Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Another Weekend of Awesomeness

Greetings and happy Tuesday!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  I had the best time visiting Mandy in the Ohio River Valley.  It was just what I needed as two weekends in a row in Charlotte had left me feeling pretty lonely; a weekend with Mandy was just what I needed.

I'll let the pictures do (some of) the talking.

Mandy picked me up at the airport on Friday afternoon, we stopped for a quick lunch and headed into Pittsburgh.  The experience of driving into Pittsburgh from the airport is a one-of-a-kind experience. It is aptly depicted in the book "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (which is a must-read, by the way).  You drive through this tunnel, and there is the city skyline.

"And in that moment, I swear we were infinite"
~Chbosky, author of Perks of being a Wallflower

Our first stop was to ride the incline up to Mount Washington so we could take in the views of the skyline and rivers that flow through Pittsburgh.

The temps were cool enough that I was able to wear a fleece!

After checking out all the different vantage points of Mount Washington, we headed into the Strip District where we popped in and out of stores for a couple of hours.  The main event of Friday was a blogger meet-up with long time blog friends, Erin and Marisa who both happen to live in the area.  Erin brought her little guy, Welles, along so I was thrilled to get to meet him after hearing all about him, and closely following his journey into life.  He's a little miracle baby as he faced some incredible odds when he entered the world, so it was so cool to see that he's a thriving, happy, active one year old!
Mandy, Welles, Erin, and I.  I sadly got so caught up in conversation, I forgot to take a photo with Marisa

It was so great to catch up with these girls.  While we have never met in person before Friday, anyone who saw us that night would have thought we were life-long friends.  It was great to chat about our day-to-day lives, the challenges of moving to a new city, books, weddings (Marisa is getting married in November), and all sorts of other experiences.  I was so sad to say good-bye to these two, but I know I will see them both again.  I left dinner with a smile on my face and a full heart.  After dinner we met Maggie, who I have gotten to know through twitter, for some ice cream, and then headed to Mandy's home town, which is located in the Ohio River valley.  I was totally exhausted at this point as I was running on about 4 hours of sleep, so I slept like a baby that night.

On Saturday we had a slower paced day and checked out the beautiful valley where Mandy lives.  She has posted photos and described it in many blogs posts, but nothing compares with seeing it with my own eyes.  It is a beautiful area.

We spent Saturday meandering around.  We ate a leisurely lunch, popped into stores that featured the products of local artisans, sipped delicious pumpkin chai lattes, browsed books at an adorable local book store, and checked out the Oglebay resort which is a beautiful area with stunning views and beautiful gardens. 

The pictures of the Oglebay resort do not do it justice!  It is so beautiful and I would love to vacation there some day.

We headed home on Saturday night and Mandy made low country boil and her brother made ribs.  They were so sweet about accomodating my gluten intolerance.  We ate like kings that night!  After sitting by the fire for awhile, we moved indoors for dessert!

Mandy and her mom made the most decadent peanut butter fudge ripple dessert.  It was ahhh-mazing.

On Sunday morning we went to mass at the university where Mandy used to work, had lunch, and then sadly it was time for me to return to the airport. 

The best way that I can describe this weekend is to say that it was kind of like being wrapped up in a warm blanket.  Mandy has been such a good friend to me for 4+ years and it was wonderful to spend an entire weekend with her.  She has also has lived in an area that she did not particularly care for, so it was nice to have conversations with someone who completely 'gets' how I feel.

This weekend was a remind of exactly why I love the blogging community.  I feel like there have been a lot of posts in the past year about how blogging has changed for the worse.  And maybe it has for some, but it hasn't for me.  It's still a place I can come to share my thoughts and develop friendships that I know will be lifelong. I feel so fortunate to have people in my life like Mandy who open up their hearts and homes to me. 

I got to check 2 new states off the list of states I have visited, bringing the total to 27!  How many states or provinces have you visited?

P.S. The Lovely Becky is celebrating her 30th birthday today, so pop over and wish her a happy birthday!!  Welcome to your 30s, Becky.  I promise it's a fabulous decade.


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Wow 27 is great! I haven't counted in awhile, but I think the count is around 25, maybe? I do have the advantage of living on the east coast where the states are closer together and it's possible to visit 3 or 4 in one day haha.

I'm glad you had so much fun with Mandy and felt well taken care of :) I would imagine she would be very helpful on the whole living in a place you dislike thing, ha. I had a similar feeling of wanting to remove her from that situation that I do to you right now. You know that arcade game with all the stuffed animals and the claw? And you have to try to get the claw to pick up one of the stuffed animals and win it? That's what I want to do...except the claw will not hurt and it will actually get you, unlike in that game where I don't think I ever actually got a stuffed animal. Most absurd connection ever goes to me this morning!
Super lucky you got to meet Erin and the famous baby Welles! :)

Abby said...

That sounds like a great weekend! It is so pretty there! Wow!! Especially the area outside of Pittsburg where she lives. It is so nice to see rivers full of water. Obviously all the rivers in Tucson are all dried up. But when we got to Texas?! Rivers still have water, but it's very low due to drought.

A good-for-the-soul weekend with a good friend is exactly what you needed!!

27! That is an impressive #! My count is 16!

missris said...

I still can't believe we didn't manage to get a picture together! Blogger fail. Nevertheless, it was so so awesome to meet you in person!

Marlys said...

Sounds like the perfect weekend get-a-way! Beautiful pictures and the food sounded sublime! I have never counted the states I have been in, but would guess it is lots less than 27! I should try and figure that out some day. I was only 5 when our family drove to CA so did pass through quite a few states then that I don't remember. All I do remember is visiting relatives in CA & UT! I have visions of their homes and especially seeing a television for the very first time at my Uncle's house in CA! That was the highlight of that trip! Baby Welles is adorable!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Sounds like a really lovely weekend. The perfect balance of visiting with people, taking in scenic views and relaxing. Always fun to check off a couple more states! I think I've visited somewhere around 41 or 42 states. But, we drove a lot of places when I was a kid and covered a bunch of states that way ... and, as Kelly said, living on the east coast makes it far easier to check off a bunch of states at once.

Leigh said...

Ah it looks like you had a beyond fabulous weekend! A great weekend to spend time with friends, recharge and rest :) What is low country boil?

Linda said...

I went to Pittsburgh for the first time to see my sister last year. I couldn't count it as a new state but I loved my time there.

I've only made it to 18 states so far!

Loving your wonderful weekends lately. You of all people deserve them!

Nora said...

Love everything about this post. Definitely looks and sounds like you had an awesome time. Blogging is so awesome.

I still remember how nervous I was to meet you for the first time but how amazingly awesome it was (and still is).

Stephany said...

What a fun weekend! I'm so glad you had such a great time - Mandy seems like a wonderful host!

I have not visited very many states. I want to say 10, at the most? I've been too busy going on cruises for the past few years to really check out different states! Ha.

Carolina John said...

That's pretty cool! What a fun time with friends. I've always heard the valley was pretty, but wow. that's really special.

I bet eventually you'll visit somewhere that you will want to live in and that will actually have the economy to support your job base. Sounds like the Ohio River Valley was pretty close.

Amber said...

Looks like such a great weekend! I love how you described it as feeling like being wrapped up in a blanket. Sounds amazing and like just what you needed!!

Mandy said...

Thank you so much for coming! I was so happy to finally show you around Pittsburgh and my little valley. Such a lovely weekend, it was so fantastic to have you here.

Jeanie said...

Oh, Lisa, I'm so glad you had such a good time, but then I figured you would! Welcome back -- and thanks for introducing me to this area. I've never been there and it's really not that far!

Erin said...

I had so much fun with you girls! I wish Welles had made the evening a little easier on me---but, I've since forgiven him :) I have shared so much with you and Mandy over the years--and your description was absolutely perfect---anyone seeing us sitting at that table Friday night would have been certain we've been BFFS for decades! I cannot wait until we are all together again---and I hope a few more of our friends will be able to join us in Deep Creek, Maryland!!!!
As for the number of states I've visited......19! I THINK---unless I'm forgetting some! HA

Becky said...

"...it was kind of like being wrapped up in a warm blanket."

Yes! This is totally what it's like visiting Mandy - great description! So glad you had a great time!

And thanks for the birthday shout out!!!

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

Looks like a fun weekend! I've only been to 13 different state and 1 province. ;)

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

What a fun trip!!

I've visited 4 provinces, and 9 states.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

It looks like you had a lot of fun! I am glad that you got to not only see Mandy but to see the other girls as well! You are so good at keeping in touch and meeting up with people! That desert looks yummy and it was so nice of her mom to think of you and your GF needs! How sweet is that!?

I have been to maybe the same amount of states as you have; I don't know the actual amount. It helps to be in the East Coast; you can really knock them off quickly, a lot quicker than in CA! I really like Vermont and NH and Maine too, so hopefully you get a chance to go and see them while you are over there!