Rajah is M.I.A.

Have you ever lost your pet? If you answered yes, I have nothing but hope that you found him or her.

Rajah is the first pet I have ever had on my own. I have had family pets before, but Rajah is all mine, and well… I lost her. SPOILER ALERT: She has been located… DUH… I wouldn’t have the strength to tell this story if she were still missing, but boy was it awful.

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It happened last weekend. You see, once a month I go home to visit my fiance. Depending on how long I am there, Rajah comes with. This last trip I was there for four days, and I have been traveling a lot recently so I decided against the train and bus, and took Raj for a road trip. Rajah does really well in the car believe it or not. The only thing that upsets her is the cage. I guess I wouldn’t want to be locked up in that thing for four hours either, but in all fairness I did get her a gigantic cage with pillows, and toys. She could throw a party in that thing.

Anyways, we made it to Jersey just fine. The trip was fantastic. We saw some friends get hitched, we caught up with family, it was just about perfect, until Sunday night rolled around. I started to pack up the car with Mike. Rajah clearly got the hint, we were heading back to Albany. She saw her cage and that’s when she must of skedaddled. She was the last thing I had to pack, so I went inside, I called her name, and she was gone. I shook her treats, I looked under beds, I checked every corner of the house, and she was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t just me… Mike couldn’t find her either. We searched high and low, under covers, you name it. We even looked in the washer machine, but no Rajah.

After about 15-20 minutes of searching I started to get upset. We were second guessing ourselves, thinking maybe one of us (me) left the door open and she snuck out. The thought made me panic even more. Rajah is an indoor cat, and wouldn’t make it out in the “real world.” She is spoiled rotten. She wouldn’t be able to adjust, and if she did, well then what about all of the crazies on the road?? We live near a busy street! It was awful. I called the police, I called my parents, I called Mike’s parents… 30 minutes goes by… Still no Rajah.

My head was spinning and I was losing hope. I wasn’t going back to New York without her.

SIDE NOTE: Rajah is a little on the heavy side so she’s been on a diet program. I don’t let her eat wet food anymore.

How was she found?

I went back into the house with her bag of travel stuff. I just so happened to have a can of wet food in there, and I had this sudden urge to open it up. When I did… Out she came. She was downstairs somewhere, but to this day we still have NO idea where.

I had to call everyone back to let them know she was safe, and then I hugged her like any crazy cat woman would.

I knew I loved the little tiger, but I didn’t know it was THAT much. What the heck am I going to do when it’s my children??? How do you people do this?!

P.S. Rajah better live FOREVER.

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YES!

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When I was in Maryland I helped out at a local bridal store and occasionally modeled wedding dresses. It was so much fun because I had the opportunity to wear dresses I would have probably never picked out for myself.  This experience also helped give me a better idea of what I would be interested in when my time came.

The time is here now, and the hunt for MY wedding dress was on.

I went to some shops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and I tried dozens of dresses. They were all beautiful, some even took my breath away, but I was starting to get nervous because I didn’t have that “bride moment” I hear so many people talk about.

The first shop was really special because my Dad was there with Mom to see some of the dresses. (Never in a million years did I think Dad would partake in wedding dress shopping, Dad is not a shopper). His face when he saw the very first dress I had on was priceless. I knew right away it wasn’t “the dress,” but that didn’t take away from the significance of that moment. It was so incredible and unforgettable, and made finding the right dress more exciting.

When I got home that night, one of Michael’s family members shared a bridal shop’s Facebook page with me. She wanted me to check it out. The shop’s latest Facebook post is what popped up on my page. The dress was unbelievable. I called the designer, and then called all of the retailers on the east coast that carry the designer’s dresses. Only two were expecting the 2015 dress: A shop right around the corner from my house, and a shop in New York City.

The bridal shop in New Jersey told me they weren’t getting the dress until January-February 2015. The dress wasn’t out in shops yet, only trunk shows. I wanted to continue taking advantage of my time at home, so I tried on other dresses for Mom and my future mother-in-law. Again, they were all beautiful, but none of them were the one.

Every night I stared at the saved picture on my phone. Every night for one month I grew more in love with the dress. I called the shop in New York City, and I begged them to get in touch with the designer. I couldn’t wait until January, I had to know if my instinct was right.

A few days passed and I was on my way home for another visit. Mom and I decided to go to a shop in Pennsylvania. Every dress they pulled was similar to the one I fell in love with. Every dress they pulled was magnificent, but something was missing.

New York City called me two days later. They told me they were getting the dress in December 3rd. Mom and I went December 4th.

I was filled with anxiety and nerves trying on the dress… When I opened my eyes, they were instantly filled with tears. There’s no denying it. It’s my dress. The dress I will marry the most remarkable man in, and I CANNOT WAIT for him to see it.

Pictures coming soon – June 2016<3

Cross it off!

Skydive, CHECK!

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Run a half marathon, CHECK!

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HALF 2

Run a full marathon, CHECK!

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Cliff jump, CHECK!

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It is so surreal looking back at the last couple months of my life. I am doing it. Everything I said I wanted to do, will do, I am actually going through with it and doing it. I am starting to get really serious with yoga now that my race training has slowed down, and everything my instructors have been saying fits my current storyline: “Live with focus and purpose. Set your intentions and see it through for yourself, no one else.” I cannot stress this enough to you, my readers. It is not too late. Have dreams, set goals, and as Nike says it best, JUST DO IT! Why? Because you can. Where there is a will, there is a way. Cliche, I know, but the message holds true.

Let’s be clear: I am not telling you to go jump out of an airplane, or jump off of 35-40 foot cliffs like my crazy self, but maybe there’s something you’ve wanted to learn for a while, or somewhere you’ve wanted to visit? Maybe you’ve wanted to run a 5k (3mile race). Dig deep and find a way to make it happen. There is nothing more rewarding than saying, “I did it!” I promise you that. I said I would never run a marathon ever again. I wanted to run one and be done because the training took up too much time, it was really challenging, and honestly training/running for that long, it hurt! But now I see why people continue to sign up. You get addicted to that determination to never quit, the motivation to keep on keeping on, and pushing your body another step further. You surprise yourself and realize what you’re capable of, and then when it all finally registers you think, okay – what’s next?!

I have never been a fan of odd numbers, but 25… Man. This has truly been the best year of my life, and it’s because I really feel like I am living. I am so blessed and thankful to be surrounded by so much love and life. This is what it is about my friends, realizing what you have, and making the best of every opportunity that comes your way. It doesn’t matter how high or low you set the bar, just set the bar, and day by day watch yourself grow.

Don’t just make a list, check it off!

“Don’t miss out. Seize the day. What’s important to you? What do you care about? What matters? Pursue that. Forget the rest.”

-Brittany Crowley

Run a Half Marathon… Check!

My first ever half marathon is in the books. I am feeling exhausted today, but other then that I feel great.

I ran the Rock & Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia. My goal was under two hours, and to my surprise I did it! My time: 1:56:43. I wish I would have sprinted across the finish line, but I thought the finish line was earlier than it was, so my last stretch sprint started a little TOO early.

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I definitely see more half marathons in my future, but the full this October will probably be a first and last for me.

Training is very time consuming and painful. I was never a runner, so this journey is very new and challenging for me.

With that said, race day is so inspiring. People come from all over the world to run in these races, and they run with so much passion. Then there are the spectators. These people line the streets, some are dressed in costumes, others are waiving signs, clapping and ringing cow bells. The signs were hilarious, encouraging, and clever. Strangers shout for you, kids throw their hands out for high-fives, it really is a sight to see.

So what’s next on my to do list?

-Get through the full marathon in October.

-Wind surf

-Sail

-Polar Plunge

-Mud Run/Tough Mudder

-Go see Ellen

-Helaski

-Run some races in Disney World

-Repel

-Bungee Jump

-Visit Niagara Falls

-Travel, travel, and then travel some more

I am sure over the years as I cross things off I will continue to add to the list, but this is where I am at as of now.

What do you want to do next?

It’s Official!

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I probably would have put all of the money I have on the day he was going to propose. I told everyone, I would know when it was happening, and I couldn’t of been more wrong. Our proposal was the most surprised I have ever been in my entire life. It happened on Michael’s 30th birthday. I had a huge booze cruise planned for the weekend, and I was so distracted with making sure everything would be perfect.

The week before I was scheduled to go home I started freaking out. I wanted the booze cruise to be a surprise, but I blew it, and Michael knew it was going to happen. I was calling my mom and all of my friends saying, “I am the worst girlfriend in the world, I have to somehow surprise him still on his actual birthday, he only turns 30 once.” One of my girlfriends said, “well what will you be doing on his actual birthday?” I told her all Michael wanted to do was go to the beach together. So my girlfriend recommended I have one of those planes fly by with a banner attached. I thought, oh my gosh that is brilliant! I was so excited about the idea. I called my mom right away, I sent a text to his sister, and proceed to tell everyone my new plan (keep in mind these poor people knew what he was going to be doing for me, and were now so confused we had the same idea for each other). I called the plane company as soon as I got off of work, and I asked them how much it would cost. When they told me it would be at least $400 I said, “Have a nice day.”

On Thursday, when Mike and I were at the beach together a plane went by. I was so disappointed. I said, “Michael I wanted to surprise you with one of those planes, but it was so expensive.” At one point I even looked into a sign boat for him, but the sign boat wasn’t available on his actual birthday. Mike kept the straightest of straight faces, and said, “it’s the thought that counts.” He reassured me that I was already doing too much for him. All morning and all afternoon he was SO himself. So cool, calm, and collected.

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We had the best day on the beach together. We even met his parents for lunch. When we got back to our beach chairs his sister called me. She wanted to talk to Mike, because she wanted to give him his birthday present. I told her we weren’t going to be home for a while, she told me to have him call her. Originally Mike wanted to propose to me while we were still in our bathing suits. Linds x’d that idea. She told him to get me home and in a dress ASAP (Thank you Linds!)

Out of the blue Mike said, “I want to go to dinner, there is this new place right on the bay, and I really want to try it out, what do you think? Should I make a reservation?” I told him it was his birthday, whatever he wanted to do, we would do. So Michael made a fake phone call and pretended to make a reservation. He said they only had 7pm available so we had to go home and get changed fast. I got ready as fast as I could for him, and he looked at me so surprised. He said, “too fast. We have some time to kill, want to hit the beach?” Again, it was his birthday, so I did WHATEVER he wanted.

Mike and I walked along the beach talking about the most random things. Work, family, friends, the upcoming party. Then he asked me if dinner was at 7pm or 730pm. I told him to call the restaurant and double check. He made ANOTHER fake phone call and told me dinner was at 730pm. He asked if I wanted to walk a few more blocks, which I of course had no problem doing. We were passing a family on “our beach” Rumson Ave, when the family said to us, “you are the most beautiful couple.” As I was thanking them, Mike told me to look up. I looked up and saw a plane. The plane had a banner. The banner read, ‘Jenni, will you marry me? Love, Michael.’ I shook my head in disbelief. I said “NO?!!!!!” I looked down and my Michael was on his knee, handsome as ever with the biggest smile. I said, “NO?!!!!!” again in disbelief. That’s when he started to laugh, and said “you better not say no” and then asked me to marry him. I screamed yes, and I cried probably for about three hours.

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My three other surprises: Mike had a photographer hiding the entire time, and she took the most amazing pictures. He also told me we weren’t REALLY going to dinner, and I told him, “that’s fine I just need my phone so I can call my family.” He said, “no you don’t — look.” I looked up and I saw his family, and my family sprinting down the beach. Everyone was there. He had everyone on the top deck of our favorite bar right on the ocean and we celebrated all night long. As if that wasn’t enough, his sister also booked us an ocean view room at the Chelsea in Atlantic City. When we walked in there were roses, chocolates, and champagne everywhere. It was the most gorgeous night.

I am the happiest girl alive. I feel beyond blessed. I cannot wait to marry the most remarkable man who has taught me so much including life’s most important lesson: true love.

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August 28th, 2014: Michael is officially 30, and we are on our way to forever and more.

ICE BUCKET BABY?

By now most of you are familiar with the #icebucketchallenge.The challenge that is taking over social media, and helping to raise awareness for ALS.

Some videos stand out more than others, like my brother having ice water poured on him from a bob-cat machine…

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OR my friends from the Philadelphia area that accepted the challenge, and then BOOM had a baby. What? That happened?

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Sandi and Kenny Begor were joining the crowd, and creating a fun ice bucket challenge video to post on Facebook.

A short time after the challenge was completed, Sandi went into labor. She must have figured it out pretty quickly after drying off, changing her clothes, and noticing there was still water coming from somewhere.

Little Kenny was due September 10th, but the cold water woke him up from his eight month slumber.

Mom and baby are doing great, and thanks to a wonderful trend that is doing amazing things all around the world, this family has an extra special story to tell.

Kenny and Sandi, thank you so much for letting me be one of the first to share it.

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Congratulations on a beautiful baby boy. He is clearly destined to make his presence known, and to continue making a difference as you two were when he first came into our world.

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