Friday, December 22, 2017

Report in Review - Holiday Edition



I still can't believe that Christmas is on Monday! I'm really looking forward to celebrating with family and friends, and having some time to relax and recuperate from the last year, too.

Since I'm off from work, I'm also going to take the week off from the blog, and come back refreshed in the new year. I want to make sure I'm able to enjoy my time with my family and friends, and not have to worry about missing out while I'm writing posts or taking pictures.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Years! I hope that you all enjoy your holidays and take some time to kick back and take advantage of some time off like I plan to.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wintertime Fun in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh can turn into a real winter wonderland in December. There is, of course, the snow - but there are also so many fun additions to the city around the holidays. Today's post is going to be a holiday bucket list, of sorts - a guide to fun, temporary events that are happening in the city right now.
1. Winter Flower Show and Holiday Light Garden at Phipps Conservatory
Each year, Phipps transforms itself after Thanksgiving. They put up beautifully decorated Christmas trees, deck the rest of their halls, and even turn their garden into a holiday wonderland with decorations and light displays. I drive by it on my way home from work every day, but I've never actually been in. I'm planning to check it out this week, and I'm so excited.

2. Holiday Market in Market Square
Market Square hosts a lot of pop-up markets throughout the year, but none more festive than their holiday market. Each booth looks like something straight out of the North Pole, and you can walk around and check some gifts off your Christmas list too. Plus, while you're in the area, you can check out the next two items on my list!

3. Wintergarden in PPG Place
Just a few steps from Market Square is PPG Place. The inside of PPG Place turns into a true wintergarden, filled with lots and lots of decorated Christmas trees. Its the perfect place to check out when you need a break from the bitter cold outside. They also have a gingerbread house contest, and this year CLASS (the organization that I sit on the Board of Directors of), took home an award for their entry!

4. Miracle on Market
Miracle on Market is a pop-up bar, in a new location this year - above the Oyster House in Market Square. The bar is totally decked out in holiday decoration - over-the-top decked out! It's open until New Years Eve, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to 412 Food Rescue.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Reflecting on Six Months of Blogging


I started blogging right around Memorial Day weekend - a holiday weekend seemed like the perfect time to dip my toes into the blogging pool. I had watched at least 20 YouTube videos about starting a blog, and read as many posts by other bloggers as I could... but I still didn't really know what I was doing! It's been a little over six months now, and I can't believe how far this blog has come.

It's been trial and error, and I'm definitely still learning as I go. But I feel really lucky and grateful for the readers that have joined me here in the last six months! I've loved having the chance to share a little bit about my life - whether it's sharing a style post, or sharing what it's like to live with SMA. The comments I've gotten here, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have been really touching!

I'm really excited to keep blogging over the next six months (and beyond)! Let me know in the comments (or send me an e-mail) if there's anything in particular you'd like to hear more about!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas Traditions

I can't believe how close we are to Christmas - I feel like December really flew by, and while I'm not quite ready for the holidays yet, I am looking forward to the time off and time with family and friends! The great thing about the holidays is the different traditions that we have - such a fun thing to look forward to each year. I already told you about my Christmas pajamas tradition here, but that's not my only tradition around the holidays.

I love getting together during the holidays - so many people come home, so it's really special to get the chance to see people you might not otherwise! When I was younger, we would always go to my grandparent's house on Christmas morning. But since my grandparents have passed away, and my cousins have gotten married and have kids of their own, getting together on Christmas has gotten more difficult. So for the last 10 years or so, we've all gotten together the day after Christmas at one of my Aunt's and Uncle's houses. My dad is from a family of six, so there's quite a crowd, and it's always a fun time. It also stretches Christmas even longer, which is great in my mind!

The other traditional get-together that we have is my family's annual Christmas party (which actually takes place after Christmas). It's been going on for as long as I can remember - when I was young, it started out as mostly my parents' friends, but now it's more split between my parents' friends and my friends/my sisters friends! It's always the highlight of the holiday season, and my friends and I love the chance to catch up.

We also have some smaller-scale traditions... my sister and I always open a present from each other on Christmas Eve. This one started in middle school, when we would buy each other makeup or jewelry that we wanted to wear to Christmas Eve mass! It stuck, though, and we still do it to this day.

And then there are the Christmas movies. My dad loves nothing more than a family movie night with Christmas movies. We've watched It's A Wonderful Life every year for as long as I can remember. When we were younger, we'd watch the animated classics like Frosty and Rudolph, and we still watch non-animated classics like The Santa Clause! But his other favorite is a movie that no one else has ever heard of - The Littlest Angel. It's a Christmas movie/musical... and it's BAD. Beyond cheesy bad! We used to complain about having to watch it, but after my friend was subjected to it one year, it's become a tradition to enjoy some drinks and watch, laugh, and make fun of the movie.

I'd love to hear what your traditions are - and PLEASE, if you've ever seen - or even heard of - The Littlest Angel, let me know in the comments.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Report in Review

I've decided to re-name my Friday posts "Report in Review," but it's still the same content - I'm going to share something I came across this past week that I want to highlight, whether it's something I'm watching, reading, listening to... you get the picture!

The holidays are in full force right now - we're in the middle of Hanukkah, and so close to Christmas. I'm sure you've all seen a million different gift guides (here, on other blogs, on other websites) - they're really everywhere! But I want to share a different type of gift guide today.

Image here
I mentioned the last fundraiser Lin-Manuel Miranda did for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Now, his organization is partnering with Toys"R"Us to help spread holiday cheer for kids in Puerto Rico. He knows that many families may not have the time - or resources - to buy gifts for their children for Three Kings Day (which is the "big" holiday in Puerto Rico), but doesn't want those kids to miss out.

It's so easy to help out! Go to the website HERE, and pick whether you want to purchase a $5, $10, or $20 gift, and how many. The checkout process takes less than five minutes! It's so incredibly easy, and is a great way to spread some cheer and take a step back from the craziness that can come with the holidays.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Why I'll Never Be A "Typical" Blogger



I think a lot of people don't fully realize what goes on behind-the-scenes in blogging. For every picture you see here, or on my Instagram, there are at least 10 more versions of the picture that didn't make it on the blog. And a lot of bloggers set up real photoshoots - they scout for locations, use photographers, and plan multiple outfit changes to get as much photography content as they can.

I have absolutely no problem with this - I love looking at bloggers pictures as much as anyone else! But that's not something that you should expect to see here too often. Photoshoots are more of an ordeal for me than for most bloggers! Location scouting isn't the easiest when you have to make sure it's accessible, and have to make sure that you can get a ride! And there is definitely no such thing as a quick outfit change for me! That would mean there was someone there to help me change (usually my mom), plus a bathroom big enough to fit my wheelchair, plus a lot longer than five minutes.

There's also the issue of the outfits themselves. I've mentioned this before, but finding clothes that fit me well is hard. I fit in kids clothes, but they don't usually quite fit my style... and women's clothes are usually too big. That means that when I find something that fits, I wear it a lot, and I buy it in multiple colors if I can. This works out just fine in my life, but would make incredibly boring blog material!


I hope that none of this comes off as a complaint, but just as an explanation. I love that blogging lets everyone have a voice, and lets voices be heard that might not otherwise have much of a platform. With that being said - there are definitely some blogs that are bigger/more popular than others, and therefore, some bloggers that are able to have bigger voices because of that. Even though my posts might not always be the most professional or polished, I hope that they're still adding something useful to the online conversation!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Be Back Tomorrow!

When it rains, it pours... I thought that I'd be back to regular posting, but I've been dealing with some computer issues. I think that I finally have it figured out, and should be back tomorrow, fingers crossed!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holiday Pajamas

My Dad LOVES documenting through pictures and video. When I was little, we couldn't start opening any presents until the video camera was set up and recording, and the regular camera was nearby, too, to snap some pictures.

This led to the need for Christmas pajamas. By middle school, I realized that if I was going to be recorded every Christmas morning, I'd need a new pair of jammies every year! Now that we're a little older, we don't open presents until Christmas evening, after family has left for the day. But I still think that's the perfect excuse to buy a new pair of holiday pajamas to change into after everyone is gone!

I've gotten a lot of my Christmas PJs from Old Navy - they have some of the cutest options, and they're always so comfortable!

Red and Green Striped Pants: These thermal underwear style pants are so festive and so cute!

Black and White Reindeer Pants: The fleece pants are always my favorite style - they're so warm and cozy. The reindeer pattern add the perfect holiday touch.

Baby It's Cold Outside shirt: Classic Christmas song lyrics on a simple pajama top that you can wear even after the holiday season ends.

Doggie Pajama Pants: I couldn't pass up these adorable flannel pants with Christmas-themed puppies all over them!

White Pajama Top: This simple white top goes with any of the pants in this picture, and probably any of the pajama pants already in your closet, too.

Striped Onesie: If you're a fan of onesies, this striped one is perfect for the holidays!

(This post uses affiliate links; I may earn a commission from any clicks or purchases you make.)


Monday, December 11, 2017

CMOA On Ice

I'm back! My exam is over, my presentation is complete, and my papers have all been handed in. I'm really excited to have this semester behind me!

While I was away from the blog, I did fit in something fun - I went to CMOA On Ice, an after-hours event at the Carnegie Museum of Art. I've been to a few really fun after-hours at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History (which is actually attached to the Art Museum), but was excited to explore the other half of the museum this time. I'm happy to say that I wasn't disappointed! We were told to wear our "holiday best or holiday worst," and luckily, I had the perfect sweater for the occasion in my closet.
The event was called "CMOA On Ice" because they installed a temporary ice skating rink into the museum's Hall of Architecture. It was so cool to see an ice skating rink inside of the museum - not something you'd ever expect to see! The rest of the art museum was open for exploring, too, and they had plaster ornament-making, silkscreening, hot chocolate bars, and tons of cookies!

The prettiest part was looking at all the decorated Christmas trees. They were all themed after children's books, and the decorators did such an incredible job! You can see the Jungle Book and Wizard of Oz trees below - how amazing are they?!
If you get the chance, I highly recommend you check out the Christmas tree displays, and look around the rest of the museum while you're there - you won't regret it!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Health Activist Expo

Sorry for the break I've had to take - with finals, and work, and my fellowship coming to and end, time has been a little tight for me! I'm hoping to get three posts up this week, and then things should go back to normal after that.
Last week, my Health Activist Fellowship (which I talked about here and here) had its finale, the Health Activist Expo. It was held downtown at the August Wilson Center, and each fellow had a table to display a poster and talk about the project that we'd each been working on. There was a great turnout - more than 100 people came to find out about our projects, and there were even some members of the media there!
It was really exciting to be a part of the fellowship, and to have so many people show interest in what I've been working on!

In 2018, I hope to start talking to local businesses about accessibility, and helping them understand the importance of an accessible entrance for people like me. I want to be an ally to these businesses, not an adversary!

If you're interested in learning more or getting involved, you can e-mail me at accessibleyouniverse@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you!