuming and hoping what we gather will fit in a large SUV, which I plan to rent out-of-pocket as part of this effort.
Today is Wednesday… ideally, I’d love to get to NYC this weekend.  I don’t think that’s quite possible though, and so I’m aiming for a trip in about ten days time, the second weekend in November.   If anyone is interested in helping with that aspect of this whole project, please let me know.

Massive storm surge is the culprit for tons of damage.

Can you even imagine? Such devastation.

I’m interested in collecting goods at my home, or we can meet up in the Walmart parking lot in Fredonia.  I’ll be in North Buffalo for a good while on Saturday.  And well, otherwise, just hit me up and we’ll figure something out.  My email is happyhippierose@gmail.com and I look forward to hearing from you.
Here’s a copy of the post that just went live on Craig’s List:

Hi CL Buffalo,

My name is Rose. I live in Fredonia / Sheridan now, but I grew up in Florida. If there’s one thing I know – it’s how terrible hurricanes are, and how LONG and intense the clean-up and get-your-life back process is. NO ONE CAN DO IT ALONE. My husband and I have lots of family and friends who’ve been affected by Hurricane Sandy down state, in NJ, Rhode Island and elsewhere. We think as fellow New Yorkers, we should and could help out those in the NYC/Long Island area. Thousands of people are homeless and living in shelters, everything they own = destroyed.

We’re going to start with sending money, but the need for household items and clothing is incredible. It’s chilly out, y’all, and some people have lost every scrap of winter clothing they owned. I am interested in driving down with some donated items. Maybe not this weekend, but in about ten days? People will still need things then, that’s for sure. If there was anyone else in the area of WNY interested in volunteering to drive the stuff down (instead of me and my hubs going) – I’d be MORE THAN WILLING to help you organize the clothing and donation drive, as well as donate gas money.

I have no desire in creating an official organization – this is all honor system, y’all. 100% of anything I get will go downstate to those in need. I’m working with some orgs in NYC to find out the areas of greatest need. WNY is full of huge hearts and generous people. Let’s do the right thing and help where we can. Wanna know more about who I am? Check out http://www.happyhippierose.com – it’s my personal blog. You’ll see I’m just a silly, albeit very honest and nice person, and I just want to help. We have a lot of family on Long Island and in the city, and it’s just been awful seeing the devastation.

If you want to donate clothing, household goods, food, whatever, contact me: happy hippie rose (AT) g mail (dot) com – and we can go over drop offs and pick ups. I’m in Chautauqua County now, yes – but have plans to be in North Buffalo Saturday during the day. We can make other arrangements as need be.

ANY AND ALL MONETARY DONATIONS MADE TO < happyhippierose @ gmail .com > via paypal will go to shelters and/or the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy help efforts. Again, honor system here. If you don’t trust me, don’t give. If you want to help, this is a quick and easy way.

Once the ball gets rolling I will update more with specifics. I’ll also use my blog to coordinate things. THANK YOU ALL – have a safe and Happy Halloween, All Saints Day, and God Bless.

-Rose Duggan

I really just want to do the best I can to help.  This storm was awful and came at such a terrible time of year – less than two months ’till Christmas / Hanukkah, and worse than that: it’s COLD out up here.  People need protective clothing and their homes.

Any and all support is welcome, even if it’s just wishing me luck.

Thanks for reading!  XOXO, HHR

Running Around Western New York

Three weeks into marathon training and the Fall Distance Group through Fleet Feet Buffalo – and all is well.

Due to the inevitable navigational errors that seem to have become a weekly staple, this past Saturday was an 11.11 mile jaunt through residential downtown Buffalo.  Despite the extra distance, I felt mostly strong throughout – and finished with a flourish.  I’m forever grateful to the new pals I’ve made at the group who dutifully pace and push me, helping me get faster and stronger every week.  Running with people is one of the best choices I’ve made in a good, long while!  Not only is it more fun, it’s clearly beneficial.

Yesterday, late afternoon, Duggs and I had an errand to run in town.  And then I literally ran home, made the house a water stop and grabbed the dogs, and finished my five mile active recovery jog out in the grapes.  After using KT Tape for the first time this weekend, last night’s run was the first in a while in which my shin did NOT hurt.  Amazing, huh?  I have an idea to post about some of the running gear I’ve stumbled across lately.  Some favorites have clearly emerged (KT tape being a big one) – but as time goes on, I’ll know more about the other stuff I’m giving a whirl while I run.

Last week I mentioned about the lack of Hawaii as a potential discouragement from reading – and some of y’all kindly requested more Western New York pics.  Pretty and outdoors is still pretty and outdoors; I personally see the beautiful merits of each location, clearly for varying reasons – but both pretty none the less!

Saturday’s run in downtown Buffalo… here are some photos I went ’round and collected post-run.  I didn’t want to photograph the entire area, I have to leave some aspects for the weeks to come!

post-run stretching!

marketing fail

but the canisius school is gorgeous, really

just down from the school, we run along this pretty pristine tree-lined road

behind these trees, and nestled closely with homes and small non-profits (a nursing home is across the street) – is a gorgeous orthodox church. greek, i believe.

the front view

taking in a fuller view for better context.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sky was so blue on Saturday.  Colder weather and rain was promised to us – but instead, once again, we were treated to a cloudless sunny day.  It was mildly cooler in the morning, but as soon as the sun hitched herself high enough to be seen in full, it was nothing but heat that came our way.   Want more deets?  Check out this run map: http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/116526237

From the Farmer’s Market I’ve mentioned.  In a small park amidst opulent older homes – the market feels more like a picnic, the atmosphere is happy and relaxed.  I love just wandering around, people watching.  It’s the Elmwood-Bidwell Market, btw, if anyone wants to look it up.  I just adore the whole neighborhood it’s in!

the street along the farmer’s market – this one house is always selling furniture and stuffs out front

same side of the street, facing the opposite direction from the yard sale house

After I left the Farmer’s Market, it was time to drive home.  But fear not – I disregarded safety (and probably the law) and still managed to snap a few pics from the whip.  They’re poorly focused, but at least you get a feel for the area from them:

so many roundabouts (or rotaries for my bostonians)

i think that there is canada!

From last night, running through our small rural town that’s about an hour south of Buffalo.  I love it here too.  Yesterday’s run was just one of those feel good workouts, the sky was blue and the air was thick and hot – but I had a grand ole time!

quaint and oh so charming, yes?

all roads lead to home. specifically this one is pretty direct.

my lens was blurry, but it kinda lends to the whimsical nature of where i really live

running past sullivan’s charbroil is hard – oh the smell, so enticing.

and of course, the backyard and the grapes

the pooches need a workout too, of course

i look downright crazy in this one. i like it!

oh hay, i’m getting some sun out on my run

shaka!

love the cancer survivor running tee!

Ahh. So if you follow me on Instagram (as you should – @RadRosie) or Fb, or Twitter (see the side bar for those) – you know about the tee from last night’s run.  As I was sweating to the electropop (and some oldies) I was, as I said above, just having fun with it.  I kinda dance along sometimes, I usually smile – so when people kept honking and waving, I thought that seeing a be-neoned gal in a crazy get up bopping along was a novelty of some sort for such a one-horse town.  Only way after the fact did I register that I was rocking my SURVIVOR tee!  Oopsies – duh, of course that’s what people were pumped about.

So that was pretty fun, actually.  I love strangers that will a shout out and some encouragement over something like that – so rad!

Well, that’s all I have for today.  If you think you could stomach it, I’m so tempted to post the photo diary of my “evolution of a blister.”  I have a nasty, slightly infected, triple blister on my right foot.  It’s heinous and admittedly, painful.  I’m dying to gross everyone out with it.  Thoughts?

Hope you’re all having lovely weeks; to my runner pals: enjoy the warm weather while we still have it, and holler at me about how your runs and training are going.  I’d love to have more running pen pals and blogs to follow to chat about training, tips, injury prevention and the like!!

As always – THANKS FOR READING!  

XOXO, HHR 

Accountability, Speed: Glad I Joined Now!

This past weekend was my second ever experience with the new running group I’m in.  And let me just be very clear: Week two was markedly, crazily, way better than week 1!

I still got lost, but at least this time I wasn’t lost alone, haha.  I actually made the acquaintance of some really nice ladies and jogged near and at times, with, them!  The added advantages are not only social and navigational.  Turns out that when running with people, my pace time improves like woah.  Yeah, I may have shed about 20 minutes off my 8 mile time.  Ha!  How’s that for crazy?  Turns out when left to my own devices I dawdle, who’d have thought!

Anyways, aside from running faster, I also felt much stronger.  I completed the run feeling strong and the soreness has been minimal now in my post-run days.  So, all in all, really nice and I’m just so pleased with my current progress and commitment.  It feels good to be sticking with it.

In other news, we stumbled across this INCREDIBLE hippie neigborhood.  I met my peoples!  I was just running along, and I noticed the signs started to feature buzzwords that caught my eye:

“co-op”

run… run… run… 

“local produce”

running still… 

“yoga”

“organic”

“music shop”

“handmade”

“repurposed”

FREAK OUT!!! 

It was just so much, I could have exploded.  MY PEOPLE!  So after the run, Duggs and I headed over there for brunch and to scope out the area.  After a tasty meal and some nice conversation, we made our way over to the Farmer’s Market.  It was AWESOME.  They take EBT/Food Stamps at the Farmer’s Market!  It was all too rad, I cannot wait till next Saturday now.

I did have my phone with me, but I was in a very in-the-moment kinda mood and I just hardly so much as snapped a pic.  I do promise that next weekend we’ll bring the good camera and actually take some nice photos of the area.  Man oh man, downtown Buffalo totally stole my heart this weekend!

The rest of our time was spent with relaxing, stretching, some cleaning and organizing, light chores – nothing major really, but the lazy down time was much needed.  It rained a lot of Sunday morning – but by mid-afternoon it was blazing hot and sunny again.  I even got a couple hours on the lounge chair out back with a good book.  I’m telling you, yesterday was luxuriously lazy!   I was hoping for more rain though, our garden ain’t looking so good these days… Ugh.  Oh well, time will tell what’s to be!

I hope y’all had a great weekend too.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

Western New York: I Feel Home.

Western New York is a beautiful place to live; constantly I’m awed and surprised by the bounty of this land.   After being here for about three months, I’m beginning to feel settled.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to live in versatile and dynamic places – I mean, Florida and Hawaii – does it wackier than either of these tropical touristy havens?  A Floridian childhood is special in its own ways, yes.  But there was always the part of me that would jealously eye the neighborhoods in John Hugh’s movies, wishing I lived in a northern suburb somewhere – dreaming of White Christmases and houses without stucco.

Western New York is a rich, amazing place.  In the outdoor activity department, WNY’s cup runneth over for sure.  Season to season there is so much to enjoy outside.

Summertime brings swimming, boating and all kinds of water sports on the ample lakes and waterways – specifically Lake Erie – there’s fruit to pick, festivals to go to every weekend, cook outs, camping, hiking, horseback riding, and on and on.  The weather is sunny and warm most days, varying between balmy and mild, the latter giving way to gloriously cool evenings.  This far north the days are long, with dusk’s light fading out at almost 10:00pm sometimes.

As Indian summer fades into Fall, we’ll head into different picking seasons… the grapes first, then apples, pumpkins.  The length of daylight and the level of mercury will both sink.  Hunting season will open up, hiking and camping become more enjoyable with fewer bugs and the festive beauty of the autumnal color show.  Winter snow and the iced over lake will bring even more to do: snow mobiles, skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, sledding, skating – all things winter.  Thanks to the lake effect snow this region is known for, winter sports and activities are almost always a go ahead (last year was a particularly weak winter, so I’ve been told).  And then as the spring thaw happens, the whole cycle kicks over again, baby animals and wildflowers bloom as warmer days grace this land.  Gardens are planted, the trees extend soft green leaves out of their barren branches, and the desire to run outside and play is felt by all.

More than just a pretty face who’s good for a fun time, Western New York is deep – her rich and dynamic history, specific to my family, has me enthralled.

You see: I’ve always been a transplant.

Growing up in Florida was awesome, don’t get me wrong.  I could swim before I could walk, I’ve seen my fair share of crazy critters, gorgeous sandy sunrises, Mickey Mouse ears, shuttle launches, big cities and sleepy country towns.    Nice, but in ways I’ve never identified before – often hollow.   I’ve never felt like I “fit in.”  Rest assured, I know this is a broad and baseless complaint experienced far more often than people convinced that they’re popular.   But it’s true nonetheless.

Now being here, in the land of my family, where our roots go so very deep (well, American deep, haha) – it’s a very different experience.  An intangible comfort is omnipresent here; I have the confidence of my ancestors encouraging me every day, something in my DNA guides me and tells me, “YOU ARE HOME NOW.”

Being related to so many people in a proximal area is really rad.  Both immediate and extended family are here – and I can hardly go anywhere in town without there being a long-established family connection in place.  And not in a grease-the-palms kinda way, just in a friendly, “Oh! You’re Kathy’s daughter!” kinda way.  My Great Uncle is something of a living legend here too, so that always makes me proud to be known as a Gioia ’round here too.

In Florida, my last name never held currency.  No one cared, no one knew who we were (save for the small immediate circle of my Dad’s co-workers and perhaps the people who did community service with my Mom).  But familial love and long standing relationships bred into generations of families in a small town is something indescribably nice: there’s nothing like the easy acceptance and welcome I feel here.  (Okay, anonymity is nice in its own ways too – especially if you have some wild oats to sow and would like to be able to do just that without seven hundred years of shame brought on your house; my hat tips to Florida for that!).

We’ll go out to eat and there’s a story, many stories, of how one such family member was close with the original owner, and on and on.  I love that the history of this area relates to ME.   My Aunt Patty is always telling me these connections, the old stories, and I’m 100% fascinated.

More than ministrations and tales, it goes deeper, down to something instinctual and primal – something that eludes a direct understanding – that pulls me to this land.  I just can say I “feel” it.   My sense of direction here is flawless –  I grew up in a sleepy beach town with a grid system for roads and huge bodies of water to serve as glaring directionals – Yet, on twisty country roads that weave through hills, I feel like I know my way around.   Sometimes I have this (morbid and) strange vision of late relatives guiding me, walking alongside me, smiling with familiarity as I travel paths they’ve undoubtedly walked along countless times before me.

Weird?

Yeah, I know.

I’m being super weird.

I’ve been mulling over this feeling for weeks now and this is merely my feeble attempt to put the idea into something digestible.  There’s just this massive looming of emotional connection to the actual dirt and trees, the wind and weather here, that I cannot put into words (although I’m trying damn hard as I reach nearly 900 of them in an attempt to suss out an understanding of the feelings this place evokes).

Sigh.

It’s just lovely is all.  I’m happy to be here.  I feel safe, welcomed, wanted, and normal.

Oh!  I can elaborate on the feeling of normalcy, actually.  Growing up in Florida you’re living with a mixed bag of snowbird transplant families.  When I was in college there was legit stat that 30% of Floridians were born in Ohio!  It feels like everyone merely lives there but actually considers New York or Boston or stinky Ohio (sorries! my Dad went to UM, so I gotta hate a little) to be “home.”   Of course I know that there are long-standing Florida families, and that the expansion of the mid-1900s is now making way to third and fourth generations who’ve called the Gunshine State their own.   The vast majority are though, relocated folks from the great white north.

For me, I always knew we were not of that land; I felt like a visitor.   And now – only after living here – do I understand some of the quirks I was raised with that always felt so odd to me.  They’re cultural norms up here!  Little things, like ordering a strawberry shortcake and having it served on a heavy drop biscuit, the exact way my mother always made it.  I’d never in my life had a strawberry shortcake made that way by anyone other than my Mom.  In FL the norm would be angel food cake, pound cake maybe.  Taking a bite of the slightly salty and dense biscuit covered in local strawberries and whipped heavy cream – it was like childhood relived.  “Oh!” I literally exclaimed at seeing the biscuits next to the strawberries last night at Tops (supermarket) – “this is why my Mom does it this way,”  realization of this region’s influence dawning.

The list of little silly habits goes on.

And while I know it seems minute and weird, after nearly three decades of assuming I was just a sore thumb raised by a pair of quirky, wacky (albeit very loving), nut jobs – there’s something so reassuring about being normal.     Yeah, I do think I almost fit in here.  Now… If only I could rid myself of the gentle lilt that betrays me every time I open my mouth.  That and ditch the tie dye, fanny packs, legwarmers, bandannas and other fashion statements akin to wearing a neon “I’m not really from here” tee shirt….

Hahaha.  I kid, I kid.

Yeah, I know I’ll never be run of the mill – a happy realization and one that I’m proud to own.   Don’t worry, I’m not seeking cultural assimilation by any means.

It’s just a nice realization to be able to piece things all together, is all.  And of course, it should go without saying, Florida will always be “home” in so many, many ways.  (I’m actually terribly Florida-sick lately, missing the sand and saltwater more than ever before.  Oh yeah, and all you people who live there too – I miss y’all as well.     But that’s another post for another day.)

For now, wrapping myself in the dichotomous distant familiarity of a land long inhabited by my own blood is just new, fascinating, calming, and … nice.   My induction to Western New York has been altogether charming.

Okay, that’s enough waxing poetic for now!  You get the point, yeah?  (haha, Hawaiian joke.  See, I’m still a regional grab bag).

HAPPY FRIDAY and HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE!

xoxo, hhr 

Bullets, Boooze, and Berries

Sounds like the perfect day, huh? We had us a good ole Redneck Sunday this past weekend! Yee-haw!

Note: Always practice firearm safety, use weapons responsibly, and never fire a gun for fun while intoxicated.  Guns are serious weapons and should always be respected for how powerful they are.

My cousin Nick, his son Austin, my husband Duggs, and I went over to Aunt Ruth’s house (EZ’s younger sister) for some target practice.  Aunt Ruth’s house is known for being THE spot for deer sightings around here. With plenty of property, not a lot of neighbors, and some good areas to set up target practice – it’s the ideal location to go shoot some guns!

loading the bed of the truck with all of our guns

nick, austin, duggs

I mean, if we’re going to be able to hunt successfully at all this upcoming season, we gotta get the practice in now – right?

nicky showing austin how to do it just right

i did awful with my pistol accuracy this weekend, some of my worst shooting ever

austin and the pistol

success!

here’s a sweet little action collage of me with two guns and my fanny pack on. aww year!

he always catches the shell between shots, so hawt!

i could look at this all day long. the man looks good with a gun!

comparing their groups – nick had the top target, duggs used the lower one.

lookin good hot duggs o’ mine

yeah nicky! nick is great at shooting standing up, more sensible than prone position for hunting.

my cousin nick, hittin’ bullseyes all day

i made him pose for this and he was so annoyed

i love using duggs’ rifle, i did way better with it than with the pistol

sassy prone position

my shoulder got beat up. bad!

i’m a gun slingah… in leg warmers, neon tie dye, and a fanny pack.

All in all, we had a lot of fun.

It was a super hot day, which was a mixed bag: I was thankful for the break in the rain we’ve had so much of lately.  But man, it was really hot out – like muggy, humid, hot.  I know that come winter I’ll be longing for these sunny hot days, but after Florida and Hawaii, the cooler weather of New York has been nice.

Hunting and shooting are two hobbies that I’m okay with.  I think that if you’re going to eat meat, getting your meat via hunting is far more humane, healthy, and natural than the factory farming system we have here in the US.  I know that for some of my animal-loving pals, the act of hunting is hard to understand.  If you ever want to know why I feel the way I do, just ask!

Strawberry Festival!

After a couple hours of target practice, Duggs and I headed over to the local Strawberry Festival!  Put on by a near by winery, Merritt Winery, the strawberry festival was a grand ole time.  We swung by mostly to pick up some food for lunch, so we didn’t stay long.

It was a pretty small set up though, so even in about 30 minutes – we were able to at least see everything there was to see.

The festival is home to their world-famous “Sangria Slush” – as soon as I heard that, I was just dying and begging to go all week long.  And trust me, I was not let down.  The red sangria in slushie form was oh so tasty!

After a hot afternoon in the sun, this hit the spot:

What to do after you’ve been shooting all day? Why, shoot some more of course!

The festival all went to benefit jeuvenile diabetes research (great cause, and local too). One of the tables was a small Glock range, and for a few dollars you could fire off seven rounds.  With a beer in hand, Duggs just had to go and shoot some more.

Shoot a bullseye, and win $5 off your food!  Since we were buying burgers and hot dogs to bring home – this worked out perfectly! Good job Duggs.

The fine boardwalk of booths and sundries:

And of course, the classic car show!

the car show portion of the festival was pretty swanky! 

General Lee

little me in the general lee

Strawberries and other fine foods!

strawberry shortcake, the old fashioned way with a heavy drop biscuit

We actually got way more food than this… including some NY state 100% pure maple syrup, a homemade spice and herb mix to cook with, and all the hot food we brought home for lunch.  I should have grabbed some pics of that!

The festival was cute, but I didn’t mind not hanging around for a long time.  There was a band, and the singer was pretty good – but she was just doing covers mostly, and it was nothing epic.  My cousin told me the line up for Saturday consisted of some great local bands that he’s heard before and really likes.

This weekend seems to have kicked off “festival season” – all summer long, just about every weekend around here is some kind of festival or fair.  I am SO EXCITED!  I love fair food, I love the atmosphere, the fun vibe – I want to go to as many as I can (if Duggs actually read my blog, this is the part that would just fill him with dread, lol – imagine going to a fair every weekend? haha).

We had a really fun time.  The sunny hot Sunday outdoors more than made up for how rainy Saturday was and the outside time we lost because of it.  I can’t wait to see what else summer in this new place brings, hopefully more good times and neat stuff to see and explore.

Do you have a lot of festivals in your area? Do you go to them?

ready to head home after a wacky fun day – arms full of treats and awesome

As always – thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

New York-ified

I think I’ve successfully New York-ified my blog.

The “about me” section is updated, and I’ve added some new pics to the header rotation, as well as to the sidebars (when you view from the home page; if you’re at the URL for a specific post, you won’t see the sidebar action).

I feel pretty good about things!  I’ll always reflect some Hawaii on my blog – how can I not? Hawaii is amazing.  But now my little corner of the Internet also represents the state and place we currently call home: Western New York!

Not sure if I’ll keep this “theme” forever, but I do still like it.  I’m all about keeping my blog nice and easy to read, clean and simple – all that.

So at least I’m up to date now – whew! At least one thing checked off my to-do list for today.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

Happy National Running Day!

My new friend Amanda over at Fancy Oatmeal (yeah, I decided we’re “friends” now, she’s moving to Jax, FL + teaches English + runs + is awesome) posted earlier today letting me know about the June 6th fun that is “National Running Day.”

Thanks, Amanda!  I made durn sure to get my celebration on.

Did you run today?  If not yet, are you going to?

I just went on a whopper of a run.

me, instagram style, on today’s runny run

Well, it was only for 40 minutes, but it was outside and I was doing harder intervals than I’ve been doing since I moved to NY – with a higher run-to-walk ratio.  I didn’t much sleep last night, and for some reason I’m STILL sore from Monday’s crazy 64 minute run/walk/exhaustion-fest.

So here are some recent running pics, from a couple diff runs last week, Monday’s night run and today’s celebratory run.  I’m so so proud of myself for getting back into and trying so hard and giving it my all to get back into shape.

I love running, and running loves me.

Your turn: tell me about your most recent runs!

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

from bikini to parka: we’re officially moving to…

BUFFALO, NEW YORK!

In less than three months we’ll be leaving gorgeous Kailua, Hawaii and heading east to New York state’s second-largest city.  Well, technically we’ll be moving to the ‘burbs of Buffalo, a smaller town in Western New York, like Fredonia or Dunkirk.

the duggans in fabulous hawaii, we fist pump for hawaii!

Matthew, my hubs, is getting out of the USMC in September (it’s his EAS, his contract is up and he’s not reenlisting).  So we’ll be leaving this beauitful tropical island and trading in my bikini for a parka as we head to the great white north.  Matthew’s wardrobe probably won’t change much, he grew up in New York (Long Island) and he’s pretty into the whole cooler temp thing.

Why WNY?  I have family there!  With tons of family support, our transition will be much easier to manage than just venturing out on our own.  The good folks in my bloodline are being so generous as to hook us up with a place to stay, temporary transportation options, help securing jobs, and above all else: emotional support during a huge change for us!  I’m so lucky to be loved by the people I’m related to, right?

me and my cousin nick, who lives in wny and we'll be staying with! this pic is from a trip to wny in 2008

here i am, visiting my cousin's old house in silver creek, ny. i do okay in winter when i VISIT. we'll see how living goes!

I know, I know… some people may dare say that WNY is far from glamorous.  And some may point out that the economy in that neck of the woods is considered less than savory right now.  But, with a little nepotism on our side and the specific types of work we’re seeking: things are actually looking great for the Duggans.

According to Monster.com – Buffalo, NY is in the top 25 of best cities in the US for nursing jobs, coming in at #17 (http://nursinglink.monster.com/benefits/articles/8283-top-25-cities-for-nurses?page=10); ironically Honolulu, the city I haven’t been able to find a job in, is listed as #10 on this list. Ha!  Seventeen is literally my lucky number (we even got married on the 17th because of such) so I’ll take it.   Last year Buffalo’s numbers looked even better… but unemployment in the area is up in general, making all the stats drop down a bit.

Regardless of what the statisticians have to say: after some quick poking around, talking to fam and the like, I think I should be able to find work once we get there.  I’m in the process of transferring my license to NY state already.

As far as Matthew goes, looks like my cousin should be able to help him get some pretty good work too.  I won’t go into crazy details, but there are tentative plans and hopes going on.  The concept feels good and seems very bright.

Cost of living there is about as opposite as it can get for us.   We’d love to stay in Hawaii for a million reasons: friends, weather, outdoor activities, and scenery just being the top few.   But without the military, we’re not sure how that could/would work on a financial level.  Clearly millions of people make it happen every day, so it’s obviously possible.  But the lifestyle change would be tough for us.  It’s very very expensive to live out here; without commissary access, military housing, an income, healthcare, etc, it feels really daunting and would be a huge lifestyle change for us.   And well, it’s also been hard being so far away from family.  The idea of living close to loved ones is such a comforting one.  And I’m ready to work, I’m chomping at the bit!  My other nursing friends will testify that the job market here is a tough one.

i'm a cute nurse... i need a J-O-B!

Money talk is boring.  Yawn.  Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, the good stuff: winter clothes!

I’m wicked excited to flex my winter wardrobe.  My layering game is going to be off the chain.   Hats, scarves, sweaters, jackets, coats… oh my, I’m practically tittering at the notion.

scarves and stuff, yeah!

i need about shifty-five of these

And SEASONS! *gasp*  I’ve never had seasons.  I’ve worn shorts on Christmas my whole life.  I’ve gone from bikini climate to bikini climate.  Which means a couple things:

  • winter is this fascinating idea to me, something that happens in Home Alone and the Mighty Ducks trilogy.  I can’t believe I get it for reals!
  • whilst exciting – is also TERRIFYING.  I feel like I’m going to freeze into a popsicle and never see a summer day again in my life. waaaah.
Now, to my credit, when visiting in cold weather and snowy situations I’ve done fine and enjoyed myself.  I love me some skiing.  And sliding down a snowy hill on my ass a la sledding.  That sure is fun!
I just know that living through it has to be a super different thing altogether.  A thing I’m ready and willing to try out though. I need to learn how to shovel and wtf to do when my car has ice and stuff on it.  And there’s something about snowchains or something for your car, right? I have to learn all that stuff.  And… it’s like a trial, I’m kinda pumped to test my heartiness, ya know?  See if I can hack it or what.

i look pretty BA, right? i can do winter!

We’re already pumped thinking about the outdoorsy options there.  Getting into some winter sports, trying out crazy stuff like ice fishing (once Lake Erie freezes over, it’s on!).   My family is all into hunting and we’ll be able to eat truly organic meat!  (Some time I’ll have to make a blog on my views about hunting being far preferred to factory farming in regards to meat consumption, ya know? It’s way better for the animals, for us, all around).

So that’s the deal.
Hawaii —->  Buffalo

i heart hawaii

buffalo in the winter

Wish us luck!!