Go To Your Happy Place

Mike & I were both on vacation for the week of the Fourth so we went to our favorite beach, Jeness in NH one day. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Not a cloud in the blue sky, a slight breeze to keep comfortable and the sun shining in every essence. It shined on my body, my soul and my mind.

I needed a day of peace and sunshine. A day to listen to the waves and chatter of families and friends. I needed a day to rejuvenate my mind as lately I’ve been feeling like I’m running on empty. Small things have upset me, my feelings are easily hurt and I send myself into a state of sadness too often. Life is good. But I’ve been having a hard time remembering that lately. Too much time spent checking off “tasks” that seem important during the day but when I take a second to think about it, aren’t actually that significant. I haven’t given enough time to keeping my mind in a positive, healthy space and it shows thru my rollercoaster of emotions. It’s easy to forget, but keeping our minds healthy takes some time and effort.

The beach always helps me press the reset button, however. It helps me slow down and appreciate the beauty of the day and the life I’ve been given. It helps remind me of the respect I have for our great Mother Earth. It helps remind me of how grateful I am for having Mike in my life and how excited I am to marry him in 13 days (ahhh!!). And it also reminds me of little things in life that I’m grateful for too, like the fact that it’s a blessing that I live in a country where I have the right to go to the beach and swim in the waves in a bikini!! The beach is my place to help disconnect me from the “world” and in turn, it connects me so deeply to what’s important in my life and the real world that surrounds me. 

I hope that you take the time to go your happy place more often- to go wherever it is in the world that helps you reconnect to the important things in life. Because, taking the time is important.

Love & light,

Jessy 


More Memories

It’s been over a week since Mike and I returned home from our Italian vacation. I can’t believe how quickly time is going by lately. It seems like yesterday that we got engaged on Memorial Day weekend but in reality an entire summer full of fun has gone by and a vacation that we’ve been planning for two years has come to a close! In less than 300 days, (295 days to be exact) we say “I do.” My eyes bug out of my head when I read that — 295 days!!!!!– it’s funny how when times aren’t the best, the days go by at a snails pace and when they’re going great, the days go by in a blink of an eye. Although I wish I could slow it down a little, I’m feeling so excited, happy and most of all thankful that I’m getting to experience some of these special moments in life!

The last time I blogged, we were on a train to Florence so I wanted to share some more photos from the last two cities on our trip! Florence was filled with art (a big artistic wiener to be exact) and LOTS of food and wine! Venice was filled with streets made out of water and rooftop swimming & prosecco. This country is so beautiful, diverse and magical, I hope you all get to experience it one day!

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family run hotel in Florence

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my main man Guy Fieri in Italy!

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confused tiger

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old time wedding gowns

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outside the Duomo

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being warriors

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Tuscany!!

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Sienna!

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tasted the grapes and they were delicious!

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rainbow in Tuscany!

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rose all day. including the car ride back to Florence!

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Davidddd, you stud you!

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the most delicious balsamic!

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having our engagement blessed by Grappa!

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inside the Duomo

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meat, cheese, wine.

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becoming a wine expert

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always reppin our phoebs

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VENICE!

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need this pool in my life more often

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street flooding

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starting our tour with cheese, prosciutto and of course wine!

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drinks in the street?! I LOVE ITALY!

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being a local and drinking from the street

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a bar from the 1500’s

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The city of Love!

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masquerade

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Tiramisuuuuu

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last night in Italy

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On our way to Phoebs

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Halfway home Phoebs!

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PHOEBEEEE! 🙂

Italia- you were the most delicious, gracious and fun hosts ever. Thank you for making our trip more magical than we could’ve even dreamed. Until next time. Ciao!

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

Days full of sunshine & happiness 

Well, what a 6 days it was. It has been two years since Mike and I stayed in Portland and it was that trip that we “discovered” Peaks Island….  
That weekend was really special, not for any reason other than the fact that we got to relax and explore a new place together. The day we spent on Peaks Island, biking around the small village, looking at the beautiful ocean views off the cliffs and watching ferry boats come in and out as we ate and drank beers, is one of my all-time favorite days ever. During difficult and painful procedures throughout the past year, the doctors or nurses would tell me to try to relax and imagine I was in my favorite place in the world. Every time, I found myself on Peaks with my Michael. This unplanned, quick visit of a small island on the outskirts of Maine has brought me so much peace of mind and strength when I’ve needed it most. So to be healthy enough to be back there, with Mike, was magical. What’s more magical is that this trip was made possible because of the kindness and generosity of other people. Because a group of team members at HomeGoods started a pool last year and made me this beautiful booklet (that’s what happens when you have an incredibly talented art director heading up the project) to explain that they wanted me to “go back to peaks” for some rest and relaxation to make up for our cancelled Domincan trip in March 2014. This is from a team, I actually no longer get to work with at TJX, as I had been transferred to our Marmaxx division before getting diagnosed. But they came together to do something out of the kindness of their hearts just to make me smile. How lucky am I? These are the people who will ALWAYS be my TJX work family because they truly care about me as a human and not a number or just another employee. It’s a true blessing to have this type of connection and bond with people at work, so although I do not get to work with them regularly anymore, I will always be grateful of the relationships I was able to cultivate during my time with the most fabulous brand in all the land, HomeGoods.

With all that said, I want to share a few pictures with you all of our much-needed days away in Maine.

It started with a lake house with friends on Friday…

   
 
Then we headed to the beach near Portland where we went for long walks during the day and stayed at the Portland Harbor Hotel at night. I treated myself to a bath for FOUR days in a row. How much more relaxed does it get than that?! We ate at some of the most delicious restaurants, including Holy Donut. Wow, is Portland a winner for foodies! 

   
    
    
    
 
Then we packed it up, and took the ferry over to Peaks Island and stayed in a gorgeous little Inn. We started off by renting golf carts to explore the island where we found an old war cave/gun storage thing that is now completely full of graffiti but there’s such a beauty to it. We also spent time walking on the beach and making rock castles on a cliff with about 100 other “castles.” It’s like a natural version of Jenga, so cool!

   
    
    
    
    
   
We spent the next day riding our bikes, laying in the beach and HORSE BACK RIDING! Something I’ve wanted to do together for so long so it was so amazing to make it a reality. 

   
    
   
    
   
   

Yesterday it was back to reality. It was back to the hospital (but my numbers all look great so there’s nothing else I could ask for). 

   
   
And today I headed back to the office. However, I’m refusing to let my outdoor adventures cease so I headed to a state park across the street from work after I got out and rented myself a paddle board which I took out for almost two hours– paddling and stopping to do yoga on the water. How amazing! Now I’m sitting on the little beach here, watching kids splash around in be water and writing this post. Looks like even work days can be transformed into good days. 

  
I hope you have had a wonderful week and just think, tomorrow is FRIYAY!!!!! F

Lots of love and light,

Jessy 

Coming Off the Vacation High 

Welp, vacation is officially over. It’s back to work tomorrow morning. Back to inside all day, back to meetings, back to waking up early, back to long days. Back to “reality.” I hope that one day my day-to-day “reality” is something that I’m excited about and feel good about myself doing, but for now, I’m sure you can feel my level of excitement through my words– not thrilled. 

I did, however, do a good job concentrating on the days and moments I had while I was having them. Sometimes on vacations in the past, I’ve spent too much time thinking about how much time I have left or how much work I’ll have when I’m back but if thoughts like that entered my mind, I tried to bring my thoughts to what was going on right now instead of focusing on days ahead. It makes a difference.

So now, as I have begun to stress out about the week ahead and am beginning to feel like I’m drowning in negative thoughts, it’s time for me to remember what an amazing 10 days I’ve had. 

Days full of kayaking with my love.

   
    
 
Lobster, fried clams, clam chowder and more lobster.    

    
   
Days starting with Mary Lou’s Coffee every morning. 

  
 
Fishing off the dock.    

 Playtime with my favorite puppy    

    
   
Playtime with my beautiful, crazy, hilarious, sass monster of a niece.    

    
    
 
Swimming in the amazing ocean.    

    
   
Relaxing and taking in the gorgeous scenery around us. 

  
   
And overall, just enjoying moments with my wonderful family. 

    
    
    
    
    
 
It ended today with a day celebrating our little Princess Elle, who turns 4 this Wednesday. 

  
 
What a lucky lady I am. So many memories made this past week with the people that matter most to me. Blessed would be an understatement.

XOXO,

Jessy 

Vacation Time

I woke up on the right side of bed today, the VACATION side of the bed. Last week was quite the week and I’d be lying to say I did a good job staying positive throughout it. Everyday, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I could go on and on about what was bothering me but I don’t feel like thinking about it right now. Let’s just say I had had ENOUGH and I was ready for my vacation to start and to be away from my desk. 

It’s already been such a great few days. We started off America’s birthday party with a friend’s BBQ in Needham; great food, lawn games and fireworks to end the night…loads of fun. 

   
      
Then we packed up and headed to the Cape for our week away. My parents rented the same house as they did last year so we can spend a few days together lounging in floats, dancing on the beach, doing yoga on the dock, working on puzzles, cracking lobsters, and laughing till our bellies hurt. 

         

I’ll be back in full force next week but the next few days, I’m disconnecting from my phone and computer a bit and just relaxing and enjoying time with the sunshine and my family.

Off to Mary Lou’s for the most heavenly coffee around! 

XOXO,

Jessy
p.s. Hi Andrea… You are the best, (and sassiest) nurse I could ever ask for. See you NEXT week! 🙂 

Tampa Times & Relay for Life Speech

It’s been over a week since I’ve written a blog post and it feels like an eternity. But that’s because I WAS ON VACATION! First vacation since being diagnosed. First time being on an airplane and getting to see palm trees and plop my butt in the sand and just relax. It was such a wonderful few days and something Mike and I really needed.

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We were greeted in the Tampa airport by multiple members of the fraternity I was a part of, Delta Sigma Pi. Their excitement to have me down and meet all the new members was infectious and something I felt so lucky to be able to experience.

So after deciding we no longer wanted a boring rent-a-car because we were on v-a-c-a-t-i-o-n,  we hopped in a mustang convertible and headed down to Clearwater!! The drive was perfect– the warm wind was in our faces, the music was on loud and I felt happy at its purist. We got so lucky as we were able to stay in a GORGEOUS condo that my friend Kelly’s family owns and were so nice enough to let us stay there for a few days. It’s right on the water, has a fantastic pool and jacuzzi, and the best balcony view of them all. We were so lucky to be able to have that opportunity! (so thank you thank you thank you to the Fitzgibbons!)

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We spent the next few days lounging on the beach, doing yoga in the sand, going for long walks hand in hand, sleeping with the doors open to hear the waves crash down, watching dolphins play in the water while we ate grouper sandwiches, spending time with some of my best girlfriends who came up for a day to visit, and watching the sunset go down atop the beautiful white sands! We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect few days.

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We then headed to Tampa so I could show Mike my old stomping grounds and get ready for the Relay for Life event that I was speaking at on Saturday. Friday night I got to meet all the wonderful students who have worked so hard over the past 6 months to fundraise in order to get me to Tampa and also to put on this incredible event. I was greeted by so many smiling faces, including old professors that came to support me– it was truly heartwarming. We then went out with some great friends for dinner and ended up at World of Beer for old times sake. It’s funny, WOB is right across the street from MacDittons, my favorite bar in college, and as I watched college kids go in and out, I felt old and almost like “could I do that anymore?” Funny how times change. Overall, it was a really special night to see so many close friends that I don’t get to see nearly as much as I’d like and just catch up and laugh together.

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Then came Saturday– the day we were down here for. I was anxiously awaiting my speech all day, reading it over and over by the pool and practicing too many times in front of Mike. Being the perfectionist I am, I wanted it to go smoothly and really make it worth everyone’s effort of getting me down there. The night came and my family, of course, was there to support me! Mom, Dad, Court, Stratos & Eleni were all there to cheer me on as I took the mic. With over 1000 people in attendance, I started to get pretty nervous– I haven’t public spoken like that in quite some time. But once I started speaking, I was reminded  that I’m talking about my journey– something I know a lot about. I could do this. And I did it. There was sense of relief when I ended but also real excitement. Overall, the ceremony was beautiful and so touching. It’s a night I will always remember.

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I’ve included the video below where you can watch my speech, hope you enjoy!

Again, thank you to all my brothers from DSP for making this trip a reality and to all my Tampa family who made being back so special to me. I love you all!

XOXO,

Jess

Life is Good

Yesterday I was a cancer slayer. Today I get to be a spoiled lady with the best boyfriend in the world on a long weekend getaway in Portsmouth, NH.

Seafood chowder is on it’s way, the sun is shining, seagulls are chirping, I can smell the saltwater and feel the ocean breeze. Can’t get much better than this.

Today I feel blessed. Happy. Today I’m appreciating the day and all it has to offer. I’m feeling present in this moment and all my surroundings. Life is a crazy, unexpected, beautiful, wonderful thing.

Enjoy today and all it’s beauty!

XOXOX,
Jessy

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Resort 7D

Yesterday was one of the most nerve-racking days of my life. And then, it was one of the happiest.
 
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Living with the possibility that the leukemia had come back was terrifying and a thought i had trouble really wrapping my head around. I could barely sleep Monday night and literally felt nauseous all morning Tuesday until I met with my doctors. But then I met with them and the many, many prayers from myself, my family and friends were answered. “There are no signs of cancer cells in your bones or blood.” I was overcome with such elation and relief– like a 1,000 pound weight had just been lifted off my shoulders. It was incredible. It is incredible. You know when people say, “I felt like I had won the lottery”? Well, yesterday I won the best lottery you can win. So I am ecstatic and energetic to get this next round of chemo started. It seems funny to celebrate “no cancer cells being found” with more chemotherapy but that’s the way it goes (and will go) so I’m all about this chemo cocktail for the next few days in order to continue to rid my little body of this terrible disease. Officially in BEAST MODE. 
 
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(scratch that, I began beast mode last week during my bone marrow biopsy) 
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When I was checking into the Brigham yesterday, I literally couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. I was practically hopping down the hospital halls, I was in just SUCH a good mood. As we bounced on over to the admitting offices, carrying a suitcase, two bags, my pillow/blanket and of course, Uncle Fred, there was a family in front of us, also carrying such items and for a second, it reminded me of when you’re checking into a hotel for a vacation. It somehow seemed “normal” and exciting. So I decided then that for the next five days, I’m not locked up in a hospital but instead I’m staying at an all-inclusive resort with luxury of on-call staff. How wonderful! After pleading my case, I was able to get back on my old floor, 7D. Thank you Jesus!! Two miracles in one day? Lucky girl! I absolutely fell in love with those nurses, (aka my resort personal assistants), and I’ve missed seeing them so I’m thrilled to be back and chat with them all! 
 
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(pic from yesterday waiting for my bed to open up. Both feeling so happy and so relieved) 
 
So around 5pm, after my room was pristinely cleaned and prepped, I checked into Resort 7D, room 76. Overall, super swaggy. The view is magnificent and should make for a great therapeutic writing area.
 
 
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Plus, the bench in front of the window is roomy enough to be my make-shift yoga mat and allows me to feel the sun and soak up some Vitamin D— what every dream vacation is made of. 
 
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The TV is flat screen, SCORE. And it’s ingeniously connected to a remote hooked up to my bed which is how we get sound. Super tech savvy. Extra points! 
 
The shower could have been constructed a bit more logically, rather than directly next to the toilet with no floor lip, causing massive chaos and flooding every time one goes to clean themselves. However, it gains additional points as the water pressure is legit and that’s obviously super important. Lastly, the flooding, although shocking, creates a sense of adventure so I score the bathroom a B. 
 
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The bed scores a B as well. The sheets are a bit paper-like but my own personal blanket, Fluffy and Uncle Fred add some softness and overall coziness. The score gets upgraded due to it’s super cool ability to move up and down the back and foot rest. Perfect for elevating my feet after a grueling day on the Brigham island. 
 
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The overall design of the room is quite unique and intriguing. Some of my personal favorite pieces are the goal chart white board, varying sizes of examination glove boxes, and by far the best piece…a biohazardous “sharps” depository. Art deco scores high at an A.
 
The staff here is top-notch, and basically my BFF’s. They are attentive, caring and most importantly, chatty! (or is it just me always chatting to them?? who knows. ) Plus, they rock bright colored, fashionable scrubs like you’ve never seen. They score an A++.
 
Most importantly, Fluffy and Uncle Fred are sincerely enjoying themselves. 
 
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This morning I enjoyed a glorious breakfast in bed: a delish bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, fruit salad and a coffee. Relaxed in front of my bay window and enjoyed the view. In addition, went for a long walk all around the resort in my gray sweatpants and keds; riding the escalators up and down, using the revolving doors, and aggressively marching around to burn some cals. All-in-all coming close to being one of those power walkers at the mall. It was a proud moment.
 
Overall, day number one of vacation is going great. My own bed will feel great on Monday for sure, but the Slomerville view’s got nothin’ on Resort 7D’s. 
 
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XOXO,

Jessy 

“In the depths …

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” ~ Albert Camus

Today has been one of the harder days that I’ve had so far. Mike and I were supposed to be leaving for the Dominican Republic this morning for a week long vacation at an all-inclusive resort that we had planned for over 6 months. I had so looked forward to this trip…seeing a beautiful new place, relaxing, and spending some quality time with my little love bug. I’ve been trying not to think about it too much but it’s definitely hard. Trying to keep my head up and remind myself that I’ll be going on lots of vacations in my future… just need to take care of a few things first.

One more day closer to winning.

XOXO,

Jessy 

Vacation Bliss

After over a year of having no more than four consecutive days in a row off, I was delighted when the clock struck 5pm last Monday and I was officially ‘off the clock’ for 6 days in a row- wahoo!!!

Mike and I started the vacation with a trip to Portland, Maine. I haven’t ever been there and it’s less than a two hour car ride. So we packed our bags and headed north. As luck would have it, we got up early, packed our lunches, got in our bathing suits and headed straight to 62 degree and raining weather. No bueno. With that, we checked into our hotel and ended up doing this the rest of the day:

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Hopping from bar to bar to bar. Not what we had planned but I’ll never complain about a day like that. We ended up at a nice place called The Grill Room & Bar for dinner. It was absolutely delish! We sat at the ‘chef’s table’ which was offered to us because there were no other tables left. So glad they did, we got to see all the food being made and the chefs and wait staff were super nice. We had so much food and everything was phenomenal– in particular the lobster bisque and lobster tail. If you’re ever in Portland, this place is a must try. Here’s their website: http://www.thegrillroomandbar.com/

Wednesday we woke up and it wasn’t as cold but not very sunny so we decided to hop on a ferry and take it to a small island off of Portland called ‘Peaks Island.’

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While we were ferrying over, our luck turned around and the clouds lifted and the sun came out. All of a sudden, it was hot, sunny and absolutely beautiful out! We got to the island, changed into our bathing suits & cover ups and rented some bikes. The island is only 4 miles wide but so quaint and adorable. The people here are really friendly, the houses are beautiful, the views are breathtaking and there’s a small beach that you can walk (and we laid out for on a while). They have a few small restaurant and bars right on the water, in which we stopped at two of them.

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To my dismay, we had to leave this perfect little place only a few hours after falling in love with it so when we got back to Portland we treated ourselves to some unbelievable lobstahhh rolls and headed back to Boston.

Thursday– it’s America’s Birthday. I love America, so I love this day!!! We headed over to a good ‘ol back yard pool party to have some good eats, good drinks and good laughs with good friends. It was about 95 out and really sunny so it was a perfect day to be by a pool. What’s more, I got to see my favorite little creatures in the world– bull dogs! Our friends have two english bull dogs, “Hogan” and “Hoodsie.”

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We finished the day at another friends house to enjoy the fireworks from their rooftop deck in Charlestown. Great view and of course, the Boston Pops put on a great show. Gotta love patriotic music– always puts you in the spirit!

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Friday and Saturday I spent with my a bunch of girlfriends from college that were in town for the 4th! You won’t be able to find me much happier than when I get to be back with my best friends. I hate that we’re all scattered around the country so whenever we get a group of us together, it’s really special. Here’s a few pics to sum up our two days together:

drinking coronas in the pool

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crushing delicious bloody’s and breakfast in the morning

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and topping off our vacation together the best way we know how… with a lobstahhh dinner!

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A week later and the clocks about to strike 5pm again on Monday. It’s safe to say I won’t have the same week as I did last week.

Until next time,

Jessy